The wine, craft beer and spirit industries continue to swell in Virginia, and with so many offerings, how do you know where to start? Perhaps the beginning of a tasty relationship is with the award winners. From there, you’ll know the industry standard of a fine craft beverage and your palate will be better prepared to lead you to more. Additionally, it’s most helpful to your craft beverage growth if you understand what you’re tasting. Make it a point to actually visit the winery, brewery or distillery to receive the educational component of craft tasting.
— CRAFT BEER —
The 2014 Great American Beer Festival wrapped in early October and Virginia brewers brought home well-deserved hardware.
Devils Backbone Brewing Company – Outpost won both the Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year and the Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year awards. The titles were earned in conjunction with DBB’s four decorated brews. Note that DBB has previously won Brewing Company and Brewer of the Year awards (2012 and 2013), but in the “Small” category.
– Gold – Schwartz Bier (German-Style Schwarzbier) – Outpost
– Silver – Old Virginia Dark (American-Style Dark Lager) – Outpost
– Silver – Turbo Cougar (Bock) – Outpost
– Bronze – Alt Bier (German-Style Altbier) – Basecamp
Additional GABF winners this year were Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (golf for Raspberry Stout), Capitol City Brew Co. (silver for Amber Waves Ale), and Three Notch’d Brewing Company (bronze for “Hydraulion” Red).
— WINE —
The 2014 Virginia Governor’s Cup has been called “one of the most stringent competitions in the US,” and in 2014, more than 400 Virginia wines were sampled by a panel of 40 world-class judges. The wines were rated based on the 100-point Wine Spectator scale; the top 12 wines are then showcased in the Governor’s Case as the best of Virginia.
2014 Governor’s Case
– Barboursville Vineyards‘ 2008 Malvaxia Passito, 2010 Nebbiolo, and 2010 Octagon
– Barren Ridge Vineyards‘ 2009 Meritage
– Fabbioli Cellars‘ 2011 Tannant
– Horton Vineyards‘ 2010 Tannant
– The Williamsburg Winery‘s 2010 Adagio
– King Family Vineyards‘ 2011 Meritage
– North Gate Vineyards‘ 2011 Meritage
– Rockbridge Vineyard‘s 2008 Meritage
– Sunset Hills Vineyards‘ 2010 Mosaic
– Two Twisted Posts Winery’s 2012 Chardonnay
Eight additional wines received gold medals:
– Afton Mountain Vineyards‘ 2012 Festa di Bacco
– Cedar Creek Winery‘s 2011 Cabernet Franc
– Cobbler Mountain Cellars‘ 2011 Meritage
– Fabbioli Cellars’ 2011 Tre Sorelle
– Jefferson Vineyards‘ 2010 Estate Reserve and 2010 Meritage
– Pearmund Cellars‘ 2010 Ameritage
– Veritas Vineyards‘ 2012 Viognier
— SPIRITS —
The 8th Annual Judging of American Spirits was conducted by the American Distilling Institute in April 2014. Spirits are a growth area for Virginia craft beverages, but nevertheless, our distillers are competing well and bringing home medals.
Appalachian Mountain Spirits’ Virginia Sweetwater Distillery was awarded a bronze medal for their War Horn Whisky.
Belmont Farm Distillery was awarded a silver medal for their Kopper Kettle Virginia Whiskey and a bronze for their Virginia Lightning Apple Pie Moonshine.
In 2013, during the 7th annual event, Catoctin Creek Distilling won a bronze medal for their Roundstone Rye Cask Proof. During that same event, Virginia Distillery’s Virginia Highland Malt Whisky was awarded a bronze medal. (Note: Virginia Distillery is not yet open to the public, but plan to be in 2015.)
A. Smith Bowman Distillery has also made a name for Virginia spirits. Their most recent accolades:
- Bowman Brothers Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey Small Batch – Silver, International Wine & Spirit Competition, 2014
- John J. Bowman Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey Single Barrel, Silver, International Wine & Spirit Competition, 2014