This past Sunday, my friend Joan and I made a day trip up to St. Augustine. Our primary goal was to see one of our favorites, Bryan Adams, in concert at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, but we figured we’d go early and try out one of their restaurants.
My connection at the St. Augustine CVB recommended A1A Ale Works as a restaurant to try, citing their craft brews and water-side dining. The restaurant is actually upstairs in a converted building on the corner next to the historic Bridge of Lions, with a bar area downstairs.
We were seated next to the window, which offered a nice view of the bridge and the Intracoastal Waterway. There was veranda seating outside, but it was a little too warm for that.
The menu is upscale pub food, with a heavy emphasis on seafood. On Sundays they only serve a dinner menu, so we started with the Pepper Jack Nacho Platter ($9.95). The taste was good but what stood out was the presentation. The nacos were spread out on paper on top of a wooden plank, with a bowl of salsa in the center.
For my main dish, I went light with a cup of their A1A Ale & Cheese Soup ($4.95), which was served with a small roll of dark German-style bread for dipping. The soup is made with the eatery’s own Red Brick Ale, blended with aged cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, and other ingredients. It was hearty and flavorful, and the bread was the perfect accompaniment. I would definitely order this again. It’s one of the best beer cheese soups I’ve ever had (even better than Le Cellier at Walt Disney World!).
Joan had the Ragtime Shrimp Dinner ($14.75), featuring several pieces of shrimp dipped in beer batter, tossed in coconut, and deep fried. It was served with a Caribbean honey mustard sauce, black beans & rice, and grilled vegetables. She really liked the shrimp and sauce, but thought the rest of the dish was rather plain.
We paired our meal with a sampler of the A1A Ale Works brews ($6.25), which featured 4oz pours of their seven brews. My favorites were the Red Brick Ale (a caramel tinged red ale), A Strange Stout (a hearty stout with chocolate tones), and the Dunkelweizen (a traditional German brew that is somewhere between a summer wheat and a chocolate stout). Joan liked the Dunkelweizen so much she got a full pint ($5.25).
Service was pleasant though a bit slow at first. Once we place our orders, the food came out quickly. The restaurant was clean, but the bathrooms weren’t air-conditioned, which made the process of doing your business a little sweaty.
We both liked the A1A Ale Works, and would eat here again. Or just come for a brew and appetizers. The only downside to the restaurant is that parking in that area is difficult at best. But if you want to check it out, A1A Ale Works is located at 1 King Street in St. Augustine. For more information, including menus, visit a1aaleworks.com.
For more information on St. Augustine, visit floridashistoriccoast.com.
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