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Local Brews and Local Oysters: A Match Made in Heaven

by Stefanie | Posted on August 4th, 2014

Ahhh, the oyster. It’s found its home in Virginia, quickly becoming the Capital of the East Coast. Now apply that “ahhh” to craft beer. They pair so well, don’t they? So guess what? It’s craft beer month! Get excited. Here’s some spots that are going to give you the best of both worlds.

Rappahannock Restaurant

Rappahannock Restaurant

RAPPAHANNOCK OYSTER CO.
Rappahannock Oyster Company is going to give you flavors from all over the Virginia coastline. The Rappahannock River Oysters are the most common, but have you ever heard of Stingray Oysters and Olde Salts? The oysters at these spots are going to give you three diverse flavors: sweet and buttery, sweet and crisp, and a bold, sea-side brininess. You’re going to find these babies at Rappahannock in Richmond, Rappahannock Oyster Bar, in D.C., and Merroir in Topping. And don’t forget, these restaurants are going to have some of Virginia’s best craft beer selections.

99 MAIN RESTAURANT – Newport News
The elegant 99 Main restaurant offers the sophisticated diner an exquisite dining experience with a creative French flair. Order the roasted oysters appetizer, topped with horseradish and house-made bacon. Pair it with Legend Brown Ale and you’ve got yourself a nice starter meal. Don’t be afraid to order a couple more brewskis.

SMALL’S STEAKHOUSE & OYSTER BAR – Norfolk
Small’s Steakhouse and Oyster Bar has four different oyster options from its raw bar AND three additional options for an entrée! If you’re in the area, put Small’s on the list for a great oyster experience. Try out the oyster grits and quench your thirst with three local breweries on tap.

The Shanty in Cape Charles

The Shanty in Cape Charles

SHANTY – Cape Charles
Located on the Bay in Cape Charles Town Harbor, the Shanty focuses on fresh local seafood in a fun environment. Swing by on boat, car, golf cart or foot. There’s cornhole for the kids, live entertainment on weekends and amazing sunsets over the bay. Order some raw or steamed oysters, a fried basket, or an oyster po’ boy, and wash it down with Starr Hills’ the Love or five other Virginia craft beer options.

BIG EASY GRILL & OYSTER BAR – Norfolk
Big Easy Grill & Oyster Bar offers some of the biggest oyster selections around. Start off with Oysters Rockefeller, pick out some raw or steamed samplers or platters. And guess what? When it’s time for the main course, Big Easy features the O-Rock Burger, topped with bacon, spinach, parmesan and gouda. They have the oyster po’ boy and their house specialty: fried oysters. Take back an oyster shooter or their vast selection of craft brews. You have some serious oyster and craft options at Big Easy. So if you have an empty stomach and want to fill it up, head over to Big Easy.

HANK’S OYSTER BAR – Alexandria
Hanks’ menu changes daily, with fresh seafood selections throughout their menu. Hank’s Oyster Bar serves their oysters on the half shell, as a po’ boy sandwich and a fried oyster dinner. Hank’s Oysters are always served up fresh, so don’t forget you can get them raw or steamed! Try out the Port City Monumental IPA while you’re there.

Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

BERRET’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT & TAPHOUSE – Williamsburg
Berret’s Taphouse offers one of the largest selections of local microbrews in the area, including Wild Wolf and Legend. Pair them with unique raw bar selections, like spicy buffalo oysters on the half shell and daily chef’s choice items. The taphouse menu includes the po’boy sandwich and a seafood platter, which includes crab cakes and shrimp.

 

Try out all the delicious oyster spots and craft beer/breweries Virginia has to offer!

 

 



Beer, Family, Food, Locals, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Peach Time: Festivals and Pick-Your-Own Orchards

by Stefanie | Posted on July 30th, 2014

It’s peach time! We’re in primetime peach-picking season, which means festivals, pick-your-own days at orchards and plenty of peach goodies to go around.

Peach Ice Cream Days at Chiles Peach Orchard – Aug. 3-4
Spend a day (or two) in Crozet at Chiles Peach Orchard’s Peach Ice Cream Days. Fresh, homemade peach ice cream is available at the orchard these dates only! Made by the Crozet Lions Club, this event is a fundraiser for their community service activities. Enjoy this special treat after picking your own peaches (or choosing from their fresh-picked selections). Peaches, nectarines, and local produce are also available.

