Fans of brew and the USF Bulls have something to celebrate this month as the St. Petersburg campus marks a milestone.
St. Petersburg-based 3 Daughters Brewing is releasing a special edition remake of its most popular beer — Beach Blonde Ale — to commemorate University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s 50th anniversary.
The beer will feature the school’s unofficial mascot, Alberta, a 4-year-old guide dog that helps journalism and media studies department Chairwoman Deni Elliott navigate the bayfront campus.
“I call her my fuzzy GPS,” Elliott said of her pup, who for two years has guided Elliott to meetings with the dean, graduations and the campus library.
The commemorative beer, renamed Bayboro Blonde Ale, will be on tap at 3 Daughters tasting rooms throughout September and permanently will be available at the campus tavern, said 3 Daughters owner Leigh Harting.
The ale will be flowing at a block party on campus to celebrate the 50th anniversary, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., Saturday. Harting said the special brew came to be because of the relationship between USFSP and the brewery, which together came up with a brewing arts program where students learn everything they need to know about the beer business.
Students in the program learn online about the history and science of beer, with a hands-on component afterward at a brewery.
Since its launch, the program has expanded to include other manufacturers in the region, and Harting said there has been tremendous student interest.
When USFSP approached 3 Daughters about getting involved in the anniversary celebration, Harting said, the brewery offered to create the school its own beer or rebrand one of its existing drinks.
The school chose to rebrand Beach Blonde Ale to mark the occasion.
“It’s kind of a good introduction to craft beer,” Harting said of the lighter brew.
Craft breweries have grown in number and popularity throughout the country in recent years, and the Tampa Bay area is the epicenter of the industry in Florida.
Harting said she is pleased to see drinkers — especially those in the 21 to 25 age group — experiment with new brews.
“There’s so many different options; there’s something for everybody,” she said. “They can go and try 14 different craft beers, and each one brings something new to the table. It’s not like it used to be where your grandfather sat around drinking a PBR out of a can.”
Elliott said she was touched to learn Alberta would be the mascot for the anniversary beer and that people on campus revere the dog.
“I felt valued,” she said. “She gets a lot of exposure because she’s out there every place I am.”
Elliott said the choice of a mascot for the beer’s label shows how welcoming the campus is of people with disabilities.
USFSP is a place where people work hard like Alberta does, she said, but can “kick back and enjoy each other.”