World of Beer, Gainesville


By Dane Feldman

Photo by Dane Feldman.

This week’s Thirsty Thursday is of sentimental value to me. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with my family down in Gainesville, Florida, where my great aunt and cousins who work for the University of Florida reside.

I’ve been down there a handful of times and have even reviewed a few of the restaurants in the area, but I hadn’t been out drinking there before. This is due in part to the fact that my cousin is 70 and great aunt is 96, but it was divulged that my cousin loves World of Beer.

I hadn’t heard of WOB before, but it’s a fairly large chain as it turns out. World of Beer has locations all over the east coast, south, and even one in Wyoming and one in Washington state. It seems that the most are in Florida, which boasts over 15 locations (an additional three are coming soon).

This review focuses specifically on the Gainesville location, where I enjoyed a flight of four beers. WOB offers so many beers that it’s truthfully a bit overwhelming, which is why ordering a flight—or two—is the way to go here. I built my own, but for those less decisive, WOB’s menu includes flight options for hop lovers, light and fruity lovers, and more.

My mother went for the light and fruity option, which included the Burlington, VT-based Traveler Beer Company’s Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy (4.4 percent ABV), San Francisco, CA’s Anchor Brewing California UnCommon (5.3 percent ABV) (described as a “Kolsch-style ale made with meyer lemons”), and Gumption (5.5 percent ABV) from Woodchuck Hard Cider in Middlebury, VT, which is actually my most favorite cidery. Gumption combines the “fresh juice of common eating apples with dry European bittersweet cider apples.” The fourth in that flight is the unbelievably purple Lindeman’s Framboise (2.5 percent ABV), which is a Belgian raspberry beer that hails from Vlezenbeek, Belgium and tastes a bit like sparking pomegranate juice.

I, on the other hand, created a bit of an odd flight as I sort of picked at random. I did want something local, so I ordered Gainesville local First Magnitude Brewing Co.’s Cool Pond Belgian Blonde (5.2 percent ABV), which I liked a lot. It’s an ideal summer beer for a place as hot and humid as Gainesville. I also had the porter from Founders Brewing Co., which is one of my favorite porters. With a 6.5 percent ABV and a distinct taste of caramel and chocolate, this beer from Grand Rapids, MI is best served with dessert, but who cares.

I also had the Old Rasputin from Fort Bragg, CA’s North Coast Brewing Company. This Russian imperial stout doesn’t play around with the term “imperial” as its ABV is a whopping nine percent. It’s more bitter than I usually go for, but I am more privy to the bitterness of imperial stouts than IPAs so it was well worth it.

To follow the dark and bitter, I finished my flight with a Curious Traveler. It’s light and lemony with a low ABV and leaves the perfect aftertaste, which is that of a tart lemonade.

Some might say that the fact that World of Beer is a chain takes away from its charm, but I disagree. The Gainesville location has great service, good vibes, and beers that hail from all over the globe, and from right around the corner.

I look forward to my next trip to WOB, which works out perfectly because there’s one opening soon in Hoboken, NJ (where I’ll be living in about a week from now) and one opening in Chelsea just around the corner from the BTR offices. Right on, WOB, right on.