Tag Archives: craft brewery

Veterans United Craft Brewery grand opening set

VUCB TAPROOMRon Gamble has worn many hats; he was a naval aviator, a contributor to half-a-dozen high-tech startups, a home brewer and finally a head brewer. Over the past six years, Ron has honed his skill at the brew kettle at a variety of operations and is now using his skills to open his own brewery on Jacksonville’s Southside. Gamble’s Veterans United Craft Brewery will welcome the public into its tap room for the first time on Friday, August 22.

The brewery is the culmination of a dream that began over a decade ago when Gamble’s wife Sheryl gave him a True Brew kit and a few books on brewing in 1999. Gamble, the holder of a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Tech, enjoyed experimenting with the kit and quickly advanced from extract brewing to full mash.

“At a certain point,” Gamble explained. “I found I was more excited about beer and beer-making than high-tech.” So, in 2007, he began working as a brewer at a local brew pub and began the path to opening his own brewery.

As his skills sharpened, Gamble decided he wanted to get a formal education in brewing. He looked into the brewing programs at the University of California, Davis and the Siebel Institute. Ultimately, he decided on Siebel because of the institute’s German education component. He graduated from the Master Brewer program and set about looking for work in the exploding craft brewing industry.

“Going to brew school was like going to college,” Gamble said. “You learn a little, but don’t actually learn a lot until you get out and apply it.” And apply his knowledge Gamble did. Over the next few years he moved from being the brewer at a small brew pub to brew master at New England regional brewery Wachusett Brewing Company.

In 2012, Gamble returned to Jacksonville where he was stationed while serving as a naval aviator attached to the USS Forrestal. The goal of the move was to secure a location, begin the process of building his brand and opening his dream brewery.

“This [Jacksonville] is a wide open market,” Gamble said of his decision to open a brewery in the River City. Jacksonville, in his opinion, has the potential to be a major craft beer powerhouse in Florida. “I’m tired of hearing about Tampa. I want this area to be known [for craft beer].”

Gamble’s new brewery will brew on a 20-barrel, domestically-built brewing system and use 40-barrel fermenters. His plan is to keg his beer for distribution to local bars and restaurants and, soon after opening, can his beers for package and grocery store distribution. Mike Carver has been brought on to take on head brewer duties and Champion Brands, who also distributes Intuition Ale Works, Aardwolf Brewing Company and Pinglehead Brewing Company, will distribute beer for Veterans United.

But, brewing beer is not the only goal Gamble has for his new business. As part of his outreach to the community, Gamble plans to work closely with the local veteran community. To that end, Bob Buehn, a former squadron-mate of Gamble’s, was brought on board as Military and Veterans liaison.  Buehn’s task is to seek out ways to give back to the community and the military, “in a focused way.”

The military thread runs through much of what the brewery does even down to the name and logo. The name, Veterans United Craft Brewing is a nod to, “…taking the passion and enthusiasm from when I was serving,” Gamble said. The logo prominently features aviator’s wings and a nautical star. Both nods to Gamble’s service in the Navy.

“Beer is an every person’s drink. It is a social lubricant,” said Gamble. “I want to be sure as a brewer we are doing the right things.”

With a passion for brewing and a keen eye for precision and quality, Gamble seems to have hit on a winning recipe. Taste the fruits of his labors for yourself at the grand opening of his brewery and tap room Friday, August 22 beginning at 5:00 p.m. The festivities will include food truck, live music and brewery tours.

Veterans United Craft Brewery
8999 Western Way
Jacksonville, FL 32256

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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in Craft Beer Brewery


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Bold City Brewery’s Brian Miller interviewed on ‘I Know Jax’

Bold City Brewing Company was the first craft brewery in Jacksonville. Established in 2008, the mother and son team of Susan and Brian Miller have created a local brewery that is a real favorite. Most Friday and Saturday nights find the tap room full of friendly and thirsty folks ordering such great beers as Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale, Killer Whale Cream Ale and Mad Manatee.

Recently, Joe Talentino of ‘I Know Jax,” interviewed Brian in the brewery’s tap room. Click the video below to see the entire interview and be sure to tune in to CW17 Saturday and Sunday nights at 9:30 p.m. for more brewer interviews and Beer Guy segments.

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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Craft Beer Brewery


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Intuition Ale Works Grand Opening

Yesterday Jacksonville’s newest brewery opened the doors of its tap room and event area to the public. From the size of the crowd and the smiles on everyone’s faces, it was a very welcome addition!

I got to the brewery early and red t-shirt clad employees were scurrying around completing last minutes tasks and adding finishing touches. The event area — essentially the warehouse area next to the brewery — is now decked out with a plank wood bar and a large chalkboard with the beers current available. The area is large and airy, a cool breeze blowing through the open dock doors kept it comfortable for the large crowd.

And then there is the Tap Room. A combination of old and new, brick and chrome, dark high-top tables and concrete floor make it a welcoming, eclectic area sure to become many beer afficianados favorite hang out. The addition of a few televisions with sporting events on them would make it a mecca for sports-loving Jacksonvillians looking for great beer.

Four beers were being served for the Grand Opening; People’s Pale Ale, King Street Stout (which was already good upon my last tasting a few weeks ago, but has now fully matured and is my favorite IAW beer), Riverside Red, and the as yet un-named wheat beer. In fact, they were having a contest to name the wheat beer. My entries; Wild Westside Wheat and Will “Wheat”on.

The crowd at the opening was huge, many lined up outside the gate to be one of the first to be in the Brewery Mug Club (I got number 11 — the frirst 10 numbers were reserved). With only a little over a hundred memberships available, it was obvious that the club would fill up quickly. And, by the time I left around 6:00 PM it looked as if it had.

Once inside, the crowd was animated and friendly. Everyone was enjoying themselves, discussing the beer in very positive and complimentary fashion. Groups of friends gathered around the tables set up in the warehouse, milled around and laughter filled the brewery.

The day was an unqualified success and a testiment to the hunger the Jacksonville area has for great beer. Now with Bold City and Inuition Ale Works only a few short blocks apart and Kickback’s just a few blocks as well, we have the makings of Jacksonville Brewery/Pub district. With luck we will see more great establishments like Intuition Ale Works poppin up soon!

Congratulations to Ben and the gang at Intuition. A job well done!

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Posted by on November 21, 2010 in Beer, Beer Tasting, Champion Brands, Local Brewery


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