We've been following Shooting Creek Brewery in Floyd, VA since mid-2008. Although they started distributing beer in March of 2009, I've not had the opportunity to try any of the beers. That changed a couple of weeks ago when the Capital Ale House "Steal the Glass Night" featured two beers from the brewery.
The first beer I ordered was Shooting Creek Rebel Ale. Shooting Creek describes Rebel Ale as "Brewed with malted barley and rye for a unique flavor-quenching zip, rich malt character, and deep amber glow. Moderately bittered using Cascade hops grown by Shooting Creek Farm brewery." The beer (at right) pours a cloudy, golden-amber color. I noted very faint grainy notes in the aroma. The taste is somewhat sweet, with some toasted malt detected as well. There are bitter citrus notes that come through at the finish, leaving behind a dry finish. Overall it's an easily drinkable beer, but not extraordinary.
Capital Ale House was also serving Shooting Creek Buffalo Brown Ale. Not wanting to shirk my duty to try both beers for the benefit of the readers of The Musings, I ordered a Brown Ale, and a Chicken Tostada appetizer to go along with it. This American Brown Ale poured a dark, cola brown with a thin beige head. There is a strong presence of citrusy hops in the aroma, as well as some toasted malt. The flavor followed suit. There was an enjoyable kick of bitter citrus rind on top of the sweet, dark malt. I wasn't sure how a brown ale would stand up to the spicy appetizer, but the citrus hop flavor enabled the beer to do just that.
I discussed both beers with a few other patrons. Folks were divided between disliking the Rebel Ale or finding it "just okay." Everyone I spoke to preferred the Buffalo Brown over the Rebel Ale. No one disliked it, and several found it quite enjoyable. More than one person remarked on being (pleasantly) surprised by the hop level of the beer.
My experience with the two Shooting Creek beers left me looking forward to trying out more beers from this small, southwest Virginia brewery. While "Steal the Glass Night" is a fun excuse for adding to one's glassware collection, the opportunity to try new and hard to find beers is a true treat.