By Matt Wiley

The Tampa Bay area is becoming a hotbed for cold, craft beer, with new breweries popping up across the area seemingly every few months. One of the newest breweries has its roots right here in Wesley Chapel. Say hello to Angry Chair Brewing, which has its first location in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood.

For the past two years, Angry Chair Brewing has been homeless, a side-project of Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing and The Brass Tap (at the Shops at Wiregrass mall) employee Ryan Dowdle, 34, a Meadow Pointe resident, fellow Cigar City employee and pilot-brewer Ben Romano, 32, and business partner Shane Mozur, 38, also of Meadow Pointe.

A Sarasota native, Dowdle, 34, migrated north to the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1997 for college, where he says he was blown away by the large amount of “weird beer” on tap.

“That’s where I was first introduced to craft beer,” he says. “Going from a macro, domesticated beer state to a state that supports craft beer intrigued me.”

By “macro, domesticated beer,” Dowdle refers to the major “American” breweries, such as Miller-Coors and Anheuser-Busch, which now is owned by Belgium-based InBev. Exposure to small, craft breweries sparked Dowdle’s interest in the creativity that can go into the brewing process, which, at that time, wasn’t as easy to find on the shelves in Florida.

After graduating in 2001, he returned to Florida, specifically Wesley Chapel. Once a week, together with a few friends — including Joey Redner, owner of Cigar City Brewing, located off of Spruce St. near Tampa International Airport — Dowdle would sample craft beers from across the U.S. that they acquired by trading with fellow craft brew enthusiasts online. Paired with working as the general manager at The Brass Tap in Wiregrass for several years, Dowdle was sold.

“Now, craft beer is a passion of mine,” he explains. “I believe in it. Craft beer is not a trend. It’s the future. Craft beer is American brewing. I want to be a part of it and support it as much as I can.”

And that’s the plan with Angry Chair, which derives its name from Dowdle and Mozur’s stint working jobs in the corporate finance world.

“An ‘angry chair’ is what we refer to as your chair at work, or wherever makes you angry,” Dowdle says. “It’s your unhappy place. Angry Chair Brewing is a celebration of being away from that place.”

Celebration is a fitting word for the beers that Angry Chair already has brewed out of Cigar City, one of which was a German “chocolate cake milk stout,” brewed with chocolate, vanilla beans and coconut and aged on more vanilla beans, coconut and rum-soaked oak chips. Another brew has been named Bananas Foster, after the classic New Orleans-style dessert.

“We’re forward-thinking with our beers,” Dowdle explains. “We’re not going into it thinking we’re going to make just a few core beers. We’re going to brew beer that we want to drink, and what we think other people might like. They may develop into our core beers, but it’ll depend on demand. As far as styles, the sky is the limit. We’re not scared to brew anything.”

Craft beer consumers can expect to see a wide range of styles, including a rye beer, India pale ales, porters, stouts and Berliner-Weisses, or sour beers with blueberry or raspberry flavors.

Although the Angry Chair owners just announced their brewery’s location at 6401 N. Florida Ave. in an old clock-repair shop, Dowdle and company have been busy getting the word out, even taking part in the second annual Tampa Bay Beer Week, which ran from March 2-10, with craft beer events all over the Tampa Bay area. Angry Chair took over the taps at the Cigar City tasting room on March 7, with 32 gallons of six different brews.

“It truly was a madhouse,” Dowdle says. “Our six beers were completely gone in an hour and a half. The show of support was amazing.”

If all goes according to plan, Angry Chair beer will be on tap at its own brewery in August, just a few miles south of our distribution areas, in the evenrable and ever-improving Old Seminole Heights neighborhood.

“Logistically, it made more sense to find a location in Seminole Heights,” Dowdle explains. “It’s right smack in the middle of Tampa. There’s a lot of synergy in the neighborhood. We did a lot of looking around. When we first went into the building, we found a lot of turn-of-the century beer artifacts, like old Pabst Blue Ribbon posters. It seemed like a good fit.”

Until then, the Angry Chair owners are working on getting licensing for their own brewery approved, but their beers still can be found periodically at the Cigar City Tasting Room (3924 W. Spruce St).

For more information, check out Angry Chair Brewing at


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