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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hey, How Was Your Weekend? (Part 1): The Brew Bus - Jacksonville

I hear it all the time: "You're always going somewhere." "Where did you go this weekend?" I'm always on the lookout for a new place to visit, and yeah, I like beerfests!  So, here's news for ya:  I stayed put in North Florida this weekend. Hey, there was a lot going on around here (if you read my prior blog posts, you would know that [wink, wink]). I couldn't make all those events, but my weekend was pretty full of activities. So much so, actually, that I'm dividing this into two parts. So, here ya go. 





Part 1: The Brew Bus Jacksonville


The Brew Bus
(photo: The Brew Bus-Jacksonville Facebook page)

OK, you've heard about it, right? The new Brew Bus-Jacksonville made its debut on Friday night. The Brew Bus, which has its origins in Tampa, operates brewery tours and private beer-centric transporation/events in Tampa, South Florida, and NOW Jacksonville. 

Check out the Jacksonville schedule for two types of local tours:  The Sampler Tour and The Full Pour Tour. Currently, The Brew Bus- Jacksonville runs tours on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. The Bus is also available for private rental.  I "hopped on" the Bus Friday night for the inaugural Sampler Tour.  

You never know who might show up on the Bus. On Friday night, there were locals and visitors alike. Some had never been to some of the local Jax area breweries, while others had mug club memberships at Intuition Ale Works. The Bus met the patrons (is that an accurate description; I mean, really, it sounds kind of boring) at Engine 15 Brewing Company. It quickly became apparent that this group was ready for a good time. Upon check-in with Brew Bus staff, attendees (does that sound better?) had their choice of a full Brew Bus Brewing beer on board.  Don't know if you know this, but Brew Bus Brewing has three core beers of its own: Rolling Dirty Irish Red Ale, Last Stop IPA, and Double Decker English-Style Porter. Plus, there are two more rotating seasonal brews, Are Wheat There Yet wheat ale, and You're My Boy Blue, a blueberry wheat ale. 


I saw an Aardwolf....
First Stop: Aardwolf Brewing. It had been a while since I had been here, but I know that many beer-lovers in Jax love this brewery for its unique brews and willingness to experiment with different styles of beer. On this Sampler Tour, riders (are we getting there yet) enjoyed two complimentary samples: Insert (Hop Pun) IPA and Styrofoam Pony Stout. Two good, solid beers, each of which I happen to like. Other than that, there were growlers and other beers and flights flowing. Yeah, everyone was feeling pretty good right about now. I even got a surprise when one of my Twitter followers who happened to be at the brewery recognized me and wanted a photo...even called me a "celebrity." Yeah, that got tweeted. Ok, watch out, I'm a diva now. 

Who's that?
Time to board the Bus. Following an on-board sample pour of Rolling Dirty Red Ale, the Second Stop is Bold City Brewery. Here, we enjoyed samples of Duke's Brown Ale and 1901 Red Ale. I noticed some additional pints flowing. Some of the brewery customers were playing cornhole, and there was even a dog (a boxer) looking over the activities.  I asked the dog owners if the dog's name was Duke, and, well, guess what, yeah, that was his name. 

Following some pints, time to board the bus for Stop No. 3. But, first, a sample of Brew Bus Double Decker Porter. What, at Intuition Ale Works already? Following sample pours of People's Pale Ale and Belg Noir, there were a few additional pints -- and even the mug club fills by some. This is some party! Woo Hoo! I talked some homebrewing and hops with a couple of the other riders, and there was some Untappd discussion, too. Then, time to board the bus back to Engine 15.  Along the way, a sample of Brew Bus Last Stop IPA. Somehow, the decibel level on the Bus had increased by this time. Go figure. 

If you are considering a trip on the Brew Bus, do it!  Ample time at each brewery stop to enjoy complimentary brews/samples, as well as a full pint or flight of more samples, if you want. Friendly, beer-loving staff, and just a fun time. You might even make a new beer-friend, or two. 

OK, that was Friday night. Next up: Saturday, and Taste of St. Augustine and Race to the Taste 5k. 

Cheers, everyone!