We’d made the drive out to North Sarasota to poke into Drum Circle Distilling and have a taste of their Siesta Key Rum, but it wasn’t enough for my mother-in-law. She was looking for more, and asked if I knew whether there were any breweries in the area. It just so happened that I’d done my research on the off chance we could make a second stop. So we jumped into the rental and blasted off to nearby JDub’s Brewing Company.
I’d seen their cans in the local grocery store, and I’d tried a couple of the beers at various establishments on Anna Maria Island, but I never gave them any additional thought. When we pulled into the parking lot across the street and looked at the small warehouse I still didn’t know what to expect. Only the food truck out front and a small logo on the corner of the building really tipped me off that it was a brewery. As I got closer things became a little more clear. One of the garage doors was open and, once my eyes adjusted to the light, I could see their bright fermenters and all manner of buckets, kegs, and other brewing equipment. And after I saw their plastic strip curtain that was functioning as their doorway to the taproom I knew there was going to be something a bit quirky about this place.
The taproom itself is pretty small. There is a tiny bar and only a handful of tables. We took turns choosing four tasters, and brought the colorful flight surfboards over to one of their spacious high tops. The backdoor was open to their patio and beer garden but we decided to enjoy the comfort of a warm shade that wayward Minnesotans can uniquely appreciate. They had ceiling fans running which created a lovely breeze on an 80 degree day. Everywhere my eyes went I rested on one quirky mural after another. Between their carefree logo, blinged out stormtroopers in a variety of colors, and dogs cooling themselves on the concrete floor, it was clear that these folks like to have a good bit of fun. While their music wasn’t my style, it was quiet enough that it set a mood and didn’t overpower our conversation.
There beers were every bit as adventurous as their spirit. I tasted their Passion Wheat Passion Fruit & Mango Wheat Ale, Ain’t No Berry IPA, TropiCow Banana & Milk Chocolate Porter, and Leaping Lemur Double IPA. The TropiCow tasted, not shockingly, like a chocolate covered banana. It’s really as simple as that. Leaping Lemur was a collaboration with Tripping Animals Brewing. It had a light haze, with a nice juicy flavor of sweet fruit and lemon citrus with some floral notes on the nose. The favorite of the whole group was by far the Passion Wheat. There was a fantastic aroma of passion fruit and mango. It was smooth with a nice clean fruit flavor. Easy decision to grab a six pack to take home with us!
As the sun was going down, we each grabbed another beer and took them out on the patio. It was even more quirkier once we got outside. There are tiki men painted on the fence, a variety of backyard games, and a robot mural featuring Rosey the Robot, Bender, Robot B9, Red Rocker, Blue Bomber, and Johnny 5. It felt more like visiting a friend’s backyard, one of those friends that has a couple of dogs and doesn’t care too much about his grass! A fence separates a larger area in the back which after a bit of research looks like it gets used for various events throughout the year. When we were visiting it seemed like there was a small private party there. The beer that I paired with the sunset was their Passion Heat. This was my absolute favorite of the visit. It’s the same base beer as the Passion Wheat but with some pepper flavor. The first drink packed a big pepper punch but then mellowed out and that pepper played offer the passion fruit and mango extremely well. I don’t generally like pepper beers, but since this one it’s got me trying more of them now that I know what they are capable of. It looks like this was a one off beer though, so I don’t think it will be available anymore. Keep an eye out for beers of a similar style!
JDub’s definitely doesn’t take themselves too seriously, but they definitely treat their beer with respect. Every drink I had or tasted was brewed well. The beers that I’d gotten in the stores or at restaurants were also quite tasty. I love their adventurous spirit and adventurous take on beer styles. One interesting thing they had was a digital tap list. Usually I don’t like this kind of thing, but this one showed all the sizes of glassware available as well as the general color of the beer and how much was left in the keg. It was an interesting little touch. Another cool feature can be found in their bathroom. They had a mural that was packed with all variety of pop culture icons and fictional characters. I loved it, and it’s probably one of the rare times that I’ll say you have to check out the bathroom at a brewery! It all adds up to a taproom where you can have a lot of fun, but not at the expense of a great beer.