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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Aardwolf Brewing: Brewing Up a Third Anniversary Party in Jacksonville


Hendricks Street in the San Marco area of Jacksonville will be hoppin' on Saturday, September 10, as AARDWOLF BREWING COMPANY celebrates its 3rd Anniversary with an all-day party and special hourly tappings beginning at 2pm.

Aardwolf burst on the Florida beer scene in early 2013, and its 15-barrel brewhouse produces a wide variety of beer styles, from Belgian Ales to Sours to IPAs to Brown Ales to Imperial Stouts to Barrel-aged beers and everything in between. In that short time, the brewery has earned eight competition medals, including a Bronze Medal at GABF 2015 (Great American Beer Fest) for its Belgian Pale Ale (malty pale ale with Belgian yeast), and a Bronze at this year’s Best Florida Beer Championships for its San Marco Sour (sour blonde ale). A couple of the most unique beers you’re likely to find in Jacksonville just may be Aardwolf’s Lactic Zeppelin, a Berliner Weisse with the funk of Brettanomyces, and Hipster Popsicle, a cherry lime gose.







Photo by Aardwolf Brewing Company
Aardwolf released a draft of its hourly tapping schedule via social media yesterday (see above), and it doesn't matter which style of beer is your favorite, you're sure to find at least one (that's an understatement) that you like on this list. If you were at the two-year anniversary party last year, expect the same level of beer enthusiast exuberance over these timed tappings. And, a word of advice: be in line early, because these will go fast (I know, because I missed out on a couple of them last year). I have my eye on several of the afternoon tappings, so hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on those.


How about a little history? The brewery building was home to a municipal ice plant dating back to the 1920’s and then a tile factory. The tap room features the brick wall from the ice plant days.

The “aardwolf” is an insectivorous, nocturnal mammal native to Africa. The name means “earth wolf,” or as the brewery explains it, “humulus lupulus,” for a hoppy beer connection. Need proof? Take a look at the brewery’s mascot, Alvin, who is always perched over the bar. Alvin is also known to sport costumes or apparel coincidental with holidays or events, from a green St. Patrick's Day derby, to Thanksgiving headwear, to a Santa hat.

Alvin....
While you’re always likely to find a few Belgian style beers on tap in the Aardwolf tap room, the variety among the 20 or so taps can be intriguing. Add to that a pilot batch released every Wednesday. I can’t really tag a favorite here, although I thought that the White Russian Imperial Stout, with coffee and vanilla, was undeniably worthy of all the positive comments and huge popularity that it enjoyed while on tap (to simplify: it was pretty damn awesome). Another popular brew is the Styrofoam Pony Stout (around 6% ABV), served in the tap room and around town. 

While the Belgian Pale Ale is the most popular beer that Aardwolf distributes locally and serves in-house, co-owner Preben Olsen explains that Aardwolf brews a mix of what’s popular and what the brewers like to drink, rather than focusing on any particular style, origin, or type of beer. That said, I have found that the tap list has indeed grown with respect to beer styles, and Aardwolf has introduced the very refreshing Adalwolf Pilsner that's sure to keep the “lighter” and more conservative beer drinking crowds happy. If you’re the adventurous beer type, not to worry: there’s no shortage of beers for your taste buds to experience an array of different styles and flavors.

Aardwolf also brews up some traditional “old world” styles, too. Try The Pen is Mightier, a 4.2% ABV 80-shilling Scottish Ale, for a malty, toasty beer that you can repeat. You can even find a schwarzbier here: the Weltschmerz (easing the “world pain”), a 5.3% ABV, dark, malty and roasty beer that drinks very easy. On one of my brewery bus tours, I persuaded one rider to try this beer (the “I don’t like dark beer” type), and as soon as she finished the taste test, her glass was raised for another (love when that happens!). Aardwolf has the IPAs covered for you hopheads, too, ranging from American IPAs (Hop Oddity) to a session IPA (Nonchalant IPA) to double IPAs (Hop You Like a Hurricane). One of my favorites is the Storm-Ageddon Black IPA.

Aardwolf’s tap room isn’t a “sports bar” themed type of place, although there is a TV in the back room that is often used for parties. Generally, the tap room is a mix of the modern and the industrial, with a long main bar and plenty of tables and chairs, along with that ice plant brick wall where the beer menu sits. Behind that is a cozy and quieter event room, with plush sofas and a view of the brewhouse. On Saturday, though, I don't think you'll find a quiet spot here.

Aardwolf is located at 1461 Hendricks Ave. in San Marco, Jacksonville. Just look for the crowd on Saturday......

Happy 3rd to Aardwolf Brewing! 

Til next time,
Cheers!





Linda




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