Winchester Peach Festival – Aug. 9
Come to Marker Miller Orchards with an empty stomach and enjoy a day of sweets: peach cobbler, peach pie, peach turnovers, peach ice cream and of course, fresh peaches galore! Enjoy music from 1-3 p.m. while sitting on the front porch or in the picnic pavilion.  A variety of food will be available at the food building. Don’t forget to let the kids enjoy the cow train and the peaceful scenery during the wagon ride around the farm.

Dog Days Peach Festival – Aug. 9-10
Spend a weekend of peaches and pooches at the Dog Days Peach Festival at Great Country Farms in Bluemont. It may be the hottest part of the summer, but the Dog Days at Great Country are all about fun with the family and canine companions! Bring the whole family for a romp in the play area and to u-pick peaches in the orchard at the peak of perfection. Enjoy the Doggie Olympic Games and demonstrations that will keep tails a-waggin’!

Richard’s Fruit Market Peach Festival – Aug. 17
Peaches, peaches everywhere! Bring the family out to Richard’s Fruit Market Peach Festival in Middletown for a day of peachy fun. Haywagon rides, barrel train rides and all the jumps you can handle on the bouncy-bounce, plus music and a petting zoo, and peaches, of course! Peach ice cream, milk shakes, sparkling cider, smoothies, pies, muffins and more! Fresh from the farm food for sale includes our own burgers and plenty of tasty treats!

The Peach Way, Delaplane
The largest concentration of peach orchards in Northern Virginia, The Peach Way features five orchards within five miles: Virginia Perfection/Valley View Farm, Hollin Farms, Hartland Orchards, and Stribling Orchard. The Peach Way is near several wineries, Sky Meadows State Park and more—perfect for a day or weekend trip.

Freestone Peaches at Saunders Brothers Farm Market, Piney River
In response to market demands, Saunders Brothers started growing super tree-ripened peaches; including sub-acid white-fleshed peaches, many of which get great size, color, and flavor. These peaches complement the yellow-fleshed varieties and extend the season from June 15 until late September. The Farm Market offers a fun place for the whole family to enjoy. Not only can you find a variety of peaches, apples and vegetables from May through November, they also offer ciders, jams, relishes, and salsas. Be sure to try out the amazing peach ice cream and check out the on-site museum; one of the largest privately-owned collections of farm antiques in the state of Virginia.

Ayers Orchard, Cana
Ayers Orchard is located at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and offers pick-your-own peaches, as well as cherries, apples, nectarines and plums. The orchard also offers fresh-picked and picked-to-order. Hiking and picnicking are encouraged; all ages are welcome at the orchard.

Additional Orchards and Markets for Peaches:



Events, Family, Festivals, Food, Pick-your-own | Comments Off

It’s Not Too Late! Plan Your Last Summer Escape

by Stefanie | Posted on July 24th, 2014

As the summer winds down, a short getaway at the end of the season is always a great way to wrap things up. Include some of these cool culinary spots around.

Lansdowne Resort

Lansdowne Resort

SKYLINE WINE, DINE, RECLINE TRAIL
Did you know that 27 wineries, a whiskey distillery, incredible restaurants and the highest concentration of B&Bs in the State of Virginia are tucked into the edges of Skyline Drive? As you’re spending the weekend cruisin’ through 105 miles of natural scenic beauty, hop off for a break to take in a winery or two, check out one of the amazing restaurants, and don’t forget to make reservations at one of their many quaint B&Bs.

ASPEN DALE WINERY AT THE BARN
Located in Delaplane, Virginia on one of the most exciting wine trails in the Washington, D.C. area, Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn is a boutique winery that offers a unique experience for wine lovers. The legacy of Aspen Dale’s revolutionary-era agricultural experience drives the winery’s stewardship. Aspen Dale has endeavored to capture the best of Colonial and European wine making techniques and blendings, while the ambience of the 200 year-old barn winery and thoroughbred horse farm inspires. Aspen Dale’s passion for history, horses and wines is profound, as their dreams have been brought to life, providing the mellowness of a boutique winery experience that lingers long after the glass empties.

