Blue Mountain Brewery might be considered the undiscovered gem of Virginia breweries. Opened in October 2007, Blue Mountain beers are just beginning to show up in Fredericksburg. Owner and brewer Taylor Smack is producing some very tasty beers in nearby Afton, VA and I expect/hope we'll see more of them showing up locally this year. While some of their beers have been available on draft at Capital Ale House, Full Nelson Pale Ale is the first Blue Mountain beer I've been able to bring home in bottles. It is currently available at Kybecca Wine and Cheese.
Blue Mountain Full Nelson Pale Ale pours a dark copper color with a thick, frothy head. The head is very slow to drop and leaves behind plenty of sticky lacing. The aroma is very mild citrus with a hint of fruitiness. However, the aroma is deceptive, as the flavor packs a wallop. The flavor is full of wonderful, bitter hops with a citrus edge. As I drank I could tell that a strong malt backbone was there adding balance, but still allowing the hops to shine. The beer is medium-bodied with a slightly oily mouthfeel. The finish brings a slight dryness and the bitterness lingers for quite awhile.
The brewery uses their own farm-grown Cascade variety hops in making the beer, which no doubt contributes to the full, robust flavors. Full Nelson is a very flavorful beer, and now that it's available locally, I'll certainly be enjoying it again. The brewery is just a couple of hours away but I've been unable to visit yet. That is an oversight I intend to rectify very soon.