This past weekend, Wicked Barley Brewing Company offered previews of some of its beer choices at Really Good Beer Stop in Jax Beach and Beer:30 in San Marco.
We made it to the Beer:30 tasting on Saturday afternoon, and came away with a few observations about the brewery and its drinks ahead of their planned mid-summer launch.
Beer:30 is often where residents go to try out more unique, outside-the-box brews — this made it a perfect host for the Wicked Barley event. The offerings at the Beer:30 event represented quite a wide range of tastes, from a black rye IPA to a raspberry-flavored weisse.
Their tasting at Beer:30 was lacking in conventional options for the more casual beer-drinker, but the previous night’s lineup did include both a lager and a pale ale.
The buzz around the building suggested that the weisse was a big hit, as was the hard root-beer mead. Our personal favorite of the ones we tried was their Kolsch brew, although we were also quite impressed by the raspberry weisse. Luckily we managed to get to it right before they ran out.
Local and Personal
It’s very telling that the first thing we saw when approaching the tent was the prominently-displayed “Proudly Brewed in Jacksonville, FL” announcement on the front.
The local vibes don’t stop there, though. Their cider and mead options were brewed using locally-sourced honey. And of course, the brewery will soon move into its brand new location along Goodbys Creek on Baymeadows Rd.
Two of the co-owners of the brewery were on hand, chatting with visitors and taking feedback. They even brought along their custom-made cornhole boards to add a little fun to the tasting session.
Room for Growth
Of course, with any brand new business, there is room for improvement. One Beer:30 customer mused, “They’ll probably need to change the name of this one,” referring to their black rye IPA. The brew is tentatively titled “Token Black”.
This kind of early feedback will serve to strongly benefit the brewery as it nears launch. As such, the tastings were a mutually beneficial event — customers got an idea of what Wicked Barley has to offer, and Wicked Barley got an idea of what their customers will want.
It looks like Wicked Barley is off to a good start. In a city already crowded with breweries, it will be tough to carve out a niche, but we will certainly be keeping an eye on them as they develop and we encourage our readers to give them a shot once they launch.