Pinellas Park’s first craft brewery sets grand opening date

Pinellas Park’s first craft brewery sets grand opening date

Pee-Pa's owner, left, and a branded mug full of beer, right
Photos courtesy Pee-Pa's Garage Craft Brewery

A family dream brought to life, Pinellas Park is getting its first craft brewery with the opening of Pee-Pa’s Garage next week. Located at 6340 49th Street North, Pee-Pa’s Garage Craft Brewery is opening in the former home of North St. Pete Collision. Renovation of the site began in January and the highly-anticipated brewery will celebrate its grand opening on Thursday, August 4, from 3-10 pm, complete with live music and food trucks.

The 4,000 square foot brewpub will put guests in the middle of the brewing action, and its stage will host live music, comedy shows and bingo nights. Pee-Pa’s Garage will also have food trucks on weekends and hopes to soon offer assorted light bites during the week, but ownership is putting a beer-first emphasis on creating a “cozy,” welcoming and relaxed place to enjoy local craft brews.

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A family-run brewery with decades of local ties and a strong devotion to the community, Pee-Pa’s Garage is bringing a new approach to craft breweries in the area, creating a place that fits the personalities of St. Pete and Pinellas Park. The brewery and its tasting room are a combination of the characteristics that inspired it – cars, beer, industrial art, and an easygoing country vibe. Pee-Pa’s Garage will be open to all ages, but of course, guests must be at least 21 to drink the beer.

As part of the opening weekend festivities August 4-7th, Pee-Pa’s Garage will open Thursday from 3-10 pm, Friday from 3 pm – midnight, Saturday from 1 pm – midnight, and Sunday from 1-8 pm. And for the brewery’s Mug Club members, there will be an exclusive opening celebration on Tuesday, August 2 from 3-9 pm.

Family brewery named for its owner, a new grandfather

Jim Brown, the namesake of the brewery and nicknamed Pee-Pa, is opening Pee-Pa’s Garage as something of a family-driven retirement project. He had originally been building a brewery at his second home in North Georgia – inspired by his son’s success homebrewing – when the idea came to transform his auto repair shop into a brewery.

Born and raised in Pinellas Park, with his family still living locally, Brown saw this as an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. His retirement from the auto shop was coming, and beer felt like the perfect next step.

“I was putting together my man cave/home brew hangout, and one weekend afternoon, I thought, ‘Why should I have all the fun?’ I could take my hobbies – cars, creativity and beer – combine them with my children’s skills, and build something that supports my family and my community,” he explained.

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After the family voiced support for the plan, the decision was made in April of 2021 to start brewing up cold beer and good times together. One year later, Pee-Pa’s Garage Craft Brewery is set to start pouring by the pint.

The exterior of Pee-Pa's Garage
Photo courtesy Pee-Pa’s Garage

Pee-Pa’s Garage brings serious craft beer chops to Pinellas Park

As for the beer itself, Pee-Pa’s Garage is coming strong out of the gate with experienced leadership on the brewing team. Ken Shere, a 20-year Army veteran, has been named head brewer after a celebrated run as the assistant brewer at St. Pete’s popular Right Around The Corner Brewery. Joining him as assistant brewer is Brown’s son Andrew, a graduate of the USF St. Pete Brewing Arts Program and longtime home brewer.

Thanks to the experience of those two, Pee-Pa’s Garage already has a strong list of good, proven beer recipes.

The family-run business is rounded out by Madie Brown, the brewery’s Beer Ambassador, while Ashley Brown is using her artistic chops to take on the role of Creative Director. Connie Brown, the matriarch of the family, will be the leader on the business and operations side of the brewery.

While the transition from auto shop to craft brewery may seem like an odd one on the surface, there are a surprising number of parallels. Both are hands-on jobs, often subject to preference, and reliant on a knowledge of mechanics and engineering. And each of them, in their own way, help humans get where they want to be.

“I went from crafting cars to crafting beer,” Brown joked.

Follow Pee-Pa’s Garage on facebook for more information on opening day, as well as the official ribbon cutting with city. Learn more about the brewery on its website, and check out the details on joining the Mug Club and a Jeep raffle giveaway.

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