Pawpaw beer boosts Ohio festival • Brilliant Stream (via Brilliant Stream)

Pawpaw beer has come a long way since the first one appeared at the Ohio Pawpaw Festival in 2002.

The world showcase for pawpaw beer happens right here in Appalachia. Last weekend, the 20th Annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival featured nine pawpaw flavored brews from eight Ohio breweries. It’s certainly come a long way since Kelly Sauber, then Marietta Brewing Company’s head brewer, made the first pawpaw beer for the festival 16 years ago.

Read more: Brilliant Stream

Steins Vines and Moonshine Trail in Prince William and Manassas VA

Prince William and Manassas VA, have created their own trail to showcase there thriving craft beverage industry. With more than 20 craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, and tasting rooms, as well as a number of artisanal and farm to table restaurants, the trail should be on your “Must Do” list.

The Steins Vines and Moonshine Trail is close to 17 miles long and beginning in Broad Run, works its way through Manassas before ending in Yorkshire VA. There are, however, several breweries and wineries that are a bit “off” the trail, but are still considered part of the trail. Here is just a suggestion on a rout to take to do the trail. Keep in mind not only your own limits, and the kindness and patience of your designated driver.

The Farm Brewery at Broad Run– As they say at The Farm Brewery, “Come for the beer, enjoy the music, and stay for the bucolic setting” because “Life is Brewtiful!” Over 10 beers and cider on tap, as well as wine and wine slushies. The brewery also features a BrewBarn & Pavilion Beer Garden, and a hop yard. They grow their own fruit, berries, heirloom varieties of tomatoes and squash, melons and peppers, and even have chickens to harvest fresh eggs, and use these farm fresh ingredients in their seasonal food creations.

Tin Cannon Brewing has 9-12 craft beers and their own non-alcoholic root beer on tap. They don’t serve food but periodically host food trucks, and encourage visitors to bring their own food if they’d like, or order from neighboring restaurants who deliver directly to the taproom. Trust me when I say, these guys know good beer! Flights, pints, or growler fills, you are going to love what they are doing at Tin Cannon.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse has a variety of handcrafted, award-winning beers on tap, created by passionate and very talented brewers. They have 11 award-winning signature beers and cider, as well as over 10 limited-time seasonal beers that are released throughout the year. And if you get hungry, they have over 120 items on their menu so there’s a good chance they’ll have something you’ll like.

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits makes handcrafted, small batch, and award-winning spirits. They distill an array of spirits including gin, vodka, several whiskeys, and even a variety of infuse whiskeys such as cinnamon, orange, coffee, and cocoa infusions.  All their spirits are handcrafted and small batch, using raw, all-natural, locally-sourced ingredients and 100% natural fruit and botanical flavoring for infusions.

Farm Brew LIVE– An 8-acre campus that features 2 Silos Brewing, craft food from The Pit BBQ and Beer Garden and La Gringa Food Truck, and live, local music on a huge outdoor stage! There are also bocce courts, cornhole, firepits, and lots of outdoor seating! Soon it will also include The Black Sheep whiskey + wine + noshery located in the historic Thomasson Barn that will feature 2 bars, ample seating both inside and out, and a menu locally sourced from local farms.

KO Distilling– This craft distillery prides itself on producing high quality, handcraft whiskey’s and gins. They also produce a double-distilled, unaged whiskey they call Virginia Moon White Whiskey. It’s made with 60% wheat, 30% rye, and 10% malted barley. And the taste? Well, you’ll want to try it for yourself.

Heritage Brewing– Their mission is to not only brew the best beer possible, but also; live for one another, serve our fellow countrymen, craft with pride, and wherever possible, give back to those in need, especially those who have given everything for their country.

​Through this mission we brew flavorful and bold beers that showcase our pride and embolden our customers to share in our dream. With this in mind, they have partnered with The Unquiet Professional to help give back to those who have paid the ultimate price for our country, and provide opportunities for their gold star families.

They have a wide variety of handcrafted beers that include a barrel aged series with beers such as a brandy barrel aged IPA, a tequila barrel aged wheat ale, and a Scotch ale that was aged in a barrel that was previously used to age gin, whiskey and red wine!

BadWolf  Brewing takes great pride in crafting unfiltered and unpasteurized beer with all natural ingredients and a taste that is second to none. Six carefully crafted beers on tap that are constantly changing. You could have a new favorite every time you stop in.

Aroma Wine Tasting is a tasting bar run by Morais Vineyards & Winery. They serve the same wines that are served at the winery with a slightly different atmosphere. With 9 different wines available for sampling, if you enjoy a good wine, you should stop by.

Public House Kitchen & Brewery. The Chef and Master Brewer work closely together and their passion for great food and great beer could not be more obvious.  They go to great lengths to pair their fresh farm-to-table food offerings with their in-house, hand craft beer in a way that gives their customers truly exceptional flavor pairings.

Sinistral Brewing Co is a seven-barrel brewery located in Historic Downtown Manassas that describe their beers as having personalities inspired by their extraordinary children. If the source of their inspiration is anything like the product of the inspiration, they must be truly exceptional children.

