In the past several years, the local craft beer scene in Jacksonville, Florida has exploded. New breweries are popping up left and right! Since I'm a huge fan of good craft beer and local breweries, I wanted to try as many as possible.
Along the way, I discovered the JAX Ale Trail which became my roadmap to exploring these breweries! In this article, I'll show you what it is and how to participate, plus tell you a bit about the breweries.
You may wonder, what takes me to Jacksonville, Florida so often? Well, a couple years ago, my parents retired and promptly relocated to northern Florida. No better reason for me to visit, right?
Because my parents also enjoy craft beer, we often end up hanging out in local breweries during my visits. Back in October 2019, we discovered the JAX Ale Trail and were hooked!
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What is the "JAX Ale Trail"?
The JAX Ale Trail is a clever initiative by the Jacksonville Tourism Office to entice tourists and locals alike to visit local craft breweries in the Jacksonville area.
Most of the breweries are clustered either in downtown Jacksonville or at Jacksonville Beach, though there are a couple outliers.
Following the JAX Ale Trail
Here's a quick summary of how the JAX Ale Trail works.
First, you'll need to get a JAX Ale Trail Brewery Passport. Pick one up at a participating brewery or at one of the visitor centers listed on the website.
Then, make your way around to the different breweries. Remember to ask your bartender to stamp your passport as you go!
After collecting a few stamps, you'll be eligible to collect prizes! Fill it up and win all the prizes!
As a competitive family, this trail became a mission for us! Between a couple different visits to Jacksonville, my parents and I managed to fill up our passports.
Once the passport is full (or your trip is over), you can collect your prizes from the visitor center in downtown Jacksonville. Or, they also have an option for you to mail in the back page of the passport to receive your prize.
If you're just visiting for a few days, you'll probably want to exchange it for your prizes at the visitor center before you leave.
Tips for collecting prizes: Although you'll see two visitor centers listed on the website, you can only collect your prizes at the downtown Jacksonville visitor center. You may also wish to call ahead to see if they have your t-shirt size as they tend to run out of certain sizes!
My parents and I filled our passports just as the coronavirus began to spread and breweries closed (mid-March 2020).
As a result, I still haven't collected any prizes. But I'm saving my passport to collect a prize on a future trip to Jacksonville when things are back to normal.
JAX Ale Trail Participating Breweries
To help you decide which breweries you might like to visit if you're short on time, I'll provide some of my thoughts for each of the breweries on the JAX Ale Trail.
Click on the hyperlinked address below each brewery to visit that brewery's website. Be sure to note the opening hours as some of the breweries are closed on certain days of the week.
1) Aardwolf Brewing Company
Located in the San Marco neighborhood a couple miles from downtown Jacksonville, Aardwolf Brewing Company is one of my personal favorites due to its delicious variety of sour beers.
If sour beer isn't for you, never fear, there are plenty of other options. They have a great selection of taps including several IPAs, a German Pilsner, a Belgian Amber and even a couple Stouts.
The brewery is set in an old ice house and all the exposed brick gives it a cool vibe. We made a couple canine friends during our visit as their dog-friendly policy extends to inside the tap room.
On a nice day though, you might choose to sit out in the courtyard at the picnic tables. From there, you can watch (and hear!) the occasional train pass by on the railroad tracks next to the brewery.
2) Atlantic Beach Brewing Company - CLOSED*
*Atlantic Beach Brewing closed its doors in February 2020. The JAX Ale Trail will update its materials to reflect this brewery's closing.
An independent, family-owned brewery in Atlantic Beach, this brewery has a nice variety of IPAs as well as a good line up of classic brews. They also have several guest taps from local and other craft breweries. My favorite was the Duality IPA, though my dad recommends the Mayport Red as he's not a big IPA fan.
Although set in a strip mall, a small outside patio offers a space where you can drink your beer in the fresh air of the parking lot. For me it was a little strange sitting in a parking lot drinking beer, but hey, I was outside! Plus, I noticed several other restaurants in the strip mall had the same patio concept.
Address: 725 Atlantic Boulevard, Atlantic Beach, FL
3) Bold City Brewing
One of my dad's favorite breweries in Jacksonville, Bold City Brewing has a solid line-up of brews to try! They have two locations, though I'd recommend the downtown taproom, which seems to have a wider selection of beers on tap.
