This weekend I visited Veterans United Craft Brewery in Jacksonville, Florida. Veterans United is one of the new kids in the Jacksonville craft beer scene having recently launched their grand opening in August 2014. As you could probably guess by the name, Veterans United Craft Brewery is owned and operated by former members of the military. Since that time, they have had a strong presence on many restaurant tap lists and store shelves with plans to expand their distribution beyond the Jacksonville market. Veterans United’s taproom is open from Wednesday to Saturday with weekly Beer Bingo on Wednesday evenings and other events like live music, small batch releases, yoga and free tours offered on Saturdays.
Veterans United is the only brewery/taproom located in the Southside area of Jacksonville, which is a central hub for most business and shopping. It is tucked away in an industrial complex between Baymeadows and Southside Blvd with easy access to the interstate. The taproom is connected to the brewery and I recommend participating in the tour to check out where the magic happens.
I ordered two flights so I could try all that they had to offer. My heart was a little bit broken when I found out that they did not have the Cup O’ Joe oatmeal espresso stout or the Paratrooper Porter available. It only serves as a good excuse to come back and try them when they are back on tap. I did find love in the form of the Naughty Rye Pale Ale. This beer is exactly the kind of beer I love for these blazing summer days. Here are my thoughts on the eight beers I experienced at Veterans United Craft Brewery:
Raging Blonde Ale: This beer is one of the most recognized beers created by Veterans United. This golden ale is malty yet light. Blonde ales typically don’t excite me but this beer is pretty tasty and continued to grow on my during the tasting. This beer can be purchased in cans and would be great to sip on at a picnic or tailgating.
Buzzin’ Bee Honey Rye Wheat: This is a pretty standard wheat beer with a sweet honey aftertaste. I got a very slight hint of citrus in the flavor and the honey flavor came out a lot in the aftertaste.
Scout Dog 44 Amber Ale: This beer was a huge surprise to me. This beer packs a powerful punch of flavor in a very good way. There is a strong caramel presence, which is very pleasing to the pallet.
Hop Bansee India Pale Ale: This is my go-to beer when I am grabbing a pint at Veterans United. There is nothing casual about the hops in this beer with an IBU of 66. I love hops and really like that they weren’t afraid to pack a lot of punch in this IPA. This beer is also available canned. I like drinking this beer when I am painting in my art studio. It keeps me happy.
Farmers Little Helper Belgian Saison: This is a nice saison and a great starter beer for anyone learning to like Belgian style beers. I am not a huge fan of Belgians but I also used to hate IPA’s and now they are one of my favorite styles. This served as a nice platform for me to learn to love and appreciate that style of beer. It is crisp and light and a nice choice for a summer beer.
Naughty Rye Pale Ale: Did I mention I love this beer? I have a slight obsession with citrus (especially grapefruit) in my beers this summer, and this beer had my affection at the first taste. This beer has a hop-forward taste but a very smooth and refreshing finish. This beer is a limited release beer and I will be going back with a growler to get more of this deliciousness.
CosmicKat Belgian Style Golden Strong: There is a lot going on in this one! This is a very complex beer with a strong Belgian-style flavor. As stated above, I am learning to love this type of beer, but the combination of flavors resulted in a pretty tasty beverage. Be careful with this one, a few of these will sneak up on you.
Imperial Grunch Double IPA: Hello hops! If you are a hophead, this one will satisfy your need with an IBU of 106. This little sneak has a ABV of 9.2% so enjoy this beer responsibly.
This was not my first time visiting Veterans United Craft Brewery and certainly will not be my last. I really enjoyed tasting all of the beers to really get an appreciation for their range of styles. They offer a different kind of beer for everyone and they also have wine to enjoy for those who have yet to learn to love beer. The atmosphere is casual and the staff is incredibly friendly. I almost forgot to mention the best part… they are dog friendly!