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    Is everyone excited for the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion next month? Some of the performances will be taking place here, at the Paramount Center for The Arts on State Street. This #theater was built in 1931 and restored to its original splendor in 1991. #oldschoolva #loveva #virginia #vatravel #theatre #photooftheday
    Testing out Instagram's new #hyperlapse app at Lewis Ginter #Botanical #Garden in Richmond. What do you think? #loveva #virginia #rva #lewisginter #orchid #vatravel #vaoutdoors @lewisginter @visitrichmondva
    If you haven't notice, fields of #sunflowers are in bloom throughout the state. This one calls Lickinghole Creek Craft #Brewery it's home in Goochland. This is both an awesome photo and tasting op. 😉 #loveva #virginia #vabeer #vacraftbeermonth #sunflower #photooftheday #drinklocal #craftbeer Photo creds to @lickingholecreekcraftbrewery
    Here's a view of Damascus Old Mill #Inn. Since 1910 the Old Mill has stood along the South Fork #River, serving the community of Damascus as a grist/saw mill until 1965. Now you can rent rooms overlooking the river and this beautiful man-made #waterfall stretching across the South Fork. The river (and falls) are four to five times wider than what you see here. It's breathtaking to stand in the middle of the riverbed like this with the water roaring past. #LoveVa #Virginia #sunset #swva #southforkriver #vaoutdoors #vais4lovers
  • Donut Spots that Satisfy

    by Stefanie | Posted on August 18th, 2014

    If you have a breakfast time (or any time) sweet tooth, you’re going to want to swing by these donut shops that pack in unique flavors and toppings! You nominated and here they are:


    Beach-themed donuts from Paradise Donuts

    Beach-themed donuts from Paradise Donuts

    Paradise Donuts of Virginia - Norfolk 
    Paradise Donuts is a family-run donut shop, located in the heart of Downtown Norfolk. Their family friendly establishment serves not only incredible donuts but lunch as well. Donuts are baked fresh in-house on a daily basis. Paradise Donuts is famous for their Maple Bacon or Old Fashioned donuts!

    Pure Eats – Lexington
    Pure Eats donuts are legendary! Order a fresh, house-made donut and you’ll never want to leave! Coconut lover? Try out the Almond Joy. Other favorites include the decadent chocolate peanut butter and the light, but always delicious margarita-flavored! Pure Eats doesn’t have a set menu, so you’ll be surprised of the flavors each time you visit!

    The Apple House - Linden
    Good food, friendly staff and beautiful surroundings make The Apple House a landmark to visit in Virginia. Come visit for your gift needs and be sure to try out the famed apple butter donuts!

     O’Doodledoo’s Donuts - Suffolk
    Hand made, hand decorated, fresh, funky, one of a kind donut shop! This is a real “Hole in the Wall!”  O’Doodledoo’s makes more than 200+ flavors and rotate their menu daily.  Try the famous red velvet cream cheese donuts or a delicious sour cream old fashioned.  Known for gourmet donuts at budget prices, find out what everyone’s talking about! The Oreo extreme, peach cobbler, key lime pie, or chocoholic–yep those are all donuts too! Come quick– once the donuts are gone, so are they!

    O’s Donuts - Norfolk
    With 13 different types of donuts and eight different toppings, it’s easy to see why O’s Donuts are a Norfolk favorite. AND custom colors are available too! Try out a cool twist on a sundae, with the Uh O: A fresh, warm donut, tossed in cinnamon sugar, sliced open with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle. And topped off with hot fudge and whipped cream, of course!

    Carol Lee Donuts - Blacksburg
    Cake donut? Yes, please. Carol Lee Donuts boasts seven different types of cake donuts, including Devilsfood cake glazed and blueberry cake. Or try out one of their yeast-raised donuts, including maple iced with peanuts and toasted coconut. Grab a freshly brewed cup of coffee to wash it all down!

    Happy Day Donut custom creation

    Happy Day Donut custom creation

    Happy Day Donuts – Chesapeake
    The name says it all! Start your day off right with a Happy Day donut. They pride themselves on crafting their donuts with only the highest quality ingredients, so you can rest east knowing they’re always fresh and always tasty. Happy Day always has about 22 donut selections, including their 16 “daily flavors.” And don’t forget about creating your own masterpiece! Choose anything from Boston cream to cinnamon apple, to red velvet, samoa, snickers and more! You also get to choose your own toppings– from 45 possible combinations! Wash it all down with a cup of Happy Day’s custom roasted coffee, roasted to order.

    Sugar Shack Donuts – Richmond
    “I’m pretty sure we’ve found the Holy Grail, and this is it.” Sugar Shack Donuts prides itself on fresh, all nature and local ingredients. Seven house donuts are available, including the quintessential glazed and strawberry iced. They also have six specialty creations, caramel apple cake, anyone?! Try out their monster donuts, featuring peach fritters and Maggie Walker’s signature Dragon Tails. What’s the Dragon Tail? You’ll have to stop in and see for yourself!

    Blackbird Bakery – Bristol
    The Blackbird has become a favorite bakery shop for the locals in Bristol and has developed the reputation as one of the top bakeries in the tri-cities area. When you visit the bakery, you will feel as though you stepped back to a time when neighbors and shop owners knew each other on a first name basis. One of the first things you will notice is the pleasant, friendly and inviting atmosphere that awaits you when you step through the door. Baked fresh daily, when you take the first bite, you will realize that the products are handmade with only the freshest and finest ingredients.