My dad loves the Duke's Cold Nose Brown Ale and the 1901 Roasted Red Ale. Since you can find Bold City beers in some grocery stores, he'll usually have them in the fridge at home too!
When we visited in March 2020, I tried one called the Psychotic Probiotic - a golden sour age aged in port barrels. Funky and delicious!
4) Bottlenose Brewing
About halfway between downtown Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach, Bottlenose Brewing has the feel of a suburban sports bar.
It boasts an impressive collection of taps, including their own brews plus many other Florida beers. I tried several tasty Bottlenose IPAs in a flight. Their selection was wide enough that my parents were also able to find several beers they enjoyed!
We ate dinner here and ordered burgers which were quite flavorful even though they were thinner than I normally like. I also enjoyed the fries which had a nice spicy kick to them.
5) Engine 15 Brewing Company
With two locations - one downtown, the other close to the beach - it makes stopping by Engine 15 for a beer much more convenient!
About a mile from the beach, Engine 15's Beach Brewpub is the best location to try a wide variety of beers. They offer everything from sours, IPAs, brown ales, stouts, and even ciders. In addition to their beer, the beach brewpub has a list of rotating guest taps plus a food menu.
However, if you're looking for a spot to hang out on a weekend afternoon with some friends or your kids, Engine 15's Downtown Taproom and Biergarten might be more your speed.
Located in a large warehouse with outdoor space on the side of the building, there's plenty of space for kids to run free as you relax with a beer. They even have a small playground.
The taps, as well as the hours, at the Biergarten are limited so be sure to check the website before heading over there.
6) Fishweir Brewing Company
Located in the historic Murray Hill neighborhood of Jacksonville, Fishweir Brewing Company was one of my favorite breweries on the JAX Ale Trail.
The taproom has a clean and modern vibe. And the beers were all delicious! I tried a couple IPAs and a couple sours and was pleased with each one.
The Beermosa and Johnny Apple Sour were fruity, mildly tart and very refreshing. Even my mom who is normally overwhelmed by sours liked them.
While You're in Murray Hill...
Walk around the neighborhood and check out the incredible street art!
Although Jacksonville has a ton of great street art, I found several colorful murals just walking through the Murray Hill neighborhood alone!
7) Green Room Brewing
Located in the heart of Jacksonville Beach, Green Room Brewing is a happening spot. We visited on a rainy Saturday afternoon and it was packed with humans and almost as many dogs! The inside is spacious, very pet-friendly, and has a variety of games to play while you enjoy your beer.
As for the beers, they have a good variety, ranging from the more traditional Pablo Beach Pale Ale to the unique Tequila Gose which is a sour aged in tequila barrels. I enjoyed The Dry Hops, a brut IPA.
Know Before You Go: According to the sign on the door, you must be 21 or older to enter Green Room. I read a few Google reviews which indicated that you must show a valid U.S. driver's license or passport to enter.
If you're not from the U.S. then you must show your passport; other nationalities' driver's licenses, military IDs, or other identity cards won't be accepted for age verification purposes.
Planning a trip to the USA? Check out other USA posts on Becky Exploring!
8) Hyperion Brewing Co.
Located in the heart of Jacksonville's Springfield Historic District, Hyperion Brewing Company boasts several bold and interesting brews.
The standout to me was Vishnu's Reality - a Coconut Curry Milk Stout. You read that right - curry! The head brewer at Hyperion buys a custom blend of spices from a local shop in Jacksonville's Avondale neighborhood - All Spiced Up - to give the stout the curry zing that it has. If you love curry, you have to give this beer a try!
9) Intuition Ale Works
Right in the heart of downtown Jacksonville, Intuition Ale Works has a massive space. There's plenty of room to hang out with a large group of friends drinking beer!
With as many beers as they have on tap at any given time, it's hard to decide what to get. I've often ordered the Intuition I-10 IPA at local bars and restaurants, so it was fun to visit the taproom and see what else they had.
On our last visit, I tasted a couple of their other IPAs, plus some of the sours. Being that it was still "winter", my mom was pleased to find plenty of stouts on the tap list. In the end, the I-10 IPA remains my favorite!
