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.

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!

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.

Cumberland Valley Beer Trail pt 3- Harty Brewing and Desperate Times Brewery

146 Walden Way Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

My next stop on the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail was Harty Brewing in the Silver Spring Township in Mechanicsburg, PA. This little nano brewery located in the tiny community of Walden is owned and operated by Michael Harty and Lauren Ishaq.  But don’t let the small size of their tasting room fool you.  Their beers are big on taste.  

Their American Pale Ale was clear with a golden amber hue and a light citrusy aroma and a hop forward flavor with a light malt presence.

The IPA was cloudy yellow with an orange/citrus aroma and taste, and a slight sweetness that balanced well against a roasted malt backbone.

The Coffee Irish Red had a deep amber red color with a woodsy/malty aroma with a hint of coffee, and a deep malty flavor with a light coffee taste.

The Oatmeal Stout tasted and smelled as dark and rich as it looked with a malty, caramel/maple aroma and taste with a hint of coffee. 

And last but not least, the Coffee Cake Blond Ale had a hazy yellow color and and a smell and taste that reminded me of peaches and cinnamon, with a light sweetness.

Talking to some of the other patrons, Harty Brewing is apparently known for its many experimental beers. Several spoke about a recent jalapeño ale which they claim was unbelievably good.  Lauren, who was manning the bar agreed that a lot of their regulars had been asking for them to make it again.

This was a great little craft brewery, with a warm and inviting atmosphere, a real sense of community, and very good beer!

1201 Carlisle Springs Rd, Carlisle, PA 17013

Desperate Times Brewery opened it’s doors in 2015 and has become a local favorite.  This craft brewery located near the fairgrounds has a prohibition era theme, but a strong German vibe. They have a kitchen with a pretty good food menu with an assortment of German sausages, German potato salad, a schnitzel sandwich, sauerkraut,  and giant pretzels, along with an assortment of sandwiches and other items. 

They also seem to specialize in German style beers such as a lager, bock, German pilsner, Kölsch, and a Hefeweizen, but they also had other styles like stouts, IPAs and porters.

The Black Forest Schwarzbier was a dark lager with a light malty and slightly smoky aroma. It had a nice malt profile for a lager, with toasted notes.

The Desperate Measures Red IPA had a dense creamy head with a mild sweat malt smell.  It had a solid malt presence with a not too hoppy flavor.

The Citra Rye IPA had a clear deep golden color, a sweet malty aroma, and a good malt/hop balance with hints of citrus.

Honest Law Breaker Oatmeal Stout had a strong roasted malt presence, with coffee notes. It had a lot of flavor, but a lighter mouthfeel.

The tasting room is very spacious and open, and the staff was friendly and the beer was quite tasty. I can’t wait to go back again.

Next stops: Market Cross Pub and Brewery, and Burd’s Nest Brewing.

Cumberland Valley Beer Trail, Pt 2- Pizza Boy and Ever Grain Brewing!

My journey along the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail continued with a visit to Pizza Boy Brewing just outside of Harrisburg, PA, which is also known as Al’s of Hampden.  If there is one food that is meant to be eaten with beer, it would have to be pizza. There is just something about the combination of crust, sauce, melted cheese, and the assorted toppings that just begs for a beer.

2240 MILLENNIUM WAY, ENOLA, PA 17025

Pizza Boy Brewing has taken the relationship of pizza and beer to the next level.  Not only did they have 30 of their own beers on tap, but they also had an additional 69 guest taps serving local and regional craft beer and ciders, as well as craft beer from all across the country!  Now if you or that special someone prefer wine, they also have a wide selection of wines from across the US and around the world. If you wanted to take some beer home, they have a number of beers available for sale in 6-packs and cases. And while they don’t sell growlers, they do offer growler fills. Now if the craft beer or cider you had your eye on is not available in a 6-pack or case, and you don’t have a growler, they do have crowlers which are 32 oz cans they fill and seal on site.  

And did I mention they had pizza? I particularly liked the Steak and Onion pizza, but a close second was the Hot Hot Hot pizza with pepperoni, bell peppers, jalopenos, onions, and garlic. If you like pizza and beer, this place is about as close to heaven as you can get without becoming living impaired.

I had the Pizza Boy Flying Laserbeam IPA, and the Country Lager. 

The Laserbeam had a golden color, light citrus aroma, a hop-forward flavor with notes of  orange citrus with mild malt backbone. Good hop presence, but not a lot of malt. 

The Country Lager had a bright clear golden color, with a crisp refreshing flavor with a hint of toasted bread.

Both beers were solid and very tasty. Paired with their pizza, they were outstanding.

4444 Carlisle Pike, Camp Hill, PA 17011

My next stop was Ever Grain Brewing in the Hampden Terminal shopping center.  The brewery is tucked away inside the shopping center, and a little hard to see, but definately worth finding.  It had an open and very comfortable tasting room, with a number of noteworthy craft beers. The staff was cheerful and eager to answer any questions you might have or give you sample of any of their offerings.

The HellYes Lager had a golden orange color and a bready slightly sweet aroma with some floral notes. The flavor was dry and crisp but still had a light malty sweetness and a clean finish.

The IDA 007 IPA had a light  citrusy/fruity aroma. It was hop forward with a medium caramel malt backbone.

Surf Breakers was a west coast IPA with a light clear amber color and a bright orange citrus aroma. It was also hop forward but with a lighter malt presence.

I was a little torn between the Udder One milk stout and Dark Necessity Imperial Stout, but finally settled on Dark Necessity.  It was dark and opaque, with a thin tan head that didn’t last long. It had a rich chocolate and coffee aroma with a strong roasted malt presence with some bitter chocolate notes and a hint of molasses.

I should also mention they have a locally sourced kitchen called Little Bird Craft Kitchen which has a very eclectic menu with some unusual menu items you don’t see very often, such as venison meatballs, bone marrow, kimchi tacos, dry aged duck breasts, and fried chicken ramen. There were also more common menu items, but why go for something you can get anywhere? I desperately wanted to try some of those items, but unfortunately I had filled up on pizza. I’ll just have to come back another day to eat, and try more beer, of course!

Next stop: Harty Brewing and Desperate Times Brewery.

The journey continues….

 

 

 

 

Big Beer vs Home Brewing?

You would think that Big Beer and homebrewers have conflicting interests. After all, if people are brewing their own beer, they are not buying it from Big Beer. Right? Well, it turns out that’s not exactly the case. The largest brewing company in the world, AB InBev, is not feeling threatened by homebrewing, it’s encouraging it!

To compete with the ever growing number of craft breweries, AB InBev created a special division that’s mission has been to acquire successful and growing craft breweries and make them part of AB InBev. It’s essentially the same strategy Darth Vader and the Emperor tried to use in Star Wars. If they could have gotten Luke to join them, they would be able to eliminate an enemy, and gain more power. Of course, this strategy didn’t quite work out for the Empire, but it seems to be working for AB InBev.

According to the American Homebrewers Association, homebrewers  produced over 1.4 million barrels of beer last year, and that number is growing fast as more and more people begin brewing their own beer.  So how can Big Beer eliminate that competition? Simple. By creating a division dedicated to acquiring the companies that supply homebrewers with what they need to brew.

By acquiring leading home brewing supply companies such as Northern Brewer, AB Inbev can actually profit from the growth in home brewing. As a result, AB InBev is happily promoting that growth.

So, is this a good thing? A bad thing? Or does it really matter? Personally, I find it a little disturbing. Short term it probably won’t make any difference, but long term?

What happens when all commercial brewing is owned by one company, and that same company supplies all the materials and equipment used by homebrewers?