“Now, take it easy! … you’re doing way too much too quick … I don’t want you to relapse …”
Did you ever hear your mother say this to you? … well, I guess you could say I have been “mothering” companion for awhile and even now that he is almost completely well, I find myself erring on the side of caution – so, he hears those words almost daily as I see him speed-wheel around at home and stand and crutch-about when we go on my Prowls.
His excitement at feeling stronger is contagious, of course … and our joint verve was augmented even more on Saturday (June 1) by the knowledge we were about to head out on what I thought would be a quick evening out on the town. Since I was insistent on companion using the wheelchair that night, I figured we could visit a couple of places and come home early. In retrospect, “Mother” was wrong.
Our first goal was to get to Dahlia’s Pour House (2695 Post Street – 904.738.7132) since this was the
Dahlia’s Pour House
first day of June and throughout the month, Dahlia’s would be featuring Redhook Brewing Company beer and selling pints of their creations for only $3! … the featured beer would include (descriptions per brewery’s website):
Redhook Brewing Audible Ale
Redhook has teamed up with Dan Patrick to brew the ultimate craft beer for watching sports: plenty of flavor and aroma, and crushable enough to make you want another — without making you sloppy by halftime. So, whether you’re watching the Dan Patrick Show in your mancave, or tailgating in a parking lot, it’s time to fill your passion bucket with crushable craft. Listen to your thirst. It’s Audible.Style: Pale Ale – 4.7% ABV & 22 IBUs
Redhook Brewing Cross Czech Pilsner
Czech out Redhook’s newest brew. Redhook Pilsner is crisp, golden lager that is modeled after those historic beers originally made in Plzeň, Czechoslovakia. Redhook Pilsner’s maltiness is offset by a medium dose of Saaz hops and finishes with a clean, bright, thirst-quenching quality. A great “session” lager for when you’ve got a long day ahead of drinking. Style: Pilsner – 5.3% ABV & 23 IBUs
Redhook Brewing Long Hammer IPA
The generous addition of hops both during and at the end of the fermentation process (dry-hopping) gives our India Pale Ale its characteristic bitterness and piney citrus aroma and flavor. The medium body, crisp finish, and moderate alcohol and IBU levels makes this one of America’s most drinkable and best-selling IPAs. Style: India Pale Ale – 6.2% ABV & 44 IBUs
We were greeted warmly by bartender Brandon and soon companion and I were sharing pints of the Audible Ale and Long Hammer IPA. The Cross Czech Pilsner had not yet been delivered.
My preference was the Long Hammer IPA due to the stronger hop flavor than the Audible Ale though the Audible would serve as a good introductory beer for those leaving the umbrella of the mass-produced brands. The lower ABV and rather mild bitterness (only 22 IBUs) won’t scare those new to craft beer away.
Brandon introduced us to fellow bartender Amanda who was engaging and friendly to both me and companion as we sat at the bar and enjoyed our Redhook Brewery beer.
I was honored to formally meet Bill and the beautiful Jamay sitting nearby – Bill mentioned he followed my website, blog and social media and I was excited to sit with them and discuss craft beer related things. What a great couple! … I love seeing loving couples loving craft beer!
Bill and Jamay
I was also blessed to meet Sasha who came in after Bill and Jamay had left. I soon learned that Sasha was from New Orleans and that we had lived there at the same time! … so, she and I had a great time discussing New Orleans, both pre- and post-Katrina. Sasha is such a wonderful, strong woman. Although the car accident she suffered has affected her physically, she is a determined and gifted young woman.
My thanks to Brandon and Amanda for their personable service, to Brandon and Amanda for their fellowship (and support!) and to Dahlia’s Pour House owner Andrea for providing a wonderful start to this evening’s Jax Brew Bitch Prowl!
Dahlia’s Pour House
Having snagged a good parking spot near Dahlia’s Pour House, we decided not to give that up in hopes of finding one closer to our next destination, The Salty Fig (901 King Street 904.337.0146)
Companion made me nervous at how fast he was pushing his “Hop Wheels” down the sidewalk, so I caught up with him and
The Salty Fig
took the wheelchair by the horns and provided the power for the balance of the “walkin’ rollin’ “ trip down to Salty Fig.
