When it comes to the local Jacksonville microbrewery scene, which has really taken off over the last several years, it’s important to not forget about Bold City Brewery, the one that started it all. Bold City Brewery was started in 2008 by mother and son team Susan and Brian Miller. Brian began brewing beer in 2002 and fell in love with the craft. He became a member of CASK, a local Jacksonville home brewers club. His mother, Susan, quit her day job to run the on-site tavern.
When Bold City Brewery opened their doors back in 2008, there was no craft beer scene in Jacksonville. The only other brewery at the time was the massive Anheuser-Busch brewery on the city’s north side. Despite the myriad of challenges, Brian and Susan defied the odds and opened Jacksonville’s first ever local brewery. In the decade since its conception, Bold City Brewery has proven to be a very popular staple of the Jacksonville craft beer scene, with their beers being sold in bars and stores around the north Florida area and beyond. They’ve even been successful enough to open a second location in Downtown Jacksonville. The original location and the Downtown location have been respectively dubbed Bold City Brewery and Bold City Downtown.
The original Bold City location resides on Roselle Street, in the Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville. It has a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, especially for newcomers, who receive a free flight to taste a few of their original beers. The taproom is rather small, but extremely personable. They even offer free brewery tours on most Saturdays from 2pm to 5pm. If you’re hungry, you’re in luck. La Bodega offers Bold City customers a decent selection of good food from their menu. Ask for the Rhinelander pork bratwurst or the Bold City Burger. The newer location is located on Bay street in Downtown Jacksonville and has a much more spacious taproom area, as well as a small batch brewery for Bold City’s seasonal and specialty beers. In the Downtown location and looking for a bite to eat with your craft beer? Ask the bartender for some menus of local places that deliver.
Bold City Brewery has become famous for its original craft beers: canned, served, and sold in bars, convenience stores, and grocery stores all over North Florida and beyond. Their best-selling beer is Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale. This mild brown ale is named after the late family dog, Duke. It has a caramel and chocolate taste with a smooth nutty finish. This well-balanced beer is Bold City’s #1-selling beer for a reason. It’s an easy-to-drink ale that both beer aficionados and casual drinkers alike can enjoy. Another popular Bold City original is their Killer Whale Cream Ale, which is light and refreshing without the bitter aftertaste of some hoppy ales. They encourage lager fans to try out this crisp ale. Their Mad Manatee IPA is a locally popular American IPA loaded with high alpha acid hops for an extra bitter zing and a nice citrus aroma. The 1901 Roasted Red Ale is an interesting local favorite. It’s named after the Great Fire of Jacksonville, which occurred on May 3rd, 1901 and destroyed over 140 blocks within the city. This beer, named after one of the worst disasters in Florida history, is surprisingly low in bitterness and has a pleasantly roasted and smoky accent thanks to the inclusion of a lot of roasted barley.
If you’re looking for a fun, welcoming atmosphere with an authentic Jacksonville vibe and some of the best beer in town, visit either one of the Bold City locations. We recommend visiting both, as each has its own distinct personality. As the first pioneers of the Jacksonville craft brewery movement, this is an essential stop on your next night out.