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  • Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

    Virginia’s Craft Beer Pairs Nicely with Summer’s Bounty

    by Casey | Posted on July 7th, 2014

    Fresh fruits and vegetables are the staples of summer in Virginia, as are signature, summer-only, craft beer. Why not pair the best of summer’s bounties?

    Blue Mountain Brewery

    Blue Mountain Brewery

    With the idea of great summer flavors colliding, we reached out to Virginia’s craft brewers to see what’s on tap this season and with which local foods they’d most likely pair their best brews. Here are a few ideas to get you rolling along for a tasty summer weekend. Visit and enjoy!

    A Match Made in Virginia

    The best of what’s around!

    • Rick of Rusty Beaver in Ruther has his summer dishes coming straight from his Beaverdam garden. While that’s cool enough, it’s what he does with those veggies that takes it all over the top. He’s deep frying them in a Rusty Beaver ”Top Down Summer Ale” batter. Expect to find “zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers, onions, okra and fried pickles, based on availability … Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer.”
    Rusty Beaver "Top Down Summer Ale"

    Rusty Beaver “Top Down Summer Ale”

    Something New Every Week

    Menus – both for food and for beer – change weekly at a majority of Virginia’s craft breweries. There’s your encouragement for a return visit! *wink*

    • Blue Mountain in Afton has a new weekly offering called Friday Night Bites. According to Jessica, the evening offers “$5 small plates that are seasonal and created to pair well with our 8-10 beers on tap. We don’t actually pre-select pairings so customers can order whatever they would like to try with each dish. We typically have 5-6 items available from 5-10 pm every Friday night.” One example she offered is the Seared Beef Carpaccio, which is spiced seared beef, roasted garlic aioli, frisée, aged Parmesan and olive oil.

    Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

    Understandably, not all breweries seek to venture into the restaurant business. However, they will round up some food trucks to keep their patrons fed and steady on their feet.

    • Adventure Brewing in Fredericksburg has a regular group of food trucks that serve high quality food. According to Tim, “our ‘Stiletto Stout’ pairs very well with barbecued meats. With a roasted flavor that releases quickly after it leaves the tongue, it allows easy transitions between bites and drinks. Our ‘Super Power Pale Ale’ works well with Steve-O’s burgers and dogs, Martina’s Cantina’s tacos and Beach Fries’ crab cake sandwich. In another great pairing, the unique mix of ingredients that Smooth (Smooth’s Smoke House) uses on his pulled pork and chicken combine well with the light fruity hop flavorings in our ‘Expedition IPA.’”
    • Steve, a representative of Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers in Roanoke said you can find two exceptional summer beers on tap: “‘Tinker Creek’ is light in body with medium hop notes and a dry finish. This beer pairs well with Primo Pizza’s wood fired veggie mama pizza and their meatball sub. ‘White Top’  is a Belgian White Ale. This light bodied wheat beer spiced with coriander, chamomile and orange peel is very refreshing. ‘White Top’ pairs well with Blues Bar BQ’s BBQ and Smoked Sausage.”
    • Old Bust Head is a brand new brewery in Vint Hill, and their taproom and beer garden is scheduled to open later this summer. Jaimis gave me a few suggestions for enjoying their brews with some of the food trucks that come out. “Crowd favorites include Becky Jordan of Chef Beckles Foods, who recently created a special Santa Maria BBQ menu featuring OBH’s ‘Chinquapin Chestnut Porter’ in a wild mushroom BBQ sauce.”
    • Josh of Starr Hill in Charlottesville touted their new summer beer, ‘Soul Shine,’ described as “a Belgian-style Pale Ale with an American twist,” stating, “We love to drink ‘Soul Shine’ with oysters and grilled fish, but our favorite dish to pair is the Baja Fish Taco plate from Morsel Compass Mobile Kitchen, a local food truck. The thick white meat of the beer-battered cod and spicy chipotle slaw combine deliciously with the Belgian yeast and citrus flavor and aroma that ‘Soul Shine’ delivers.”
    • Center of the Universe in Ashland also offers a brand new summer Belgian Ale called “RVAle.” Chris told me “RVAle” “pairs perfectly with the fare being served by Intergalactic Tacos on Friday nights at the brewery. The beauty with a taco truck is that you can create anything to match well with new beer releases and styles.”
    • Jeremy of Sunken City in Hardy raves of Bruno’s Gastrotruck, “My favorite combination lately is the Naan Fish Taco paired with our summer seasonal, ‘Surfside Wheat,’ a traditional German hefeweizen.”
    Devil's Backbone Brewing Company

    Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company

    Nothin’ Pale About Pale Ale

    Light beers are most common during the summer, with many breweries offering a signature pale ale. These brews pair nicely with flavor-filled smoky or spicy dishes.

