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Category Archives: Relaxing

What does your drink say about you?

BudPicture this: Three women walk into a bar. The first orders wine, the second orders a cosmo, and the third orders beer. Which woman, do you think, ends up in a conversation with the tall and mysterious stranger?

According to the Budweiser ‘Beerpressions’ National Survey—a first-of-its-kind study about how beverage choices influence first impressions—your drink may be worth a thousand words.

Based on a representative survey of 2,000 Americans (ages 21+) conducted by Learndipity Data Insights, Budweiser asked respondents to match common bar drinks with the perceived personality traits of the people ordering them.

So what does your chosen drink say about you?

BUDWEISER ‘BEERPRESSIONS’ NATIONAL SURVEY

Drink Choice #1: Domestic Beer (Budweiser)
-70% say a woman with domestic beer (Budweiser) is “friendly” and “low-maintenance.”
-59% believe a man with this drink choice seems to be “authentic” and “genuine.”

Drink Choice #2: Imported Beer
-Conversely, only 36% believe a woman drinking imported beer is “low-maintenance.”
-27% say a man drinking imported beer is “trying to be cool” and is “a bit insecure.”

Drink Choice #3: Wine
-31% believe a woman drinking wine seems “predictable” and “cautious.”
-52% believe a man drinking wine seems more “serious” and “reserved.”

Drink Choice #4: Margarita
-50% believe a woman drinking a margarita is “energetic,” and “a bit shallow.”
-41% believe a man drinking a margarita is “fun-loving” and a “bit of a lightweight.”

OTHER NOTABLE FINDINGS

A. PEOPLE DRINKING DOMESTIC BEER (BUDWEISER) GET CHATTED UP MORE
22% of men and 20% of women report that “more people chat with me at a bar” when drinking a domestic beer like Budweiser (compared to wine or other cocktails)—but only 11% of men and 10% of women observe a similar effect for imported beer.

B. PEOPLE COMMUNICATE VIA THEIR DRINKS—ESPECIALLY AT WORK EVENTS
While 20% of Americans will actively consider how their drink order will be perceived by others while out with friends, nearly twice as many think strategically about their drink choices at a work event (39%) or on a date (34%).

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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Beer, Relaxing

 

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St. Augustine pub crawl takes to the water

Pub crawls are a fun way to visit several bars and sample the drinks at each. On any given weekend, thirsty crawlers can find haunted pub crawls, beer-centric pub crawls, historic pub crawls or food-centric pub crawls in St. Augustine. But, until now, there was no pub crawl offered for those with a nautical inclination.

watertoursThe idea came to “Booze Director” Deana Paimes one day while she and her husband were relaxing at the Vilano Pier after a day out on the Matanzas River. Docked at the pier Paimes saw the Jax Water Tours boat and struck up a conversation with the owner Captain Brooks. The discussion came around to the topic of pub crawls and a light bulb went off in Paimes’ head; why not combine the beautiful sites that are only available from the water with music, laughter and a pub crawl?

After more talks and some logistical maneuvering, Paimes’ vision was brought to fruition. Guests board the Osprey at the Vilano Pier for a three and one half hour cruise that takes them to three pubs along the Matanzas. On board the Osprey guests are offered a beer and treated to music and breath-taking views.

“If you are looking for a relaxing boat ride filled with Debbie Downers,” Paimes says. “This is not the boat for you. We will be having fun, floating to each destination while listening to music and laughing along the way.”

Guests can board the Osprey at the Vilano Pier Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. and enjoy a beer before the 2:00 p.m. departure. Once the party pontoon pushes off, guests can expect to make stops at The Conch House, Beaches Restaurant and the Kingfish Grill for drinks and food.  The cruise ends with the boat docking at Vilano Pier again at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets for the cruises are $25 per person and are available at the Jax Water Tours website. Or contact Jax Water Tours at 904-322-7194.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2014 in Pubs, Relaxing, Travel

 

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Reflections on a beer weekend with family

familyAfter a great weekend of beer sometimes it is nice to sit back and reflect on the fun that was had and the memories that were made. Followers of this column have often read that beer is a social beverage. It started over 9,000 years ago as the driving force behind binding our nomadic ancestors in civilized communities and continues to bring people together. Whether it is family, friends, or date night, beer can – and often does – helps people connect.

This week I had the pleasure of conducting my sister and brother-in-law around to several of my favorite beer destination here in Jacksonville.