    The Dunk & Deli Co. – Abingdon
    Known for their made fresh daily donuts, Dunk & Deli prides itself on freshness and quality, as well as efficient and friendly service. Join them in their comfortable, sit-down atmosphere and relax with friends and family or call ahead for convenient take-out service!

    Triple Oak Bakery – Sperryville
    Triple Oak Bakery is a dedicated gluten free bakery using local and organic products whenever possible.

    Spudnut Coffee Shop - Charlottesville 
    Spudnuts is an old school donut shop that makes donuts with potato flour, hence “spud”nuts. An institution in Charlottesville!

    Duck Donuts – Virginia Beach 
    Duck Donuts makes their donuts made-to-order and fresh as can be! Their base donuts are made with these key ingredients: wheat & corn flour, soybean oil, nonfat dry milk, egg yolks, and beta carotene. Rest assured when you come to Duck Donuts, you’re receiving the best! Ten coating choices are available, as well as five topping choices.

    Great Country Farms – Loudoun
    Great Country Farms is best known for their cider donut. These apple cider donuts, made with cinnamon and sugar, are baked fresh at the farm and melt in your mouth when you catch them hot. Visitors enjoy them year-round before visiting the farm’s animals, u-pick areas and fresh market.

    Emily’s Donuts & Cafe – Williamsburg
    Emily’s Donuts & Café is more than the new local face of great donuts. The yeast donuts are unlike anything else in town. The process of creation takes nearly three hours from start to finish. There are classic “ring” donuts — meant to be glazed and topped, and solid donuts, perfect for filling with out-of-this world combinations! Emily’s Donuts boasts baking 7,000 donuts every week! Clearly these donuts are in demand — especially with seasonal flavors, like their scrumptious Key Lime Donuts made with real Key Lime infused filling and topped with a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting.

    Country Style Donuts – Richmond
    “Deliciously addictive since 1968!” That’s the motto of Country Style Donuts in Richmond. Swing by early in the morning to grab some delicious holes before they run out! Try out the peanut-covered glazed, toasted almond or blueberry chip. Or why not try them all! Country Style has 38 varieties of donuts and is open 24 hours.


    Check out some more delicious nominations:




    Food, Locals | 0 Comments

    Top Chefs of Virginia: Ma, Milton and Shields

    by Patrick Evans-Hylton | Posted on August 13th, 2014

    Virginia is America’s first food region, an early amalgamation of food and foodways from Native Americans, the English colonists, and an Afro-Caribbean influence.

    ©Robinson Imagery

    ©Robinson Imagery

    Over the years some food traditions have remained, but even those have had a facelift or two, adapting to modern palates and the country getting a true sense of place in the world’s cuisine scene.

    At the forefront of flavors are the kitchen artists, the Top Chefs of Virginia. From time-to-time we’ll chat with some of these tall toques about what inspires them, and why they chose to create their craft in the commonwealth.

    This is the first of the series. Grab a napkin, you’re going to be drooling soon.

    —   —   —

    Chef Tim Ma
    Maple Ave Restaurant
    147 Maple Ave. W., Vienna


    Water & Wall Restaurant
    3811 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington

    After eight years as an engineer, Tim Ma traded in blueprints for recipe cards and went to culinary school at The French Culinary Institute – now International Culinary Center – in New York.

    Chef Tim Ma of Maple Ave Restaurant and Water & Wheel Restaurant. Photo by Rey Lopez / Under a Bushel Photography.

    Chef Tim Ma of Maple Ave Restaurant and Water & Wheel Restaurant. Photo by Rey Lopez / Under a Bushel Photography.

    Following an externship with the Momofuku restaurant group and other culinary jobs, Tim returned to Virginia, where he had lived since age 10, to pursue his dreams of opening a restaurant.

    “I’ve been doing this for about six years now and have loved every minute of it,” he says.

    Tim and Joey Hernandez opened Maple Ave Restaurant in 2009. The remodeled donut shop seats 28 folks and offers French-Asian cuisine. Wall & Water opened in 2013 showcasing New American food.

    At Maple Ave, a consistent favorite on the changing menu are the Crème Fraiche Wings, a dish of wings in fiery Korean chili paste tempered with cooling Kendall Farms crème fraiche and garnished with scallions.

    Maple Ave has is currently ranked Number One in the 50 Best Restaurants by Northern Virginia Magazine and named among the 100 Very Best Restaurants by Washingtonian Magazine.

    Tim was a guest chef for the James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour on Aug. 4 and will cook at the James Beard House in New York for the Virginia Rising Stars dinner on Sept. 9.

    He was nominated a Rising Culinary Star in 2013 and 2014 for the RAMMY Awards presented by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.


    You are on the forefront of food, what trends do you see?

    I think that sophisticated cuisine will start to bleed into casual cuisine more often that what we are seeing it now, and make what once was considered fancy food more accessible to more people.

    You cook for others all the time; what do you cook for yourself?

    I love to make myself soy sauce braised beef noodles.  It can be any kind of noodle, but the beef needs to be super tender though. Add some pickles, and maybe some bok choy and I can eat that every day.

    What is a cookbook or food-related books folks should be reading?

    Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Daguid

    What are five things in your home refrigerator right now?

