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Alewife to occupy former Riverside Liquor space

alewifeAs Riverside Liquor exits the location it held in Five Points for a larger location in the King Street Beer District, a new concept for Jacksonville moves in to the vacated space. Alewife intends to educate as well as serve local beer lovers with a tasting bar and bottle shop.

Read more in the official press release below:

Jacksonville, Fla. – Alewife, a new craft beer establishment featuring retail craft beer sales, a tasting bar, and craft beer focused classes, is set to open this fall in Riverside’s Five Points. Owners Kelly Pickard and Jamie Burket have signed a lease to move into 1035 Park Street, the former site of Riverside Liquors. The business model is unique to the Jacksonville area, fulfilling not only the customer’s demand for a quality craft beer product, but also offering opportunities to explore, taste and learn about the evolving world of craft beer.

Featuring an extensive selection of bottles and cans from the best craft brewers in America, including those local to Jacksonville, Alewife will serve as a community-focused establishment to celebrate and discover handcrafted ales and lagers from craft brewers across the country. Guests can grab a seat at the tasting bar to enjoy a flight or full pour from one of the six constantly rotating taps, or they can select a bottle from the cooler to enjoy as they browse the shelves. If guests don’t have time to enjoy a beer on-site, there will be six-packs, four-packs, large format bottles (“bombers”), and single 12 oz. bottles and cans to be taken home.

In addition to the retail operation, Alewife will create a unique niche in the Jacksonville craft beer market by introducing a series of educational classes and workshops designed to expand the communities’ craft beer knowledgebase. These classes, designed for both seasoned beer enthusiasts and novices alike, will pair an educational component with beer tastings, and will be the foundation of Alewife’s goal of educating their customers about the diverse world of craft beer.

The name Alewife is a nod of respect to the rich history behind the role of women in brewing. In medieval Europe, before beer production increased in scale and prestige to become a commercial activity taken over by men, brewing beer was a domestic affair performed by women. When extra beer was available, the women, referred to as alewives, would hang a broom – known as an ale-stake – above the door. This let other households and passersby know that beer was for sale.

About owners Kelly Pickard and Jamie Burket: Pickard, who will lead front-of-house operations at Alewife, is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server, a home brewer and has experience working behind the bar with positions held in both Washington, DC and locally. Pickard has brewed beer with a commercial craft brewery, developed and led craft beer tasting and pairing events for both corporations and individuals, and completed numerous craft beer-focused classes and workshops. Her former professional career was in sustainability project management for an architecture trade association.

Burket, who will run back-of-house operations, has a professional background in facility management, event operations and marketing. Her passion for the craft beer industry has led to participation in various craft beer-centered educational workshops and to extensive beer-focused travels.

Jacksonville has emerged as a city at the forefront of the craft beer scene in the state of Florida, and also the entire southeast. The city features multiple acclaimed craft breweries; local, regional and national craft beer focused restaurants and bars; and a growing craft beer-specific retail market. The Alewife concept will complement the current offerings and provide an experience for Jacksonville residents not currently available.

About Alewife: Scheduled to open fall 2014, Alewife is a craft beer bottle shop and tasting room in Riverside’s Five Points neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida. Owners Kelly Pickard and Jamie Burket will bring a unique craft beer experience to the Jacksonville community by creating a one stop shop for purchasing, tasting and learning about American craft beer. Alewife isn’t just a store or bar; instead, it’s a celebration of beer, the craftsmen (and women) who brew it, and the drinkers who respect it. For more information about Alewife, follow us at www.Facebook.com/alewifebottleshop and www.Twitter.com/alewifebeer.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Beer

 

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The Porter in Atlanta much more than just a beer bar

Nestled in a funky, somewhat grungy corner of Little Five Points in Atlanta, Ga., The Porter Beer Bar appears rather low brow form the exterior. When you step through the door the impression does not change much with its dark wood cabinets, grey concrete bar, and Mason jar light fixtures. But, you would be wrong in setting your expectations low for this pearl of the burgeoning Atlanta beer scene.

Upon entering, a tattooed and bearded man asked if we would like a table or to sit at the bar. Because I like to be able to see how the bar runs and chat with the bartenders, we opted to sit at the bar. The bar stools seemed mismatched and held together with copious amounts of duct tape, but perhaps that is part of the atmosphere and charm.

We were greeted cheerfully by the bar manager, Justin Wickline who handed us two clipboards; one with the beer list and the other the menu. The Porter boasts around 40 taps of brews that, in the crowded Atlanta beer market, may not sound like a lot when you consider the typical Taco Mac trumps that number with over 100. But, at The Porter, it is not the quantity but rather the quality of their tap choices that draw drinkers to the bar.

On tap the morning we visited was the likes of: Duck Rabbit Duck-Rabbator, Evil Twin Freudian Slip, Green Flash Le Freak, and Lost Abbey 10 Commandments. Along with the taps, imbibers have the option of two brews on beer engines. On our visit there was only one choice, but it was the excellent Allagash Curieux. In addition the bar has an extensive bottle collection ranging from obscure Belgian brews like Pico Alvine Gaspar to excellent American brews like Founders Red Rye Ale.

Wickline was a font of information and definitely knew his beer. As we sat and chatted he presented several beers for us to taste and gave a little information on each. We worked quickly and adeptly to fill orders, take orders, and discuss the finer points of Belgian IPAs. A better bartender would be difficult to find.