211 SCENIC VINO WINE TRAIL
What a Daytrip! Hop on Route 211, one of the prettiest scenic drives in Virginia. Getting to the premier wineries of the 211 Scenic Vino Wine Trail is half the fun! The gorgeous rolling hills on the route lead to Shenandoah National Park, America’s favorite drive, Skyline Drive, and the quaint village of Little Washington … the town George laid out in 1749 (just an hour from Big Washington DC)! Along the way you’ll find five (soon to be seven) of Virginia’s best wineries, a whiskey distillery, unique boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and the approaching majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains! Drive up to Skyland for some blueberry ice cream pie. Hike to a waterfall. Do the ziplines. Stay and enjoy the many Inns and gourmet eateries along the way, you’ll get to taste Virginia’s best award-winning wines. Our tip: go backwards! Take the gorgeously scenic drive first to Sperryville, the quaint town named DC’s best weekend getaway by Huffington Post. Enjoy the approaching Blue Ridge vistas. Then slowly work your way home!

COASTAL VIRGINIA ALE TRAIL (Taste Tidewater Tours)
Taking that last trip to Virginia Beach? If you’re a beer enthusiast, the Coastal Virginia Ale Trail is definitely something to put on the to-do list. Dedicated to all things local, let Taste Tidewater take you to the best craft beer the Virginia Beach/ Norfolk area has to offer. Taste and tour up to three venues based on availability. The tours generally last about four hours and include local history and lore, as well as tips on tasting and pairing beer with food.

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company

Catoctin is the first family-owned distillery since before prohibition. Co-owner Scott Harris talks about the distilling process.

LOUDOUN WEST BREW BUS / CREEK CROSSING FARM BED & BREAKFAST
Built in 1773 by the Quaker Edward Thompson, Creek Crossing Farm was one of three plantations and several large tracts of land owned by him in early Colonial Loudoun County. Located in Virginia’s Hunt Country, in a secluded valley just outside of the present day village of Lincoln, there are more than 25 acres of open fields with cattle, woods with wild turkey, pheasants and deer, and a creek that waters the entire farm, feeding organic blueberry and raspberry fields. Venture over to Loudoun and take a trip on the Loudoun West Brew Bus. Make stops at historic Corcoran Brewing, Adroit Theory brewery and Catoctin Distilling, and relax as you get a taste of the Loudoun brew scene without worrying about driving.

BELIVEAU ESTATE B&B AND WINERY
Treat yourself to a stay at Beliveau Estate, a premium B&B and Winery. The estate’s winery has received more than 30 awards since opening in 2012, including 2013 Silver Best Winery by the readers of Blue Ridge magazine. It has a beautiful tasting room, a covered outside veranda, picnic spots, on-site hiking, and in the cooler months a warm fireplace to sip wine around. Enjoy a weekend of true ambiance enjoying all the amenities the estate has to offer.

WINE LOVERS PACKAGE – Arcady Vineyards Bed & Breakfast and Wine Tours
Enjoy two nights at the only Charlottesville Wine Country B&B with a working vineyard! The luxury accommodations offer a whirlpool tub for two, wine fridge with sparkling wine, heated tiled bath floor, free Wifi, Bose CD/radio, TV/VCR and port, and local chocolate turn down. Package includes a full farm fresh breakfast each morning, bottle of sparkling wine chilled in your suite, and a wine and cheese social at check in. You will enjoy a personalized, all-inclusive wine tour with the oldest owner-operated tour company in Charlottesville. Visit four wineries with a deluxe local cheese/fruit/local chocolate platter, and bottled water. The wine tour also provides transportation to downtown Charlottesville for dining.

CULINARY DELIGHTS – SMITHFIELD STATION
Smithfield is world famous for Smithfield Ham, but that is only half the story. Additionally, Smithfield is a quaint coastal town with access to some of the freshest seafood on the Eastern Seaboard. This package focuses on the two hallmarks of dining in Smithfield, ham and fresh local seafood and includes: one-night stay in their Deluxe Lodge Rooms, Boardwalk Rooms or Cottages, or the Lighthouse; dinner for two in the award-winning restaurant. Dinner includes soup, appetizer to share, entrée, dessert, coffee or tea, and a bottle of house wine. Get your getaway started right with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries in your room upon arrival. And don’t forget to stop by Virginia’s largest winery, the Williamsburg Winery!

