For the past three years, One Spark has been drawing thousands of people to Jacksonville’s downtown core. The crowds are festive, entertainment is plentiful and pitches come rapid-fire as ‘Creators’ try to connect with potential voters and investors. And, because no festival is complete without food and drink, four entire city blocks have been set aside to feed the hungry masses. In addition, there are two official beer gardens, one on private property and a smattering of beer booths – both official and private throughout the festival’s footprint.
The official beer gardens, one on Forsyth Street and another on Hogan Street adjacent to the landing, feature two beers brewed exclusively for One Spark by Intuition Ale Works. Now producing the brews for the third year, Intuition supplied over 400 barrels of One Spark Kolsch and One Spark Alt for the festival.
Both beers are based on the German beers of the same names. Kolsch is one of only a few beers brewed in Germany that is an ale, most others are lagers. Traditionally Kolsch is brewed in Cologne, Germany and is the country’s answer to English Pale Ales. The brew is straw yellow in color and possess an assertive, but not over-powering hop flavor.
“It’s kind of unique because it is a rebel beer,” Ben Davis, owner of Intuition Ale Works said of One Spark Kolsch at the festival’s Opening Ceremony. “It did not really follow the German purity laws.”
In Germany, beer is a restricted product that is supposed to fit into the strict Reinheitsgebot of 1487, sometimes called the “German Beer Purity Law” or the “Bavarian Purity Law.” The regulation sought to control the ingredients that could be used in brewing by restricting brewers to just water, barley malt and hops. Barley malt was specified so as to keep brewers from competing with bakers who used wheat and rye for bread. Later, in 1993, the Purity Law was replaced by the Provisional German Beer Law in 1993, which allows constituent components prohibited in the Reinheitsgebot, such as yeast, wheat malt and cane sugar.
The other beer produced by Intuition for One Spark is an Alt. Like Kolsch, Alt is an ale that is closely associated with Dusseldorf, Germany. Alt, or Altbier as it is known in Geramny, is copper-colored, cool-fermented, cold-conditioned, clean-tasting, with an aromatic hop presence, a firm creamy head, a medium body, and a dry finish. The Intuition version of the beer also presents a nutty, caramel-like flavor that satisfies thirsty One Spark visitors.
“Just like the Kolsch, Alt is a rebel beer,” Said Davis. “I did not really abide by the German law. So, it’s kind of a beer we really like to make because most craft beer breweries are kind of disruptors.”
In addition to the official brews of One Spark, several private groups are offering beer during the festival. Outside of the Burro Bar at the corner of Ocean Street and Adams Street, several taps of SweetWater Brewing Company beers are set up for festival goers to grab as they walk by. And at the Laura Street Trio at the corner of Laura Street and Adams Street, a beer garden has been set up with brews from Session, Unibroue and hard ciders from McKenzie’s.
Beer at the official tents will cost you $6 for a 16-ounce pour or $12 for a 22-ounce souvenir pilsner glass with a fill and $6 refills. Beer at the Laura Street Trio cost $5 for a 16-ounce pour.