Beer, though, is not the only story at the Porter. The food at this quirky little slice of heaven is phenomenal, too. The menu contained such delights as Poutine – rosemary fries covered in parmesan cheese gravy, and cheese curds, Pork & Foie Gras Terrine served with drunken raisins, whole grain mustard, pecans, bacon jam, and bacon powder, and Brasstown Pork Belly served with arugula, cherry tomatoes, bacon vinaigrette, and roasted hatch pepper.

I chose the brunch special Hangover Hash, which was a potent combination of corned beef, potatoes, red peppers, and onions topped with Buffalo sauce and three fried eggs. My companion opted for the Porter’s Half-Pound Cheeseburger of house-made fresh Angus beef patty, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, homemade pickled red onions, and homemade pickles. The hash was delightfully spicy, but not so much so that the flavor of the corned beef and potatoes were masked. My companion’s cheeseburger was perfectly cooked and heaped with toppings; she could only manage to eat half of the monster.

All-in-all, The Porter, which was recommended to me by a brewer friend, was an excellent choice for a Saturday morning lunch before an afternoon of visiting breweries. The excellent beer choices primed us for later consumption and the food kept us nourished as well as very happy. On our next road trip to Atlanta, The Porter will definitely be on our must-visit list. It should be on yours, too.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Beer, Restaurant, Travel

 

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Stop at this Redlight Redlight for Great Beer

When I was a child, my father, like many fathers in those days, had his favorite dive-bar hangout. His was located on a busy street corner in the northern suburbs of St. Louis. It was gritty and smoky; the walls were covered with dark wood paneling and beer posters and signs. Hand-written signs warning patrons to not upset the bartender, items for sale, and losers who had skipped out on their tab. Hanging above the bar was a fuzzy old Sylvania television broadcasting the Cardinals (baseball or football) or the Blues. Those were the good old, days when a bar was filled with working class men who just wanted to stop for a few cold ones before heading home.

Today it seems like most bars are much cleaner, more sanitized and, while maybe not corporate, they certainly have the aesthetic of a corporately run sports bar. Pubs have multiple big-screen televisions playing ESPN or one of dozens of other sports-centric programs or games. The crotchety old bartender has been replaced by a chipper young girl in bright orange hot pants, and local brews have been replaced by the brands marketed and produced by the mega brands for mass consumption.

This is why when I walked through the door at Redlight Redlight last Saturday evening while on a weekend get-away to Orlando I felt like I was stepping through a time portal. This unassuming pub located away from the beaten trail off of East Colonial Drive is a gem that brought an immediate smile to my face.

The sign is retro and, I say this with no malice whatsoever, slightly shabby looking. The interior is old-school pub with the requisite beer signs and hand-written notes. In addition there is a huge, full wall chalk board with listings of beers available.  The place is dark thanks to low lighting, but also due to the dark woods used throughout. The bar is a wooden masterpiece that belongs in a movie about old bars, it looks as though it is ancient and it fits perfectly with the vibe of the place. Behind the bar is a wall with several taps and appropriate glassware. On the bar itself are several more taps including two beer engines with real ale. Off to the side there is a stage and a screen that was showing the Alabama – LSU game while I was there. Also behind the bar are several hard-working and extremely knowledgeable bartenders. No tiny orange shorts on these guys, but if you want to know about beer, they know their stuff. This place is, as Guy Fieri would say, old school money.

I found the one empty barstool in the center of the bar and parked myself on it. Above the bar is another chalk board with the names of the beers on tap. Now, I have been to bars with many more choices than Redlight Redlight, but this place had some truly awesome beers on tap. Beers like The Companion by Brooklyn Brewing, Pangaea from Dogfish Head, Jai Alai from Cigar City, and Old Thumper Cask ESA.

The crowd was a friendly lot of young and old, beer novices and aficionados, and surprisingly a lot of ladies. I was nearly floored when a young lady who could not have been more than 22 or 23 ordered a gueuse right next to me. I asked her about it and she said she has loved it since the first time she tried it on the suggestion of one of the bartenders.

My first choice was St. Louis Gueuse Fond Tradition from Brouwerji Van Honsebrouck in Belgium on tap. The last time I had this beer on tap was when I was actually in Belgium earlier this year. As I recalled, the beer is refreshing sour with apple and vinegar notes. I finished the evening with something new that, hard as it may be to believe, I had never heard of before; mulled beer. My helpful bartender, in an effort to find brews I had not already tried, mentioned it to me and then brought me a taste. In the tradition of mulled wine, this brew was warmed and served hot. The beer is dark almost black with ruby highlights and smells very similar to mulled wine; cinnamon, cloves, anise, dark fruit like plums and raisins all enveloped in a lovely steam emanating from the glass.  First sip revealed the taste very much like the nose. On a blustery, cold evening in Orlando, that was just the thing to send me out the door.

As I said goodbye to my new friends at Redlight Redlight, I promised to return on my next visit south. I walked to my car and it struck me that many beer bars do it wrong, they dress themselves up to be something they are not. A good beer bar needs only three essential things; a bar, good beers on tap, and friendly, knowledgeable staff.  That’s it. No matter how you glam a place up if those three things are not there, it’s just not a good beer bar. Some of the corporate big boys should take note and go retro. I know that given the choice, that’s what I would want.

Until next time,

Long Live the Brewers!

Cheers!

Marc Wisdom

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Beer, Pubs, Travel

 

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