Jacksonville, Florida

The country’s largest city boasts an extensive array of craft breweries offering every style of beer under the Florida sun

Miami is known for its nightlife, Orlando its theme parks, but most outside The Sunshine State know little about the gem that is Jacksonville. Like, for instance, that it is the largest city by size, not only in Florida but the contiguous U.S. Or the fact it’s home to the 20-plus local brewing companies comprising the JAX Ale Trail, a freeform route guiding locals and visitors alike to the wealth of quality ales and lagers available all throughout Jacksonville. Here, we break the expansive city into regions to present suds standouts crafting bold beers in the Bold City.

Jacksonville Florida Brewery Map


Anchored on its east side by the home venues for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Marlins triple-A affiliate, the Jumbo Shrimp, the city’s downtown is a hopping locale come game day. Adding to its everyday allure are art and entertainment venues, a waterfront that’s on track for municipal reimagining and a dense, diverse array of local brewery venues.

Intuition Ale Works

At the heart of it all is Intuition Ale Works, a 13-year-old brewpub that, with a spacious dining room, second-story deck and a backroom bier hall that regularly plays host to high-powered live-music acts, is built for a party. Located within short walking distance of all of Jacksonville’s sporting venues, it is the place to pre-game and draws droves of hyped-up hometown fans, especially when the Florida Gators take on the rival Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Stadium. Events and amenities aside, this mainstay provides an everyday draw in the form of a 22-tap beer list with styles spanning the globe (American, English, German, Belgian, Czech), which are both crafted to traditional specs and updated using cutting-edge and even experimental brewing ingredients and techniques.

A balanced, biscuity English-style ESB (extra special bitter), minerally Dortmunder export lager and delicately smoked, easy-drinking rauchbier display Intuition’s fondness and deft hand with Old World fare, while a kölsch infused with orange peel and a chamomile-laced Belgian witbier (unfiltered wheat ale) show off its brew crew’s originality. A thiolized yeast strain brings a huge Florida orange nose and a touch of passionfruit to Sailor Twift (clever) pale ale, while Party Wave hazy IPA gives off  bright flavors of pineapple, peach and tangerine.

Ruby Beach Brewing

About a half-mile west, out of earshot of roaring Jags fans, is Ruby Beach Brewing. Quaint and a tad diminutive from the outside, it has the feel of a downtown bar, which is driven home by a plenitude of liquor bottles and dueling 7-Eleven-style booze slushie machines. But as a large mounted sign outside makes abundantly clear, this is a brewery. A variety of house ales and lagers (along with a selection of guest meads and hard kombucha) can be enjoyed amid Ruby Beach’s classic red-brick environs or on a sizable open-air patio. 

There’s no shortage of kettle-sours to choose from, and the prickly pear and passionfruit-infused Scallywag tastes just like the fruit its infused with thanks to good attenuation (read: the beer is dry versus saccharine). Hop-borne fruit-like flavors of navel orange, guava and grapefruit blend with dank pine in American Garage West Coast IPA, Belgian-style tripel Crown Jewel features notes of cantaloupe and a floral character akin to rose water, and Haymaker brown ale gets big aromatics from java sourced from the local roastery of the same name.

Strings Sports Brewery

Further north in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Springfield is a warehouse shrine to local sports heroes and franchises (with a notable bent toward the Jaguars, who air a weekly sports-news show there) called Strings Sports Brewery. Named for its owner-slash-brewer, this multi-room brewpub is packed with live-edge tables, TVs and scads of memorabilia, including signed jerseys, banners and a vintage scoreboard from a local baseball field on the back patio. It also offers views of the brewery from a bar off the main dining room dispensing a dozen or so house beers.

A number of Strings’ beers reference sports and sporting greats. A peachy, orange-pithy house hazy is named for JAX-born Olympic gold medalist and Super Bowl champion “Bullet” Bob Hayes (the only athlete ever to realize both those achievements), and the citrusy Section 215 Kölsch discloses the location of Strings’ Jags season tickets. The latter goes down easy, much like the crystal-clear, lemony Cup Czech Pilsner. All of these and more will also be available at Strings’ second location in Jacksonville Beach come the end of the year.