Tip: Since Intuition Ale Works is located right next to the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium, you should plan to avoid it on game days!
Address: 929 E Bay St, Jacksonville, FL
10) Legacy Ale Works
With a wide range of beers, you're sure to find something you like at Legacy Ale Works. I enjoyed the Red Run - a red IPA - while my dad went for the Not Contaminated - an unfiltered lager.
Located south of Jacksonville, just off Rt. 95, it's a bit out of the way. However, it's a family-friendly place, with a separate play area for kids and a large outdoor courtyard. Check their website for monthly events, such as their Family Fun Day, with activities like relay races and tug-o-war!
11) Main & Six Brewing Company
About a block away from Hyperion in the Springfield Historic District, Main & Six Brewing Company is the first of three breweries you'll find as you drive north on Main Street out of downtown. The taproom looks out over Main Street but in the back, you'll find a little outdoor area to sit and enjoy your beer.
I was hooked on the hazy IPAs and the fruit sour beers and had a hard time choosing which ones to get in my flight. There are lots of good options here!
Craft beer lovers should also check out these 16 Best Bars for Craft Beer in Hong Kong!
12) Pinglehead Brewing Company
"Beer with Attitude" is the promise at Pinglehead Brewing Company and they deliver!
Located inside Brewer's Pizza, in an old strip mall in Orange Park, this brewery surprised me. When I first walked in, it seemed pretty dated and I wasn't sure if we were in the right spot. You can only see the Pinglehead Brewery sign if you peer around to the back of the place. But after trying a few of their beers, the place grew on me.
Although I ordered a flight of (mostly) IPAs, my favorite beer ended up being one that my mom ordered - the Mind Drive Special Reserve. It's an imperial porter with an ABV of 14%! No wonder I was feeling the place after drinking that!
13) Reve Brewing Company
Hazy Things. Sour Things. Imperial Things. This is the menu at Reve Brewing Company in a nutshell.
For me, this menu is a dream come true since these are my favorite types of beer. For others, like my dad, you may not be able to find a single thing on the menu you'd like to drink. If you like IPAs, sours and/or strong stouts, this is the place for you and you'll have plenty of good brews from which to choose.
Additionally, I noticed they also serve a couple of beer slushees which might appeal to those who don't like beer all that much.
14) Ruby Beach Brewing
A couple blocks from the water in Jacksonville Beach, Ruby Beach Brewing is a large brewpub with a decent beer list. It was pretty empty when we visited in late afternoon so perhaps it picks up at night?
They have several of their own beers on tap plus a number of guest taps from around the country. I tried a couple of the Ruby Beach sour-fruit beers but they fell a little short for me.
As a brewpub, they also have a full food menu. So if you're brewery hopping and need to order some food, this would be a good spot. The loaded nacho fries were exactly what we needed after having visited a couple breweries earlier that day.
Overall I would say this brewery is rather average and seems more of a generic bar spot for beach nightlife than a unique brewery experience.
15) Southern Swells Brewing Co.
In a nutshell, Southern Swells is a a brewery for IPA lovers like me. I found a ton of beers that I would have liked to try. If Jeremy had been with me, we would've shared a couple flights and tried the whole menu!
As it was, my parents had a rough time finding anything they wanted since they don't like IPAs. I also realized after ordering a few samples that most of the beers have a high ABV so these are ones you'll want to spend some time drinking.
The vibe of the brewery was casual and family friendly, plus all the natural light coming in gave it an open feeling that I liked. The space is large and they even have a separate party room so you could easily get a group together to visit. If you get hungry, walk a few steps next door to the donut shop for some snacks!
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16) Strings Sports Brewery
Another great spot in the Springfield neighborhood, Strings Sports is a fun sports-themed bar and brewpub to bring your family where you can play some games while drinking good beer!
Unlike many of the breweries, this one also has a full restaurant in addition to the brewery. If you're hanging out for a while, play a game of darts or challenge your friends to a free throw competition.
Although Springs Sports was fairly new when we visited in October 2019, they already had a solid line up of "home" beers that they've brewed. Plus, they offer a selection of "away" brews from other craft breweries around the U.S. Can you feel the sports theme here? I tried the home team's Hazy IPA and was quite pleased!
