Jacksonville Magazine’s 1st annual Northeast Florida Beer Cup was held this past Thursday evening at the Florida Theater. The wenches were in attendance, though not in formal dress this time. With a full month of beer fests ahead of us, we opted for Heidi buns, t-shirts and beer mug purses.
We arrived close to opening time at 6:30and waited in a very short and fast moving line as Grandpa’s Cough Medicine played in the background. They really know how to work a banjo. Once ID checked and through the door, we were presented with one of the nicest glass souvenir cups of any beer event so far. My only complaint would be that that was the only actual cup to be presented at the “Beer Cup.”
Looking forward to a hearty competition among local brewers and not finding it, I tracked down Joseph White, publisher and editor of Jax Mag, to find out what was up. According to Joe, it had actually started out as a competition, but there was some nervousness amongst the brewers about competing against each other when many had helped each other learn and grow, so the competition part was dropped. They are looking into doing it again next year and hopefully all the brewers will be on board with what I thought was an excellent concept that would really set this event apart from the other beer fests. Why not showcase their talent by creating a special brew just for the Beer Cup? I would love to go to an event where I could try something completely new.
There were two new beers I sampled that were both quite delicious, but there wasn’t much information posted and I had to ask them what they were serving to find out what I was getting. Engine 15 was serving what the guy said was a “black IPA” that reminded me of a hoppy stout and the other was a very drinkable IPA from Green Room Brewing. Once again, I wish there was more information provided about the beer instead of just fill’er up and on to the next one. A brochure type thing at the door telling about the beers available to sample would be helpful.
The limited number of tickets sold for the event worked out to a nice crowd, but it never had the feeling of being too packed. You could easily move around and the lines for beer and food were never too long. All the food I sample was delicious, with the standout being the pulled pork BBQ from Mojo #4 with a little mojo sauce. The BBQ tacos from Habeas Porkus were a close second. European Street Café was there with several tasty morsels to sample as well.
Overall it was a nice event with more of a “food and wine” feel than your typical “beer fest.” I look forward to seeing what they do next year and hope the idea of an actual competition catches on with the local breweries.