Entering, we were graciously greeted by the hostess and let her know we would be sitting at the bar. Scanning over the list of available local craft beer on tap, we selected the following (descriptions per breweries’ websites):
Pinglehead Brewing Company Imperial Red Ale
Our flagship beer pours a clear red body with an off-white colored head. Aroma is caramel sweet with floral undertones. Dry-hopping gives subtle floral hop flavors to compliment a smooth caramel malt backbone. A combination of mellow bitterness, candy sweetness and medium body result in a balanced, highly drinkable red ale. Note: 7.8% ABV & 25 IBUs
Green Room Brewing Undertow Barleywine
Barleywine brewed with local orange blossom honey – Note: 9.5% ABV
Serving behind the bar that afternoon was the professional and personable Simon. He is also quite creative – he
Jalapeno Watermelon Margaritas
prepared a Jalapeno Watermelon Margaritas and provided us a couple of small samples … oh, lawdy! … THAT could become an addiction … the sweet watermelon with the zing of the jalapeno combined to make that concoction VERY tasty.
Also behind the bar was the lovely Lindsey, a new resident of Jacksonville, who recently relocated from Illinois. She was gracious enough to spend some time talking to us about she likes Jacksonville, what brought her here and craft beer – my kind of girl!
Soon joining them was Devon, who we originally met when he served us at Pele’s Wood Fire. He had recently returned from WINNING the Southeast Beard and Mustache contest in Charleston, SC … the winners in each category got growlers of beer, so I told companion to get his facial hair in gear pronto! … congratulations, Devon!
Lindsey, Devon and Simon
We were hungry so looking over the fabulous Salty Fig menu made it impossible to pass up food. We decided to split:
Pork Belly and Oyster Sandwich – Apalachicola Oysters, Pork Belly, Tomato, Arugula, Homemade Pickles, Garlic Aioli, Texas Toast – $14
We have had this decadent creation several times and it is always consistently delicious! … the folks at Salty Fig were very accommodating by splitting the sandwich and salad in two prior to serving – very nice touch!
As we finished off the Pork Belly and Oyster Sandwich, co-owner and chef, Jeff Stanford came over to the bar and was
Pork Belly and Oyster Sandwich
kind enough to speak with me for awhile. Turns out he was using a new supplier for the oysters – and I HAD noticed they were larger than the ones in this same sandwich we enjoyed during earlier visits. What an amazing talent Jeff has! … and he and co-owner (and brother) John have done a remarkable job.
Be sure and check out Salty Fig’s Happy Hour! … and remember, Mondays are “Moonshine Mondays”!
My appreciation to Simon for the great service and mind-blowing Jalapeno Watermelon Margarita samples, Lindsey and Devon for their fellowship and to all the team at The Salty Fig – a southern gastropub for providing such a wonderful experience.
Co-owner and chef, Jeff Stanford
The Salty Fig – a southern gastropub (901 King Street – 904.337.0146)
Pinglehead Brewing Company
Green Room Brewing (228 3rd Street North – Jax Beach – 904.201-9283)
Well, there was NO way we were going to be “within striking distance” and not visit. Since Kickbacks Gastropub (910 King Street – 904.388.9551) is located directly across the street from The Salty Fig,
at Kickbacks Gastropub
companion had his “Hop Wheels” tires smokin’ over the crosswalk on King Street – I could barely keep up.
It was still early, so we were able to secure a table adjacent to the north door – making to easier to deal with the wheelchair. George Deacon was our server and he immediately made sure we had glasses of water and menus.
We had enjoyed our 2009 Stone Brewing Company Old Guardian Barley Wine (bomber bottle) during an earlier visit (future blog post), so we asked George for Kickbacks Gastropub’s “Beer Bible” … and amazing publication of the list of bottled beer available there at Jacksonville’s “Beer Central”.
After looking through the “Barleywine” section, we chose:
Smuttynose Brewing Company Barleywine Style Ale
Our Barleywine is rich and malty, with hints of fruity esters and a well-hopped finish. Enjoy this hearty ale with fresh fruit and ripe cheese on a cold winter’s night, or lay it up and savor it with a friend for a special summer treat. – Note: 11.6% ABV – $9.95
I enjoyed the Smuttynose although it didn’t have that full eye-poppin’ barleywine flavor which flooded my taste buds with the 2009 Stone Old Guardian a week or two earlier. However, make no mistake, the Smuttynose is a great barleywine! … not a drop of it was left, I can assure you.
It was time to eat again … well, it HAD been about 30 minutes … so companion and I decided to order and share:
Smothered Chicken Breast – Tuscan style mix of fresh basil, spinach, roasted red peppers, feta and sun dried tomatoes atop 2 tender chicken breasts. Bomber Bottle $13.79
With the Smuttynose Barleywine “gettin’ low”, companion ordered:
Photo doesn’t do this justice but oh, it was so good!
Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales Chicory Stout
Chicory was one of the first beers we started brewing at our pub back when it opened in 1995. It’s a dark beer made with a bunch of roasted chicory, organic Mexican coffee, St. John’s Wort and licorice root. We use whole-leaf Cascade and Fuggle hops, as well as pale, roasted and oatmeal grains. Back in 1995, we had a teeny, tiny brewing system and had to brew all day, every day to keep the bar stocked. Brewing with the same four ingredients got really boring really quickly. That’s when Sam’s ADD kicked in and he started adding some nontraditional ingredients.
Chicory Stout is our winter seasonal and released in bottles each year in November and December. We do brew this beer in smaller, draft-only batches for our brewpub throughout the year. Chicory is roasty and delicious, and it’s a fantastic food beer. It pairs very well with chocolate! – Note: 5.2% ABV and 21 IBUs – Pint Glass $5.45
Now, how could you go wrong? … chicory (which I love), stout (one of my favs) and Dogfish Head Brewery … I looked at it as dessert …
The Smothered Chicken Breast, given it comes with two large chicken breasts, is certainly sharing size. We ordered a separate side of veggies and split the enormous salad which also comes with the entre. Eddie of Kickbacks had suggested this during an earlier visit and we are so glad he did. Wonderful flavors – and a seriously significant meal.
Our thanks to George and the rest of the team there at Kickbacks Gastropub for another outstanding experience – something we know we can count on – on any Jax Brew Bitch Prowl.
Smuttynose Brewing Company
Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales
So, thus ended our … nope … not yet … not by a long shot …
KIA and Bold City Brewery (2670 Rosselle St – 904.379-6551) are much like The Jeep and Kickbacks
Wreckless at Bold City Brewery
Gastropub. The invisible navigational-homing device inside KIA was manufactured by GPS (Growler Prowler Systems) and seems to deposit us in the Bold City parking lot without us getting too involved …
This was “Sensory Saturday” at Bold City Brewery and the band Wreckless, featuring American Idol contestant Steffanie Renae, was performing. I could tell the crowd was thoroughly enjoying the entertainment – a beautiful girl with a beautiful voice and a very talented band!
“Beer is near”, companion and I said to each other simultaneously – and I went to fetch some for both of us. We opted to share a pint of:
Bold City Brewery 1901 Red Ale
This is not your standard Red Ale. This is a very ‘malty’, ‘roasty’ and complex Red Ale. The roasted flavor comes from the high presence of roasted barley. With a very minimal but high alpha hop addition, this Red Ale has become a favorite among patrons.
We were lucky enough to find a table at which to sit while listening to the great music and enjoying our fine Bold City brews. As I was taking a sip of the 1901 Red Ale, I thought I saw something fly from the taps at the outside bar into the rafters behind the band …
Once we had finished our beer, we bid farewell to the family and staff at Bold City Brewery – who we thank for their dedication to Jacksonville, making good craft beer and for arranging a magnificent Sensory Saturday for all of us to enjoy.
Bold City Brewery
So, thus ended … well, you know better, don’t you …
Intuition Ale Works (720 King Street – 904.683.7720) was our next stop on this extended Prowl. Since we had been rather “active” this evening, we decided to split a beer … oh, okay … yes, it was in a Mug Club mug …
Intuition Ale Works Dark Star Milk Stout
A creamy and sweet milk stout brewed with English pale malt, flaked and roasted barley and English Crystal Malts. Bittered with Nugget hops, smoothed with 5% lactose. This beer is served with a Nitro tap and is non-vegan.
It was late and close to “Last Call” – and we didn’t want the team at Intuition to be delayed t all in closing up, so we finished up the Dark Star Milk Stout and bid farewell to the friendly staff at Intuition Ale Works who always make each visit so enjoyable.
Intuition Ale Works
We were already on a roll, so what to do? … what was open? … AH! … Bold Bean Coffee Roasters (869 Stockton St – 904.855.1181) is open late and has top quality coffee and an impressive selection of Florida craft beer on tap!
KIA landed us safely right in front of the establishment and we were soon inside and ordering:
Curry Latte – one of our favorites – we were introduced to this remarkable creation by my original “Ale Angel” Kat – formerly of Kickbacks Gastropub and now of the Casbah Café.
Curry Latte at Bold Bean Coffee Roasters
Swamp Head Brewery Stump Knocker Pale Ale - a hop-focused American Pale Ale.
Stump Knocker Pale Ale got its name from the notoriously feisty Stumpknocker fish that will at times make you think you have hooked into the lunker. True to form, this refreshing Pale Ale remains very smooth and drinkable while maintaining the same hop headed attitude as the biggest boy in the pond.
