Hey, Jax! The first major beerfest of the year is almost here! The 6th Annual Riverside Craft Beer Festival presented by Riverside Rotary (“RCBF”) returns to the Riverside Arts Market under the Fuller-Warren Bridge in Jacksonville on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Map your course through six geographical sections and sample beers from Florida, regional, national and international breweries. Last year, the RCBF introduced a new layout with breweries grouped according to geographical location. The regional layout will return this year, said Callie Hugo, RCBF Committee Member and Liaison for Riverside Rotary and Community Hospice & Palliative Care in an interview. A number of local Jacksonville breweries will have a strong presence in the Florida section, along with many other favorite breweries across the state. In addition, attendees will enjoy beers from breweries located in the Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, West Coast and International. The current brewery list includes just under 100 breweries.
With cooperation from various distributors, RCBF brings a wide variety of beer to the fest tables. “We have relationships with a great group of distributors around Jacksonville,” said Callie. “These distributors are essential to make sure that our event goes off without a hitch, as well as supply beer that we know will be enjoyed by all who attend.”
It’s not “just” about the beer, either! RCBF benefits Community Hospice & Palliative Care, which has been “an instrumental part in our community for the past 40 years,” said Callie. Your entry fee to the beerfest helps support this organization, along with its “Community PedsCare” program. Community PedsCare serves over 175 children and their families daily across Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns Counties, said Callie. The services include palliative care for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, in addition to hospice care for children and their families while they focus on life and living. The vast majority of the children are enrolled in palliative care services, which are not reimbursed by insurance. Since 2016, the RCBF has donated over $255,000 to Community PedsCare, with $80,000 raised in 2018, Callie added. Riverside Rotary Club believes that the Community PedsCare helps the community through a program with no to very little funding, and Rotary looks forward to giving these families hope during difficult times.
New to the fest this year is live music by “Songs from the Road Band,” which has received accolades in the Bluegrass, Americana, and Jazz genres. The band will perform songs from four studio albums in addition to crowd favorites.
Of course, with beer and music, there must be food! Fear not, because with ten food trucks on site with a variety of eats available for purchase, there will again be something to please all palates.
As a venue, Riverside Arts Market provides ample space to move around comfortably, even with the increase in crowds as the event rolls on during the day. Riverside Craft Beer Fest takes place on Saturday, February 23, 2019 from 4-7pm for General Admission. Fest Chair this year is Audrey Moran. The VIP Ticket gets you in the fest an hour early at 3pm, with the chance to sip on limited release beers ahead of time. Advanced tickets are available online at www.riversidecraftbeerfestival.com. Tickets are $40 (General Admission) or $60 (VIP Admission). Tickets at the gate are $50 for 4pm entry. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Riverside Arts Market is located at 715 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville.
Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®
(adapted from www.brewnymph.com)
all photos: Linda Johnson
Linda Johnson is a BUZZ Contributing Writer (beer!) and founder of the beer and travel website, BrewNymph.com, covering all things Florida beer from news to events. She is the first female Level 2 Certified Cicerone® in the Jax area (since 2015), one of seven in the metro area, and the only Level 2-certified independent beer writer in the state.