Category Archives: Pubs

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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Dahlia’s Pour House to Open Today at Post and King

English: Belgium beer (Leffe) Français : Leffe...

English: Belgium beer (Leffe) Français : Leffe blonde (bière belge) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been a long, difficult road fraught with hurdles of every imaginable variety for Dahlia’s Pour House. But, after multiple format changes the owners finally reached an agreement with the neighborhood and city that allowed them to move forward with opening their establishment. They pared down their desire to open a full-liquor bar with a restaurant component to opening just a beer bar. But, what a beer bar it is!

The newest edition to the King Street Beer District will open with 85 taps of cold, delicious brews and room for expansion to over 200. The same team that runs Northstar Substation, the popular pizza and beer joint on Bay Street downtown, has worked hard to put together a list of quality beers to keep quaffers happy. Included is an extensive collection of Florida brews for the likes of Pensacola Brewing, Florida Brewing, and locals Bold City, Intuition, and Green Room. You will also find craft beers from Victory, Sweetwater, and Dogfish Head in addition to  import selections like Leffe, Hoegaarden, and Stella.

But, bellying up to the bar is not the only thing to do at Dahlia’s. There are two pool tables, dart boards, televisions, and a rather unique drinking game that has never been seen before in this area: Beer Battleship. The premise of the game is the same as the children’s board game, but on a larger scale and instead of adding a peg to a “hit” on your ship players will have beer shots on their ships. When a player’s opponent calls the coordinates of one of his or her ships, they must drink that beer shot.

If all that is not enough, Dahlia’s will also offer package sales of canned beers, though they cannot sell growlers. There are also plans in the works for a running and cycling club based on successful models in the Tampa Bay area.

Dahlia’s hours are 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily and is located at 2695 Post Street in Riverside.


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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Beer, Pubs


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Why a Good Bar Is Essential to Sustainable Communities

I don’t re-blog a lot of articles, but this one — pointed out to me by Bill Hoff of Springfield — is worth the break from the norm.

Why a Good Bar Is Essential to Sustainable Communities.

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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Beer, Pubs


American Craft Beer Week — Monday, May 14, 2012

Today is the first day of American Craft Beer Week, and here is a listing of the events you can find going on a round town. Check back daily for more great events and celebrate your beer independence!

Poe’s Tavern, 6:30 – 8:00 pm Highland Brewing Company Pint Night

Join Team Hopheads and Highland for fun and pints at one of the beach’s best new taverns; Poe’s. The restaurant is named after the 19th century poet Edgar Allen Poe with a menu that boasts burgers with names like, The Pit and the Pendulum, the Annabele Lee, and the Tell Tale Heart.

Pele’s Wood Fire, 4:30 – 6:30 pm Dogfish Head Tap Take Over

Pele’s has established itself as the place to get great craft beer and awesome wood-fired pizzas and pastas. On Monday they will dedicate a large number of their 50 taps to the awe-inspiring brews of Dogfish Head. Get there early and get a logo pint glass with the purchase of a Dogfish brew.

Engine 15 Brewing Company, 4:00 – 7:00 pm Southeast Beers Theme

Stop in to the Engine and sample brews from the portfolio of Brown Distribution with a southeast theme.


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Jax Beer Week Unmitigated Success

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.


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