Stump Knocker features late flavor aroma hops, augmented with two dry hop additions to enhance the aromatics. These techniques produce a hop-centered ale with a crisp, balanced finish that will recharge your palate! – Note: 5.6% ABV & 35 IBUs
Bold Bean Coffee Roaters is a regular stop on my Prowls – so comfortable and cozy, great staff and the very best products. Stop in there for a brew – of coffee AND beer – for a memorable after-dinner adventure when you are out and about on your own “Brews and Chews” adventure.
Bold Bean Coffee Roasters
Swamp Head Brewery
Companion calls it “wigglin’ the bait” – when, after settling back into KIA, he said, “I hear Kickbacks is open …”
Yes, we had already eaten there earlier in the evening, but … uh … Kickbacks was open! … Actually, they are open 20 hours per day (7:00 am until 3:00 am), 365 days a year.
Soon, we were sitting out front of Kickbacks Gastropub (910 King Street – 904.388.9551) and George Deacon was once again our server.
Having obtained a suggestion from George during our earlier visit that evening, we selected a bomber bottle of (description per brewery’s website)
Southern Tier Brewing Company Backburner
Southern Tier Brewing Company Backburner Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale Aged with Oak
Long ago, British farmhouse brewers made special ales using the first runnings of the mash. These beers, now called barley wine, are brewed in the tradition of days past. Our first brew of the year, this ale is conceived in three small batches with voluminous amounts of barley and hops. A lightly sweet and warming ale, reminiscent of dried fruit and rich grains. Our barley wine style ale is a tribute to days remembered, and a celebration of things to come. We hope that sipping this rare brew leaves you feeling gracious for another trip around the sun.- Note: 9.6% ABV
FOOD PAIRINGS: Enjoy alone, or particularly tasty when paired with very strong cheeses, and rich, sweet desserts.
BODY and FLAVOR: Medium-full, creamy; Brown sugar, raisins, caramel malts, molasses, balanced hops
FERMENTATION and COLOR: Ale yeast, two types of malt, four varieties of hops; Deep copper with hints of ruby
EFFERVESCENCE and NOSE: Soft carbonation; Warm caramel, dried fruit, sugar
For late night chews, it is almost impossible to beat:
Southwestern Egg Rolls – A blend of smoked chicken, beans, corn and cheese in a crispy flour tortilla served with jalapeno ranch dressing. $7.79
Southwestern Egg Rolls
Vegetarian Omelette – Sauteed spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes and feta cheese. $6.79
To me, it doesn’t matter what I’ve had earlier during my Prowl, these two menu items always serve as a delicious way to end my excursions. Try them both – especially late at night – you’ll see why.
Our heartfelt appreciation to George Deacon for superb service, the kitchen staff for their excellent creations and to Steve Flores and the rest of his team at Kickbacks Gastropub for providing the perfect ending for this evening’s way-too-extended Jax Brew Bitch Prowl.
Southern Tier Brewing Company
On the way home, companion noticed we needed some fuel and he said he would take that opportunity of using the
facilities (it was too crowded inside Kickbacks to make it in a wheelchair to the restroom).
He pulled us into some gas station and I assisted him in getting the wheelchair out. He took care of fueling while I settled back into KIA.
Sitting there in KIA, I quickly thought back to late February when I noticed the bruising on companion’s back all along his waist and how that had started us on an heretofore untraveled path for us – a journey where he was significantly ill – and I realized how we had been blessed – with improving health and great friends and acquaintances derived from our immersion into the craft beer community. I then noticed Tinker Beer, the Brew Fairy had perched herself on my knee and was smiling – watching companion roll away to find the “Little Boys Room”.
“I saw you at Bold City earlier tonight”, I told her. She nodded and said, “Wreckless is an awesome band … “
She then looked at me and said, “I’m so glad companion is still here – and now feeling so much better …”
“Me, too!”, I said … “… and I am feeling like I’m getting back to normal, too …”
“Well,” said Tink, “We’ll see about that … I have a way to prove if you ARE truly back to “normal” or not … say, I fill up a bathtub, and offer you a spoon, a cup and a bucket and ask you to empty that bathtub in the quickest and easiest way.”
“Oh, I understand, is that all you got, little one?”, I said. “A NORMAL person would use the bucket because even though it would take the most focused and strenuous work, it’s bigger and holds more volume than the spoon or the teacup. So, the least amount of energy would actually be expended by using the bucket, since the tub would become empty rather quickly … THAT’S what a normal person would do”, I added quite smugly.
Tink flew up to my face and kissed me on the nose. “Nope”, she said, “a NORMAL person would have just pulled the plug.”
As she flew out my open window, she looked back at me, winked and said,
“ … but don’t worry – that proves YOU are certainly back to normal …”
Posted on June 16, 2013