    Adult yogurt, baby yogurt, toddler yogurt, five takeout boxes from five different restaurants, and milk for my cereal.

    Maple Ave Restaurant

    Courtesy of Maple Ave Restaurant

    What’s a favorite Virginia wine? A favorite Virginia beer?

    I’m not a big wine drinker, but it’s hard for us to keep any RdV Vineyards wines in stock.

    AleWerks Brewing Company’s Shorty Time Session IPA; I couldn’t drink enough of this. We have it on tap now, but it is a very limited edition.

    Let’s talk food in Virginia.

    To me it’s very important to support local, but also very important to support responsible.  Responsible meaning that processes be it a Virginia peanut or grass-fed beef, it needs to be done with the properly with the current and future generations in mind.

    We source a lot from Polyface Farms for both restaurants.  We also like to promote as much Virginia agriculture as we can.

    I love Polyface Farms for not only their incredible products (rabbit, pork, beef, chicken, eggs), but for their incredibly sustainable practices.

    Virginia does provide such a wide range of products that are just fantastic, apples, peanuts, etc.

    What makes Virginia’s cuisine scene special?

    There is something special happening right now with Virginia cuisine. Chefs are reconnecting with the agriculture as well as with other fellow Virginia chefs … and [it’s] not just what is happening in the upscale cuisine space, but also the casual eateries are becoming more craft, less commercial.

    —   —   —

    Chef Travis Milton
    Comfort Restaurant
    200 W. Broad St., Richmond

    Chef Travis Milton. Photo by Beth Furgurson Photography.

    Chef Travis Milton of Comfort. Photo by Beth Furgurson Photography.

    Restauranting is in Travis Milton’s DNA. His great-grandparents owned a small restaurant in Castlewood, Va., where his mother worked both in the kitchen and dining room.

    “She would bring me in with her, and I would sit in a highchair in the corner of the kitchen and peel potatoes with a very dull butter knife. I learned quite a bit. I got my first restaurant job at 15,” says Travis.

    Over the years he has worked with such notables as Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco, Todd Gray of Equinox and Fabio Trabocchi of Fiola, both in Washington D.C., and Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 in New York before settling back in Virginia.

    Travis is a native of Russell County in Appalachia.

    Comfort opened in downtown Richmond 13 years ago by Jason Alley and Chris Chandler and has since become a stalwart of the capital city’s dining scene. Travis joined the team three years ago.

    “Our menu is rooted in the old ‘Meat and Three’ concept with a heavy emphasis on Appalachian foods,” says Travis. “We seat about 60 and try to create a very homey feel in the dining room that lives up to the name: Comfort.”

    Dishes change frequently, but Travis is noted for his Cheerwine Vinegar Pie (Cheerwine is a Southern, cherry-based soft drink) and sour corn, an old Appalachian dish of open-air fermented corn which is drained and sautéed in bacon fat.

    Travis has won many awards and accolades, including having his Green Tomato Pie named as a favorite in the Best Dishes of Dixie  August/September 2014 issue of Garden and Gun magazine.


    You cook for others all the time; what do you cook for yourself?

    A pot of soup beans and a pan of cornbread.

    What is a cookbook or food-related books folks should be reading?

    Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken: The Heart and Soul of Southern Country Kitchen by Ronni Lundy

    Comfort. Photo by Sarah Hauser.

    Comfort. Photo by Sarah Hauser.

    What are five things in your home refrigerator right now?

    Sour corn, rhubarb preserves, some old-style Pennsylvania hooch called Spoodie, many cans of PBR and some bagels

    What’s a favorite Virginia wine? A favorite Virginia beer?

    For wine, it’s a tie between Boxwood Winery’s rose’ and Barboursville Vineyards’s Octagon. For beer, it’s Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s Gingerbread Stout.

    Let’s talk food in Virginia.

    Where I grew up, the concept of ‘farm to table’ is just a normal part of life; the bulk of what you ate was grown or killed by you, someone in your family, or a neighbor.

    [Incorporating Virginia foods and foodways] is about honoring and preserving. I try to do what I can to preserve them and showcase them for the many that aren’t aware.

    [I have many favorite Virginia ingredients], Sam Edwards’ ham is the first thing that comes to mind. I am a sucker for the indigenous beans of Appalachia, my favorites being Greasy Beans and Turkey Craws. Craig Rodgers of Border Springs has some outstanding lamb, Adam Musick has some excellent pork, there is Autumn Olive Farms, and Lockhart Family Farm … I could go on and on.

    What makes Virginia’s cuisine scene special?

    Its diversity. You have a rich culture of foodways that are ages old in the mountains, as well as the amazing heritage of the Eastern Shore and everywhere in between.

    —   —   —

    Chef John Shields
    454 Loves Mill Rd., Chilhowie

    John and Karen Urie Shields of Riverstead. Photo by David Hungate.

    John and Karen Urie Shields of Riverstead. Photo by David Hungate.

    Like so many chefs, inspiration for John Shields came early in life; his from from his father. After attending culinary school in St. Louis, John made his way to Chicago. He began work at the famed Charlie Trotters restaurant there, where he would meet Karen, his pastry chef wife.

    John cooked at Alinea, also in Chicago, where he worked with his mentor, Grant Achatz, who is noted as a leader in progressive cuisine.

    Then John and Karen left the city for the country, and found a home in western Virginia, running the acclaimed Town House from 2008 to 2012 in the Appalachian hamlet of Chilhowie.

