Jacksonville's craft brewery scene is "hop"-ping (sorry, we couldn't help it). Tour and sample all the best brews by following the JAX Ale Trail. Start by picking up a passport at the Jacksonville Visitors Center or one of the participating breweries. At each stop, have it stamped and order a beer—or a flight, or a growler...whatever tickles your fancy. When full, the passport can be redeemed for some cool gear to commemorate the experience. Be sure to check the Jax Ale Trail website for updates, as new breweries and events are added as they come up.
Aardwolf Brewing Company
An aardwolf is an insect-eating mammal in the plains of Africa. Luckily, according to its website, none of them were hurt in naming this Jacksonville brewery. Now that that's out of the way, stop in at this hip, retro spot in a renovated 1930s ice house (how cool is that?). A new pilot batch is released every Wednesday.
Bold City Brewery
The Riverside location was one of the first breweries in Jacksonville, begun by the mom-and-son team Susan and Brian Miller. It was so successful, a second location was opened downtown. The staff at both locations pour unique crafts like 1901 Roasted Red Ale, inspired by the Great Fire of 1901, and the Jumbo Shrimp & Grit Cerveza. Hungry? Order a sandwich or munchies like El Rey Fries—seasoned fries topped with nacho cheese, smoked chicken, pico and chipotle sour cream—to go with the beer.
Engine 15 Brewing Company
Here you can sample 50 beers on tap, including an ever-rotating selection from the five-barrel brewhouse right on site. A slew of brews is poured here alongside tasty pub food like the Brisket Beer Dip Sandwich. Swing by for Pint Night on Wednesdays or Liquid Lunch (read: free beer with entree) daily. The best part is it's near the beach!
Green Room Brewing
This microbrewery and taproom pours 16 local brews and taps a new beer every Thursday. There are seven permanent taps, nine rotating taps and a new beer is introduced every Thursday. Hungry? Bring your own food to nosh. They don't serve, but they do allow delivery. They even maintain a binder of local menus to help customers decide.
Hyperion Brewing Company
Sample an endlessly rotating lineup of craft beers that range from classics to forgotten styles. If you're feeling crafty, sign up for the Helios Brewer's Experience and work with a brewmaster to create your own beer. You'll get two shift beers, a photo of you in action on Facebook and two free 32-oz growlers. Your brew will also be put on tap for others to enjoy.
Intuition Ale Works
The first Florida brewery to can its craft beer, Intuition sells its craft beer and ales throughout the state. At their store, sample one of their five brands, or any of the 19 brews on tap. Since good food and good beer go together, order up a plate of wings, fried cheese curds, brisket sandwich or a Hot Dog of the Week, served up by Black Sheep's Intuition counter.
River City Brewing Company
For a white-tablecloth experience, settle in for dinner at this riverfront restaurant. But visit the deck for a more casual experience at the Brew House, which serves up bar bites, Happy Hour drink specials and house-made brews. The perfect accompaniments are the stunning views of the River City Marina and the Jacksonville skyline.
Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery
After a day at the beach, settle onto the patio for fresh seafood, juicy steaks and crisp salads. Wash it all down with craft brews that were made on site, then follow dinner with a game of pool or catch the game on one of their wide-screen televisions.
Veterans United Craft Brewery
One of Jacksonville's newest breweries was started by a group of veterans who wanted to turn their passion for craft beer into a livelihood. They produce five year-round and several limited-release and seasonal beers. Sample the Cup O' Joe Oatmeal Espresso Stout, the Paratrooper Porter or the Naughty Rye Pale Ale.