First, we dined at the always fun and delicious Kickbacks in the King Street Beer District. And, even though the draft list is truncated due to the on-going construction of Guttyworks & Goozelpipes – Kickbacks’ soon-to-open sister restaurant and beer bar, owner Steve Flores manages to keep excellent brews on the menu. I accompanied my perfectly cooked ribeye with garlic-cream sauce with the tasty Ipswich Dark Ale, a satisfyingly hoppy brown ale. Others at the table sampled Tucher Helles Hefe Weizen, a smooth and refreshing brew with delightful fruity notes.

Following Kickbacks we meandered over to Bold City Brewing Company where I sipped on their newest release Big John Miller’s Apricot Wheat. This is a worthy edition to the Bold City lineup and perfect for a warm summer evening sitting al fresco in the parking lot of the brewery. It is a golden hued, cloudy wheat beer with all the notes one expects in a well-crafted wheat – flavorful malts with just the right touch of sweetness and subdued bitterness. The edition of fruit provides a delightfully tart apricot bite that is perfect for drinking with friends and family while catching up.

The next night, Friday, was date night and my girlfriend and I decided a stop at Intuition Ale Works was in order. As most people who know me will tell you, I am not shy about talking of my love for this local gem of a brewery. The consistent quality and friendly servers – who I am proud to call my friends – make this a favorite tap room for nearly all who enter. I enjoyed their distinctive Belgian-style Golden Ale, Duuval first and enjoyed the unique twist given to this stalwart style of beer. But, the star of the night was their popular rye ale Shotgun Shack served on nitro. The addition of nitro lent a smooth creamy character to the beer that I had never experienced before – but, will definitely drink again!

Intuition was followed by Dahlia’s Pour House another King Street Beer District bar that is always adding interesting and difficult-to-get brews to their tap line. My girlfriend is on a bit of a lambic kick lately and went for the Framboise while I went for Dogfish Head’s fruity and hoppy seasonal Aprihop. While we enjoyed our drinks, a follower of the blog and his wife stopped in to chat and enjoy a beer or two. In all it was another very enjoyable evening.

And then on Saturday I had the pleasure of pouring beer at the funky and fun Green Man Gourmet store in Avondale. Pete, an advertiser on the television show I appear on, I Know Jax, and a friend had asked me to pour the new Belgian Trappist ales he is selling and talk to his customers about the brews. Of course I agreed and, as always had a great time pouring. The first brew on the pour list was Westmalle Tripel an elegant, fruity and exceptional ale that is perfect for special occasions or dinners at home. Next in order of lightest in color to darkest was the always delicious Orval that presents itself with a hop-forward character due to the dry-hopping done during fermentation and the slight tang of brett yeast added in secondary fermentation. The third brew that was offered for tasting was Westmalle Dubbel a slightly sweet beer with hints of toffee, dark fruits and chocolate. The final beer poured was the astoundingly luscious Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout. This heavy stout pours thick and rich and is redolent with chocolate balanced with subtle hints of coffee. It just begs to be drunk with desserts like cherry pie, raspberry tart, or even crème brulee.

For dinner I met my sister at Lola’s in the King Street Beer District and had the always amazing La Fin du Monde from Unibroue. This elegant Belgian-style triple is sweet and delightful with a floral bouquet that was a perfect accompaniment to the spicy jerked chicken burrito I ordered for dinner. Lola’s boasts over 50 drought beers and always has a great collection of brews from Unibroue.

The capper to the weekend was the Friends and Family soft opening of Jacksonville’s first World of Beer. The doors were opened to us because my daughter Taylor, aka The Beer Princess, will be working at this location. It was a who’s who of the Jacksonville beer industry with representatives from Champion Brands, Brown Distributing, Micro Man, North Florida Sales, Sierra Nevada, and Highland Brewing. On tap were some fantastic brews such as Petrus, World of Beer’s C’est la Vie brewed exclusively for them by Bavik, and a special firkin from Engine 15.

So, as you can see, the weekend was one full of great beers, great food and great family fun. We enjoyed our time together, chatting about the past as well as the future, and enjoyed good beers along the way. As a social lubricant, one could not ask for a better medium. So, as many archaeologists will tell you, beer brought civilization together, and in the case of my family, is an integral part of our gatherings. I would have it no other way.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2013 in Beer, Relaxing, Restaurant

 

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Brit celebrates 72 years of pints at same pub

If ever there was a beer lover of beer lovers, Arthur Reid is just that. Reid, now 90 years old, has been taking his daily pints of bitter at the same pub for over 72 years. By some estimation, he has drunk over 30,000 pints of brew at his favorite pub, The Griffin on London Road in the tiny village of Warmly, UK about 115 miles west of London.

