Unfortunately, I got caught up with friends and missed the official tour hours. I mapquested the location and headed over to Bold City around 10pm on a Saturday. The first thing I noticed was the area - set further away from the residential part of Riverside, Bold City looked like any of the other warehouses lining the train tracks. Instead of being creepy and dimly lit, the parking lot was full and there were folks sitting just outside the door drinking and eating. My friend Ivan and I walked into their taproom and were pleased to see a cozy room filled with tables and goofy board games available for the customers. I can't help but love a bar that has Connect Four.
Our bartender, Robin, was very friendly and knowledgeable. I ordered the Chinook IPA right away because I had already tried the Mad Manatee IPA and their Red Ale at Shantytown earlier during the visit. Upon hearing we were new to Bold City, Robin immediately offered us a sampling of all their beers, on the house. Classy!
Here's what we tried (mostly arranged from lightest to darkest):
- Rye Wheat (American Hefewizen) 6%
- E-Street Ale (made for European Street restaurants in Jax) 4%
- Rye Pale Ale 6%
- Duke's Brown (there's a doggy on the label) 5%
- Chinook IPA (only uses Chinook hops) 8%
- Old English Ale (not the malt liquor) 7%
- Red Ale 8%
- Coffee Stout ?%
When I told our bartender that I had hoped to get a tour but missed the hours, she was kind enough to tell me that the brewers were still hanging out there and might be able to give me a mini-tour of sorts. Cody Cassidey, assistant brewer, met us at the bar and offered to show us around.
He looks surly in this picture but he's way nice. He's also showing off a keg washer. Bold City is much smaller than Boulevard - everything fit into one large warehouse. At this time, they do not bottle beers for commercial sale. They distribute kegs to local restaurants and pubs, and have growlers for the folks who need a smaller quantity to-go. Florida has ridiculous laws regarding to-go growlers (http://www.floridabrewersguild.org/legislation.html has more info) - Bold City is one of the few places with legit growlers.
Above is a picture of a toolbox. Oh, and fermenters on either side. Instead of toiling over a cauldron with a thermometer they get to set the right temperature electronically. Lucky!
One thing I noticed about Bold City is that everyone that worked there seemed genuinely happy to be there and show off the beer. Cody mentioned that a nice thing about BCB is that they have a lot of freedom to brew the kind of beers they like. I think this will result in lots of cool and creative beers for the folks in Jax... no Bud Light knockoffs! All in all I think Bold City is a very cool place and I wish I could've spent more time drinking there. Till next time!