This week I visited Wicked Barley Brewing Company in Jacksonville, Florida for their soft opening. The grand opening for Wicked Barley is this Saturday so I was glad to get a sneak peek before the large amount of people expected to pour through this weekend. I was pleased to find a large parking lot with over 70 spots for people to park specifically for the brewery. Parking can be a bit of a bear in Jacksonville so this large lot is greatly appreciated. The brewery and tasting room are in one large building on a beautiful piece of land on Goodby’s Creek.
The interior of Wicked Barley is very large and open with the natural/industrial aesthetic that lends to the open feel of the space. There are TV’s strategically placed throughout the inside and outdoor areas so people can enjoy craft beer without missing the big game. The brewery/production/lab area comprises most of the back of the building and visitors can peer through the glass windows in the tasting room to watch the beer-making magic happen. Wicked Barley also a kitchen with a great menu, which makes it a great place to bring your friends or family for a meal and a cold beverage. The food is reasonably priced, ranging from $7.00 to $15.00 and there is a dedicated children’s menu for the little ones.
Co-Founder and Brewmaster, Philip Maple gave me a tour of the brewery and educated me about the different equipment and the purpose of each machine. Not only will Wicked Barley brew beer and cider, but they are also licensed to create mead on the premises as well. Philip showed me their state-of-the-art water system, which can be adjusted to emulate the water conditions of different regions to get different flavor profiles and purity in the beers. He said they even utilize the water system in the kitchen to replicate New York water for their pizza dough! Unfortunately, Wicked Barley just recently got their licensing to being the production of their brews, which means they will not be ready for roughly another month. In the meantime, they are pouring fabulous beers from some of my favorite craft breweries both locally and nationwide so it is still well worth a visit.
Looking at Wicked Barley’s website, they have an impressive array of beer styles on the way. The intent is to have their flagship beers on ten of their twenty taps in the tasting room, rotating the other taps with some of their favorite craft breweries and some fun creative concoctions brewed in-house. The ten beers that should be available soon include a double IPA, German style lager, Belgian tripel, copper pale ale, India red ale, black rye double IPA, brown ale, American double stout, India pale pilsner and a hard rootbeer.
Now , let me tell you about my favorite part about this venue, the outside beer garden… It’s amazing! Wicked Barley knocked it out of the park with their outdoor area. They have a covered deck attached to the building with picnic tables and televisions. Beyond the deck is a huge grassy area with well-spaced picnic tables placed under the shade of the trees. There is a little sandy beach area, which is right next to the dock leading out of Goodby’s creek. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a manatee on the water. Philip said the intent is to put a large screen and projector in the outdoor area for big events such as the Super Bowl, so keep an eye on their events calendar.
I am so excited to have another awesome place to throw back a cold beer with friends. I will do a follow up post after I have a chance to try their brews and let you all know my thoughts but I am confident I will love them. I highly recommend checking out Wicked Barley and continuing to support the growth of this wonderful craft beer community.