Standout Suds: Party Wave Hazy IPA, Intuition Ale Works; Enterprise ESB, Intuition Ale Works; Scallywag Prickly Pear & Passionfruit Sour Ale, Ruby Beach Brewing; American Garage West Coast-style IPA, Ruby Beach Brewing; Bullet Bob Hazy IPA, Strings Sports Brewery; Cup Czech Pilsner, Strings Sports Brewery

FEATURED BREWERIES: Intuition Ale Works, 929 E Bay St; Ruby Beach Brewing, 228 E Forsythe St; Strings Sports Brewery, 1850 N Main St

OTHER BREWERIES: Historically Hoppy Brewery, 1636 N Main St; Hyperion Brewing, 1744 N Main St


While technically outside the city limits, the beach communities lining the Atlantic are home to some of the region’s most nouveau, cutting-edge breweries as well as veteran institutions that helped set the stage for the next generation.

Southern Swells Brewing

An operation that has captured hearts, minds and palates, not only of beer fans but local brewers, is Southern Swells Brewing. Located in a strip mall on the thoroughfare leading into Jacksonville Beach, it’s a haven for fans of hop-driven beers, particularly those of the New England ilk. Those murky brews abound at this cavernous, Edison bulb-lit rec room of sorts featuring ping pong, barrels and a view of in-use stainless fermentation vessels. There’s even a kids’ area where parents can provide relaxed supervision from Adirondack chairs. Prefer a little sunshine? Go al fresco in a courtyard shared with the next-door taco joint.

The beer menu at Southern Swells is everchanging. There’s only one flagship that’s available at all times, and it’s fast becoming the city’s most popular beer. The moniker of that New England-style IPA (NEIPA) is Karate in the Garage (a Step Brothers cinematic reference riffed on by fellow JAX beer op Fishweir Brewing’s hazy Kung Fu on the Porch, see below), which impresses with an overripe-mango bouquet and pineapple on the palate. It’s spawned Karate Kid (session IPA), Imperial Karate and Triple Karate, which share beer-board space with other IPAs, lagers like snappy Czech pale model Southern Svĕlté and sours like the fruit-and-lactose-infused, mai tai-inspired Ooga Chaka.

Ink Factory Brewing

A short jaunt down Beach Boulevard awaits Ink Factory Brewing, an insanely cool, multifaceted center of creativity and craftsmanship installed in the historic hull of the former HQ for Void Magazine. Following that publication’s COVID-driven shutdown, the surf-, music- and beer-obsessed founders converted the space into a combo brewery, coffee shop, and retail operation selling beachy apparel, LPs, surf paraphernalia and more. The craft compound also includes a pair of lounges, one of which can best be described as a “fan cave” with its collection of games and VHS cassettes, all of which can be played while enjoying the most bleeding-edge variety of beers in JAX.

Trendy beer styles and ingredients (white chocolate, cheesecake, ice cream…yes, seriously) abound here, with numerous experimental beers receiving version-to-version tweaks. V3 of a porter bolstered with cold-brew and ice cream smells like Dreyer’s French Vanilla and has a delightfully roasty, bittersweet finish, while kitchen-sink smoothie sour Triple Whip V4 bursts with mixed-berry flavor. On the simpler side, crisp lager Sip N’ Destroy makes for a terrific palate-cleanser before transitioning to tropical a double-dry-hopped NEIPA called Big Duval Energy.

Reve Brewing

Also turning heads for top-tier confectionery creations is Atlantic Beach’s Reve Brewing. The brainchild of a veteran brewer best known among locals for opening Jacksonville Beach’s Green Room Brewing and Bold City Brewery (see below), it was planned as a small, three-day-a-week side project, but runaway success inspired bigger aspirations. Reve has since expanded its footprint, adding popular on-site pie op Bones Pizza (referring to leftover pizza crust “bones”) and opening speakeasy, Mayport Garden Club, a few doors down. But the primary focus is still at the brewery and its leather-clad house-of-oddities tasting room, where an ornate circa-1930 wooden back bar salvaged from Anheuser Busch’s St. Louis facility stands sentinel over taps dispensing a plethora of hazy and adjunct-laced modern-geared beers.