    Now the couple operate Riverstead, an inn and private dining restaurant set in the same charming Smyth County locale.

    From a charming renovated Victorian house overlooking the beautiful bucolic countryside, the Shields host a culinary adventure in the intimate 14-seat dining room. Meals are booked in advance on Riverstead’s website.

    “I’ve been in the highest level kitchen in North America and Europe, but I’ve never experienced the adventure that we will offer in this natural setting,” John writes on the site. “I’m pushing my creativity beyond anything I’ve ever done. We have great relationships with the local farmers, but also look for amazing seafood from unique waters and sounds.”

    Although the menu is constantly changing, look for dishes like duck hearts that are brined and grilled over the yakitori, with licorice-like flavors of dried beets, bronze fennel crowns, tarragon and black olives along with swiss chard leaves, cured egg yolk and a sauce of dried tomatoes, fermented blackberry, duck jus and brown butter.

    Riverstead. Photo by David Hungate.

    Riverstead. Photo by David Hungate.

    Over the years, John’s creative cuisine has garnered many accolade from publications like the Washington Post and Garden & Gun magazine. He’s a James Beard Foundation Awards semi-finalist, and a Star Chefs Rising Star.

    In 2010, Food & Wine magazine named him Best New Chef.


    You are on the forefront of food, what trends do you see?

    I think we’ll start to see more chefs banding together to do collaborative dinners and food conferences around the country.

    You cook for others all the time; what do you cook for yourself?

    I tend to cook a lot of eggs. I love eating them, but cooking eggs properly, no matter which style you decide, takes a tremendous amount of technical skill and knowledge.

    What is a cookbook or food-related books folks should be reading?

    The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

    What are five things in your home refrigerator right now?

    Eggs, lots of vegetables, lots of fruit, yogurt and beer.

    What’s a favorite Virginia wine? A favorite Virginia beer?

    I love Fabbioli Cellars’ Tannant 2011; I also love Foggy Ridge Cider. I enjoy Devils Backbone and Blue Mountain breweries.

    Let’s talk food in Virginia.

    I think any smart cook embraces the ingredients and product that are close to them. Obviously the product will be fresher, but it also evokes a story. When I’m using sour quince juice from the guy down the road to make curd, it’s special because you can’t taste or experience it anywhere else.

    Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

    I love [the ramp]; it’s versatility … charring, caramelized, fermented in goats milk whey … the list goes on and on.

    What makes Virginia’s cuisine scene special?

    Virginia just feels so fertile, and the products are so diverse.

    —   —   —

    Patrick Evans-HyltonPatrick Evans-Hylton, a Johnson & Wales University trained chef, is a Norfolk, Va.-based food journalist, historian and educator. His work has appeared in print, television, radio and social media since 1995. Evans-Hylton calls his cookbook, Dishing Up Virginia, his love letter to the state’s foods and foodways. He blogs at



    Food | 0 Comments

    11 Award-Winning Virginia Craft Breweries

    by Casey | Posted on August 13th, 2014

    Virginia is brewing some really tasty craft beer and the nation is noticing. The craft beer industry in Virginia has boomed very quickly from just a handful of breweries a couple of years ago to more than 80 as of this writing. It appears that Virginians and visitors passing through our beautiful Commonwealth are enjoying the liquid love on tap.

    Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Restaurant

    Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Restaurant

    If 80+ breweries seems overwhelming, let this be a quick-start guide. Go where the big awards are (World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival, for starters) and then launch your flight tastings from there. Here are 11 award-winning craft breweries you should try now in Virginia.

    1. Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland is a solid craft beer starter experience. DBB has certainly made a mark for itself in the world of craft beer since its 2008 opening. In 2013 alone DBB brought home six Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medals, plus two World Beer Cup (WBC) medals this year! Such acclaim boosts you to statuses like Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year (2012 and 2013 Great American Beer Festival) and Champion Brewery and Brewmaster (2010 World Beer Cup).

    • Old Virginia Dark American-Style Dark Lager – 2014 WBC Gold Medal, 2013 GABF Gold Medal
    • Vienna Lager – 2014 WBC Silver Medal (Outpost in Lexington)
    • Danzig Baltic-Style Porter – 2010 WBC  Gold Medal and 2013 GABF Bronze Medal
    • Morning Bear Coffee Flavored Beer – 2010 WBC Bronze Medal
    • Schwartz Bier German-Style Schwarzbier – 2010 WBC Bronze Medal
    • Kollaborator Traditional German-Style Bock – 2010 WBC Bronze Medal
    • Azreal Belgian- and French-Style Ale – 2013 GABF Gold Medal (Outpost)
    • Gold Leaf Lager American-Style or International-Style Pilsener – 2013 GABF Silver Medal
    • Berliner Metro Weiss German-Style Sour Ale – 2013 GABF Silver Medal
    • Ale of Fergus English-Style Mid Ale – 2013 GABF Bronze Medal
    • See More Awards
    Starr Hill Brewery

    Starr Hill Brewery

    2. Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet near Charlottesville is one of Virginia’s oldest craft breweries (1999). Starr Hill’s eight core brews, four seasonal brews and select limited edition brews have together garnered 21 medals from the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup over the years. Here are the most recent accolades:

    • Whiter Shade of Pale White IPA – 2014 WBC Gold Medal
    • Dark Starr Stout Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout – 2008 WBC Silver Medal
    • Amber Ale Irish Red Ale – 2002 WBC Bronze Medal
    • Soul Shine Belgian-Style Pale Ale – 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship Bronze Medal
    • See the Complete List

    3. Apocalypse Ale Works in Forest proclaims, “the end of bad beer is here!” and they invite you to try what championship judges have loved.