On the occasion of his birthday recently, Reid’s sister Margaret Lee-Sze-Tsiok, 65, installed a gold engraved plaque on the back of his favorite chair tucked into what is known to other regulars as Art’s corner. Reid is something of a fixture at the pub, indeed Asia Matczak who runs the pub said, ““He missed a couple of days last winter because of the weather, but usually, when it gets to around 3:30 and he’s not here, we’re like, ‘Where’s Arthur?’”

Reid is a social fellow and strikes up conversations with other imbibers as he sips his pint of Courage bitter from his own pint glass. “I’ve always worked hard and enjoyed visiting the pub,” Reid says modestly. “ I’ve never seen the need to go much further.”

True to his word, Reid has never wandered far from his home and birth place, Warmly. By his own account the furthest he has ever ventured is Weston-super-Mare, about 35 miles away. A world traveler, Reid is not. But, a welcome and warm character at the Griffin pub he certainly is.

Reid walks the main road of Warmly for his daily pint, waving and smiling along the way. Before his retirement, Reid worked as a council worker; quite an accomplishment for a man who left school at the age of 14 to go to work as a laborer at a nearby farm. Through the years he worked at a quarry and for the highway department as well.

“I’ve been coming here a long time,” Reid said. “And hope that I can carry on for some more years to come.”

So do we, Arthur. Cheers to you!

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Beer, Relaxing

 

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Kickback’s a King Street Institution

Ten years ago your good beer choices in Jacksonville were restricted. You had a choice of going to any neighborhood bar and slugging back a bottle of watered-down, tasteless brews brought to you by the mega-breweries, or you could go to River City Brewing Company on the south bank for something a little better and definitely local brewed. Back then Ragtime was open in Atlantic Beach and Seven Bridges had beers on Southside Boulevard – but, they are corporately owned by the same company that runs the Gordon-Biersch restaurants. So, I say again, good beer was very hard to find in Jacksonville.

Fast forward to 2012 and your choices have literally exploded. There are literally scores of restaurants around the First Coast serving quality craft beer both on tap and by the bottle from the beaches to the west side. Nothing illustrates this explosion of craft beer goodness than the King Street district of Riverside/Avondale. This once blighted and crime-ridden area of Jacksonville was the home of corner drug dealers and prostitutes. But, over the past few years the area has been transformed by an influx of beer-centric, restaurant, and entertainment venues. It is no longer a scary area of town, it is now an area some are dubbing; The King Street Brewery District.

The area’s transition from drug-infested Hell hole to bustling entertainment district seemed to hit high gear when in 2005 Kickback’s appeared and a new standard was set for the area. At a recent city Land Use and Zoning committee hearing, the owners of Kickback’s emphasized the struggles they endured during the first months of the establishment being open. Steve Flores, one the owners, recounted tales of chasing drug dealers down alleys, over fences, and through streets to rid them from near his property.

Today Kickback’s serves as an anchor for the busy district. Most evenings you will find the establishment buzzing with conversation and full of patrons enjoying some of the 84 beers on tap and hundreds of bottled beers available. The food brings the crowds in too, though. With an eclectic mix of comfort foods (they have Ramen Noodles, Spaghetti O’s, and corn dogs on the menu along with more traditional fare) and pub fare all served with a home-cooked feel. But, it is not just the food and drink that pack the crowds into this King Street institution. People come for the ambience, the sense of belonging, the knowledgeable staff, and the cheerful attitudes.

On weekends, Kickback’s is a hive of activity and, at times, a challenge to get into. The packed interior is filled with a cacophony of voices all talking, laughing, and enjoying the weekend. Navigation from one side of the pub to the other is a bit of a challenge too, since the tables are so close together and always full. Around midnight, an influx of partiers arrives from nearby restaurants and breweries. Most are only open until 11:00 or midnight at the latest. And since the King Street community of workers, residents, and regulars is so tight knit, a new round of hellos, handshakes, and squeals of delight at seeing old friends follows the influx.

The interior of Kickback’s is a shrine to the marketing of the world’s favorite beverage, beer. The walls are lined with empty beer bottles hanging from eye-bolts and strung on rods. Other walls are festooned with metal beer signs, rock memorabilia, and a large chalkboard listing all the beers currently available on tap. From the rafters, hundreds of tap handles hang from threads embedded in the exposed wooden beams. The doors are heavy, carved wood reminiscent of the type of doors you would find in Europe’s oldest Public Houses. The bar is packed with the 84 tap handles and spigots that have made Kickback’s a favorite among beer freaks.

