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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Blues, Brews & BBQ: Singin' the Brews at Florida Theatre, Jacksonville

[Ed. Note: 8/22/2016: Late addition to the BBQ lineup: Bow Leg'z BBQ]

If you've ever attended a concert or show at the Florida Theatre in downtown Jacksonville, you'll likely agree that every seat in the house is a good one and the acoustics enhance your experience at the historic ornate venue. After all, the theatre has been a leading entertainment center since 1927, and it's seen its share of different musical genres and entertainers over the years. As host of over 200 entertainment events annually, the Florida Theatre is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

On Thursday, August 25, the Florida Theatre plays host to a different type of event which combines music with a couple of other popular activities around town: eating BBQ and drinking beer! Join the Theatre at its annual BLUES, BREWS & BBQ bash, as it raises funds to support its mission of bringing celebrated arts and entertainment experiences to the community while preserving a historic landmark. 

Guests will enjoy Blues music by Mama Blue and Smokestack. Mama Blue, from Jax, evokes legendary artists such as Tina Turner, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone. Mama Blue is the "sultry sister of soul," and intertwines elements of blues and jazz with nuances of classical, Motown, Latin, and even some Country. Smokestack, based in Jax Beach, is a favorite of the local blues community and circuit, and strives to keep the Blues strong in the local area. Against the smooth sounds of the Blues, attendees will also savor the flavors of barbecue from some of the best BBQ joints in the area: Mojo's No. 4 Riverside, The Butt Hutt Smokehouse, The Bearded Pig, Woody's BBQ and Bono's BBQ, and indulge on wings, ribs, pulled pork, brisket, smoked turkey and smoked sausage. By this time, your tastebuds might be experiencing a saucy euphoria and anticipation of sorts just thinking about it, but there's more. Because you'll need libations of the liquid variety to complement the tantalizing food and entertainment, the event also features unlimited craft beer brewed by local Jacksonville breweries Bold City Brewery, River City Brewing Company, Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery, and Veterans United Craft Brewery

The event is sponsored by Publix Supermarket Charities, Inc., together with BBQ sponsor KPMG, and Beer sponsors Brown & Brown Insurance and CK Direct. 


And, if you're looking for even more Blues and BBQ and want to make a day of it, head over to the Jesse B. Smith Memorial Park (across from the Theatre) during lunchtime on Thursday from 11am-2pm for a lunch party featuring The Butt Hutt Smokehouse food truck and live blues music by Evan Ruffino. 

These featured breweries will have you singin' the brews to go with the blues and BBQ:

BOLD CITY BREWERY, launched in 2008, is the city's oldest production craft brewery. Its popular core beers Killer Whale Cream Ale, Duke's Brown Ale and Mad Manatee IPA are no strangers to the bar and restaurant scene throughout the Jax area. Bold City started canning its beers onsite in July 2013, and the three core beers are also readily available in virtually every local grocery and liquor store. In addition to the Jax/North Florida area, the distribution also extends to Tampa, Sarasota, Daytona, Orlando and Gainesville. While the brewery is located in the Riverside area, look for the upcoming opening of its new, smaller brewhouse and tap room downtown on Bay St. Featuring a 3-barrel brewhouse, the new digs will produce small and experimental batches.  

RIVER CITY BREWING COMPANY, located along the banks of the St. Johns River, offers some of the most beautiful views of Jacksonville and is also accessible by boat. The brewery/restaurant opened in 1991 and is Jacksonville's first brewery. The main indoor dining room seats 325, and the menu features chef-inspired seafood dishes, steaks, pastas and daily specials. A separate lounge and bar provides a relaxed atmosphere for enjoying the views with a cold beer and casual food menu. The restaurant offers a full liquor bar, in addition to its signature house beers brewed on site: Jag Light, Jackson Pale Ale, and Red Rooster Red/Amber Ale, along with seasonal brews. 

SEVEN BRIDGES GRILLE & BREWERY, part of the CraftWorks national group, is located in the Southside area of town and features a full-service restaurant and bar, along with an array of house-brewed beers. Seven Bridges offers five core beers across the style spectrum, ranging from its Southern Flyer Light Lager to its Iron Horse Stout. Seven Bridges hosts a number of tappings and events throughout the year for its Passport club members, in addition to charitable events. The food menu includes something for everyone, from comfort and casual selections to seafood and steaks. The indoor dining room is spacious, and there's also seating on the outdoor patio. Seven Bridges will tap its Oktoberfest beer on September 20. 

VETERANS UNITED CRAFT BREWERY, brewing on a 20-barrel brewhouse in the Southside area of town, will be celebrating its two-year anniversary on Saturday, August 27,with an all-day party from 1pm-11pm. The brewery is military-themed and inspired, with its principals being former military officers. Two of its core beers, Raging Blonde blonde ale and Hopbanshee IPA, are canned on site and distributed at retail in addition to being served at numerous locations on draft. The brewery has earned several medals, including three at the 2016 Best Florida Beer Championships earlier this year: Silver, Paratrooper Porter (porter category); Bronze, Raging Blonde (golden blonde ale category); and Bronze, Scout Dog 44 Amber Ale (Euro lager/ale category). 

Tickets to the Florida Theatre Blues Brews & BBQ benefit are available by calling the Florida Theatre Box Office at 904-355-2787 or by online purchase in the links above. Florida Theatre is located at 128 E. Forsyth Street, downtown Jacksonville. 

I've attended a number of concerts and meet-and-greets at the Florida Theatre, but this might be the tastiest!

It seems that there are always unique and entertaining events at which to enjoy a cold beer and maybe even try a new one (or more).  Pairing beer with some great food and a community event is a winning recipe!  

Cheers!

Til next time,



Linda








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