    • Heavy Red Horseman Scottish-Style Ale – 2014 WBC Gold Medal
    • Red Hoppocalypse Imperial Red Ale – 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship Silver Medal
    • Lustful Maiden Belgian Abbey Ale – Dubbel – 2013 U.S. Open Beer Championship Gold Medal
    Blue Mountain Brewery

    Blue Mountain Brewery

    4. Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton is Virginia’s first countryside brewery, hop farm and tasting room, not to mention, they have a farm-to-table restaurant on-site. Ten brews are on tap daily. Here are their latest accolades:

    • Blue Reserve American- Belgian-Style Ale – 2012 WBC Silver Medal
    • Rockfish Wheat American-Style Wheat – 2010 WBC Silver Medal

    5. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond operates a sustainable operation, with their energy being charged by wind and other renewable sources. If that doesn’t make you feel good about a visit, maybe a World Beer Cup acknowledgement will. Hardywood Gingerbread Stout won a 2012 WBC Bronze Medal in the Herb and Spice category.

    6. Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria is just a hop, skip and a jump from Washington, DC, making it a favorite reprieve from Capital life. Their recent acclaims include …

    • Optimal Wit Belgian-Style Witbier – 2013 GABF Gold Medal
    • Oktoberfest Vienna-Style Lager – 2013 GABF Silver Medal
    • Colossal One Aged Beer – 2013 GABF Bronze Medal
    • Colossal Two Smoke Beer – 2013 GABF Bronze Medal
    Three Brothers Brewing

    Three Brothers Brewing

    7. Lost Rhino Brewing Co. in Ashburn pairs locally-sourced eats with their gently handcrafted brews. Try the Rhino’fest Märzen, just released for the season today! It was awarded a gold medal in the German-Style Märzen category at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival.

    8. Smartmouth Brewing Co. in Norfolk claims to “geek out to the science of brewing,” which is becoming evident when the judges of the Great American Beer Festival award them a bronze medal in 2013 for their Notch 9 Double IPA. Great effort sometimes equals great reward.

    9. Three Brothers Brewing in Harrisonburg is actually comprised of three brothers a’brewin’. The brothers and their brewery are homegrown and loyal to their local roots, which makes a bronze medal for their Rum Barrel Belgium Dubbel Style IPA all the sweeter (2013 Great American Beer Festival).

    10. Wolf Hills Brewing Co. in Abingdon only distributes locally to ensure optimum freshness and flavor. That being said, more than the region is taking notice of their brews.

    • White IPA Out of Bounds IPA – 2014 U. S. Open Beer Championship Gold Medal
    • White Blaze Honey Cream Ale American Cream Ale – 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship Silver Medal
    • Ordinary Bitter – 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship Bronze Medal

    11. South Street Brewery in Charlottesville was founded in 1998, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks for the grand re-opening of this local brewpub. Here’s to hoping their award-winning beverages are still on tap!

    • South Street Tripel Belgian Abbey Ale – 2013 U.S. Open Beer Championship Gold Medal and 2011 Bronze Medal
    • Anastasia’s Chocolate Stout – 2011 U.S. Open Beer Championship Silver Medal
    • Satan’s Pony Scottish Ale – 2011 U.S. Open Beer Championship Bronze Medal and Judges’ Award for one of the Most Creative Names
    • South Street Dubbel – 2011 U.S. Open Beer Championship Bronze Medal

    Without a doubt there are tons more medals hanging around bottles in Virginia’s brewpubs. Explore and taste for yourself, especially during August Virginia Craft Beer Month, and let us know via the comments section about your favorite award-winning Virginia craft beer.

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    Great American Beer Festival – Virginia Winners – 1990-2013

    Beer | 1 Comment

    Late Summer Travel Packages

    by Stefanie | Posted on August 7th, 2014

    Don’t start pulling out the sweaters yet! We have quite a while until we’ll need those, but before the cool air starts coming in, these vacation hot spots are great for your late summer escape.


    Horseback Riding

    Horseback Riding

    Bunk and Bridle 4-night Package, Reba Farm Inn – Aug. 17-20 
    -Starting at $400/person plus taxes.

    Virginia has its own “dude ranch” located in Bedford County, with 75 horses on 300 acres near the Peaks of Otter. Become an East Coast Cowboy at Reba Farm Inn/Saddle Soar Equitainment with the “Bunk and Bridle” package. This travel package is for the true horse lover who wants to learn more and/or improve their horsemanship; or the novice, a great introduction to common sense horsemanship, and includes:

    • Four nights of lodging at the Inn
    • Meals (some meals will be served at the Inn, others at the barn and one out on the trail)
    • Hands on activities with horses and lots of riding


    Salamander Resort

    Salamander Resort

    Restore and Discover Path, Salamander Resort & Spa
    -Starting at $543 per person, per night.

