Inside a gray aluminum warehouse off the beaten path in Norfolk’s Old Dominion University area, BOLD MARINER BREWING COMPANY came to fruition during November 2015. Owner Michael Starks, A former Navy officer, and head brewer, John O’Reilly, take a few good chances crafting stylistically whimsical elixirs.
A large overhead-doored American flag proudly beams down at the wood-lacquered J-shaped bar and standard community tables . Glass-encased brew tanks peak out from the cement-floored bar area. A gated picnic area, large beergarden and private party room offer plenty of extra seating.
I try all ten available samples on my initial July ’18 afternoon sojourn. Unlike most brewpubs, Bold Mariner concentrated on making lagers as well as ales.
Fair maize-dried Middle Light Lager brought corn-husked astringency to mild rice niceties and sweet floral accents, suiting only blue collar thirsts.
A better lager choice, Lafayette French Lager had subtly spiced citrus zing that went sour with lemon-rotted orange desiccation.
Just as worthy, easygoing Frogman Lager relegated dry floral earthiness and grassy hop bittering for its mineral grained toasting.
Floral hibiscus serenity hybridized Fete de la Mer Hibiscus Wheat, a salty lemon-soured moderate-medium body contrasting mellow yellow grapefruit and lemon meringue tartness against less prominent Belgian candi-sugaring.
Lemony grapefruit-soured Scurvy Dog Saison relegated blanched strawberry-grapefruit illusions and distant herbal notions.
Sessionable Bold Dominion Pale Ale saddled lemon-spiced grapefruit and orange tanginess with caramelized pale malting.
Dry Baja Coffee Pale Ale placed medium-roast coffee inside crisp pale malting, proving perfect as a breakfast alternative.
Middling dry-bodied moderation, Red Maiden Irish Red, placed toasted caramel malting alongside spicy apple-peach-orange jaunt.
Floral-fruited Dog Zebra IPA gave pine-dried yellow grapefruit and orange rind bittering a zesty lemon spritz.
Sweet toffee malts and floral hop spicing girded bittersweet tropical fruit sharpness for bold medium-bodied Liberty Risk Imperial IPA.