Taking the menu on from light to dark, flagship Mexican lager, Cornejo Especial, is dry and balanced, while Galaxy-, Citra- and Nelson-hopped Feed Your Head NEIPA smells of casaba, tomatillo and dried grass, and tastes of gooseberry, white-wine and Satsuma orange. Vanilla soft-serve, guava and passionfruit lend island-cocktail vibes to a sour dubbed Pastime Paradise, while Dream Swell V, an imperial stout aged two years in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, comes on strong with the aromas and flavors of its additives: banana, cacao, peanuts and cinnamon. Beer slushies are also available, along with guest wine, cider and non-alcoholic beverages.

Standout Suds: Ooga Chaka Mai Tai-inspired Sour Ale with Blood Orange, Pineapple, Coconut & Lactose, Southern Swells Brewing; Karate in the Garage New England-style IPA, Southern Swells Brewing; Triple Whip V4 Smoothie Sour Ale with Raspberry, White Chocolate Cheesecake & Lactose, Ink Factory Brewing; Paco’s Porter V3 with Cold Brew and Vanilla Ice Cream, Ink Factory Brewing; Feed Your Head New England-style IPA, Reve Brewing; Pastime Paradise Sour Ale with Guava, Passionfruit and Vanilla Soft-Serve Ice Cream, Reve Brewing

FEATURED BREWERIES: Southern Swells Brewing, 1312 Beach Blvd, #3406, Jacksonville Beach; Ink Factory Brewing, 602 Shetter Ave, Jacksonville Beach, Reve Brewing, 1237 Mayport Rd, Atlantic Beach

OTHER BREWERIES: Engine 15 Brewing, 1500 Beach Blvd, #217, Jacksonville Beach; Green Room Brewing, 228 3rd St N, Jacksonville Beach


Visitors will find some of Jacksonville’s most well-regarded craft-beer upstarts nestled within the quaint residential neighborhoods and industrial recesses just west of the city center.

Bold City Brewery

JAX’s first stand-alone craft-beer operation, Bold City Brewery, shares the city’s nickname. Thirsty travelers can pay a visit to this 16-year-old institution’s kitchen-equipped headquarters on the north end of the Riverside community or its downtown taproom, where a blown-up photo from the day Duval County was consolidated into the “bold new city of the South” (AKA: Jacksonville) adorns an interior wall. That location includes a three-barrel pilot system, the addition of which has allowed Bold City to greatly increase the number of beers it brews. At last count, the company had churned out more than 200 different small-batch and experimental creations since 2017.

Even with all that productivity, Bold City’s strength lies in its longtime and year-round offerings, including its tacky, resinous namesake IPA and its higher-gravity, more grapefruity sister beer, Mad Manatee. Duke’s Cold Nose, an impressive brown ale named for the brewery owner’s dearly departed boxer, delivers nutty, caramely depth against an extra-dry canvas. Meanwhile, a nicely saline prickly-pear gose called General Zaragaoza, crushable Duval Light lager and magenta-hued Pink Illemonati hard seltzer make for enjoyable low-alcohol options.

King Maker Brewing

Another Riverside beer biz is thriving behind its stock of traditional bottom-fermenting brews. That operation, King Maker Brewing, is considered the best spot for lagers in all of Jacksonville by beer fans and brewers alike. Even with that stellar reputation, it would be easy to walk by the small, inauspicious door leading into this bastion of German beer. That inner sanctum features beer placards shaped like directional arrows guiding patrons to beers so to-style they’re darn near transportive. King Maker’s food menu the Deutsche theme with traditional German smalls and mains, including currywurst, Bavarian pretzels and brats with all the fixings.

King Maker’s beer list features loads of easier-drinking, lower-alcohol styles. It’s Dortmunder export is a great example of the style punctuated by a touch of hop bitterness on the backend, contrasting with the brewery’s semisweet version of a “Texas-style bock” (i.e., Shiner Bock). A traditional Leipzig-style gose conveys mild saltiness, while the malt character of an extremely quaffable dark lager called 1913 veers into dark-chocolate territory.

