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Blade and Barrel Brewing Co. is a Cut Above

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Blade and Barrel Brewing Co. in Jacksonville is unlike any place you’ve ever been. That is unless you frequent microbreweries that double as barber shops. Yup, you read right. No typos here. And I have to say, while initially hesitant, a recent visit quashed any of my doubts about the place.

To truly take in the entire Blade and Barrel experience, I first booked a haircut with one of the three barbers on staff. I say “haircut,” but being bald, a traditional mop chop waved bye-bye to me many moons ago. Fortunately, they do head shaves with a straight razor. Sounds a little scary, but it’s not. The shave took about 30 minutes, during which time I eavesdropped on other chairs’ conversations for the inevitable topic of food to come up. The chatter mentioned a pickle bacon pizza and an order of Gochujang-flavored wings as being optimal choices.

I paid my barber bill, walked through the glass door five steps away, and bam, I was now in the taproom with my youngest daughter, who was previously mocking her old man while getting a head shave. Anyways, we parked ourselves at a two-top and checked out the menu, although I already knew what we would order.

Blade and Barrel has 11 of their house-made beers available. Being that it was 11:30 a.m., I opted for the lightest one, the 3.7 ABV Mann Wasser. I mean, for research purposes, I had to have one beer, right? The Mann Wasser (or Man Water) was described on the menu as, “somewhere between a German Pilsner and an American lager.” I agreed. Light, crisp, and refreshing this beer was exactly what I wanted on a hot summer day in Jacksonville.

The brew paired well with the pickle bacon pizza. And I know what some of y’all are thinking: “Pickles on pizza?” Yes, it works. And while I wouldn’t say the brewery will be winning any “Best of” pizza awards, it also doesn’t strike me that that’s what they’re going for. Food is more of a compliment to the beer at Blade and Barrel. The pickle pizza was fun and tasty, with an ultra-thin crust and a heavy hand of mozzarella and bacon crumbles. Each square piece comes with a sliced dill pickle on top, and it’s all best eaten with a little ranch, so ask for the liquid gold.

The Gochujang bone-in wings were just as delightful. In terms of a flavor profile, think teriyaki with a nice punch of heat. If this doesn’t sound appealing, Blade also has lemon pepper dry rub, garlic Parmesan, BBQ, Buffalo, and mango habanero wings. Other menu items include small bites like quesadillas, corndog bites, nachos, and pretzel bites, along with boneless wings, and a selection of pizzas that range from $12-$20.

In the end, whether you’re hungry, thirsty, or just need a trim, Blade and Barrel is sure to offer up a unique experience, and one that will keep you coming back for more.

Did You Know?

Because it’s located in “dry” territory, Blade and Barrel is a private club, so you must fill out a membership card to drink. No biggie, as it literally takes 5 seconds to complete the card.

Blade and Barrel Brewing Co.
140 John Harden Drive, Suite 18 (Jacksonville)
Phone: 501-596-9066
Hours: Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Closed Monday

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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