    Take some “me” time and enjoy an escape to Salamander Resort, and enjoy a soothing weekend pampering yourself. This package includes:

    • Deluxe accommodations
    • Heart-healthy breakfast
    • Fitness center & indoor pool access
    • Participation in group fitness and exercise sessions
    • 50-minute spa service of choice each day
    • $125 wellness credit per night, per person to be used toward a resort activity
    • Complimentary car service within a 5-mile radius
    • Seasonal welcome gift


    Hokie Football Overnight Stay Package, Blacksburg – dates are for all home Va. Tech games
    -Starting at $238.00 per night

    Stay with the Holiday Inn University Blacksburg & Lane Stadium for one of Virginia Tech’s home football games and receive:

    • Free shuttle to and from the football field (9am-2am)
    • Free tailgate near the stadium
    • Free parking
    • A special, unique gift for each game


    Virginia Golf Package at the Tides Inn – Thru Aug. 31
    -Starting at $380 per night, based on double occupancy

    Located on a private peninsula in the Northern Neck, near Chesapeake Bay, Tides Inn is home to the Golden Eagle Golf Course designed by George W. Cobb. Surrounded by woodlands, the course features exciting elevation changes, well-placed bunkers, signature holes, and water elements that all levels of golfers can enjoy.  Golden Eagle at the Tides Inn is the perfect getaway for golf with a group, as a romantic escape, or a trip with the whole family. Package includes:

    • Deluxe room accommodations
    • Full breakfast daily, per person, at the restaurant or room service
    • Unlimited daily golf at the Golden Eagle course, with cart, club storage and range balls
    • Unlimited use of the practice facility at the Little Eagle course
    • Golden Eagle souvenirs


    Maury River Kayaking

    Maury River Kayaking

    Twin River Rafting Adventure Package, Natural Bridge – Thru Aug. 31
    -Starting at $159

    Stay at the Natural Bridge Park Historic Hotel and enjoy a river excursion with friends and family in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Enjoy all the benefits of a Natural Bridge Family Hotel Package including:

    • Natural Bridge and Caverns tickets
    • Standard room for 2 adults and 2 children
    • Served, hot breakfast
    • A single trip each for the River Paddle or Tubing Adventure


    Williamsburg Flex Vacation Package, Williamsburg Plantation Resort – Thru Sept. 1
    -$1,859 total

    A great end of summer vacation for the family! The Williamsburg Flex Vacation Package includes:

    • 2 bedroom/2 bath condo, equipped with a kitchen, living and dining area
    • Unlimited visits to Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown Battlefield, Busch Gardens, Water Country USA and more


    American Music Festival, Virginia Beach – Aug. 29-Sept. 1
    -$319 per night; special rates for Thursday, Aug. 28 and Monday, Sept. 1

    Enjoy 3 days of rock, jazz, country, R&B and more at the 2014 American Music Festival, presented by Chevrolet. Featured artists include Three Dog Night, Barenaked Ladies, Daughtry, Third Eye Blind, just to name a few. Package includes:

    • 3-night stay at the Comfort Inn & Suites Oceanfront
    • 2 Passport Pins for the festival


    Yoga at Primland Resort

    Yoga at Primland Resort

    Summer Hydration, Primland – Thru Sept. 21
    -Starting at $1,015
    Having one of those summers? Plan a relaxing trip to Primland Resort and enjoy the Summer Hydration package. This is the season of warm summer winds with the sun at its zenith. Abundant warmth and light beam confidence and strength. experience summer through its element – nourishing water as it opens us to our natural resources. The Summer Hydration package treatments have been especially selected to represent the nourishment and replenishment of the summer season. Package includes:

    • 3-day, 2-night stay at the resort
    • Breakfast and dinner each day
    • Yoga sea salt scrub
    • Stone of eternal youth facial
    • Harmony massage


    Civil War Experience, Fredericksburg – Thru 2014
    -Starting at $205

    Travel back in history and walk in the footsteps of Grant, Lee and the thousands of Americans affected by the Civil War. This historic package includes:

    • 2-night stay at a Fredericksburg-area hotel (selected upon booking)
    • Admission to the Fredericksburg Area Museum & Cultural Center and the White Oak Civil War Museum
    • Admission to all National Military Park Battlefields, a VIP dining card and more


    For the Birders Travel Package, Mountain Rose Inn
    -Starting at $569

    Experience birding in luxury with this package at the Mountain Rose Inn that is just for bird lovers who might want to also be guests at our Inn. Experience birds of many varieties on the Inn’s property. You can even get face-to-face with a ruby-throated hummingbird during the summer months as you sip a glass of sherry & enjoy an afternoon snack on the Inn’s front porch. Package includes:

    • 3-night stay
    • Breakfast of choice and picnic lunches.


    Fishing at Cornerstone Farm, Red Oak
    -Starting at $450/couple

    Whether you are young or young-at-heart, fishing is a relaxing pastime. You’ll discover the fishing is great sport on Cornerstone’s large private stocked pond. Cast a line for largemouth bass, crappies, catfish and more in our spring-fed pond for early morning or late afternoon fun. After dinner, enjoy the warmth of a evening bonfire while sharing stories and roasting marshmallows. This package includes:

    • 2-night stay
    • Snack tray and beverages
    • Country breakfasts, light lunch, full evening meals
    • 1 evening bonfire roasting marshmallows
    • On-site pond fishing (bait and tackle included)


    Blenheim Vineyards in Charlottesville

    Blenheim Vineyards in Charlottesville

    A Winelover’s Retreat, Orchard House Bed & Breakfast
    -Starting at $285/couple

