Saturday, October 31, 2009

Battlefield Brewing Now Open

Fredericksburg's first brew pub is now officially open, and serving beer made on premise. Battlefield Brewing Company is located in The Pub, a long-standing and popular stop for good pub food. To help celebrate the brewery's grand opening on Friday, my family had dinner there and tried out a couple of the new beers. The brewery is currently serving three beers; Chancellor Pale Ale, Iwo Jima Irish Red, and Wilderness Wheat.

My selection for the evening was the Chancellor Pale Ale, brewed with Centennial and Amarillo hops. The Amarillo hops balance the citrus notes with just a bit of bitterness. This creates a crisp, moderately hoppy beer. I found it quite enjoyable, and it should satisfy the hop-head, as well as less adventurous beer drinkers. Colleen ordered the Iwo Jima Irish Red. This selection has a strong malt backbone with a bitter finish. From my casual observation, Iwo Jima Irish Red looked to be the most popular beer during the evening. We did not try the Wilderness Wheat, that will be a mission for another visit.

Both of the beers we had during the evening were very well done. Head brewer Lyle Brown, along with the rest of the brewers, have done an excellent job. Lyle has said that he plans to expand the breweries offerings with seasonal beers, and also let the brewers create special one-off beers in the future. That is something to look forward to. Coming up in a few weeks, Belleau Wood, a Belgian-style ale, will be available as well.

The Pub is a popular eatery, known for it's good pub grub. I am especially found of the burgers, and the fish & chips there. Now that good craft beer is being brewed onsite, it gets even better. Right now the only drawback is the smokiness of The Pub. With the new restaurant ban on smoking coming into play next month, that situation should improve.

Meanwhile, despite the smoke, I expect I'll be a frequent patron of Battlefield Brewing at The Pub. It is now the closest pub to my home, and the only one serving fresh-brewed beer.

For those keeping count, Fredericksburg now boasts TWO craft breweries. Blue & Gray Brewing also has plans to add a pub in the future.

A few pictures from Battlefield Brewing Company are here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NOVA Brew Fest

Last Sunday, I piled the family into the car and we headed up to Bull Run Park in Centreville to attend the 3rd Annual Northern Virginia BrewFest. It was a beautiful day for a drive, and a beer festival. Once we arrived, we saw the evidence that the previous day's weather had not been as appealing. The grounds were covered by ankle-deep mud from the rains the day before. Fortunately, we had been forewarned via the NOVA Brew Fest Twitter feed to wear boots. Still, walking was treacherous at times. However, that didn't stop the beer from flowing.

We stayed just a couple of hours, but we had time to try out a number of beers. I'll mention a few of our favorites. From the Vintage 50 tent, the Oatmeal Stout was quite nice with dark roasted flavors and some sweetness. Capitol City Brewing Fuel was a noteworthy selection. It had a nice espresso flavor to it, along with some bitter chocolate. Also at the Capital City booth, we tried the Organic Trippel which was very nice as well. Colleen was torn between Fuel and Organic Trippel as her favorites of the fest, so maybe there's a trip up to Capitol City in my future!

Moving on to Clipper City, I was pleased to see they had the latest in the Mutiny Fleet series, The Great Pumpkin, an Imperial Pumpkin Ale. I hadn't had the opportunity to try this one previously. Now, typically pumpkin beers I can enjoy only in limited quantities, and grow tired of the flavor rather quickly. However, I did enjoy the Clipper City Great Pumpkin quite a bit. Maybe there's still time to find a bottle or two of this limited release.

I also had a glass of Founders Centennial IPA. Colleen and I are both fans of citrusy IPAs and this one didn't disappoint. Colleen pegged the flavor as being more of an "orange citrus," rather than the typical grapefruit flavor. Another new beer tried this afternoon was Duck Rabbit Wee Heavy. The sweet, caramel, toffee flavors finished off with a bit of hop bitterness made this a good closing beer for our visit.

