Mile Marker Brewing's beermasters swirl hops and yeast into towering kettles within the sprawing St. Augustine brewery. Inside the on-site tap room, barkeeps pour 5.5-ounce samples of Mile Marker's three signature brews straight from the barrel (a $5 value), each of which is named for the coordinates of bars frequented by Hemingway's beard. Mile Marker 1565, a nutty Irish red ale with hints of caramel, offsets the light, citrusy flavors of Mile Marker Zero, a German summertime ale. Centennial and Sterling hops lend subtle bitterness to the IPA Mile Marker 82's floral flavors. After selecting a favorite beer from the flight, patrons can follow up with a full pint (up to a $5 value) and bask in the tap room's cool blue light, which illuminates retro console video games, dartboards, and an elevated fish tank. Mile Marker Brewing also leads free tours through the brewery itself, where large steel and copper kettles slosh with foaming yeast and piquant hops as master brewers stir, read bedtime stories to, and generally supervise each effervescent batch.
Vino Del Grotto harbors wines for sipping by the glass or carting home. Like homesick stomach butterflies, more than 20 wines by the glass flutter down tongues during tasting flights, tantalizing each guest with three 3-ounce portions of grapey goodness in customized selections such as Yosemite View chardonnay or German-imported Valckenberg dornfelder. Peach-apricot chardonnay and green-apple riesling sate fruit-partial palates, and sips of sparkling Belle Jardin brut bubble upon taste buds, giving them the effervescent feeling of flight that ostriches only dream of.
A grizzled sailor adjusts his eye patch as he leads his entourage down a winding street. A pirate with feathers in his cap breathes life into the history of a Spanish mansion. Tour Saint Augustine Inc.'s guides, always garbed in period dress, bridge the gap between St. Augustine’s past and present, recounting the city’s history through stories of early European colonists, famous local architects, and civil-rights activists.
Walking tours and hop-on, hop-off motorcoach tours begin in the Flagler-era historic district at the company's office. On foot, the guides follow a set tour path or tailor excursions to their group's interests as they travel to the past via a wormhole beneath the city’s gates. Their drivers also steer visitors down quaint side streets in historical horse-drawn carriages, and National Park Service–sanctioned guides lead guests into the bowels of the Castillo de San Marcos fort.
Lined with mahogany-colored shelves, Wine Bank's walls display bottles upon bottles of wines, suggesting that its name is no misrepresentation. But unlike most wine shops, Wine Bank isn't just about wine. Here, beers, fine wines, and cigars complement an in-house menu of upscale starters and gourmet entrees, ranging from pork filet mignon to shrimp mac 'n' cheese. And for those who would rather drink wine than spend thousands building vineyards in their basement, Wine Bank offers memberships with discounts and invitations to private tastings and events.
Om Bar & Chill Lounge holds dominion over a deep vault of more than 120 beers and 100 wine selections seized from all parts of the world and chilled in captivity to pacify ravenous thirsts. Suds-seeking guests can select from throngs of bottled and draft beers; recent offerings include Sierra Nevada pale ale, Kronenbourg 1664, and Skullsplitter (pints start at $3.75). Wine aficionados can find liquid relief in the crisp finish of a glass of Capasaldo pinot grigio or an aromatic, palate-pleasing bottle of Fess Parker syrah (glasses start at $5; bottles start at $18). Dessert wines and specialty drinks keep flaky taste buds interested, and cigars and hookahs provide succor to olfactory organs, preventing nostrils from crying out in the middle of the night and having to be stuffed with potpourri.
At Jaxtoberfest, it's easy to eat bratwurst and drink beer casually—or competitively. The German-themed festival's brat-eating contest tests participants' stomach capacity, whereas the 5K Beer Run challengs runners to down brews at "chug stations" lining the race course. Revelers can also test their wits in games of oversize beer pong, beer barrel racing, and stein hoisting. Classic Bavarian music complements the games and food, providing an ideal backdrop for chicken dancing and polka. The family-friendly event also hosts fall-themed activities for kids, such as pumpkin bowling and pumpkin painting.