At any time one could enter into the beer Nirvana on King Street and find several hard-to-find brews such as HopSlam from Bell’s or Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. You may find an interesting import like Schneider Weisse Tap X Mein Nelson Sauvin, a special edition brew created in Germany for ABT Cafes in Holland. Or, since Flores is a Belgian beer enthusiast, you might an exceptional Belgian like Kasteel Cuvee Du Chateau.

In the near future the owners of Kickback’s, Flores and business partner Ed Salem, are planning on building a new restaurant next door to the existing establishment. The new place will sport a Steam Punk theme and share an expanded kitchen with Kickback’s. In addition the restaurant, named Gooslepipes and Guttyworks, will feature a separate Belgian basement bar and beer storage catacombs.

In the long history of exceptional beer bas and pubs that have come and gone in the city of Jacksonville, Kickback’s has all the signs of being one with real staying power. Flores and Salem have built something special, a magical place that makes patrons feel welcome. If the enthusiastic crowds that pack into it are indication, the new restaurant will do just as well. We sure hope so.

Until next time,

Long Live the Brewers!

Cheers!

Marc Wisdom

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Beer, Food, Pubs, Relaxing, Restaurant

 

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Jax Brew Bus Shuttling Beer Lovers to Local Breweries

Often when one door closes another opens. Three college buddies dreamt of owning their own brewery. After drinking the vapid brews put out the monster mega breweries, they had tasted craft beers and wanted to be a part of that exploding scene. They began home-brewing, but with capital being so hard to come by in this economy and a lack of extensive brewing knowledge, the three decided a brewery was out of the question.

But not long after the brewery door closed, the bus door opened. Yes, the bus door – the Jax Brew Bus door. The three — Josh Carpenter, Mike Maulsby and Glenn Vopper – found an old airport shuttle bus on foreclosure sale, pooled their money, and bought a bus. They had a snazzy wrap added to jazz up the outside and began working with local breweries to put together tours.

Now the bus operates on Saturdays visiting three local breweries and one brew pub. Riders purchase a ticket and are shuttled to Intuition Ale Works, Bold City Brewing, Engine 15 Brew Pub, and Green Room Brewery. Riders get tours at several of the breweries and beer samples at all of them included in the $50 ticket price.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to ride the bus and experience the service first hand. The ride begins at Tinseltown on the Southside and travels to Intuition Ale Works first. Manning the bus is a driver and a tour guide. Our guide for the day was Maulsby with Vopper driving. Along the way, Maulsby entertained us with interesting information about the local and national craft beer scene.

At Intuition we were ushered into the brewery bar to taste several of the breweries beers along with information about each. The tasting was followed by a tour of the brewing facilities and a visit to the Tap Room where we were encouraged to try other beers or fill growlers.

The next stop was Bold City Brewing where we were again treated to a tasting and a tour. Brian Miller, co-owner and Brewing Operations Manager, related several interesting stories and treated everyone to a taste of beer directly from the fermentation tanks.

A stop at Engine 15 at the beach yielded more tastes and some welcome food. The final stop was at Green Room Brewery where riders received a complimentary beer.

During the drive time an interesting thing happened, 14 strangers became fast friends. We were all drinking together, telling stories, and having the time of our lives. The Brew Bus became a matchmaker of sorts bringing together beer lovers and letting them learn from each other. It gave people the opportunity to share discoveries of great beers and it did it all in the span of just five hours. On these points alone the Jax Brew Bus is a smashing success.

As the craft brew scene in Jacksonville grows, the Jax Brew Bus will look to expand its route. For now it conducts tours every Saturday from 1:00 to approximately 6:00 PM. For more information or to make a reservation visit the Jax Brew Bus website at: www.jaxbrewbus.com.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Beer, Beer News, Relaxing

 

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The Perfect Friday Evening

Let me ask you a question; what is your idea of a great, relaxed evening? I’ll tell you mine; a cool, Florida Friday night, sitting in the backyard of good friends, eating hoagies (their from up north and that’s what they call subs), and drinking cold beer. Not just any beer, mind you. Bold City Brewing’s Killer Whale right out of a keg soaking in a tub of ice.

That, my friends, is a good evening.

Cheers!

 

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