Despite the muddy grounds, many folks were enjoying the festival on Sunday. Everyone seemed to take the mud in stride. After all, what's a bit of mud when there are good beers to be had? I especially enjoyed the day as it had been awhile since Colleen was able to accompany me to a beer fest. This was my son's first beer festival, and although he's got a few more years before he can enjoy them properly, he got to see what the excitement was all about. Soon we were headed off to find dinner, as I had bribed my son with the promise of dinner at Round Robin. The large burger topped with cheese, bacon, and a fried egg was a fitting feast to cap off the day.

Tom Cizauskas has posted his write up and pictures from the festival at his blog "Yours For Good Fermentables".
Local beer maven Chuck Triplett also has posted pictures here.

The next Northern Virginia Brewfest is scheduled for June 26-27, 2010 in Leesburg, VA

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Battlefield Brewing Opening Set

Fredericksburg's first brewpub will celebrate its grand opening on Friday, October 30, at 5:00PM. Battlefield Brewing Company is part of The Pub, located at 4187 Plank Rd in Fredericksburg. A 3BBL brewhouse was installed in July and we've been anxiously awaiting news of beer being poured. The Pub already has a reputation for good pub food, and the addition of fresh-brewed beer is very exciting.

Head brewer Lyle Brown writes that the brewery will be tapping three beers on Friday. Chancellor Pale Ale, is an American-style Pale Ale with Centennial and Amarillo hops. Wilderness Wheat is an American-style Wheat beer brewed with Hallertau hops and a touch of Munich for sweetness . Iwo Jima Irish Red, is an Irish-style Red Ale brewed with East Kent Goldings hops. Specialty and seasonal beers are also planned for the future.

I'll see you at The Pub on Friday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

World Beer Fest - Durham

A few weeks ago I joined three friends for a trip to Durham, NC for the World Beer Festival. As we have in the past, this was an opportunity for us to get away for a weekend of fun, and plenty of good beer. Frank, Jerry, Mike and I arrived in Durham Friday afternoon, and after checking in at the hotel, headed over to Tyler's Tap Room for dinner and an evening of pool and beer.

I enjoyed several good, and new to me beers Friday evening. Starting the evening off with a bang, I ordered a Foothills Seeing Double IPA. This is a highly hopped, resiny, bold but balanced beer. I've often remarked that I'm a fan of the DIPA and Seeing Double didn't disappoint. In fact, I would revisit this one several times over the weekend. I was excited to see that Tyler's also had Terrapin Depth Charge on draft. This beer is a result of a collaboration between Terrapin Brewing in Georgia and Left Hand Brewing from Colorado. Depth Charge is full of robust dark roasted coffee goodness in a smooth, creamy milk stout. Although we ordered the beer during dinner, we all remarked that it would make an excellent dessert. After dinner, we moved into Tyler's Speakeasy and spent the evening (and early morning) shooting pool and trying out a variety of beers from their extensive menu.

Saturday was the main event, the World Beer Festival, held at Durham Athletic Park. We had four hours to try out as many beers as we (responsibly) could. I decided I would mostly focus on "dark" beers. I usually seek out the hop bombs but felt this would be a good way to try a lot of beers I'd not had before. Naturally I varied from the plan here and there. I'll mention just a few of my favorite finds.

After enjoying the Seeing Double IPA the previous evening I made a couple of visits to Foothills' booth. During one of those stops, they were pouring a barrel-aged Sexual Chocolate. Molassas and dark chocolate flavors were blended with a hint of bourbon sweetness. The timing was just right to get a taste of this limited beer before it ran out. I was happy to see Great Lakes Brewing in attendance. I enjoyed a sample of their Edmond Fitzgerald Porter. When I mentioned the beers' (non)availability in Virginia, the reply was "We're working on it." Just recently Great Lake beers made it to West Virginia, so maybe we'll see them here soon.

New Holland Charkoota Rye-Smoked Rye Dopplebock was an interesting beer. The mouthful of a name describes a mouthful of a beer. The mild smokiness mixed with the sweet malt and dark fruit very well. I'd definitely pick this as one of the best beers I tried at the festival. I'd like to enjoy it again, in more than a sample sized serving. Left Hand Smoke Jumper Imperial Porter was another smoked beer being poured. Smoke Jumper has a very woody smokiness to it that's a bit different than the "bacon-in-a-bottle" flavors of some smoked beers. I think it might appeal even to folks who say they don't like smoke flavor in a beer.