Have a seat in the bar, patio or lounge, order one of their hand-crafted beers, use the free wi-fi, play board games, or watch TV and relax. If you get hungry, you can bring your own food, or order food from several local eateries that deliver to the taproom.

Eavesdrop Brewery has partnerships with local chefs, farms, and brewers from across the nation. These partnerships allow us to bring food, farm, and beer together in one location that’s easy to get to, but hard to leave. At Eavesdrop they boast the largest urban hop gardens in the Mid-Atlantic, and also grow apple trees, berry bushes, and other ingredients, which they use in their beer and food projects. Their tasting room was at one time a loft for racing pigeons! They also have a rooftop bar with a marvelous view of the gardens.

A little ways off the trail to the north, The Winery at Bull Run is located next to the Manassas National Battlefield Park, and is a working farm vineyard that not only crafts some fine Virginia wines, but pays homage to the history and preservation of 19th century rural Virginia.

A short distance to the south of the trail, Effingham Manor Winery has a wide variety of wines. Located in a historic Effingham Manor in a national historic district of Prince William County, VA, with the main house dating all the way back to 1767. You can tour this idealistic setting, sample some exceptional wines, and feel the history.

There are even more places to visit, but I think you should now have a pretty good idea of what you’ll find when you get here.

There is entirely too much to see, do, and sample on the Steins, Vines, and Moonshine Trail in one day, or even in one weekend. Although it might be possible to do it all in a day, you probably won’t remember half of what you did, and probably won’t enjoy the next day. For this reason, I would recommend several day trips, or a couple of long weekends, so you can truly experience all Price William, Manassas, and the trail has to offer.

It has been my experience that people often don’t know about half of what is practically in their back yard, and sometimes visitors know more about the places we live than people who have spent their whole lives there. You don’t have to travel across the country to have a world class experience. Check out the Steins Vines and Moonshine Trail. You’ll be glad you did.

Cheers!

Guinness Open Gate Brewing and Barrel House does NOT brew Guinness!

Just a few weeks ago, Guinness finally opened the Open Gate Brewing and Barrel House (OGBBH) just outside of Baltimore Maryland, and yes, they do not, nor do they have plans to brew the iconic beverage known as Guinness Extra Stout. But they are brewing beer, and lots of it!

Guinness has been brewing beer since 1759 when its founder Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease for a whopping 45 pounds a year!  And while Guinness has been brewing beer for nearly 260 years, it didn’t start brewing the stout for which they are now famous until just 60 yars ago.

According to Ryan Wagner, the official Guinness Brewery Ambassador, the purpose of OGBBH in Maryland is to research, develop, and brew new beers, using the latest brewing innovations, with local ingredients, and by American brewers, to create beers with American flavors and style. The tap room provides visitors with the chance to sample these new beers, and provide valuable feedback to the brewery.

When you visit OGBBH, you will find a taproom with a wide variety of beer brewed right there. Now don’t get me wrong. They do have Guinness Stout on tap, but it is brewed in Ireland and shipped there. And as Ryan points out, “Guinness is a brewery- not a stout”. Currently they have 16 beers on tap in their taproom, but only 3 are brewed in Dublin, Ireland. So if you walk into their taproom and order a Guinness, you will likely be met with a puzzled look, and the question, “Which one?”

Bringing this iconic brand back to the U.S. has also lead to some interesting confusion. For instance, in 1930, Guinness hired artist John Gilroy to create his now famous advertising campaign featuring zoo animals and a hapless zoo keeper who can’t seem to hold on to his pint of Guinness.

One of these drawings from a 1935 add shows a crab trying to grab a pint of Guinness. This artwork, which is on display in the brewery and on some of the t-shirts in the gift shop, has cause a bit of criticism from some Maryland residents because it is not the blue crab for which Maryland is known far and wide. Some people mistakenly think this historic artwork is actually an attempt to incorporate Maryland with the Guinness brand. This has prompted some locals to complain about the ‘inaccurate’ portrayal of the local icon, when in fact it is a depiction of an Irish brown crab that was originally created for the Irish market 80 years ago!

Currently the brewery offers both guided and self-guided tours on which you can learn not only about their brewing process and new beers being developed, but you can learn something about the history of Guinness and the history of the site the barrel house now occupies.

This brewery, which is the first Guinness brewery on American soil since 1954, sits on the site of a former whiskey distillery. In fact, the building that now holds the tap room was originally built to age whiskey barrels.  When you visit the brewery, you will notice quite a number of barrels used for decoration, and for displays. All of these barrels were found in this building. Ryan says they have worked hard to protect the character and history of the buildings during construction and renovation.

There is a story told in hushed tones around the brewery that while cleaning and removing empty barrels from one of the floors, they found a barrel that was significantly heavier than the others. The reason? It was nearly half full of whiskey.

Now for those of you who are not whiskey aficionados, I should explain that since whiskey is aged in wooden barrels, there is a certain amount of evaporation that takes place each year the whiskey is aged. This evaporation, also known as the “angels’ share” amounts to a loss of between 2 and 4 percent of the whiskey’s volume for each year it is aged, depending on temperature and humidity.  The older the whiskey, the smoother and more flavorful it gets, but that also means there’s less whiskey is in the barrel. A typical Scotch aged for 12 years will lose about 25% of its volume to thirsty angels.