    • “Head First” - A strong malt backbone supports the piney, citrusy notes brought on by multiple additions of Cascade and Citra hops. A great beer to pair with weekend burgers or taco night! 6.5% ABV. Midnight, Rockville
    • “There Can Be Only One” – an American pale ale made with black patent malt. 6.3+ ABV. Bad Wolf, Manassas
    • “Gray Ghost American Pale Ale” – crisp, refreshing, summertime beer goes down smooth with a soft, rounded out blend of Crystal, Simcoe, Citra and Cascade hops backed with a slight caramel sweetness. 5.1% ABV. Three Notch’d, Charlottesville
    • “Bust Head English Pale Ale” – Additions of Goldings, Fuggle, and Cascade hops provide the aroma of floral hop tones, as well as imparting a refreshing, clean bitterness. 5.6% ABV. Old Bust Head, Vint Hill
    • “Striped Bass Pale Ale” – This refreshing pale ale was created to be consumed while enjoying the bounty of the Bay and protecting local waters. Gold in color wih a light body & pleasant hop bouquet of traditional noble German hops blended with the intense citrus of American hop varieties. 4.8% ABV. Devils Backbone, Roseland
    Click here for a map of Virginia craft breweries.

    Click here for a map of Virginia craft breweries.

    Brewing: Keep it Local

    Locally sourced ingredients are common with Virginia’s craft brewers, with some even offering spent hops to local farmers to use as livestock feed. It’s a reverse “eat local” mentality, if you will.

    • Dan of Back Bay Brewing in Virginia Beach wrote, I have a beer coming out in a few weeks called “Honey Blue Blue.” It’s a blueberry honey golden ale. The clover honey was sourced from northern Virginia and the blueberries will be locally sourced. At 4.8% its definitely a light refreshing fruit beer.”
    • Hardywood‘s Hardywood Virginia Blackberry is available only in summer, with its next release scheduled for July 12 at 2 p.m. It’s made with local Virginia blackberries, of course!
    • Adam, brewmaster and owner of The Damascus Brewery in Damascus will soon have something brand new for you to try, and even recommends what foods it would would pair well with. “We are getting ready to brew a ‘Fresh Hopped’ beer next week with hops grown by us and by a local hop farmer from Meadowview, VA called Kelley Ridge Farms.  This type of beer uses fresh hops less that 24 hours off the vine.  Because these hops have not had a chance to dry out, they contain several delicate essential oils and aromatics that would normally be lost.  This fresh hopped beer will only be available for a limited time and will fall into the IPA category.  The best pairing with this beer should be things like red meat, red sauce pastas, and Thai food or foods that have lots of curry or cumin.”
    • “Native Son Virginia Ale” can be found at Lost Rhino in Ashburn. It was created using only Virginia ingredients, from the water to the Copperfox Distillery malt and local Ashburn yeast.

    Pairings to Try at Home

    Several of our brewers offered which of their beers might translate well with your dishes at home. Stop by the brewery and take home a growler!

    • Adam at The Damascus Brewery had two suggestions for you to try. “‘Funberry Raspberry Lager is a lighter style of beer that is good for pairing with meals that have vinaigrette dressings or balsamic reductions. ‘Sweet Beaver Apricot Hefeweizen’ — while not actually sweet, the apricot finish to this beer really says summertime and is a great way to refresh yourself after a long hot day.  This beer goes really well with seafood and we personally love this with a Low Country Boil!”
    • Sean of Lickinghole Creek in Goochland offered, “We have Pony Pasture Pilsner available for the summer. It is a classic Bohemian Pilsner that is fantastic for hot Virginia summer days. Goes great with Crab Cakes from Haywood Grill, which is a local Goochland restaurant.” The moral of the story? Fill your growler, order crab cakes to go, and find a place to picnic!
    • Mark at Adroit Theory in Purcellville primarily pairs their brews with cheese, but does offer meal pairing suggestions. “Scorpion 3.0,” an 8.10% ABV Black IPA, pairs will with Bourbon marinated Angus beef tenderloin sliders, for example.

    Which Virginia craft brewery is your favorite for fantastic, palate-pleasing summertime flavor? Leave a comment to tell us the best pairings you’ve experienced.

    MORE VIRGINIA CRAFT BREWERIES

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    Beer, Food | 1 Comment

    5 Food and Drink Experiences for 2014

    by Casey | Posted on January 29th, 2014

    Whether your palate makes you a gourmand or not, there are fun food and drink experiences for everyone this year.

