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Ruby Beach Brewing Coasts Into Jax Beach

Ruby Beach Brewing opens in Jax Beach
over Memorial Day Weekend
 (photo: Linda Johnson)
May 30, 2018: Ruby Beach Brewing quietly opened over the Memorial Day weekend. The most recent addition to the Jacksonville area's craft beer scene announced its opening on Saturday, May 26 through its Facebook page. 

Set in the former Zeta location, Ruby Beach Brewing underwent a re-branding and a physical renovation during the first half of 2018. Word of the closing of Zeta and re-branding to the new concept surfaced in a January 8 press release by Owner Mark Vandeloo, in which he expressed a renewed focus on craft beer. 


Drawing from local history, Ruby Beach Brewing takes its name from the early establishment of "Ruby Beach" in 1884. According to the press release, investors of the old Jacksonville & Atlantic Railroad looked at the possibility of creating a resort area along the beach. The first settlers, William Scull and Eleanor Kennedy Scull, built the community's first house, and Eleanor named the settlement "Ruby Beach," after their daughter (the area was later renamed "Pablo Beach," and then Jacksonville Beach). 


Inside Ruby Beach Brewing: wood planks from an old pier surround the new bar
(photo: Linda Johnson)

Following construction and renovations at the property, the inside of the new Ruby Beach Brewing has a larger, more open, feel. The center bar has been removed, and the new bar is positioned along one wall. Wood planks from an old pier are the focal point of the bar, creating a beachy, boardwalk feel. Long wood tables sit in the middle of the space, with additional wooden tables and chairs along the brewhouse side. 


Tables and chairs at the brewhouse side
(photo: Linda Johnson)
If you're looking for those seabreezes, the venue still features the open-air front patio. 




The bar features 24 taps, with Ruby Beach Brewing house beers brewed on site, in addition to guest taps, including cider and kombucha. The electronic menu board lists a good variety of beers. A full liquor selection is also offered.



House beers at Ruby Beach Brewing
(photo: Linda Johnson)
On Memorial Day, the tap list included 11 Ruby Beach beers, an impressive showing for an opening weekend. Rounding out the selections were a number of Florida beers on draft, together with a few regional choices.  Guests of the former Zeta may recognize several of the names on the beer list, but there are a number of new brews representing different styles:





Big Skrimpin Pale Wheat Ale, 6%
Boardwalk Brown, 5%
Boardwalk Cafe Brown, 5% (coffee-treated version)
Marvin the Marzen, 5.8% 
Jetty Betty Honey Beer, 5% (ale with honey)
Oakyfenokee DIPA, 8% (aged on vanilla beans and white oak)
Saison du Pier, 6%
Beach House Saison, 6% (saison with mango, guava, passionfruit juices)
Twin Finn Lager, 5.1%
Ruby Beach Pale Wheat Ale, 6% (wheat beer with raspberry puree)
American Garage IPA, 6% (with rotating hops and seasonal citrus peel)


Flight of four (Photo: Linda Johnson)

Crowlers at the ready

Pours of beers are pint (generally, with a few exceptions) or by flight of four. The above photo includes Oakyfenokee DIPA, Marvin the Marzen, Boardwalk Cafe Brown, and Jetty Betty Honey Beer (left to right). Off to the side was also a full pour of Twin Finn Lager, which is a repeatable go-to beer: bready with a pleasant sweetness. The Jetty Betty Honey Beer is light, with a slight, but noticeable, sweetness that isn't overpowering. A lighter marzen, the Marvin the Marzen drinks easy with the signature maltiness of the style. The DIPA has a number of flavors coming through with woodsy, even minty notes, and a lingering bitterness on the backend. If coffee beers are your thing, the Boardwalk Cafe Brown Ale has a very pleasing roasty coffee aroma, with a smooth coffee taste, without being bitter. 


Beers are reasonably priced at $5-6 drafts (a few higher ABV beers are priced at $7). Crowlers (32 oz. cans; $10-12) are also available to-go.  



Shrimp tacos with lime aioli
If the munchies set in (and they did on my visit), the on-site kitchen offers an assortment of finger foods and hand-helds: pretzel sticks, cheese curds, fried pork rinds, nacho fries, hummus and flatbread combo, shrimp tacos, fried shrimp basket, roast beef hoagie, roast pork sandwich, burger, and mini-brats. The shrimp taco boat has three mini-shrimp tacos, filled with juicy, lightly-breaded shrimp drizzled with a lime aioli: tasty!





With the renewed emphasis on craft beer at Ruby Beach Brewing (rather than being a bar with a brewery), the place already feels more like a brewery and tap room than it did before, and it will be interesting to watch the beers that Head Brewer Billy Arthur brings out of the on-site seven-barrel brewhouse going forward. 

Ruby Beach Brewing is located at 131 - 1st Ave. N, in the heart of Jacksonville Beach, a short walk to the beachfront (meaning that you might want to take a Crowler to go!).

Congrats to Ruby Beach Brewing!

That's it this time around ... Catch you later with a beer around Florida Somewhere! As always, thanks for reading ...

Cheers,

Til next time,









Linda
Linda Johnson,
Certified Cicerone®
www.brewnymph.com

(all photos by Linda Johnson)


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