First Love Brewing

Celebrating its fourth anniversary, First Love Brewing serves creative artisan pizza with its signature crust, wings, fries, and outstanding craft beer in a variety of styles.

On June 15, First Love Brewing Company will celebrate its fourth year in business in Fernandina. Since opening that fateful pandemic day, First Love has far exceeded owners Jessie and Kevin O’Brien’s expectations. What lay ahead when they opened their doors they couldn’t have known, but only in their wildest dreams would they have imagined being at the center of a growing community sharing their beer and pizzas with friends. I stopped by recently with my daughter, Sophia, to talk to Jessie and Kevin about brews, pizzas, and community.

Jessie the brewer set us up with a flight of the four core beers atop their charming Amelia Island-shaped flight paddle: Pau Hana, the light, low-alcohol likable lager; Lily, the lovable ale with higher alcohol and a crisp pear finish; Cardinal Truth, the playful, hoppy classic West Coast-style IPA; and Beacon of Light, the Milk Stout with chocolate and coffee notes that would satisfy for breakfast or dessert.

When she speaks of Lily, Jessie smiles. “I didn’t think I could do it!” Belgian Tripel is not a typical brew offering, yet today Lily is an all-around favorite. Sauvignon Blanc wine drinkers, as I am, will love Lily. Beyond the core group, Jessie’s brew list is ever-changing as she experiments with grains, sugars, spices, fruits, infusions, and other variables. Brew tenders will recommend an ideal pairing for your food or you can get whatever inspires you. Cadillac Rainbows is another favorite of mine. Jessie says people come in and say, “I saw you put such-and-such on the board and I have no idea what that means, so let me have it!”

Jessie and Kevin remember June 2020, when they didn’t know if they would regret opening during the pandemic. Then families started lining up for take-out pizza, dogs relaxed under outdoor tables, and they felt it just might work. Now they have watched children grow up loving their cheese pizza and house fries. The fries are really special. So are the Caesar Salads that Sophia and I devoured, along with their delicious meaty wings. The Chicken Sandwich with its overflowing caprese-style ingredients is a favorite too, as we always love when mozzarella, tomato, and balsamic glaze meet on our plates. This sandwich pairs very nicely with zucchini fries and Lily.

Kevin’s skills sparkle creating specialty artisan pizzas and building community. He is one of those people who see life as a series of reasons to throw a party, and he marks special occasions on Amelia Island by making pizza pies: Shrimp Scampi for Shrimpfest, Loaded Baked Potato for St. Patrick’s Day, BBQ Pulled Pork for Fourth of July, Butternut Squash in the fall, and so on. Other pies have included Cheeseburger, Broccoli-Chicken, Thai, Hatch Chili, and my very favorite, Fungi.

Jessie and Kevin are honored to have been living their dream these four years building the brew community in Fernandina. Stay with them to play games, learn about craft beer, befriend regulars, clean beaches, go on brewpub walks, attend a craft beer festival, or just to celebrate spring, summer, winter, and fall. And stop by for their fourth anniversary on June 15 to enjoy their anniversary traditions of Fried Green Tomato Pizza and Hops En Regalia Double-IPA. First Love Brewing is located at 22 South 8th Street.