St. Augustine is really frustrating, or at least the train tours. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the city, and the train tours, pricey as they are, are a relaxing way to see the city. But they make sure to pointedly focus and stop specifically at the city’s distillery and winery. 

But they ignore the beer. And the beer isn’t exactly out of the way, either. They drive right by a few places, including the new Dog Rose Brewing, just a bit behind the Lightner Museum. 

The brewery may be new on paper, but there’s plenty of history there already. It’s situated in the Lincolnville area, a section of town dotted with canopy trees and Victorian B&B’s, whose streets hosted marches by Martin Luther King, Jr. The rosa canina, or dog rose, can be found climbing a trellis or two here as well.

On the edge is Dog Rose Brewing, in a large, deep red building completely unmissable to traveling tours. The copper jacketed brewing system inside is a staple of St. Augustine brewing, having graced the lower floor at nearby A1A Ale Works for the better part of two decades. 

“It’s like still driving your old car from college,” says Doug Murr, owner and brewmaster of Dog Rose Brewing. As A1A Ale Works phased out its brewing interests, it ended Doug’s tenure as brewmaster there as well. So he packed the system up and moved it a few blocks away. 

He’s excited for the change. “At A1A, I was quickly locked into styles that everyone knew me for. Here I have some standards, but I can do other things, too.”

And as my daughter openly eyed the shuffleboard in the corner, my wife and I enjoyed a few of those other things. We ended up choosing both of their nitro drafts, coincidentally. 

On the left is Jolly Jack Pumpkin Ale (Pumpkin Ale, 7.3% ABV, 13 IBU), a rich and chewy amber ale with an incredible aroma chocked full of pumpkin spices, notably nutmeg and cinnamon. For a beer north of 7% alcohol, it’s just south of being a boozy beer. There’s a lot of great caramel flavor in the beer as well, no doubt from a healthy and robust malt bill.

And on the right is a straightforward Oatmeal Stout (Stout, 5.6% ABV, 24 IBU), fantastic in its simplicity and execution, yet the finished product is complex and deep. A delightfully velvety mouthfeel and rich flavor came from someone who has clearly been brewing for years. 

Which is the problem, as it just isn’t advertised as much as it needs to be. There’s so much good beer in America’s first city that it seems a shame to drive by. 

But most tour groups will do exactly that, passing by on their way to the distillery or the winery. 

Passing by the history completely. 

Drink Florida Craft, 

Dave

@floridabeerblog

floridabeerblog@gmail.com

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