With that in mind, if over half the whiskey had evaporated, how old would you guess that whiskey would be? At a loss of 2% a year, and assuming half the barrel evaporated, my guess would be about 35 years old.  Interestingly, no one seems to know what happened to that barrel. No matter who I asked the reply was always the same: A wistful smile, a shrug of the shoulders, and then they say, “I don’t know. It just disappeared.”

Crispy Sweet Jesus Oyster Agrodolce with Malt Braised Kale and Pork Belly- Baja Chesapeake Tostada with Citrus Black Bean Sofrito and Crema- Espresso Rubbed Tounedos with Bitter Chocolate Mushrooms, Sweek Yam Puree, and Tabasco Onion- Date and Raisin Bread Pudding and Fig Brulee with Sour Cherry Spoon Custard.

Although the brewery is now open to the public, it is still not quite finished, and work on the facility continues. There is a planned restaurant that is not yet open, but will hopfuly be open soon. And when it is, it will feature dishes locally sourced with the freshest ingredients, created to be paired with beers brewed on the premises that will not only complement, but enhance each other’s flavors and textures.  And if this preview of dishes is any indicator, the food there will be amazing! Until then, in addition to their fantastic beers, the tasting room offers a selection of pub grub.

There is little doubt that the people of the Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House are proud of what they have accomplished, but are excited about their future in Maryland.

If you stop by the tap room and perhaps take a little tour, I think you too will be excited about the future of Guinness in America.

100 American Craft Beers Every Beer-Lover Should Drink (via pastemagazine.com)

There are some things in life that people simply have to experience first hand. Riding a roller coaster. Catching a wild brook trout. Running a mile for time. Dating someone out of your league…this is what life is all about. If you’re a baseball fan, you have to see a game at Wrigley Field. If you eat food, you have to try the spicy fried chicken at Gus’s Fried Chicken in Memphis. You just have to. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced that chicken.

Likewise, if you’re a beer drinker, there are certain beers you have to drink. At least once.

Our master list of the 100 most important craft beers in the country is right here. We hope you’re thirsty.

Read more: pastemagazine.com

Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference- Coming to Loudoun County, VA!

In just 2 months, on August 10 and 11th the Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference will hold its 9th annual conference, and this year it will be held in Loudoun Virginia! This conference is not only for beer bloggers and writers, it is also for breweries, brewery guilds, Destination Management Organizations, and PR companies. This event provides a forum for industry professionals to meet with writers and bloggers to discuss trends, tourism, and innovations in craft brewing.

Beer tourism is growing fast, and conferences like this are a great way to build awareness for local and regional beers, breweries, and beer trails.

This conference will feature a number of pre and post conference excursions such as a trip to the Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House in Maryland, and a visit to Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware, to talk to the brewers, hear about trends, and of course lots of tasting.

At the start of the conference, there will be a Kickoff Party at Farm Brew Live, northern Virginia’s first destination brewery.  Then during the conference attendees will hear about the current state of the craft beer industry, diversity in craft beer, learn about the art of negative feedback, podcasting and Instagram, talk to brewers and brewery owners, and of course beer tasting. They will also hear from Sam Calagione with Dogfish Head Brewery, see a presentation by Devils Backbone Brewing Company, and do more beer tasting. There will also be a reception and dinner at Vanish Farmwoods Brewery where 24 of Loudoun County’s breweries will be present to offer still more tastings of some of their best hand-crafted brews!

Finally, after the conference wraps up, there will be yet another excursion, this time to Richmond, VA, for  a tasting tour of the Richmond Beer Trail!

This conference is going to be incredible! If are a brewery owner, an industry professional, or just want to raise awareness about craft beer in your area, there is no better place to meet with the bloggers and writers who can get the word out.  

I’ll see you there!

Cheers!

 

Special thanks to the conference sponsors:

Visit Loudoun,the Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association, is going all out to ensure the success of the conference.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributor operations in every state, congressional district and media market across the country.

CraftBeer.com, published by the Brewers Association, a website that supports independently owned breweries and the world of American craft beer.

Devils Backbone Brewing Company, born in the Heartland of Virginia, this craft brewery has created some amazing German and American style craft beers that has become the standard for what a craft beer should be.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, after 22 years of brewing excellence, is still just as passionate and dedicated their craft as they were on day one, “to bringing off-centered goodness to off-centered people”.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House, which is the first Guinness presence on US soil since 1954 and a beer legend known around the world.

Prince William County, Virginia, close without being too close to Washington DC. Located only 30 miles from DC in northern Virginia, Prince William is known for their parks and trails, Civil War battlefields, amazing craft brews and wines, museums, and a robust arts and culture scene.

Kilfrost is a global leader in safety critical chemistry. They are probably best known for developing a range of Advanced Low Viscosity heat transfer fluids, including ALV Plus, which for the first time gives breweries a fluid that’s highly efficient and non-toxic, as well as cost efficient and environmentally-friendly.