Juicy Brews Summer Craft Beer Invitational at Triple Crossing!

Hop Culture is a daily online lifestyle magazine for the newest generation of craft beer drinkers, and they pulled out all the stops for their Juicy Brews Summer Craft Beer Invitational which took place Sunday, June 10, in Richmond VA at Triple Crossing Brewery’s Fulton Hill location.

Hop Culture asked participating breweries to do two things: make sure there was a brewery representative there to answer questions from the attendees, and to serve fresh, juicy beers. It was left up to the breweries to decide what qualified as a juicy beer. As it happened, the overwhelming majority of the beers served were hazy IPAs and fruit forward sours.

According to Hop Culture most craft brewers are first generation brewers and they come from a variety of occupations such as construction, finance, and even the military (Triple Crossing’s head brewer is  a former police officer). Because of this, these craft brewers don’t have decades of preconceptions of what a beer should be, and for that reason they’re not afraid to be creative and to experiment. This was evident in the wide variety of unusual, and unique beers at this festival.

There were 31 breweries and one meadery on hand to celebrate craft beer and creativity from AZ, VT, CT, CO, ME, NY, MD, TN, CA, OH, PA, NJ, NC, SC, and VA.  Some embraced the older, more traditional brewing methods while others preferred newer, more modern methods. Regardless of how they brewed, it was obvious none were afraid to try new ingredients, and new or exotic flavors. Here are just a few of the breweries that stood out.

Both Barreled Souls Brewing from Maine and Cellador Ales in California do 100% of their fermentation in oak barrels, which gives a unique character and a more complex flavor profile to their beer. Not many brewers use this technique today, and when they do, it’s most often used in the production of sours. However when stouts, IPAs, and other beer styles are fermented in barrels, the results can be exceptional.

Horus Aged Ales in California doesn’t ferment their beer in barrels, but they do age all their beer in variety of different wine and spirit barrels. This not only adds some character from the barrels, but also adds flavors and aromas from whatever was originally in the barrel, potentially creating a wide variety of subtle flavors and aromas. 

Schmoojee Wild Berry Pineapple Puffsicle Sour Ale- Imprint Beer

Sour ales are all the rage in some places, but many brewers have been a little hesitant to embrace these tart and sour brews. Partly for fearful of the yeasts that give rise to these flavors making their way into their other beers, and also because the extended time it takes (6 to 18 months) to ferment these brews. Of those that do go down that road, most opt to use cultivated, commercial strains of yeast such as lactobacillus or brettanomyces, while just a handful of brewers chose to use truly “wild” yeasts.

Resident Culture Brewing in North Carolina, in addition to some great IPAs and lagers, also create spontaneous “wild’ fermented ales. This involves leaving the unfermented beer, or wort, exposed to the air, usually overnight, allowing yeasts and bacteria floating around in the air to settle into the wort, before it is placed into barrels to ferment. The ultimate local ingredient, this yeast gives the beer a true local flavor, since the yeast is likely to be found nowhere else.

Southern Grist Brewing in Tennessee loves to experiment with contemporary beer styles and are best known for their constantly rotating selection of beers that utilize non-traditional ingredients and fruit forward flavor profiles.

Acai Bowl J.R.E.A.M Sour- Burley Oak Brewery

Burley Oak Brewing in Maryland also loves to experiment. Even after five years, they are still one of the smallest breweries in Maryland, and unlike nearly every craft brewery in the country they have no flagship brew. Instead, they brew a new beer every week!

New Park Brewing in Connecticut opened its doors just a little over a year ago,  and sold so much beer their opening weekend they had to close for two weeks just to restock!  They were serving Blackberry Berliner Weisse and Spectrum DIPA, and after sampling both, I am not surprised.

Juicy Brews certainly lived up to its name, Hop Culture did a fantastic job gathering some great breweries with great beer, and Triple Crossing was an awesome venue. 

This was a tremendous event, and good times were had by all who were in attendance. 

Until next time, here’s to your good health, and may your glass never run dry.

Slainte!

Juicy Brews Summer Craft Beer Invitational This Weekend in RVA!

Don’t miss the seventh annual Juicy Brews Summer Craft Beer Invitational in RVA this weekend!

On Sunday, June 10th, 2018, come meet the brewers and try unlimited pours from over 30 of the best breweries in the country. There will be food, beer, music, and exclusive merchandise and glassware from designer Sam Taylor.

Purchase your ticket online and use the code VACRAFTBEER to get 15% off your ticket!

Click here to get your advance ticket before it is too late!

The LoCo Brewfest Presents Some of Loudoun County VA’s Best

On June 2, 2018, Loudoun County, home to 28 breweries, and the LoCo Ale Trail, once again held their LoCo Brewfest, which showcased Loudoun craft breweries, and their finely crafted brews.

The event took place at Loudoun Station, which is mixed residential and commercial community with some great restaurants, shops, and residential living space.  The streets were closed to traffic, and festival attendees were given a glass and all the craft beer they’d care to taste from 24 of the finest craft breweries in Virginia.

There were some amazing beers on tap. All were good, but some were exceptionally good.  Here are some of the beers and breweries that stood out to me.

Phase 2 Cream Ale with Basil

Phase 2 Brewing had a cream ale that was really good, then they dropped a crushed basil leaf in it and POW!  The flavor became even more intense and a little sweeter. Truly remarkable. When I asked what made them think to put a basil leaf in their cream ale they said, “That’s just how we roll.”

Lost Rhino Brewing had a dry Irish stout that could make you think you were in a pub in Dublin.

Not to be out done, Dog Money Brewery also had an Irish style stout that would make an Irishman proud.