    1. Slurp up the favorite delicacy of the Chesapeake Bay - Crassostrea virginica (eastern oyster) – during this, the 40th anniversary of its shell being named the official shell of Virginia. Seven oyster regions yield a variety of flavors, pushing Virginia to become the Oyster Capital of the East Coast.

    - Virginia Oysters
    Oyster Festivals

    Texas Tavern

    Texas Tavern in Roanoke, VA is famous for their hot dogs. Ask for a “hot, with.”

    2. It’s been 20 years since Legend Brewing Co. in Richmond began handcrafting their legendary lagers and ales, making it Central Virginia’s oldest microbrewery. Their patio overlooking the James River boasts a great view of downtown Richmond and is an awesome place to be on a sunny day.

    - Virginia Craft Beer

    3. Eat cheap but really well when you take a tip from Southern Living. Their January 2014 issue includes “The South’s Best Cheap Eats Under $10″ and we weren’t surprised to find Pasture‘s Pimento Cheese (Richmond), Peter Chang China Cafe’s Dan Dan Noodles with Beef (Richmond), Sally Bell’s Kitchen‘s Boxed Lunch (Richmond) or Texas Tavern‘s “Hot, With” (Roanoke) among the recommendations.

    - 10 Pies Worth the Drive
    22 Places to Eat Like a Local
    - 22 Great Breakfast Spots
    - 17 Virginia BBQ Joints You’re Going to LOVE

    Fresh vegetables create a beautiful primavera at Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, VA.

    Fresh vegetables create a beautiful primavera at Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, VA.

    4. If you’re a connoisseur of fine Virginia wines, you’ll be elated to learn that 2014 potentially ushers in EIGHT new wineries in locations such as Delaplane, North Garden, Orange, Amissville, Barhamsville, Berryville, Lovettsville, and Purcellville. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Wineville!

    - Virginia Wine

    5. Love the local flavors. From farmers’ markets to five-star restaurants, the taste of what’s real, authentic, and right out the back door simply can’t be beat.

    - Farm to Table Dining
    - Culinary Virginia

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    Beer, Food, Food and Wine, Travel Ideas | 1 Comment

    Fall-Flavored Craft Brews

    by Casey | Posted on October 8th, 2013

    Fall is for pumpkin-spiced everything, so why should Virginia’s craft breweries not get in on the action? If you have yet to sample the seasonal concoctions of the Commonwealth, consider this your invitation.

    Nelson 151 Trail Fall Scenic

    • Northern Virginia
      • Pumpkin Saison – BadWolf – Manassas
      • Oktoberfest Lager - Blue & Gray - Fredericksburg
      • Dr. Punkenstein - Capitol City - Arlington
      • Padawan Pumpkin Ale - Corcoran - Waterford
      • Corktoberfest – Corcoran – Waterford
      • Virginia Harvest – Corcoran – Waterford
      • FestBier - Gordon Biersch - McLean
      • Hoptoberfest - Hops Grill - Alexandria
      • RhinO’fest - Lost Rhino - Ashburn
      • Punkinator - Mad Fox - Falls Church
      • Oktoberfest - Port City - Alexandria

     

    Williamsburg Alewerks

    Williamsburg Alewerks

     

    • Central Virginia
      • Scrappy Doo – Beer Hound – Ruckersville
      • Oktoberfest - Center of the Universe - Ashland
      • Spice Must Flow - Champion - Charlottesville
      • Ichabod Crandall - Devil’s Backbone - Roseland
      • Rum Pumpkin - Hardywood - Richmond
      • Farmhouse Pumpkin Ale – Hardywood – Richmond
      • Vampire Red Ale - Legend - Richmond
      • Imperial Harvest Ale – Legend – Richmond
      • Oktoberfest – Legend – Richmond
      • Margarita’s Wrecking Ball Oktoberfest Lager - South Street - Charlottesville
      • Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter - Starr Hill - Crozet
      • Ümlaut Böktoberfest - Strangeways - Richmond
      • Howling Pumpkin Ale - Wild Wolf - Nellysford

     

     

    Click here for a map of Virginia craft breweries.

    • Blue Ridge Highlands
      • Summer Hefe – Bull and Bones – Blacksburg
      • Sunktoberfest Lager – Sunken City – Hardy
      • Oktoberfest Ale – The Damascus – Damascus
      • Punkin’ Stout – The Damascus – Damascus

     

    *Note, most craft beers are produced in small batches, so quantities are limited. Check with the brewery you intend to visit to find out what’s on tap. Please drink responsibly.

