First is Alewife in Riverside’s 5 Points, owned by Kelly Pickard and Jamie Burket. Pickard is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server and home brewer, and Burket is a craft beer lover in her own right. These ladies know their brews. In a neighborhood literally covered with great craft beer bars, Alewife has carved out their own niche. You can, of course, grab a seat at the bar and get a flight or a full pour of their six constantly rotating taps, or even select a bottle from the cooler to enjoy there. You can even peruse their extensive collection of cans and bottles for something to bring home with you. But where Alewife stands out is their series of classes and workshops designed to expand their customers’ knowledge of craft beer by combining educational components with beer tastings.
After getting a kick start on you beer education at Alewife, you can head right next door to Rain Dogs (I meant it when I said the place was covered with craft beer spots). Partially owned by local entrepreneur Christina Wagner (co-owned with her cohorts Ian Ranne and Will Greene), Rain Dogs is a cool little bar with local art on the walls, an assortment of board and arcade games, great bar food (from all you can eat nacho night to boiled peanuts to the vegan-friendly carrot dogs), and of course an excellent selection of craft beer. There is something going on here almost every night of the week, from trivia and comedy on Mondays to live music on the weekends.
Finally we go Murray Hill to Silver Cow. Silver Cow stands out not because of the quantity of their selection (which is still impressive) but the quality. Run by local beer blogger Regina Heffington, Silver Cow is a cozy spot where even the most experienced craft beer lover will find something exciting and those trying craft beer for the first time will feel welcome. This is a great spot where locals and visitors alike will feel right at home, and may even be lucky enough to join in on a bar-wide game of Cards Against Humanity (which has been known to happen from time to time).
These are just a few of my favorite spots for craft brews, that happen to be run by ladies with serious craft beer credentials. But as the craft beer scene in Jacksonville continues to grow, I’m sure there will be more and more. So get out there and explore them all!