Monday, August 24, 2015

Virginia Craft Brewers Fest 2015

     What can I say that has not already been said by all the great people that were there, everyone from Virginia Beer Trail to Virginia Craft Beer Magazine have mentioned the winners, published pictures, and other such stuff. I went to enjoy the festival, drink good beer, and see some friends. I didn't take a whole lot of pictures, and I didn't even really take any notes. So I will just give you my opinion of what beers that I thought really stood out to me, from what I remember.

     The event was held at Devil's Backbone Basecamp. This was my first time being there and it was amazing and beautiful. There isn't a whole lot I can say or need to say about Devil's Backbone, pretty much every Virginia craft beer fan has heard of Devil's Backbone or at least had a Vienna Lager at a local restaurant. I will say though they put on one heck of an event, from the food, to the bands, to the venue. This is how all events should be, so take note. 

     Now to the beer. My favorite beer that I had was a Red Kolsch, from Crooked Run Brewing out of Leesburg. They described it as a kolsch style ale. All I know is it was great and easy to drink. It was only around 4.3% ABV and in the low 20's for IBU's, so it went quickly. The next beer I really enjoyed was none other than Star Hill's Whiter Shade of Pale, White IPA. I am not a huge IPA person, but the smooth and fruitiness flavor made me a big fan of this beer. I will be getting more of this as soon as I can. It comes in at 7.5% ABV and 45 IBU's so nothing to blow your taste buds out of the water. The next stand out for me was Blue Mountain's Spooky. Which is an "Un-spiced Imperial Pumpkin Ale with Cocoa Nibs aged in charred American White Oak Rye (Claremont Springs) and Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. Dominant barrel flavors of vanilla and oak/coconut" which I think only they can do. I will admit, I am one of those people who like pumpkin beers(if it's done right), and I love bourbon barrel beers. So how could I go wrong by drinking this. It also has a nice 8.2% ABV, so there is that. The last beer that I kept going back to was from my great friends at Tin Cannon Brewing Co, it was their Virginia Blonde. I'm not sure what it is about that beer, the smoothness, the body, the low IBU's(19 to be exact), or just the flavor. I am always glad to have one of these when I am up in Gainesville, and it's also only 5% ABV so you can have a couple of them. Obviously I had to eat while I was there, so we went to the South Fork Food Truck out of Charlottesville. I had one of the most amazing pork sandwiches that I have ever had. It was not pulled pork, it was just big chunks of tender meaty pork with a dijon mustard.  I also had their sweet potato with brown sugar fritters, so good. 

     As the night dwindled down and the event was ending we made our way over to the actual basecamp venue. There was live music and great beers being poured from around the state. We hung out there for a little while and decided to call it a night. This was one of the best events that I have been to so far. I will be returning year after year. There is one shout out I will like to give and that would be to my friends at VABrewpass. You need to check them out for great discounts at all of your favorite breweries. 

      Next up on my list of things to do will be Savor and Sip which is a wine and food event in Culpeper on September 5. I know its not beer, but a lot of my winery friends will be there. Then there is the great event at Old Busthead called Bleu and Brew on September 19, which is a beer and cheese pairing event. There will be several local breweries on hand for this one. Then finally NOVA Brewfest October 17th and 18th.  I suggest you check out these events and all your local breweries/wineries/restaurants, find something you like. There is a world of deliciousness out there, you just have to find your spot. I am sure I will be venturing to other breweries and restaurants in the next few months, so keep an eye on my twitter for updates.

As always drink up and eat well!!



Sunday, August 16, 2015

Virginia Craft Beer Month and More

I've started Virginia Craft Beer Month a little late, but I feel I made up for it this week. I started out by visiting my old friends on Thursday at Tin Cannon Brewing in Gainesville. While I was there I got to talk to Jose, John and Sabrina about new brews and new ideas, make sure to follow them on Facebook for updates. I also tried their special Saison that they created for DC Beer Week. It was pretty much a perfect Saison at 4.5% ABV with a nice 40 IBU. They said they will be at the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest coming up on the 22nd so be sure to check them out while you are there.

    On Friday night I met up with some friends at Far Gohn Brewing in Culpeper. I had a couple of my favorite beers that they have on tap called Coon's Process. It's a non-traditional pale that is an interpretation of his grandfather's recipe. It's made with natural flavor with a finish of apples, malt extract and sugar cluster hops. Comes in at ABV: 6.3%  and IBU: 21. This beer extremely refreshing. I also talked to owner Steve Gohn and he has some great ideas and events for the future. You need to follow on Facebook for all events and new beers and be sure to come down and check it out.

     On Saturday a friend and I went to Old Bust Head in Vint Hill for their one year anniversary celebration. There was music and raffles, delicious food being served by Black Bear Bistro from Warrenton and ice cream by Moo-Thru from Bealton. While there I had a nice glass of Shorthorn, their American Pale Ale at 5.8% ABV and 40 IBU's.
    Next I had probably one of my favorite porters being made today. It's their Cafe Vanilla Porter. Great strong coffee taste with the sweetness of vanilla and a 5.1% ABV, you wouldn't even know it was a beer until you stood up. Before we left we met up with Ike and Julie Broaddus, we discussed a big event that they are having coming up in September. It's called Bleu and Brew:
Be sure to get your tickets soon before they are gone. Also make sure you find the time to visit and try the great beers that they have on tap.

     Saturday night I my wife met some out of town family in Washington DC. It happened to be Restaurant Week and DC Beer Week. We met everyone at Grillfish, on New Hampshire Ave NW for dinner and some drinks. I had one of their top appetizer dishes the Ginger Calamari. I am a huge fan of calamari and try it almost everywhere I can. This had to be some of the best calamari I have ever had. It melted in your mouth, not even remotely chewy. The ginger honey sauce on them also gave it a great flavor.

     My next course was their mixed grill. Which was Swordfish, Salmon, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and shrimp served on a skewer with brocolini on the side.

     It was absolutely amazing. The fish was cooked to perfection and the honey soy sauce was great. I washed it all down with two Devil's Backbone Vienna Lagers. It started the night off perfectly.

     Next we walked to The Gryphon which is a couple blocks away on Connecticut Ave, NW.  While I was there I decided to try some actual DC Beer. I tried DC Brau The Citizen. This is a Belgian Style Pale Ale. This was extra smooth and tasted great, with hints of apricot and a nice fruity flavor. The smoothness is attributed to the very low 19 IBU's but the 7% ABV will get you going for the rest of the night.
     I didn't drink after that, because I had to drive home, but before we left we ended up at Sauf Haus Bier Hall. Which is a German Beer Garten that prides itself on "Reinheitsgebot and Biergesetz.  
The Reinheitsgebot, (literally "purity order"), sometimes called the "German Beer Purity Law" or the "Bavarian Purity Law" in English, is a regulation concerning the production of beer in the Holy Roman Empire and its successor state, Germany. In the original text, the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops".

On this night it was a Devil's Backbone Tap Takeover, I believe there were 13 beers on tap. 

    Overall it has been a great past few days. Next weekend I will be at the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest down at Devil's Backbone's Basecamp. I look forward to seeing and hopefully meeting a lot of people. 

As always, drink up and eat well!

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