DOWNTOWN BEER TRAIL PACKAGE – Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Staunton is now home to two Craft breweries, RedBeard Brewing and Shenandoah Valley Brewing. With intimate taprooms and a fine selection of beers all produced on property, come on down and sample some of the Valley’s finest. All within a short walk of our front door, no driving needed! Your package includes: Overnight accommodations, breakfast for two and parking, 6 beer flights (4 oz. pours) from Redbeard, 2 pints from Shenandoah Valley Brewing, a free tasting at Hops retail store, and a $15.00 Gift Certificate to Shenandoah Pizza (and their huge beer list!)

FOODE EXCLUSIVE CULINARY EXPERIENCE – Various Fredericksburg Locations
Experience a delectable 5 course meal especially prepared for you with locally sourced fresh ingredients. Meet your chef and learn the inspiration behind your dishes during your culinary delight! This package includes: One night at a Fredericksburg-area hotel (price varies by lodging tier selection) and especially prepared 5-course meal for two.

SHARED WINES & TREASURED TIMES – Landsdowne Resort
This is a comprehensive wine and culinary adventure in the heart of DC Wine Country as this Virginia wine country tour takes two adults from vineyard and back to the Virginia winery resort. You will be whisked away by a private car for a five-hour winery tour to experience as many wine tours and tastings as your heart desires. Choose from our partner wineries: Breaux Vineyards, Corcoran Vineyards, Doukénie Winery and Sunset Hills Vineyard. Package Includes: luxurious overnight accommodations (double occupancy), private car for a total of 5 hours, $100 Dining Credit, and breakfast buffet for two adults.

BASIC CHEESEMAKING AT CORNERSTONE FARM
Getaway and learn something new together! Learn the basic art of making cheese from scratch. Basic cheese instructions concentrate on “farmers” cheese, ricotta and mozzarella. Easy to make when you get back home. In the individualized 1-day, 2-night getaway, you will learn how to make simple basic cheese from scratch. The day will be spent learning and making a couple basic cheeses, with each person bringing home with them what they prepared. When not cheesemaking, enjoy strolling around the farm, sitting on the deck’s in lounge chairs and rockers, or watching the farm animals. So grab your friends or family and come down to the farm for some fun-filled time away! Package includes cheesemaking, 2-night stay, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all cooking supplies.

SHENANDOAH WINE TRAIL – By the Side of the Road Bed & Breakfast
Get a true taste of Shenandoah with this valley getaway package including: Two nights in one of three luxurious cottages, a romantic dinner for two at BEYOND ($60 Value), complimentary red or white Virginia wine upon arrival,  a light version of their gourmet picnic to carry to the Valley Wineries of your choice (includes gourmet cheeses, French bread, fresh fruits & dessert), hot gourmet breakfast basket delivered to your cottage door each morning or served in the Common to Main House guests. Wineries nearby include: Cave Ridge Vineyard (10% Discount on cases), Wolf Gap Vineyard & Winery, Shenandoah Vineyards (10% discount on cases), North Mountain Vineyard & Winery, and BlueStone Vineyards.

The Boar's Head Inn

The Boar’s Head Inn

VIRGINIA WINE PACKAGE- Boar’s Head Inn
Experience Love by the Glass with the Boar’s Head Virginia Wine Package, which combines Four Diamond accommodations and dining with impeccable Virginia wines. Virginia’s quintessential escape, Boar’s Head, offers a warm, intimate ambiance, exceptional service and unparalleled Southern hospitality. Package includes: two night’s accommodations, a welcome gift of one bottle of Virginia wine with an artisan fruit and cheese platter, daily breakfast in the Old Mill Room, a self-guided tour to a local winery (including house credit for two tasting passes), a special three-course Virginia wine dinner for two in the Old Mill Room.

WINE OR BEER LOVERS TOUR – Belle Hearth Bed & Breakfast
Spend two relaxing nights, Tuesday thru Saturday, in any of the tranquil rooms and enjoy a welcoming wine or beer basket stocked with goodies. Then be treated to the vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains while being chauffeured to three of Virginia’s finest wineries and/or micro-breweries only minutes from the Belle Hearth. All of this libation, plus a three-course gourmet breakfast each morning.