As I said, I didn't drink only dark beers at the festival. Aviator Brewing was pouring their HotRod Red through a container of fresh hops to infuse extra hop flavors into the beer. The Dry Hopped Kellerbier from Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery in High Point, NC was another notable selection.

All in all, I tried about 20 new beers, and a tasty lamb pita sandwich, during the afternoon. The World Beer Festivals are some of my favorite events. The beer selection is extensive and the events are extremely well run. I'm looking forward to the World Beer Fest planned for Spring 2010 in Richmond, VA.

I was too busy enjoying the beer to take many photos, but a few are posted here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Northern Virginia Brewfest Breweries Announced

The brewery list for the 2009 Northern Virginia Brewfest has been posted. Among the more than 50 breweries expected, nine are new to the festival this year, including Terrapin, Bittburger, Schneider Aventinus, Holy Brew and Gaffel.

The Northern Virginia Brewfest will take place October 24 and 25 at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, VA. Admission tickets, good for either day, are available at the gate or online. The NOVA Brewfest is, in my opinion, the premier Virginia beer festival, and one you shouldn't miss.

The complete participating brewery list is posted here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Capital Ale House Oktoberfest A Success

I was out of town this weekend so I did not get to to visit the Capital Ale House Oktoberfest held in downtown Fredericksburg on Saturday. (I attended the World Beer Festival in Durham, NC. More on that later.) However, the Free Lance-Star was on hand to report on the festivities.
The 900 block of Caroline Street was closed to vehicle traffic for the day, and pedestrians took over. Sidewalks remained open, but the pavement became a beer garden at noon. The area reached its 1,200-person capacity by 1 p.m.

"There are many more people than we expected," Matthew Simmons, Capital Ale House president, said.

It sounds as if the event was a rousing success. I certainly look forward to seeing more events like this in Fredericksburg.

Read "Huge crowds on tap for Oktoberfest" for the complete article and pictures.

Update: Local bloggers post their reviews at "Sarahiously Speaking" and "In The 'Burg".

Friday, October 2, 2009

Around Town With Blue & Gray Brewery

This weekend you'll have several opportunities to try some Blue & Gray beers around Fredericksburg. The brewery will be pouring samples and selling beer by the glass at the Fredericksburg Area Wine Festival all weekend. That's right, beer at the wine festival!! They've done this in the past and it's great to see Blue & Gray invited back.

On Saturday, from 11:00AM - 4:00PM. Blue & Gray representatives will be pouring free samples at the new Wegmans on Carl D. Silver Pkwy. Stop by and show your support. Also, on Saturday, there are the usual free tours and tastings at the brewery.

So even if you're stuck shopping this weekend, it will be easy to squeeze in a bit of good beer.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

There's Plenty To Do This Weekend

A couple of weeks ago I commented on the number of beer festivals occurring this weekend. But wait, it gets even better! I overlooked a few other local beer events also taking place at the same time.

Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA is having their Oktoberfest Celebration October 1-4, at the brewery. They are having "Steal the Stein" day on Thursday as well as debuting Humpbock Oktoberfest Lager. Live music and specials continue all weekend.

Fort Belvoir us holding its 14th Annual Oktoberfest October 1-4 as well. The event is held on the base but is open to the public.

As mentioned previously, Capital Ale House continues their Oktoberfest celebration with a block party in downtown Fredericksburg on Saturday, October 3.

The 10th annual Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest, sponsored by Capitol City Brewing also takes place on Saturday in Shirlington, VA

Me? I'll be in Durham, NC to attend the World Beer Festival sponsored by All About Beer Magazine. We'll be arriving in Durham Friday evening and look forward to taking in some local beer stops. I look forward to seeing many of you there.

No matter where you are in Virginia, there's a beer festival near you this weekend. Get out and enjoy it!