One faces the future with one's past. Pearl S. Buck
Cigar City Brewing was founded with two goals in mind. The first to make the world's best beer and the second to share with people near and far the fascinating culture and heritage of the Cigar City of Tampa. From its past as the world's largest cigar producer to its Latin roots and the many other diverse peoples that call it home, Tampa draws on many sources to develop its unique culture. At CCB we are fascinated by Tampa's history and suspect you will be too.
Food is culture and each culture has its own culinary traditions. Tampa is no different. While there are many cultural influences on traditional Tampa fare including Sicilian, Spanish, Puerto Rican, traditional southern and Soul Food, no nation has had more impact on cuisine in the Cigar City than Cuba. It is with this influence in mind that we formulate many of our recipes, seeking to create ales and lagers that pair perfectly with Cuban dishes such as Boliche and Picadillo.
Cigar City Brewing is comprised of a 15 barrel (one barrel is 31 gallons) brewhouse occupying 6,600 sq. ft. of warehouse space in the Carver City-Lincoln Gardens neighborhood of Tampa. Six fermenters, also 15 bbl, are used to ferment the beer for packaging and kegging.
We package using a 6 head PPM filler which allows us to adjust to many bottle formats and we keg in 50 liter and 5 gallon kegs. We use the highest quality ingredients we can lay our hands on and that is not just marketing jargon. If it makes better beer, we use it. We also strive to use local ingredients when and where we can. Not only do fresh local ingredients help us to make better beer, it helps us to make beer that reflects the culture and heritage of Tampa Bay.
Wayne Wambles is a self taught home brewer who turned commercial. He started brewing beer at home in early 1996. He became obsessed with beer when Hurricane Opal came through southeast Alabama, knocking out the power and water in his home town of Enterprise, Alabama for three days. He ran into a close friend that had no problems sharing his beer of the month club beers with Wayne over games of cards in order to bide their time until power and water was restored to the area.
This allowed Wayne to realize that there was much more to beer than just light watered down macro lagers and since he was already very interested in cooking, Wayne took an approach to beer in a gastronomic way. Some of his early homebrews include Vanilla Pale Ale, Strawberry Coriander Wheat, Irish Coffee Cream Stout, Ginseng Hefeweizen, Honey Ginger Mango Wheat, India Brown Lager and Southern Rauchbier (grains were smoked with pecan wood).
After spending a year and a half focusing on his obsession with home brewing, he pursued a commercial opportunity to brew at a local brewpub in Dothan, Alabama called Poplar Head Mule Company (a historical building that used to sell wagons). He acted as an apprentice to Gary Essex, who later left his position as head brewer of the brewpub to Wayne.
Wayne spent the next six months refining the existing recipes at Poplar Head. He took four of his beers to the Panama City Brew Fest in 1998 and brought home 3 ribbons.
The following week, Wayne was interviewed by the Dothan Eagle, a local newspaper. The article acted as his resume for a new brewing position at Buckhead Brewery & Grill in Tallahassee, Florida. With Wayne’s background and Gary Essex’s belief in Wayne, he was hired as the head brewer for the Tallahassee Branch.
While at Buckhead, Wayne learned to operate more automated/complex equipment and continued to write new recipes and refine existing recipes from the Buckhead beer lineup. This was rewarded in 2000 at the World Beer Cup with Buckhead taking home a silver medal for Strong Scotch Ale and also at the Great American Beer Festival in the same year with Wayne taking home gold for his Strong Scotch Ale and a bronze for his English IPA.
Wayne relocated in 2001 to the Atlanta area to continue brewing for Buckhead Brewery until the business expanded beyond their means and was forced to shut down in 2004.
He continued his brewing venture by accepting a job with Dothan Brewing Company after moving home from Atlanta. The beers that he produced while at DBC were well received, but the business eventually went under.
In November of 2006, Wayne began working for an up and coming brewery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina named Foothills Brewing Company. During his time at Foothills, the brewery was awarded two silver medals with one being for Maibock and one for Baltic Porter at the Great American Beer Festival (2007) and a gold medal for Robust Porter and silver medal for American Stout at the World Beer Cup (2008).
2008 brought a desire to take a head brewer position once again and Wayne updated his resume and applied to Cigar City Brewing in early 2008. He was ready to take on new responsibilities and craving the creative freedom that had been missing from his occupation since mid to late 2006.
CCB hired Wayne as head brewer and he relocated in late March of 2008 to begin the process of learning local culture, applying that culture to CCB's beers and opening a brand new microbrewery in the Tampa, Florida area.
A Tampa native with a thing for beer, Joey Redner has owned a bar, sold beer at both the retail, brewery and import level and written about beer for several publications. A free spirit by nature Joey tends to shun things like recipes, temperature gauges and gravity readings in favor of "flavor readings." While this keeps him happy in his home brewing pursuits it doesn't always produce a consistent product at the commercial level. This is why Joey is happy to be working with Wayne Wambles, a man who grounds unfettered enthusiasm in the foundation of sound brewing practices. In addition to beer Joey is passionate about Cuban food and the colorful history of the City of Tampa.
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