    Enjoy a weekend in the country, sipping on Virginia’s finest wines. Package includes:

    • 2-night accommodations
    • 1 bottle of local Virginia wine and cheese platter
    • Full country breakfast each morning
    • Complementary soft drinks, coffee and tea
    • Complementary snack basket in room
    • Self-guided tours of local wineries and breweries


    Creeper Trail Bike Shuttle Package, Summerfield Inn Bed & Breakfast
    -Starting at $224

    The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34-mile long Rails-to-Trails footpath and recreational trail used for hiking, birding and cycling. The Summerfield Inn Bed & Breakfast package includes:

    • 2-night accommodations
    • 1/2 day bicycle rental for 2
    • Gourmet breakfast


    Family Fun Package at Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Virginia Beach
    -Starting at $356

    Have a complete vacation experience with the Hilton Garden Inn Family Fun Package. Enjoy a family outing on the beach during the day and then have a night out on the town! Along with the breathtaking views of the Atlantic, this package also includes:

    • Tickets to Beach Movie Bistro (enjoy a full menu of dining options while you watch a movie!)
    • $50 dining card to be used at any of the hotel’s 5 Virginia Beach Boardwalk restaurants




    48 Hours, Beaches, Beer, Civil War, Couples, Deals & Discounts, Destinations, Events, Family, Golf, History, Outdoors | 0 Comments

    Secrets of the Brewmasters

    by Patrick Evans-Hylton | Posted on August 7th, 2014

    Virginia has had a long love affair with beer; it’s been enjoyed here since 1607 and we even have a recipe from George Washington for his brew.

    From Ales to Vienna Lagers and everything in between, dozens of breweries across the state help quench our thirst for quality quaffs.

    If that wasn’t enough reason to celebrate, here is another: August is officially Virginia Craft Beer Month, and many breweries, restaurants and bars have special events and other offerings to raise a glass to.

    It’s no secret that it’s a great time now – as well as the whole year through – to enjoy a Virginia craft beer, but there are a few insider tips for making the most of the sips, and we spoke with five brewmasters to learn a few.

    —   —   —

    Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
    4100 Knolls Point Dr., Goochland

    Farris Loutfi of Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery. Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism Corporation.

    Farris Loutfi of Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery. Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism Corporation.

    Brewery Opened: 2013

    Brewery Offers: 6 regular beers; 10 seasonal beers

    Signature Brew: Three Chopt Tripel is a non-stopped-hopped version of a European Classic.  What I like about it is the fantastic combination of citrus, spice and honey notes the beer has.  It is also remarkably refreshing and drinkable despite it’s high ABV of 9.3 percent.

    Tours/Tastings Offered: Open Wednesday through Friday, 4 p.m. to sunset and Saturday and Sunday, noon to sunset.

    From Sean-Thomas Pumphrey, Chief Beer Officer:

    What has caused the explosion of interest in craft beer in Virginia?

    The quality of Virginia craft beer is second to none, [and the] breweries themselves are fantastic destinations to visit and bring out of town guests. Craft beer gives a sense of regional identity to a place and gives those who live in the area something they can take personal pride in.

    What sets Virginia breweries apart from others?

    Virginia craft breweries focus on quality in every aspect of their business.  We create unique beers and serve them in a fantastic setting.

    How can someone make the most of a brewery tasting room visit?

    The best way is to try and have a clean palate between tastings and to take notes [that includes the] brewery name, beer name, beer type, general descriptors and some type of rating system.

    What are some beer and wine pairings you like?

    Batchleors Delight Rum Barrel Aged Belgian-style Quadrupel Ale paired with roasted lamb and Three Chopt Tripel with fresh scallops.

    How will you be celebrating Virginia Craft Beer Month?

    Two beer releases: Creator German-Style Doppelbock on Aug. 9 and Rosemary Saison, made from rosemary on the farm, on Aug. 16.

    —   —   —

    Lost Rhino Brewing Co.
    21730 Red Rum Dr. #142, Ashburn

    Lost Rhino Brewing Company. Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism Corporation.

    Lost Rhino Brewing Company. Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism Corporation.

    Brewery Opened: 2011

    Brewery Offers: 5 year-round beers; 4 seasonal beers; up to 12 beers on tap in tasting room

    Signature Brew: Face Plant IPA, a strong malty backbone, pleasant grapefruit bitterness, great herbal hop flavor and delicate floral hop aroma

    Tours/Tastings Offered: The tasting room is open Tuesday-Sunday afternoons; tours are on Saturdays

    From Favio Garcia, co-founder and Director of Brewing Operations:

    What has caused the explosion of interest in craft beer in Virginia?

    Overall there is a growing appreciation of small business and local craft. In our increasing homogenized world many are looking for a unique experience, be it food, drink or art.

    What sets Virginia breweries apart from others?

    Without a doubt the variety of styles. Virginia breweries are producing a wide array of different styles from crisp lager to wild ales and doing them well.

    How can someone make the most of a brewery tasting room visit?

    If you have the time and inclination start up a conversation with a regular, they will steer you to the must try of week.

    What are some beer and wine pairings you like?

    Face Plant IPA – I think our India Pale Ale goes great with any grilled foods, especially seafood.

    Woody Stout- This bourbon barrel-aged stout as you can imagine goes very well a chocolate desert, but it very fun to pair strong cheeses with this roasty sweet beauty.

