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Top 5 Craft Brews in Jacksonville, Florida

Imagine easy-to-drink beers that are a great match for the hot climate, fishing, golfing, grilling-out or even just standing around waiting for your buddy to finish his standard five practice swings and 15 minute waggle time before hitting the ball. Gulp! Ah...yes...Jacksonville Brews are the cure for excessively long pre-shot dances. They taste like the coast and remind you of a peaceful place - like the golf cour--- I mean, the beach.

I have lived all over the country. I’ve explored some delicious and many lackluster craft brews in the mid-western states; the trying-way-too-hard bitter IPAs of Colorado; and the no-nonsense ales in Boston.

With every region comes a distinct character of beer produced by various craft breweries. As someone who almost always drinks local beer and loves to spend time tasting the local craft brew culture no matter where I am, I have found that I like Northern Florida beers the most; and I particularly love the brews that are native to my hometown.

Full disclosure: I’m *slightly* biased because I’m native to Jacksonville and... I happen to be a golf-enthusiast. And one thing you will learn is, no craft beer fits on the fairway quite like a Florida brew!

Thus, my top 5 favorite craft brews live right here in Jacksonville, so next time you are in North Florida, it’s time to take a tour of our breweries.So here it is! I have personally taken the liberty of breaking down the top 5 craft brews you must try in Jacksonville by various recommended types:

Intuition Jon Boat Coastal Ale

This English Golden Ale is my favorite Jacksonville brew. It’s perfect on a boat, it’s easy to drink, and it doesn’t taste like the the mix of melted ice, dirty hands, and ziploc bags left in your $450 cooler on the back of your golf cart on a hot day. It is a no-nonsense boat beer (you don’t need a lime wedge) that actually tastes good. You have a $450 cooler, and you put $6 beer in it? What the hell is wrong with you?

Bold City Killer Whale Cream Ale

This lager is a really smooth cream ale. The bubbles are tiny, it has a slight vanilla taste, and unlike lots of cream ales, you can drink more than 2 without being completely full. It could even be called “refined” if you want to drink a beer at the one of the many awesome players clubhouses in North Florida. The blue and silver can even matches your searsucker pants! Niiiice.

Aardwolf Belgian Pale Ale

If you enjoy a good pale ale, but don’t like to feel like you’ve just sucked the rind of a bitter lemon, you can’t miss this brew! Eventually, even the most curled-mustache-Bermuda-shorts-held-up-with-suspenders-wearing-hipster will have to admit that pale ales can *sometimes* be too bitter. The Aardwolf, however, is a good middle ground.

Green Room Brewing Count Shakula Stout

I have to admit this upfront: I don’t love stout brews. The majority of my experience with stouts has been like drinking watered-down burned maple syrup. BUT, of all the Northeast Florida stouts, this one is the least like what’s left over after a pot of coffee sits until 5pm. I may be the minority here, so I included one very heavy stout since some people attribute liking heavy stout beers to masculinity or respect for their brew knowledge. Some people are wrong. Those people are my wife.

Engine 15 Brewery 904 Weissguy

Engine 15 is a small brewery, so the fact that they have make a weiss beer that is this good is extremely impressive. Lots of microbrew weiss beer tends to just taste like cloves - cloves that have been blended up into some creamsicle-flavored water. This one is complex without being fussy, and has the distinctive taste of a cloudy hefeweizen. It still has the citrus clove and spice notes, so if you’re a snowbird and you happen to be visiting North Florida on a crisp (but likely still tolerable) winter day, this is a great choice. And, the fact that its name is a nod to the first coast is a major plus!

All of the breweries that produce these delicious craft beauties have a variety of other choices; and all of those choices display the creativity, conscientiousness  and understated nature of Florida first coasters.

Jacksonville and other North Florida brews are solid and well-made. No visit to North Florida is complete without some golf, some sand, and a bit of drinking; so if you’re in the Northeastern region, consider making your way to Jacksonville for a solid tasting tour of our culturally distinctive local craft brews!