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    Hikes, Bikes & Brews

    by Casey | Posted on August 29th, 2013

    Many of Virginia’s craft breweries happen to be located near great hiking and biking trails. Head out with the ones you love, then come back and settle in for an ice cold beverage and great local hospitality.

    The Priest Overlook

    The Priest Overlook

    The Appalachian Trail

    Around the Waynesboro entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway:

    On the Buena Vista/Lexington side of the Blue Ridge Parkway:

    Into Roanoke off of the Blue Ridge Parkway:

    The Virginia Creeper Trail

    On the western end of the trail, in Abingdon, visit Wolf Hills Brewing Company. To the east and in the middle of the trail sits The Damascus Brewery in none other than Damascus.

    The Virginia Capital Trail

    Bridging the Colonial Capital to today’s Richmond Capital, the “Cap to Cap” runs near Route 5 from Richmond to Williamsburg and you can find these breweries not too far off the beaten path.

    Mount Vernon Trail

    This trail runs from George Washington’s Mount Vernon, along the Potomac River north to Arlington. Concentrate on the Alexandria to Arlington portions  of the trail and find that there are four breweries not too far away.

    Washington &  Old Dominion Trail

    Also in Arlington, if you venture along the W&OD Trail the 44.5 miles to Purcellville, you could encounter six breweries without veering too far out of the way.

    What’s your reward for a day in Virginia’s great outdoors? Find out more about Virginia’s craft breweries and the trails, too, to plan your next excursion.

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.
    Virginia is for Lovers.



    Beer, Fall in Virginia, Outdoors | Comments Off

    Virginia’s Craft Beer History

    by Casey | Posted on August 22nd, 2013

    In recent years Virginia’s craft beer industry has seen a major resurgence. August Virginia Craft Beer Month was born in 2012 with nearly 40 breweries. It’s now a year later and that number has jumped to over 60. Plus, we know of at least two more opening this fall. So when did this craft beer movement start in Virginia?

    All the way back at the beginning of exploration …

    According to BeerAdvocate.com, the History of American Beer begins in 1587 as “Virginia colonists brew ale using corn,” and then in 1607 the “first shipment of beer arrives in the Virginia colony from England.” Apparently the English beer didn’t last long, as the history goes on to reflect “American ‘Help Wanted’ advertisements appear in London seeking brewers for the Virginia Colony” in 1609.

    Beer & Founding Fathers

    George Washington's Gristmill

    George Washington’s Gristmill

    Beer can be traced through Virginia’s history with asterisk moments like George Washington’s beer recipe[1] and evidence that beer and ingredients to produce it were forms of payment to his Mount Vernon employees.[2]

    Or how about Thomas Jefferson? In 1812, a retired Jefferson successfully crafted his first home brew from local hops and malt. He had a fine teacher in his wife, Martha, a small-batch brewmaster during their early years of marriage. By 1814 Jefferson was malting his own grain in his own brewhouse at Monticello. Others, including James Madison, began to take notice and sent their staff to Monticello to learn the trade.[3]

    Shop Local

    Today we’re all about buying and shopping locally. That’s not a new concept, as George Washington wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette on January 29, 1789, “I use no porter or cheese in my family, but such as is made in America; both these articles may now be purchased of an excellent quality.”[4]

    Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

    Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

    Handcrafted beer has been in Virginia since the beginning, though breweries have come and gone along the way. Virginia’s first modern day microbrewery was Chesbay – Chesapeake Bay Brewing Company – in Virginia Beach (no longer operational). Chesbay Double Bock won gold at the very first Great American Beer Festival in 1987. That’s quite an acclaim and a legacy for Virginia craft beer.

    Though not old by my standards, Virginia’s oldest craft brewery is Legend Brewing Company in Richmond, which was established in 1994. If you’re quick on your math, you’ll note that 2014 will be Legend’s 20th anniversary. Mark that down and plan to pay a celebratory visit.

    Suds on the Rise

    Virginia is making frothy waves across the beer industry with acknowledgements from the likes of Travel Channel as one of the “Top 7 Beer Destinations.” Explore for yourself with our handy Beer Map, or check out our recent articles for inspiration:

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    [1] Washington, George. “To Make Small Beer.” 1757.
    [2] Thompson, Mary V. Research Historian, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.
    [3] Lucas, Ann. 1995. Adapted from an essay originally published in Spring Dinner at Monticello, April 12, 1995, in Memory of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville, Va.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1995).  References added by Kristen Lochrie, May 2012.
    [4] “George Washington to Marquis de LaFayette, 29 January 1789“ The Writings of George Washington Vol. 30:154.



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