    How will you be celebrating Virginia Craft Beer Month?

    Lost Rhino will be releasing Native Son, our all-Virginia Beer. Every ingredient in this beer is from the commonwealth.

    —   —   —

    Redbeard Brewing Company
    129 S. Lewis St., Staunton

    Brewery Opened:  2013

    Brewery Offers:  3-4 flagship beers, 3-4 seasonal beers; 6-8 beers usually on tap

    Signature Brew: Black Rye IPA – it combines the roastiness and body of a dry stout with the hop-forward aroma and finish of an IPA.

    Tours/Tastings Offered:  The taproom is open Fridays, 4-11 p.m., Saturdays, noon-11 p.m., and Sundays, 1-11 p.m.

    From Jonathan Wright, founder and brewer:

    What has caused the explosion of interest in craft beer in Virginia?

    [It] is due primarily to the passage of [a bill allowing] breweries to sell their product in an on-site tasting/taproom. Small breweries such as Redbeard [can] focus on clientele and [create] a solid portfolio of quality offerings without the need to distribute all of our product to wholesalers at low margins.

    What are some craft beer trends you see?

    The revival and Americanization of Old World styles like sour beers, and the expansion of the lower ABV (Alcohol By Volume) “session” segment of the market.

    Sour beers of various type are extremely en vogue, [ranging] from a light tartness [to] the sourest thing on earth.

    The lower ABV beers that are in fashion are a great way to enjoy the act of drinking, without getting drunk.

    How can someone make the most of a brewery tasting room visit?

    Know what you’re getting into, do your homework, make sure they’re open the day you will visit, make sure the beer styles they typically offer are up your alley.

    What are some beer and wine pairings you like?

    Drink what you think you’ll like, eat what you think you’ll like.  Be adventurous once you’ve had your fill of those to expand and educate your palate.

    How will you be celebrating Virginia Craft Beer Month?

    There’s a new beer to try and new friends to make any time you visit, any time of the year.

    —   —   —

    Roanoke Railhouse Brewing Co.
    3106 Franklin Rd., Roanoke

    Brewery Opened: 2009

    Brewery Offers: 3 regular beers; 4 seasonal beers

    Signature Brew: Track 1 Amber Lager was created to produce the flavor profile identified by the focus group research conducted for us by Martin Research. Track 1 is robust in a subtle manor with the emphases on malt.  It is a true,” Session” beer with low after taste and a silky smooth mouth feel.

    Tours/Tastings Offered: Wednesday through Friday, 5-9:30 p.m., Saturday, 2-7:30 p.m., Sunday, 3-6 p.m.

    From Steve Davidson, president:

    What has caused the explosion of interest in craft beer in Virginia?

    Recent [laws] allowing breweries [that permit] on premise sales.

    What sets Virginia breweries apart from others?

    The craft beer industry is not just about alcohol sales. We are creating jobs that spread throughout the commonwealth. Transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and one of the most important aspects of the state economy, tourism are all positively affected by craft beer

    How will you be celebrating Virginia Craft Beer Month?

    We hope to celebrate by reopening [in our new location.]

    —   —   —

    The St. George Brewing Co.
    204 Challenger Way, Hampton

    The St. George Brewing Company

    The St. George Brewing Company

    Brewery Opened: 1996

    Brewery Offers:  11 regular: 5 traditional ales and lagers, 4 imperial styles and 2 hybrids; 6 seasonal

    Signature Brew: St. George IPA, a classic, English-style India Pale Ale full-flavored beer, easy drinking without overwhelming the taste palate.

    Tours/Tastings Offered:  Retail sales are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    From Andy Rathmann, brewmaster:

    What has caused the explosion of interest in craft beer in Virginia?

    Virginia has seen quite a few microbreweries since they came on the scene in the late 1970′s. The Chesapeake Brewing Co in Norfolk was the first in Virginia and Legends Brewing Co in Richmond being the oldest existing microbrewery.

    The recent spurt follows a trend that has been taking the whole country by storm and has been helped in no small part by the passage of a new Virginia law which allows brewery tasting rooms to sell for on-site consumption of their beer.

    What sets Virginia breweries apart from others?

    The bigger difference, I believe, is really brewery to brewery, regardless of what part of the country they are located.

    How can someone make the most of a brewery tasting room visit?

    [In general] start with beers that won’t ruin your taste buds too quickly and then work your way, brewery to brewery, up to the more extreme types.

    [At a festival] pick a specific style and them sample each breweries offerings of that style for comparison. Get in the longest line you find because they will be the most trending and most likely run out soonest.

    Oh yeah, and bring a designated driver

    What are some beer and wine pairings you like?

    St George Golden Ale has a tart citrus note that tends to cut thru any spicy greasy food, think wings or pizza

    St George Porter with it’s rich chocolate and coffee notes goes with any type of chocolate.

    How will you be celebrating Virginia Craft Beer Month?

    Personally I’m celebrating by having a different Virginia beer every day. The brewery has several events on tap.

    —   —   —

    Patrick Evans-HyltonPatrick Evans-Hylton, a Johnson & Wales University trained chef, is a Norfolk, Va.-based food journalist, historian and educator. His work has appeared in print, television, radio and social media since 1995. Evans-Hylton calls his cookbook, Dishing Up Virginia, his love letter to the state’s foods and foodways. He blogs at



    Beer | 1 Comment