Every year about this time, downtown Jacksonville turns into a huge party. Everywhere you look there are signs in orange and blue as well as red and black advertising drink specials and raucous entertainment. Hundreds of RVs roll into the parking lots surrounding Everbank Field. Awnings roll out, and the three day long party begins. It has been dubbed as the “world’s Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” and the reality lives up to the hype. I refer to, of course, the annual gridiron clash of fierce rivals the University of Florida Gators and the University of Georgia Bulldogs that takes place in Jacksonville every year as a matter of tradition.
The history of the Florida – Georgia rivalry is one steeped in tradition, but hazy in its origins. As is to be expected, the two teams do not agree when it all began. Georgia says the rivalry began in 1904 when its football squad played a University of Florida team in Macon, Ga. Georgia dominated the Florida team by a score of 52-0, but this team was not from the University of Florida in Gainesville. It was from one of the four schools that merged to form the modern University of Florida. The first game that is recognized by both schools was played in 1915.
This year the rivalry extends beyond the field and into the pubs, bars, and breweries of Jacksonville with events that pit Florida beers against Georgia beers. The classic rivalry will play out at Northstar Substation Friday, October 26 with brews from Gainesville’s – home town of the Gators – Swamp Head brewery squaring off against the beers of Terrapin Brewery which is situated in Athens, Ga., home of the Bulldogs. Beginning at 4:00 p.m. stop by the downtown bar and restaurant located at 119 East Bay Street to support your favorite brewery. There will be multiple taps for each brewery and representatives as well!
If you are out at the beach and would prefer to keep a bit of distance from the seething masses, you can still participate in a Florida – Georgia rivalry. Green Room Brewing Company will host a tap takeover featuring beers from both states. While there, be sure to try some of the brews produced by the Green Room team right there on-premises. Favorites like Pablo Beach Pale Ale and Double Overhead IPA are sure to please.
Finally, cruise on out to the Southside of town and stop in at Mellow Mushroom in Tinseltown. There you will find another Florida vs. Georgia tap takeover with Terrapin’s founder John Cochran. He will be fielding questions as well as serving up Terrapin’s delicious Pumpkin Fest beer in real hollowed out pumpkins.
See all the beer-centric events happening in Jacksonville at: www.jaxbeerguy.com.