First Coast Brews: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Wicked Barley brewery recently started serving their own brews, so our little band of samplers set out to sample as many beers as possible.  

First off, what an incredible location!  Wicked Barley sits along Baymeadows Road, within eye sight of San Jose Boulevard on Goodsby Creek (right at the Baymeadows bridge over the creek).  They orientated the brewery to the water, offering excellent sunset views.  There is seating inside along two bar fronts and tables.  Outside there is a deck with table seating and even places to sit on the lawn leading down to the creek and dock.

You can almost forget you are along a busy roadway!

The Brewery is on display behind large glass windows as you walk in the door.  They write on the glass and tell you what is brewing in the tanks, including pilot batches.  There is a large chalkboard displaying the beers on tap, but we were also given a paper menu of the food offering and the beer.  

Impressively, of their 20 taps, 19 were their own beer.  That impressed us greatly.  My Dad was most interested in the Mead they had on tap.  At last year's Brew at the Zoo, he pretty much set up camp at the Wicked Barley tent drinking their Mead.  

ICYMI:  Last week we explored Meads in anticipate of Wicked Barley's beer release.

With Dad firmly settled on the Orange Blossom Mead to start, the rest of us had to decide what to drink.  I opted for the Breakfast Marzan, an Oktoberfest beer treated with maple and bacon.  The Hubby chose Vanilla Brown and my Stepmom went for the Bob's Belgian Wit.  Everyone sampled each other's brew since Wicked Barley is not offering flights at this time.

In total, we tried 10 brews, including a cider and a mead.  In total, none of us were disappointed.  Here's some tasting notes:

Breakfast Marzan ABV 5.1%.  The flavor was sweet with smoky notes.  Don't think salty bacon, think dipping smoky bacon in maple syrup with some yeasty bread alongside.  I would drink this variation daily if given the opportunity.  Marzan ABV 5.1%  To be fair, we sampled the plain Oktoberfest as well.  To be honest  after the Maple Bacon variation, it paled a bit.  But a solid Munich style lager.  Slightly sweet.

Imperial Pumpkin ABV 7.6%  Ok this is a Belgian Pumpkin beer.  You had me at Belgian.  You had me at Pumpkin.  They also offer a Morning Pumpkin-an Oak aged Pumpkin.  I have had barrel aged pumpkin beers, so I went for the more unusual Belgian.  The spice and pumpkin blended with the Belgian style beer perfectly.  I'm surprised that more breweries don't do this.  Sweet and rich with warm spice notes.  

Orange Blossom Mead ABC 6.4% This is simply a solid plain ole Mead.  It's sweet and feels soft in your mouth.  The Orange Blossom essence is strong, it smells like driving down I-75 in January when the orange trees are blooming.  You must love the taste of honey, which I do.  They also offered a Root Beer Mead, we simply couldn't try everything, but next time if it is available we will try it.

INSIDER'S TIP The Wicked Barley web page has a current tap list if you are wanting to see what is available today.  You can also check out the food menu.

Vanilla Brown ABV 4.8% The nose is full on Vanilla at first sniff.  The flavor is a bitter chocolate with vanilla overtones.  It is very similar to Cigar City's Vanilla Maduro Brown, if you like that one, you'll like this too.  The ABV is low, making it a great sessionable beer.

Hard Cider ABV 7% Think really good apple juice.  There is no doubt you are having a cider with this one!  It is sweet, slightly tart.  You could easily over indulge on this one with an ABV of 7%.  There was also a Tart Cider offered, I'd guess there was more sour in that one.  

The Belgians:  Bob's Belgian Wit ABV 5.5 and Monk's Menage ABV 9.2.  The Wit was smooth and had a slight bubble gum flavor (like a good Hefeweiss).  The Monk's Menage is a trippel that didn't taste like the 9.2%, making it another easy to over indulge brew.  It was yeasty, but had caramel notes.  We agreed that a little aging would probably make it spectacular.

My last beer was of course a sour.  Razzmakat ABV 3.4% is a raspberry Berliner Weiss.  It was not so sour that you thought you were eating Sour Patch Kids, but was a fruity tart beer, slightly pink in color and very palate cleansing.  This beer has a perfume smell that was quite pleasurable.

Overall, we enjoyed every brew we tried.  Quite impressive for the first offerings.  I think we can expect great Wicked things in the future.  By the way, we didn't do more  than some appetizers for food, but watching the food coming out of the kitchen we'll be back for dinner!

Coming in November, DuClaw Brewing hits the state of Florida.  This Baltimore Brewery has been turning out award winning and hugely popular beers since the 90's.  They offer some amazing brews including "Sweet Baby Jesus" Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter, "Neon Gypsy IPA", "Dirty Little Freak" Coconut, Caramel, Chocolate brown ale.  Events start on Tuesday November 1st at Alewife from 6 pm - 9 pm.  Wednesday November 2nd at Engine 15 (Jax Beach)  from 4 pm - 7 pm (pint night).  Wednesday from 7 pm - 9pm at Really Good Beer Stop in Jax Beach.  Thursday November 3rd in St Augustine at Broudy from 4 pm - 6pm and Hornski's on Anastasia Blvd from 7 pm - 10 pm.  The kick off week ends at Beer:30 San Marco and Riverside.  

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Cheers y'all!


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