Monday, November 3, 2008

Capital Ale House - Fredericksburg Now Open

It's been just 11 months since the news broke that Capital Ale House was coming to Fredericksburg, and now the wait is over. The restaurant at 917 East Caroline Street officially opened for business this morning and Colleen and I decided to go in for lunch on opening day.

The restaurant has two dining rooms on the street level, and a display beer cellar downstairs. There is also a lounge area with dart boards and leather couches. As we were led to our table I was eying the 80 foot bar, the stocked beer coolers behind the bar, and the array of tap handles at the end. Capital Ale House currently has 60 beers on tap and over 300 bottled beers on stock. According to company president Matt Simmons, about 100 kegs and 400 cases of beer were delivered last week in preparation for the opening.

My first order of business was to peruse the beer menu, which is an 8.5" x 11" book with around 25 pages of beers listed. I opted for a Lights Out Holiday Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Virginia. The beer was dark with a moderate beige head. It has roasted malt flavors with some hop bitterness at the end and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Colleen and I both ordered the Ale House burger. This thick Angus burger was cooked just right and topped with sautéed onions, lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese. The burgers were served with frittes (fries) and two flavors of spicy mayonnaise.

As we ate, other patrons began filling the seats. It looks like they will have a busy opening day. There seemed to be plenty of staff on hand and our server, Nina, was prompt and friendly. She was enthusiastic but admitted a bit of trepidation over the extensive beer menu. Even though the restaurant had been open less than an hour and already had a good size crowd on hand, I had no complaints about the service we received.

The Fredericksburg location will feature the same $1 burger specials on Monday evenings and "Steal the Glass Night" on Tuesdays as their other locations. No burger deal this opening week, but the Tuesday, November 4 "Steal the Glass Night" will feature Schneider Aventinus. Capital Ale House also offers free Wi-Fi internet. And, if you are looking for good beer to take home, the bottle menu is available "to go" at a 25% discount off listed prices.

My visit today was short and I didn't get to truly explore the extensive beer selection. It will be nice to have such a wide variety of beers available locally. I'm looking forward to trying out many new and hard-to-find beers at the Capital Ale House. And, a reminder, the GABF Pro-Am Silver medal beer, Smoke Out, by local homebrewer Lyle Brown will be tapped this Friday at Capital Ale House. I hope to see you there.

Update, Nov. 6: The Free Lance-Star has a good article about Capital Ale House today. (They still insist on calling it a brewery on the front page of the paper.)


  1. Hi Dave,
    > Cathy and I went later in the day. We had a chance to talk with the
    > new site manager, Kevin Abley, and Capital Ale House owner, Matt
    > Simmons. We had seen Matt a couple of times down at the downtown
    > Richmond spot on a couple of occasions and it was great seeing him
    > in Fredericksburg. We had a great time.
    > Cathy kept things local - a Legend Brown and a Blue and Gray Falmout
    > Pale. My 'carbon footprint' was a bit bigger with an Ommegang and a
    > Bell's. All were nicely served by a young fellow who did a good job.
    > I think Jeff Fitzpatrick summed it up best when he came over to say
    > Hi. He said "It is good to see all the usual suspects here for the
    > opening." Couldn't agree more.
    > Roy Strohl

  2. I'm putting the Capital Ale House on my to do list, sounds like a great place to enjoy a pint or three. I am still waiting for the day I see Flying Dog on tap a couple hours up north here in Harrisburg.

  3. I went Monday night. I have some concern that the selection might not “turnover” enough, but it is great to see another beer bar rise from the ashes of the Bangkok café. I have some reservation about the staff knowledge—I ordered a beer they had on draft (racer 5) and received the bottled version and some of the description provided to other patrons was a little off---but the place is new and I’m be overly hard. I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the ice bar since you are not a fan of iced mugs.

    Good thing you enjoyed that porter at the teach a friend to homebrew day.

    Meetings are the third Tuesday of the month, I’m sure we could make room a visitor.



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