There’s nothing quite like getting into your car and cruising the land of the brave and free. Cross country road trips are as American as apple pie and serve as a great way to experience the unencumbered liberty that citizenship in our fine country ought to provide. But with gas prices becoming prohibitively expensive, it’s good to have a way to cope with the detrimental dent that long amounts of vehicular travel can make on your wallet. I choose to drink away such sorrows. And thankfully the proliferation of craft breweries across the U.S. has afforded me with ample outlets to help ease the pain along the way.
There are in fact so many microbreweries currently dotting the landscape from coast-to-coast that one may arrange a road trip from Pacific to Atlantic oriented completely around finding the next one a little further down the road. I recently embarked on such a quest, beginning in California on the intercontinental interstate known as I-10. By the time I had run out of highway, I found myself on the East Coast in an inviting Floridian city called Jacksonville. It was there that I came across a local brewery producing one of the better, bitter IPAs in the land. Fittingly, they call their creation I-10 IPA, a name that I took thousands of miles of driving in order to fully appreciate.
The brewmaster responsible for this hop-centric heavy hitter, Ben Davis, opened Intuition Ale Works (720 King Street) in November 2010. In less than 2 years, his 10 barrel brewhouse has become one of the biggest names in the southwestern craftbrewing scene. On any given day, you could stop in to find 18 magnificent beers on tap. Some change with the season, like The Siren!, a black lager brewed with peppers and benefiting women’s charities—but don’t pass on the stalwarts, like their King Street Imperial Stout—unimaginably robust and drinkable at 9% ABV.
With beer this meticulously-crafted, the brewers are clearly taking their job seriously. Yet it’s refreshing to see that they still maintain a sense of humor, evidenced by the names of some of their clever creations. Dubbel Helix is a classic Belgian ale with a flavor that is elementary, my dear Watson (and Crick). Don’t care about that one? Perhaps Honey Badger is more your speed. This saison-farmhouse style ale is brewed using actual honey, and with an ABV of just over 7%, you won’t be caring about much after you finish a few of them.
Intuition Ale Works is staffed by incredibly knowledgeable pourers who are more than happy to explain the inspiration behind the suds they serve. If you want to go even more in-depth they also offer brewery tours throughout the afternoon from Wednesday thru Saturday. If you’re not from the area you may not know much about this special place, so the next time you find yourself in Jacksonville, go with your gut: Intuition Ale Works will satisfy your thirst.