VIRGINIA IS FOR CRAFT BEER AND BARBEQUE LOVERS ESCAPE – Oceanfront Inn, Va. Beach
Celebrate your love and passions in life with our exclusive package in honor of the Virginia is for Lovers award-winning slogan.  Complete your experience with our Virginia is for Beer & Barbecue Lovers’ Basket including 2 bottles of Green Flash beer, an Oceanfront Inn bottle opener, two Oceanfront Inn pint glasses, and a gift certificate to locals’ favorite, Beach Bully Barbeque.



48 Hours, Beer, Couples, Deals & Discounts, Destinations, Events, Family, Food, Food and Wine, Outdoors, Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations, Wine | Comments Off

Virginia is for Oyster Lovers

by Stefanie | Posted on July 9th, 2014

We already know Virginia is for Lovers, right? Well how about for Oyster Lovers? Virginia is now known as the “Oyster Capital of the East Coast.” Virginia is the largest producer of fresh, farm-raised oysters in the country, providing seven regions of diverse flavor. From the saltiest waters of the Eastern Shore, to the sweet tastes of the Rappahannock River, the oysters here give visitors another thing to love about travel in Virginia.

The Chesapeake Bay is justifiably famous for its oysters. As a matter of a fact, one translation of the word Chesapeake from the Algonquian language is “Great Shellfish Bay.” Today, local oysters are raised and harvested throughout the coastline. If harvesting is not as appealing as devouring, finding a restaurant to serve them up any way is no task at all.

HISTORY
The oyster originally colonized the Chesapeake approximately 5,000 years ago, becoming known as “filter feeders.” The millions of oysters that cleaned waters as it passed through kept the waters of the Bay clear and pristine down to depths of 20 feet. A pirating and dredging attack in the late 1800s to early 1900s led to a mass shortage of oysters along the Bay; however, Virginia is flourishing once again, making it the ultimate experience for oyster enthusiast.

Shooting Point Oyster Company

Shooting Point Oyster Company

HARVESTING
Gathering oysters is not as hard as you may think it is. If you’re looking to do some homemade preparation yourself, all you’ll need are some nets or baskets and a flotation device. Wait for the tide to recede, gather the oysters in the nets/baskets, attach the flotation device and allow the tide to roll in. The flotation device is used to identify the nets when the tide rises.  During this process, the oysters will be provided with a fresh supply of seawater, ensuring freshness. Gather your oysters and you’re good to go!

OYSTERING REGULATIONS
Each year, oyster industry participants must pay an annual fee. The revenue collected from these fees is used for the Oyster Replenishment Program, which involves the spawning and formations of new adult oysters, which will reach market size in roughly three years. The program also provides training and support for the growing oyster aquaculture industry, and monitors oyster populations throughout the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries and the coastal bays of the Eastern Shore. Annual fees are required for harvesting, shucking and more.

RESTAURANTS TO TRY
There’s many places around Virginia to get your oyster fix. Head to the shore and you’ll find Harpoon Larry’s Oyster Bar in Hampton Roads. The restaurant has been a local hang out for years, featuring fresh, local oysters. The restaurant has also been named as one of the Best 23 Seafood Dives in the U.S. by Coastal Living magazine. At the mouth of the Rappahannock lies Merroir, a riverfront gourmet oyster tasting house, featuring the celebrated farms of the Rappahannock Oyster Co.

The Shanty

The Shanty

Try out Catch 31 in Virginia Beach, offering an exciting, multi-venue seafood dining experience. The restaurant offers an extensive menu of fresh seafood and a variety of seating options. The Shanty and Aqua in Cape Charles are going to give visitors a taste of the saltiness of the Eastern Shore, while the Rappahannock Oyster Co. offers a series of farm-to-table restaurants throughout the state. Rappahannock Oyster Bar in D.C. has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the 5 top oyster bars in America.

Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg prides itself on farm-to-table fine dining, including Virginia’s freshest oysters. Tuskie’s offers oyster plates for lunch and dinner, and different specials throughout the week.

 

There’s always plenty more oyster hotspots to experience in Virginia.

And don’t forget about the oyster festivals coming up this year!

 

 



Food, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment

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