Fishweir Brewing

The nearby Murray Hill neighborhood is home to Fishweir Brewing. Like its name, which was inspired by a local park, the company’s beers are influenced by the community its married owners loved enough to site their passion project within. Their tasting room has a contemporary, chill feel with stylish tilework and green accent walls. One has cut-out windows offering a peek at oak barrels being used to age numerous beers, while the other is covered with colorful framed artwork offering names and specs of Fishweir’s beers. Out back, an Astroturf-surfaced patio is home to yoga on Tuesdays and Friday movie nights.

Start with the sours here and be sure to take a chance on their more avant-garde varieties. The Vietnamese pho soup-inspired Pho-get About It makes good on a challenging premise thanks to lime, Thai basil and spot-on spicing. Fishweir’s farmhouse ales are similarly exotic, with an earthy, hibiscus-infused draft saison as well as fruited, funky and barrel-aged varieties that are for sale in bottles. Adjuncts (Key lime, coffee, fruit) find their way into lagers and stouts, while IPAs of all types stand on their own merits, with a cold IPA titled Take Me to Your Liter giving off notes of fresh grass, lime zest, gladiola, jasmine and lemon pith.

Standout Suds: Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale, Bold City Brewery; General Zaragoza Gose with Prickly Pear, Bold City Brewery; 1913 Dark Lager, King Maker Brewing; Dortmunder Export Lager, King Maker Brewing; Pho-get About It Pho-inspired Sour Ale with Lime, Thai Basil & Vietnamese Spices, Fishweir Brewing; Quercus White Wine Barrel-aged Brett Saison, Fishweir Brewing

FEATURED BREWERIES: Bold City Brewery, 2670 Rosselle St, #7 (Brewery), 109 E Bay St (Downtown Tasting Room); King Maker Brewing, 720 King St; Fishweir Brewing, 1183 Edgewood Ave S

OTHER BREWERIES: Myrtle Avenue Brewing, 633 Myrtle Ave N


It’s well worth a bridge crossing to explore Jacksonville’s southern expanses. From the combination of notable beer operations new and old in San Marco to a brewpub accessible by boat, there’s plenty to see and even more to taste.

Wicked Barley Brewing

The owners of the latter, Wicked Barley Brewing, built their very own dock along Goodsby’s Creek when constructing their brewpub back in 2016. It was the first craft-beer business to open in what had previously been a beer desert and has since become a lively hub for residents looking for a family- and pet-friendly spot for homespun beers, quality eats and good times. In addition to a roster of beers ranging from adventurous to off-the-wall, Wicked Barley is popular for its fun events, including dockside yoga and paddleboarding, beer-and-food-pairing dinners, reggae Sundays, summer luaus, an annual Oktoberfest celebration and a festival devoted to blues, brews and barbecue.

Anything might make it onto Wicked Barley’s extensive tap list, from a Great American Beer Festival (GABF) gold-winning amber ale to a fruit- and nut-infused kettle-sour crafted to emulate the flavor profile of a PB&J sandwich. A pair of cores, Remain Anonymous cream ale and Left Leg German-style lager, make for good dock-drinking options, while full-on decadence comes in the form of an autumnal-spiced pumpkin quad called Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace (fans of The Simpsons get it) and a chocolate-milk-like stout with a mocha-java nose called It’s a Bit Nibly Out. And don’t let the ubiquity of NEIPAs in JAX keep you from trying Wicked Barley’s bright, pulpy archetype of the style, Promised One.

Aardwolf Brewing

Coming up first alphabetically and in numerous locals’ hearts is Aardwolf Brewing, a beer op that’s been marching to the beat of its own drum for over a decade. Ducking into this dim-lit red-brick cavern of a tasting room lends one access to an abundance of beers spanning numerous styles, including more high-alcohol beers than most other breweries (triple IPA, imperial stout, barrel-aged beers and barleywines…yes, plural!). Each July, that lair plays home to a week-long space prom centered around alien and sci-fi movies, followed by August’s “Wet Hot American Summer” fete, marked by numerous activities, including a pinewood derby.

