Category Archives: Pubs

World of Beer coming to Tinseltown

Florida beer bar chain World of Beer has filed plans to put in a Jacksonville location in the Tinseltown area. The plans call for the new bar to be built in the former Starbuck’s location at 9700 Deer Lake Court, No. 1. The nearly 3,000 square foot location will join the already crowded beer-centric area near Mellow Mushroom, Tilted Kilt, and Miller’s Ale House.

The typical World of Beer location serves upwards of 30 brews on tap and hundreds of bottled beers. World of Beer’s philosophy is to be welcoming to the hophead as well as the novice beer drinker. It places emphasis on beer increasing the beer knowledge of its patrons in a warm, inviting, and friendly atmosphere.

Based out of Tampa, World of Beer has quickly expanded since opening its first store in 2007. South and Central Florida have had outlets for several years already. Earlier this year rumors were circulating that the chain was eyeing the former Fuel building in Five Points. Today’s news would seem to refute that.

The company’s website states that the Jacksonville location should be open in November.

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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Beer, Pubs


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Atlanta’s The Fred speakeasy a hidden gem

During Prohibition, speakeasies were relatively common; hidden from the sight of the authorities, they provided the average Joe and the upper crust with a place to get a stiff drink during a time when stiff drinks were, well, prohibited. Over the past few years, the idea of exclusive clubs has had a bit of a renaissance. In cities all around the world, there are clubs were only those who know how to get in are allowed to enter.

In Atlanta, that is the idea around the enigmatically named, The Fred. technically part of the Taco Mac chain, The Fred is far from a sports beer and wing bar. Instead it is a lavishly appointed man cave reminiscent of the most opulent New York steakhouses. One can almost imagine that many high-powered deals were brokered in one of the hideout’s plush booths.

To gain access to The Fred, one must first know where it is. While it is not exactly a secret – a search of the Internet will provide its location – it is in a rather non-descript and obscure location. Upon finding the door emblazoned with a stylized logo and complete with a peephole, a potential guest must press a red button to request entry. The door remains locked from the inside otherwise. The bartender will come to the door and request your admission credentials (a valid Brewniversity card from Taco Mac with at least 13 entries) and show you inside.

If you come during daylight hours, plan to stand for a second to let your eyes adjust. The light levels in The Fred are low and intimate and the colors are dark and rich. On either side of the space are comfortable booths complete with plush cushions and pillows and a curtain that can be pulled for privacy. Further back the bar is surrounded by a curved, dark wood ceiling. The feeling is cozy, comfy, relaxed, and sexy.

Behind the bar is an assortment of taps. By Taco Mac standards, there are only a few taps, but what they have is generally good. Some of the selections on during our visit included 21st Ammendment Hop Crisis, Abita Satsuma Wit, and the ever-present Guinness. If you prefer bottles, The Fred has an interesting list to peruse via iPads that also contain the food menu.

Other articles on The Fred wax rhapsodic about their burger – a Kobe beef cheeseburger topped with fried mac ‘n cheese. We did not go that route, though. Instead we ordered the Guinness Cheese Dip, served with soft pretzel pieces. When the dip arrived it was attractively plated on a long wooden board, the pretzels were cut into bite-sized pieces and toasted for a wonderful texture and crunch. The dip was rich with Guinness beer and packed a bit of a spicy kick that we really enjoyed.

Though we only stayed for a one beer and the dip. Our visit was extremely enjoyable. If you have the means and would like to try an upscale and exclusive-feeling spot, definitely give The Fred a try. But, keep in mind their slogan, “If you know, you know.”

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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Beer, Pubs


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European Street taps new Lagunitas brew

Beer drinking and storytelling are two activities that go hand-in-hand. Barstools are full of storytellers that spin fantastic yarns over cold brews on a daily basis. But, a beer new to the Jacksonville area and now tapped at the Park St., San Marco, and Jacksonville Beach locations of European Street has the story to tell this time. And Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Co. has quite a story to tell.

The label on the bottle of the beer hints that the story is not one that sits well with Tony Magee, the owner and brewmaster at Lagunitas. In tiny type on the edge of the label his diatribe says, “From the first day of the first congress at the moment of the passage of the first law, we became weaker.

The extra-large B. Franklin said it well that you can tell the strength of a society by the paucity of the pages in its book of laws – Tax laws, civil law, criminal law, Statutes and Bills. Laws that make large and small criminals of us all.”

The label refers to the 2005 investigation and subsequent shut-down of the brewery for 20 days the next January that resulted from complaints of parties on breweries premises. The parties were said to include food, beer, loud music, and – perhaps most damning – marijuana usage.  The investigation took place over two-months with investigators going to the weekly parties undercover to see for themselves what was going on.

According to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control public information officer John Carr, officers attended parties over an eight-week period to determine whether partygoers were dealing in drugs. During a St. Patrick’s Day party at the brewery the officers revealed their investigation by showing their badges and arresting one employee and patron.

