From the first event Monday night at Kickback’s to the grand finale Saturday at Mellow Mushroom, the first ever Jacksonville Beer Week can only be described as an unmitigated success. The fact the entire week was pulled together in less than a month speaks volumes for the organizational skills of all involved and foretells an even better event next year.
News of the week spread quickly through word of mouth and social media. As new venues were added the website for the week was updated and the list of beer-centric things to do grew rapidly. It seemed like new events were added on a daily basis until the week went from an idea to fruition. Each event built upon the previous one to build a fun-filled week that is sure to be the buzz of town until the next Jacksonville Beer Week next year.
Some of the highlights of the week included the above mentioned local beer day at Kickback’s on Monday. This was followed by a slew of events on Tuesday including a special beer and food pairing meal at Pele’s Wood Fire, a tapping of a special collaborative beer brewed at Intuition Ale Works by the crew from Mellow Mushroom, a ladies only beer tasting at the Cork & Keg in Fruit Cove, and a special Stone Brewing tasting at Brewer’s Pizza in Orange park. Wednesday brought a showing of the fantastic craft beer vs. mega brewers movie “Beer Wars,” which was followed by a lively discussion panel afterwards. On Thursday the guys at Mile Marker Brewing in St. Augustine transformed their brewery into a movie theater and screened two of the greatest all-time beer movies out there: “Beerfest” and “Stanger Brew,” Engine 15 tapped a special beer brewed by the Florida Times-Union’s Roger Bull and Ed Stansel, writers of Amber Waves beer blog. In addition Grassroots in Riverside hosted a tasting of brews from Intuition, Bold City, Brewer’s Pizza, and Michael Payne owner of the soon-to-be-open Aardwolf Brewery in San Marco. Friday night saw the first annual Springfield Brew Crew Downtown Pub Crawl, a tap takeover of Florida beers at Green Room Brewing that included of 40 local and Florida beers, and Engine 15 hosted a tap takeover that boasted 10 local taps and a special firkin made just for Beer Week. The week closed with the Grand Tasting at Mellow Mushroom at Tinseltown. The final event included beer tastings from most of the local breweries, music from Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, food from Mellow Mushroom, and a brewer’s panel discussion.
With the great success of this year’s event it is safe to assume that there will be another next year with even better events and a greater selection of local and Florida beers. The most difficult part will be waiting for it to begin again.