Fans of Belgian-style ales will be happy to see they are done justice here. A GABF bronze-garnering Belgian pale ale going by its acronym (BPA) segues nicely to a dubbel dubbed Monk Trouble. Southbank unfiltered IPA bursts with almost as much fruitiness (peach, orange, apricot) as the citrusy, mildly funky San Marco Sour, and the bouquet of an American stout called Styrofoam Pony offers an interesting maple note. Word to the wise, mark your calendar, because when Aardwolf puts on a suds soiree like its September anniversary, they break out barrel-aged wonders like A.I.M., a honey and pistachio-laced barrel-aged baklava imperial stout that’s as nutty (in a good way) as the day (or year, in this case) is long.

Tepeyolot Cerveceria

A proper and delicious endnote for an excursion to JAX’s southerly expanses – or any day of brewery-touring – can be had at Tepeyolot Cerveceria. One of the city’s newest beer concerns, it’s a combo brewery and restaurant serving down-home, from-scratch Mexican fare. Several of the recipes there have been passed down from the owner’s ancestors, including various sauces and signature seasoning blends. Aztec culture is integrated care of the art on the walls and the names of the house beers, a number of which incorporate Mexican fruits and spices, making for an ideal beer-and-food experience.

Tepeloyot’s core beers are, not coincidentally, its most food-friendly. Those include a Mexican-style lager (or course), slightly lemony kölsch, snappy Pilsner and a Vienna-style lager with a nice hint of hop bitterness. A soft-on-the-palate hazy brewed in support of the Ales for ALS charity initiative is good on its own, as are meal-in-a-glass offerings, including a cinnamon-forward barrel-aged churro stout and an ancho- and chile de árbol-steeped stout emulating the taste of Mexican hot chocolate.

Standout Suds: Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace Belgian-style Quadrupel with Pumpkin, Nutmeg, Clove & Allspice, Wicked Barley Brewing; Promised One New England-style IPA, Wicked Barley Brewing; Southbank Unfiltered IPA, Aardwolf Brewing; A.I.M., Barrel-aged Baklava-inspired Imperial Stout with Honey & Pistachio, Aardwolf Brewing; El Suerte Hazy IPA, Tepeyolot Cerveceria; La Brujita Vienna-style Lager, Tepeyolot Cerveceria

FEATURED BREWERIES: Wicked Barley Brewing, 4100 Baymeadows Rd; Aardwolf Brewing, 1461 Hendricks Ave; Tepeyolot Cerveceria, 2130 Kings Ave

OTHER BREWERIES: Bottlenose Brewing, 9700 Deer Lake Ct, #1; Legacy Ale Works, 14965 Old St Augustine Rd, Ste 129-130; Veterans United Craft Brewery, 8999 Western Way, #104


Riverside Craft Beer Festival (February)
Riverside Arts Market, 715 Riverside Ave

Presented by the Riverside Rotary Club, this charity event takes place under the Fuller Warren Bridge and includes beers from local, regional and national breweries plus eats from some of the city’s best food trucks.

San Marco Beer Fest (April)
Balis Park, 1999 San Marco Blvd

Each year, JAX breweries converge on Aardwolf’s and Tepeloyot’s hometown to offer unlimited pours of their liquid wares against the backdrop of live music, bolstered by food from San Marco restaurants.

Beaches Oktoberfest (October)
Seawalk Pavilion, 75 1st St N, Jacksonville Beach

Trade lederhosen for beachwear at the largest celebration of Oktoberfest you’ll find in the entire state of Florida, a fest overflowing with all manner of beer (German and otherwise), brats, bands and more.


Courtyard by Marriott Jacksonville Beach Oceanfront
1617 1st St N, Jacksonville Beach

With such a high concentration of quality breweries nearby, this shore-lining locale makes for a perfect home base. Take a dip in a heated pool, jacuzzi or the Atlantic before heading out for some ale-and-lager exploration, then hit the lively hotel bar for a nightcap before retiring and refueling for more brewery touring.

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