Punishment came to the brewery in the form of a 20-day shut-down in January of 2006, which Magee used to install a planned new bottling line.

Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale is called “especially bitter ale” to commemorate the bust and shut-down of the brewery. Later Magee, not none for his quiet demeanor, said, “This beer, I wanted it to be a knuckle sandwich. It’s big, it’s bitter and it’s angry. It’s unrepentant, and it’s unforgiving.”

And Magee, is right in those characterizations. The brew weighs in with 10.1% ABV and 74 IBUs. Popular beer rating website Beer Advocate gives the brew an 89 out of 100 points. One reviewer on the site left comments referring to the beer as, “Barleywine-like strength with well-kilned grains and citrus hops.” Another said, “Interesting. Both the hops and toasted malt appear upfront, then the bitterness hits on the finish.”

But, drinker beware, a few pints of this brew could lead to a few of your own stories. Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale is available until supplies are exhausted at European Street.


Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Beer, Pubs, Restaurant


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Dahlia’s to host “Running of the Taps” Friday

There is a cliched, but common saying among adventurers; why did you climb (or raft, or motorcycle, or whatever) Mt. Everest (or the Colorado River, or the Dragon’s Tail, or whatever)? The simple answer is nearly always; because it was there. Intrepid beer-drinkers now have a challenge designed to test their mettle happening at the newly opened Dahlia’s Pour House in Riverside. It is being called the “Running of the Taps” and is a beer-drinking session that involves drinking every one of the 85 beers Dahlia’s has on tap.

The event is the brain-child of craft beer lover Tony Sottile. “I just wanted to have a session event with a few close friends,” he said. “But figured there are probably a few more degenerates like myself that would enjoy this as well. And what better way to meet other said degenerates [than to] go have a beer or twenty.”

Those who take up the challenge will not find themselves facing 85 full pints or beer, though. The challenge will be to drink 85, four ounce servings of beer presented in flights of four beers. Still, the grand total of beer to be consumed by each participant who completes the challenge comes out to 340 ounces, or roughly 21 pints.

The event is to take place over a span of about eight to nine hours, so it equates to about two or so pints an hour. To keep the participants nourished – and perhaps a little more sober – Dahlia’s is springing for food during a couple of sustenance breaks.

Sottile says of the event, “We want to cap it at no more than 15-20 people. We’re really only looking to get guys [and] girls together that truly enjoy beer, talk beer and [want to] meet others that enjoy the same.  We aren’t really interested in people showing up just to get hammered.”

The event will take place on Friday, July 27 at Dahlia’s Pour House (2695 Post Street) in the King Street Beer District beginning at 12:30 p.m. Cost is $100 per person.

Follow all of Marc Wisdom’s travel, dining, and beer articles at his Examiner pages: Jacksonville Dining, Jacksonville Craft Beer, Restaurants, Drinks, and City Guides. Click the “Subscribe” button and never miss an article again.

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Posted by on July 21, 2012 in Beer, Pubs


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Dahlia’s Pour House rocking on King Street

A little over a week after opening, Dahlia’s Pour House in the King Street Beer District is rocking. Even with several opening problems like the loss of a keg and draft line issues Dahlia’s has succeeded in completely a strong opening week that saw crowds filling in to check the new place out.

Dahlia’s is situated in a former printing shop just off the corner of King and Post in Riverside. The area has seen an explosion of new businesses opening, many with a heavy craft beer bent. To many, the area is the place to go in Jacksonville for a variety of venues within walking distance of each other that feature quality craft beers.

With 85 tap lines, Dahlia’s is the leader in the number of draft beers available in the District. Andrea, the owner and frequent bartender at the new joint, has committed to an emphasis on Florida brews and has an extensive collection including lesser-known beers from Cocoa Beach Brewing and Pensacola Bay Brewing. The pub is painted a cheerful red with high ceilings, attractive lighting, and the requisite beer signs. Behind the bar, the taps line up seemingly forever on the side of the cooler which has been painted with chalk board paint to allow for notes and specials to be written on it. Patrons looking for activities can play ping pong, shoot pool on one of the two $1 pool tables, play darts with real steel-tipped darts, or play Beer Battleship.

Beginning this Tuesday and continuing every Tuesday afterwards, the bar will host a pint night featuring a different brewery each week. Patrons that come in and order a pint of beer from the featured brewery will receive a logo pint glass that is theirs to keep. The night is modeled after the extremely popular pint nights held at the Flying Saucer chain of beer bars. The special pint nights are from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Brewers or representatives from the breweries will also be present to answer questions about their beers.

The first few breweries to be featured are:

July 17th – Green Room Brewery
July 24th – Bold City Brewery. Drink with the Killer Whale (and get your picture with it, too) at 6:00 p.m.
July 31st – Swamp Head Brewery

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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Beer, Pubs


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