You won’t spot this brewery from the road, but you’ll find the beers distributed throughout tons of Jacksonville bars. I ended up trying beers from Intuition, Veterans United and Green Room before finally getting to visit Bold City. But I knew the day would eventually come.
Josh Tells Me About Jax Breweries
It all began with a Saturday night visit to see my Cicerone bud Josh who works at Total Wine in Orlando.
This was last November. There was a beer tasting going on and I tried Duke’s Brown Ale and got excited about Bold City. Josh thought the Bold City Rep was cute and I was game for free beer, so I did the tasting. Now, I have this somewhat unusual preference for beers that taste like vegetable soup (specifically beef barley soup). Something about the intriguing flavor of hops and grain makes me want to try another sip. Duke’s fit the bill and Josh told me it was from Jax. Hurray! I knew I might be moving soon (this was back before I made the trek to this city) and now I had a fun place to check out in my next hometown.
Boxer Beer is a Thing
Skip forward a few months and I haven’t yet checked out the brewery, because I’m low on local friends and don’t want to go alone. Then, I had some Orlando visitors come stay with me. Jill and Todd crashed at my place and we had a game night, complete with beer and Moscow mules.
When we grabbed snacks at Publix they spotted what they refer to as “Boxer Beer”. Now Jill and Todd have a gorgeous and rambunctious boxer named Lucy, so the logo for this beer has a special place in their hearts. They refuse to call it Duke’s. Well, since it’s from a local brewer, it was sitting on the shelves at Publix, so we grabbed some. Todd was pretty psyched. Jill and Todd went on to kill me in Poker, which is nearly unacceptable, and left without time to visit the brewery. We did make it to Black Sheep, but that’s a different story.
Hop in and Get a Free Tour
Finally, April came with another dear Orlando visitor, who was game to explore my town with me. I said there’s one place I’ve been DYING to visit. So we jumped in the car and GPS’d over. Right in a clump of lackluster warehouses was a familiar sign. BOLD CITY. My friend was excited about the artsy sign across the street, but I had one thing on the mind: Duke’s.
We strolled in about 1pm on Saturday. A little early for drinking, but this was going to be educational. We were going to do a tour. Before we could even order, we were invited to join a free tour group to learn the ropes. Now, this was an industrial place without much AC or any kind of bar glam. It was the basics. Our tour guide wasn’t the usual guy (so not many jokes), but he was a brewer, so super knowledgeable about the process. We got to chew on some hops which were dry and strange. I did enjoy one that was roasted, because it reminded me of coffee beans.
So what did I learn? Keep the oxygen out. Use four main ingredients: yeast, grain, hops and water. Also the guy said flocculation like 10 times. And a lot of this stuff goes from that container to that container. Chemistry, blah, blah, next container. The place had loud music and was hot, so paying attention was a little tough. But it was still neat to get the how-its-made explanation. We also tried beer that was “Alive” and not completely ready. Visit to find out what that means. At the end of the tour we were rewarded for listening with little beer glasses with the Bold City logo.
After the tour, we sat at a picnic table and enjoyed some Killer Whale, a lighter, refreshing beer. I saw a sign for beer and yoga and made a mental note to go. We saw a sign for a beer hymn sing which also sounded intriguing. And then glimpsed an inside area complete with games. We weren’t able to go in the AC area because I brought my chiweenie, Gusgus. Oh yes, this place is dog-friendly too.
My friend had never done a beer tour and took stories home to her husband, so he knows just what he missed out on. We also spotted some excellent beards on the fellow bar-goers, and she took those stories home too. Her husband is primed for Riverside and has the hair products to prove it. Hopefully the whole gang will come visit soon.