Let’s Have a Beer: First Magnitude
In a world of Michelob Ultra and Natty Light, is it too much to ask for a crazy college kid to respect and honor the universe’s beautiful gift of beer? I’d like to think not.
And so I write this as a means of exposing those who still feel a need to slug back 20 Bud Light Platinums in a night to the world of craft and microbreweries. I’m still learning, myself, but if you’re open to it, there’s a better beer out there for you and I’d love to help you find it.
Ever think a leisure course at Santa Fe could lead you to producing the world’s most beloved fermented liquid for a living? That’s where it all started for John Denny, one of the four founders of Gainesville’s First Magnitude Brewing Company. Opened in August of 2014, the brewery has already proven to be a successful venture, integrating itself with the growing city seamlessly and creating good brews to complement good times. I got a chance to catch up with Denny to talk about First Magnitude over a couple of delicious pints.
Four founders, made up of two couples (John and Christine Denny and Wells and Meg the Losen), came together to start the brewery in March 2012. John Denny, the head brewer, started learning his craft in a leisure course at Santa Fe College. After years of perfecting recipes, Denny was told time and again that he should take brewing more seriously and open his own brewery. Having worked for the University of Florida’s Honors Program for numerous years, he decided he had finally had enough of telling students to pursue their dreams and decided to pursue his own. Named after the most powerful degree of freshwater springs, of which north Florida has the highest density of in the world, the brewery has made a concentrated effort to promote appreciation of the state’s natural beauty.
First Magnitude sports three flagship beers: the 72 Pale Ale, the Siren Blonde Ale and the Drift English Mild. All three of which are exceptional examples of their respective brew styles. My personal favorite of the three is Drift because not too many people make an English mild a mainstay at their breweries. In addition to the three main beers, they’ve also been releasing seasonal and special brews, such as the impeccable Minnow Imperial Stout. Dark, thick and a certain bourbon-aged taste make for one hell of a beer drinking experience. Be cautious, though. If dark beer ain’t your thing, this one will knock you on your ass.
Tried all the First Magnitude beer you can handle? The brewery hosts a variety of guest taps, proving once again the collaborative mentality of the craft brew industry is beneficial to all of us beer drinkers.
The brewery has the distinction of including an especially cool taproom, a hangar like warehouse full of massive board games (huge checkers, anyone?), corn hole and an open view of the exceptionally large magic beer-making machinery. Not into games? More into fresh air, trees and picnic tables? First Magnitude has got you covered with its own beer garden, the perfect place to enjoy a cold one on one of our beautiful, sunny Gainesville days.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, grab some friends and head on down to 1220 SE Veitch Street (the brewery’s location) for some of God’s greatest gift to the word. If you get hungry, the brewery routinely has dank food trucks, such as Americauna Wood Fire Pizza, Humble Pie and Go Go Stuff Yourself.
Feature photo courtesy of: Gytis Garsys