It seems like every major city has that one section of town that is both historic and trendy, older and up-and-coming. In Jacksonville, that district is Springfield.
Home to Jacksonville’s Main Street, it was the location of the main section of downtown before the city was ravaged in 1901 by a fire that burned many of its buildings to the ground.
But it’s coming back, and is becoming home to a number of trendy boutiques, coffee houses, community spaces, and (my favorite indicator of revitalization) breweries. There’s more than one brewery on Main Street, and it’s pretty easy to walk between them.
The first one that I went to was Hyperion, one of the city’s newest. Hyperion Brewing was opened by Steve and Sherree Schussman, a couple that had spent most of their lives in Michigan before deciding to retire to North Florida.
Sherry was behind the taps when I went, and she told me that their kids all had ties to North Florida, which made it easy for them to make the decision to move south. Firmly intending to not open any sort of a business, they eventually met Alexandra McKeown, a Jacksonville native and budding business woman who had a dream of opening up a brewery of her own.
Together, the three of them found Hyperion’s brewmaster and North Carolina native Matthew Fletcher to open up a brewery with a very interesting business focus. In the back is a one barrel system, which most of the breweries would consider no more than a pilot. For Hyperion, however, that is as much as they want. Their main focus is to make an ever evolving and revolving tap list of beers.
They intentionally do not stock core beers, focusing instead on keeping a rapidly changing series of beers available. To that end, I can guarantee that every visit will be different and the beers that I tried on my visit have long since shuffled off this mortal coil.
I ended up going for two coffee beers, not intentionally, but that’s just the way that it ended up happening. The first was White Mocha Stout (Golden Stout), a collaboration with Social Grounds Coffee located just west of them on Main Street and maybe four minutes away on foot. I’ve always liked Golden Stouts, because they are rather odd to drink. Sure, the look like your standard issue blonde ale, but they drink very boldly, with a nice coffee kick and robust roasted roundness which is quite satisfying.
The other beer that I went for was the wonderfully titled I Can’t Even (Yam Beer, 5.9% ABV). This is a coffee beer a little bit closer in color to what people would assume, with the added kick of more of an espresso flavor. It’s slightly deeper and still harmonizes very well with the pumpkin spice to create something that is almost like your traditional pumpkin coffee drink, but still keeps the coffee quality stronger. It has a great roasted bread quality to make it quintessentially more dark and roasted.
It will be excited to go back to Hyperion, especially since I have no idea what I will be getting. What they do have is quite tasty, and very intriguing for an intriguing neighborhood in a grand historical city.
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