Rocket Frog Brewing had a kettle sour that was the very definition of what a kettle sour should be. Pleasantly tart and sour, with a little sweetness.Many brewers are a little weary of brewing sour beers for fear of contamination from the yeasts used to make sours, and it can take significantly longer for a sour beer to ferment (a year or more verses 2 weeks for most ales). But more and more brewers are starting to experiment with sours. Good job Rocket Frog!

Of course, Rocket Frog wasn’t the only brewer there with a sour beer. The Craft of Brewing Brewery had a sour Hefeweizen that was truly exceptional.

Dirt Farm Brewery had a fruit forward ale with an amazing fruity aroma, with hints of apricots and peaches which carry over into the taste. So good!

Bear Chase Brewing isn’t open yet, but they were here at LoCo Brewfest giving everyone a preview of what they can look forward to when they do open in July. I understand their brewery will also include an Air B&B, and a spectacular view of the valley.  If their Pale Blue Yonder Pale Ale and Anarchy Ale are any indication of what we can expect when they open, I think they will be very, very, good.

There are lots of restaurants in Loudoun Station. No matter what you are in the mood for, it’s there. Kababs, burger, sandwiches, pizza, or even bacon wrapped meatloaf, it’s there. I got ahi tuna tacos from The Zone, and they were so good, I had to go back and get them again.

This was a great event. The weather was nice, not too hot, with none of the expected rain. The beer was cold and delicious, and brewery owners and brewmasters were there to answer questions.

If you were there, you don’t need me to tell you what a great time you had. But if you were unable to be there, well, maybe next year?

Until then, may you have good health, and may your glass never run dry.

Cheers!

 

New Realm Brewing in Atlanta Georgia

Recently while on a road trip, I stopped in Atlanta for a bite to eat and a little sleep before continuing on my way. While there, I had dinner with some friends who live there. When asked where I would like to eat, my thoughts immediately turned to craft beer.

A quick internet search told me we had several choices if we were looking for a craft brewery with a dinner menu. After careful consideration, we decided on New Realm Brewing. Located less than a mile north east of downtown Atlanta, it was close by, and had good reviews.

When we got there it was a little difficult finding parking, but we managed. This placed was busy, with a Friday night crowd on a Thursday night.  There was a bit of a wait for a table, so while we waited, we looked around.  

This place was great!  Located in an old industrial building, they spared no expense to create a fist rate venue that includes a rooftop bar with an amazing view of the Atlanta skyline, two event spaces, and a nearly 500 seat restaurant.

The food wasn’t your typical pub fare. While they did have Buffalo wings and giant pretzels, their menu also boasted items like she-crab soup, rice flour crusted trout, beer can chicken, and gourmet wood-fired pizza. 

Of course we mustn’t forget the 20k barrel capacity brewery, making some of the finest craft beer on the east coast!  

We got the spicy Korean pork cheek buns, Durham Ranch lamb sausages, the Meat Head pizza, and the wings, and I ordered a Rock’n Like Bock’n Mailbock and a Hoptropolis IPA to wash it all down. 

Rock’n Like Bock’n was a little lighter in color than some bocks, a little less malty,  and a drier finish, had a nice balance between  toasted malt and the hop bitterness. This was a very good Mailbock.

Hoptropolis was an excellent American style IPA with a wonderful aroma of tropical fruits and citrus, and a flavor profile with a mix of hoppy bitterness, roasted malt, and hints of fruit and pineapple. Quite tasty.

I had a great time at New Realm Brewing. The service was good, the food was good, and the beer was really good. 

If you live in the area and you’ve never been to New Realm you’re missing out. If you don’t live in the area, and find yourself passing through Atlanta, you owe it to yourself stop by. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works in Middletown, PA

Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works is a labor of love created by Navy veteran Pat Devlin and his high school friends Matt Fritz, Tony DeLellis, and Ben Ramsay. According to Tony, the Chief Operations Officer, Pat came home one day from the Navy and told his friends he wanted to open a brewery, and they all jumped on board. 

But they didn’t want to just brew beer, they wanted to distill hand crafted spirits and serve really good food in a family friendly place. And they succeeded in Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works.

They hired Tony Schneider and Dave Morrow as brewmasters, both of which started off as homebrewers.  Tony went on to brew professionally at Appalachian Brewing Company and Battlefield Brew Works, while Dave became one of the most well known  and influential homebrewers in the area. Both are responsible for outstanding brews such as Knife Fight in a Phone Booth IPA, Blue Raider Kolsch, and War Bonds Breakfast Stout.

Pat became the head distiller, and is responsible for producing a variety of spirits such as vodka, gin, white rum, a blue agave spirit, and a single-malt whiskey. 

The brewpub is located in a hundred year old building that was most recently known as the Elks building in the first block of South Union Street. They offer open seating so you can sit where ever you would like, or choose one of their carefully crafted beverages and  just wander around the century old building. They also have three private party rooms available for special events.

They also have a full kitchen and offer a wide variety of foods such as classic pub fare such as fish and chips, wings, sandwiches, burgers, soups, and salads, but also offers dinner items like salmon, strip steak, and ribs.

Ever thought about brewing your own beer? Tattered Flag can help you with that. They offer a Brew Your Own program in which they help you design and brew your own beer using their equipment! It takes between 4 and 6 hours to create and brew your beer, then after a 2 to 4 week wait (depending on the beer), your beer is ready for your release party! You get to take home a sixtel of your beer (1/6th of a barrel or 5 Gal) and your beer will be featured for sale in the brewpub! You even have the option of having them creating artwork, cans, and bottles for your beer!

So to recap, Tattered Flag has amazing hand crafted beers and spirits, good food, offers Brew-Your-Own-Beer sessions, and private party rooms available for special events in a fully renovated turn of the century building. 

If you’re wondering what to do tonight, may I suggest a visit to Tattered Flag? I think you’ll be glad you did.