Well, I guess it had to happen. As most of you have probably already figured out, I tend to be a glass half full kind of person when it comes to these reviews and I’m usually pretty forgiving of minor flaws in my write-ups. Sometimes, however, the flaws are too big or numerous to give a pass on. As part of my brewery tour back home, I went to Hyperion Brewing Company in Jacksonville, FL and left with an impression of a mediocre brewery looking for an identity. Read on as I make my case for the first brewery in my reviews to fall in the sub-15 points category.
- Beer – Mediocre, both in flavor and variety. The offerings on tap were limited to few standard beers (stout, IPA, Blonde, etc.) with several offerings tapped out when I visited. Of all that I tasted, the dry Irish stout was the best offering however even that was bland and lacked complexity of flavor. Rumor has it that they lost their head brewer recently and this may be contributing to the sub-par offerings until they find another. Score: 3/5
- Brewery – As my wife so eloquently put it, this place was a weird mish-mash of things hipsters are supposed to like. The interior décor was confusing and looked like antique meets industrial meets turn of the century and none of it worked well together. The main redeeming quality was the spacious and well thought out outdoor seating area. With plenty of seating and sun shade for those hot Florida summers, that portion of the brewery was well done and where I would spend most of my time. The prices were comparable to other breweries in the area but were still a little steep. While they did not have any food available, they do offer food trucks from time to time just off the patio. Score: 3.5/5
- Ambiance – Perhaps I just came at an off time, but I would have expected 9 pm on a Thursday night to be a bit more hopping in a city the size of Jacksonville. There were only a handful of fellow beer drinkers and the entire place felt muted and subdued, so much so that I paused when walking in the door and debated about going back to the brewery I just came from down the street. It was hard to put a finger on it exactly, but this place just did not have the welcoming vibe most people expect from a social place like a brewery. Score: 2/5
- Location – Just down the street from Main and Six Brewing in the historic Springfield neighborhood of Jacksonville, most of my assessment of the location is the exact same. With available street parking in front of the brewery, you will likely be able to find something close as most of the buildings around it are vacant. With little options near-by for late night food, the location leaves a bit to be desired when compared to other breweries in the city. Score: 3/5
- Customer Service – Disorganized and disheveled, but friendly enough. The bartender looked a bit harried despite there being very few customers present. Though I can’t speak on how the night was going previously, things felt a bit rushed at the bar, as though I was not really wanted there. If I had come in close to closing time, I suppose I could understand that but there was at least an hour to go when I walked in the door. The beer was served in a timely manner and was cold, so there is that I suppose. Score: 3/5
Total Score: 14.5/25
Final Thoughts: While this is not the worst brewery I’ve been to (that honor belongs to one in Colorado that maybe I’ll get around to telling the story of one day), there is certainly room for improvement here. From beer offerings to customer service, its seems while the big picture of a working brewery was achieved, the little details were ignored to the detriment of all. I never want to see a brewery fail but I fear that may happen to Hyperion if they cannot fix these flaws, especially with such strong competition one block away. If you are in the area and really want to check it out, stop by and grab a pint but I’ll probably be passing it by until they figure things out.