If ever there is an example of why second chances at first impressions exist, Blackadder fits the bill. At the time of opening approximately one year ago, they were Gainesville, Florida’s third stand alone brewery. I had met the owner and founder several times over the years as he managed and taught brewing classes at the local homebrew supply shop and I was really rooting for his success. However, when I visited shortly after opening I was disappointed, though many of the reasons why were beyond his control. When visiting home recently I decided to give Blackadder another try in the hopes that their previous problems had been fixed. As you will soon read, this brewery has made great strides since opening and I hope they continue to do so in the future.
- Beer – You can tell that brewing unique and flavorful recipes is a passion project here. While most of their offerings run towards the Belgian/German variety, they do have over a dozen guests taps that help offer more variety. The quality is excellent, but where they lose points is in the limited selection of house brews. I would love to see more offerings such as stouts or IPAs, but I understand the limitations of their brewing system in respect to the volume they are able to produce. One day I hope to see more options on tap, and I know they will be delicious. The strongest thing they have going for them is that their head brewer is also the owner, and I can tell you from experience that he takes enormous pride in his beers and creates them with meticulous attention to detail. Score: 3.5/5
- Brewery – I love the style of this place. The interior evokes an old world feel with a Tudor style that would be at home in any small pub in Germany or Belgium. Nowhere near the size of Gainesville’s other breweries, they still have ample seating area and a gorgeous bar. With wall darts and trivia nights there is always something to do. While they do not offer any food options, there are plenty of places nearby to eat and they have food trucks that stop by from time to time. The prices are comparable to the other breweries in Gainesville, though the hours of operation at Blackadder are the shortest in town. Score: 3.5/5
- Ambiance – Cozy and warm! This is a place where you can come in and spend the entire evening in conversation with friends and not realize how quickly the night has passed. Both times I have been, I have always gotten a warm welcome and the feeling of genuine pleasure that we have stopped by. If I still lived in town, I could certainly see this being my new hang-out spot, if for nothing else than how inviting it appears. Score: 4/5
- Location – I was initially skeptical of putting a brewery where Blackadder is located but now I see the utility of it. Located in a shopping area across the street from the local mall and about a mile from the interstate, the volume of traffic in this area is massive. With plenty of restaurants nearby, many people are going to come here after dinner for a beer. Ample parking and a well-lit area round out Blackadder’s location. It was a smart choice to start a brewery here, though much more expansion and they will rapidly outgrow this spot. Score: 4/5
- Customer Service – When the owner of the brewery frequently serves your beer and checks in on you throughout the night, you know they value their customers. The other bar tenders are equally friendly and served our beer quickly and efficiently. All around great customer service both times I’ve visited. Score: 4.5/5
Total Score: 19.5/25
Final Thoughts: A brewery that has gone through some growing pains, I still have enjoyed my visits to Blackadder. I would certainly recommend them to anyone still living in the area, or to any travelers passing through looking for a place to grab a beer before resting for the night. I sincerely hope they continue to do well and look forward to stopping in the next time I’m in town.