NOTE: I posted this a week or so ago. Due to circumstances I still can’t figure out, it disappeared. So, here it is again. Enjoy….
Miami is the Magic City. Orlando, the City Beautiful. Cassadega is that scary place with all the mystics. And Jacksonville? The Bold City.
Actually, the full title is “The Bold New City of the South,” a nickname that apparently dates back to the 60’s and references the paper mill industry that has largely left Jacksonville.
No problem there. The craft beer industry has exploded to take it’s place.
To be honest, Jacksonville is Tampa’s main rival, in my honest opinion, when it comes to the title of Beer City, Florida (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale are close behind, though). And one of the biggest players in the Jacksonville Craft Beer Scene is Bold City Brewery.
Bold City, like so many other newer breweries, started out as a homebrew in 2002, then eventually became the North Florida brewery and tap room you see today. I hope to get there someday, but I was lucky to sample some of their beers during a recent trip. The big three, pictured above, are their main line, available at all sorts of places around Central and North Florida, including Publix and Total Wine & More. Let’s get into them (accompanied by my awful attempts at ‘artsy’ photography):
Mad Manatee IPA: It’s a good, solid representative of what an American-style IPA is. Stronger and a bit more bitter than an English-style IPA, the hops flavors really shine through.
Killer Whale Cream Ale: This gets me every time, as well. It’s not creamy. This is not an alcoholic milkshake in a can. It will not bring the boys to your yard. Cream ales are a lager/ale hybrid, usually using increased sugar to aid fermentation. Killer Whale is an excellent cream ale for cream ale beginners, as it is crisp, smooth, with little hoppy bitterness or bold, heavy flavors. It’s the ‘cream of the crop’ (use that to remember it).
Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale: Duke rules St. Augustine. Seriously. Everywhere I went, Duke was on tap. Even if the place didn’t have the best beer selection, Duke was available. And it’s for good reason. Duke (named after the Bold City owners’ late dog pictured on the can) is an easy drinking, lightly sweet and nutty beer. Truth be told, I wish I had gotten a chance to try more of it. Luckily, Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale was recently announced as a selection at this year’s Epcot Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World. They’ll be featured along other samplings from Orlando Brewing and Cigar City, and it’s great for them.
I thought my Bold City Brew experience was going to end there, but luckily Mellow Mushroom in St. Augustine managed to have a good local listing on tap, and that included Big John’s Apricot Wheat, their summer seasonal. I had never had apricot in a hefeweizen, and it works well. It’s not as overpoweringly sweet as some fruity wheat beers I’ve had are, and that’s a good thing.
It’s a shame they’re on the other end of the state. I can see my beer fridge stocked with any of their cans on a regular basis. Here’s to hoping they get a wider distribution soon.
Drink Florida Craft,
@Florida Beer Blog