Veterans United – Jacksonville FL

Veterans UnitedI really wish I had my notebook for this day. On February 10, 2018, I was over in Jacksonville visiting friends and family. Up until the day, my friends and I had batted around ideas for places to go and hang out. Because one of my friends was delayed, another took me to someplace that he thought I would enjoy, the Veterans United Brewery.

Honestly, I have never been to a place that was so far off the beaten path. Veterans United is pretty much the last building in a Business Park. Number one, it’s an unlikely place for a brewery. Number two, I don’t think I would have known it was back there unless I knew someone that knew it was there. Despite being where it was, there were a lot of customers coming and going for the almost 6 hours that I was there.

I hadn’t expected this, but my friend, who took me there, seemed to be too excited about going there. When we got there, I understood why. He was a regular and knew the guys behind the bar by name. It was funny when they asked if he wanted his mug from behind the bar. I think I was played. Hahaha

When you walk in, they have a pretty large seating area. It can probably seat 40 – 50 people easily. They are dog friendly, and we probably saw 4 – 5 dogs come and go over the time we were there. The decoration was fairly no frills. The walls were covered in classic military pictures and recruiting posters. It had a comfy vibe.

VU Beer ListNow, for the beers. As you can see from the picture, they had 15 beers and what looked like 2 ciders. I hadn’t expected them to be carrying that much product. It’s more than I have seen at almost any other craft breweries. The other thing is that they had a pretty good range of beer styles.

Since I was there for almost 6 hours, I managed to try 12 of the beers, staying away from beer styles that I typically don’t care much for. I was glad that each of the beers had their own personality. Because I didn’t have my notebook with me, I will talk about my four favorite beers.

 
VU Flight 2Hop Banshee
Brewer: Veterans United (Jacksonville, FL)
Style: American IPA (Indian Pale Ale)
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 66
Served: Draft
Glass Style: 4oz Flight Glass
Rating: Good

So, the Hop Banshee was in my first flight of samples. As you can see from the picture, it’s a clear rich golden color with a light white head. The aroma was heavy with hops and citrus. The Banshee didn’t disappoint for an IPA. I would say that it was an above average IPA with the hoppy citrusy flavors that you would expect from the beer style. It was good enough that I ranked it in my top 4 beers of that day, and made it part of my ongoing drinking.

 

VU Flight 1Avenging Angel
Brewer: Veterans United (Jacksonville, FL)
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 6.1%
IBU: 37
Served: Draft
Glass Style: 4oz Flight Glass
Rating: Good

The Avenging Angel was in my second sampling flight. Much like the Hop Banshee, the beer poured a rich golden with a light white head. It was probably slightly lighter than the Banshee. This beer was all about the hops. You can smell the hops and a degree of bitterness. The flavor was lighter than the Banshee, but was delightfully hoppy with a slight bitterness. I enjoyed this one and added it to my repeating flight.

 

Farmers Little Helper
Veterans United (Jacksonville, FL)
Style: Belgium Saison
ABV: 7.5%
IBU: 30
Served: Draft
Glass Style: 4oz Flight Glass
Rating: Good

Lately, I have been gaining a little bit of an appreciation for the Saison style of beer. It seems that I am seeing this style more frequently in the last year. So, the Farmers is a light golden with a very light white head. I don’t remember a lot about the aroma, but the flavor was great. It was fruity, though I couldn’t quite tell you what it reminded me of. I want to say that it had a dry finish that made it crisp. It was a thoroughly enjoyable beer.

 

VU Top FlightThe Snipe
Veterans United (Jacksonville, FL)
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.0%
IBU: 69
Served: Draft
Glass Style: 4oz Flight Glass
Rating: Good

I couldn’t go without having a Stout or Porter in my top 4. The Snipe set itself apart from the other dark beers being served that day. It poured dark with a rich creamy mocha head. Smelling the beer, you could pick up the dark roast, a hint of fruitiness, and perhaps a slight booziness. The flavor was rich with dark roast and a hint of chocolate. The beer was thick in the mouth and you could sense the alcohol in the beer. This beer finished out the four beers that I would continue to drink that day.

 

VU Flight 3I am definitely looking forward to going back to Veteran’s United. I don’t think that I had a bad beer of the 12 beers that I sampled. There were some beers that simply weren’t my thing. So, I thought I would point out what I thought was the best to me. It was unfortunate that I was focused on drinking and didn’t take a tour of the brewery. My buddy recommended it, but the timing was never quite right.

On that note, I have been thinking about writing up breweries, maybe a brewery of the month. I thought it would be a good idea to take notes from questions that I ask on tours, maybe even interview the brewer. I’d like to understand the philosophy and motivation behind their craft brewing. I definitely want to get the word out about breweries.

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