Tip: As of October 2019, they didn't offer flights here, so be prepared to order a pint when you visit. Perhaps that will change in the future.
Address: 1850 Main Street, Jacksonville, FL
17) Tabula Rasa Brewing
A fantastic place to hang out with friends and family and drink delicious beer! This brewery is located in the Rail Yard District in Jacksonville just beside a small creek. The taproom is a good size and the backyard area is huge!
On a nice day, you can sit outside at a picnic table enjoying a cold beer while the kids and dogs run free in the grass.
The selection of beers is great as well with a good range of options. I tried all the IPAs, of course, and enjoyed the New England IPA - One Ping Only - the best.
My second favorite was the Crazy Mona Coconut Porter that my mom ordered which is also offered on nitro. It was quite tasty, not overwhelmingly coconut-y, and very smooth.
18) Veterans United Craft Brewery
As you drive back through warehouses and storage buildings in Jacksonville's Southside neighborhood, you'll wonder if you've gotten lost. Keep going though, you'll be rewarded with delicious beer at Veterans United Craft Brewery!
Owned by military veterans with a love of craft beer, you can find a variety of delicious brews here. I particularly enjoyed the Hop Banshee IPA - their classic IPA, as well as the seasonal imperial stout - The Snipe.
On Saturdays, you can tour the Veterans United Brewery for $7 per person which includes a souvenir logo tasting glass and sample pours. They also host a variety of weekly events in the taproom, so check out the website for details!
19) Wicked Barley Brewing Company
Located on the banks of Goodby's Creek in south Jacksonville, Wicked Barley Brewing Company is massive! Their taproom and restaurant is large and spacious and they have an incredible amount of outdoor seating as well.
We visited for dinner since we heard the food at Wicked Barley was worth a try. After having a deliciously satisfying beef brisket sandwich and spicy chips, I'd say have to agree!
I found plenty of beers to try as they had a wide variety of IPAs and sours on tap. If you're looking for something other than beer, you could give the mead or cider a taste.
Tip: If you’re sitting outside in the summer, remember to bring your bug spray or mosquito repellent.
Fun fact: Because of their location on the creek, you can also get to Wicked Barley by boat and dock right at the brewery!
Although it seems like you'll never make it to all of the breweries on the JAX Ale Trail, it's easier than you may think. Especially if you live nearby!
So when your passport is full, but you still want to support a local Jacksonville brewery, head to this bonus brewery!
20) Lemonstreet Brewing Company
Opened in October 2019, Lemonstreet Brewing Company is still relatively new but already has a nice line-up of beers to try! These beers have a different flair to them than a lot of the Jacksonville breweries.
The brews were inspired by the owners' Hispanic heritage, using ingredients sourced from the local community. Most of the beers have a low ABV which is perfect for an afternoon of easy drinking while you play some games with friends.
Lemonstreet's brewery and taproom are located in a large warehouse just west of the Brooklyn District of Jacksonville and right around the corner from Tabula Rasa Brewing.
They've made excellent use of their massive space by setting up a variety of games inside the building, such as bocce, Foosball, cornhole, and darts. Perfect way to pass the afternoon with a group of friends!
Address: 2100 Dennis St, Jacksonville, FL
Ready to Plan your Trip to Jacksonville?
With all of these great breweries to try, I bet you'd like to start planning your trip to Jacksonville now. I recommend spending a couple days to explore the various neighborhoods while sampling the local brews.
Combine your brewery hopping with beach time and you'll have the perfect trip! To get started finding an awesome place to stay, check out these 11 Beautiful Beach Vacation Rentals in Jacksonville, FL.
Search for Places to Stay in Jacksonville
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Filter by your individual preferences and input your travel dates to see what places are available and what their nightly rates are.
Hopefully this article whets your appetite for some delicious craft beer and has shown you where to go to find your favorites while you're visiting Jacksonville, Florida. With this many craft breweries in one city, it's certainly a challenge to visit them all!
Have you visited any Jacksonville breweries? Which ones are your favorites? Which ones would you like to try?
This article was originally published in October 2019. After completing the JAX Ale Trail in March 2020, I've updated the post with new breweries and information.