Vanish Farmwoods Brewing in Loudoun, VA

Jonathan Staples loves craft beer. He started Black Hops Farm in 2014 with the intent of providing local hops to Virginia’s fast-growing craft beer industry.

Hops have a very short shelf life and need to be either used or processed within days of being picked, and there was no place to process hops locally (the closest being in Ohio) which meant they had to ship their fresh hops to Ohio where they could be processed, then shipped back to the farm to be sold.

Realizing the need, they purchased a hop processer and began to not only process and preserve the hops grown on their farm, but making this service available to other growers in the region as well.

However, it wasn’t long before Jonathan made the leap from growing and processing hops to using hops to brew his own beer. Thus, Vanish Farmwoods Brewery was born.

They grow hops and other ingredients right there on the farm then brew their beer using those fresh ingredients, creating a ‘field-to-fermentation’ process that can be tasted in the products of their labors.

The campus is huge, and very family friendly.  There are the extensive hop yards, multiple bars, live music in the tap room, a large outdoor seating area that includes a spacious covered area, a kid’s play place, a beautiful view, and what is arguably the most important thing of all, some fantastic handcrafted beer. If you dont know which beers to get, I recommend the 12 beer ‘mega flight’.

In addition to good friends, good food also pairs well with craft beer, so Vanish also serves BBQ that is smoked on site and available Saturdays and Sundays, the Burger Time food truck is there Friday through Sunday, and wood-fired pizzas are available Thursday through Sunday.

You have to check this place out. Good food good beer and good friends equals a great time. And that is what you’ll find at Vanish Farmwoods Brewery.

Cheers!

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.

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!

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!

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!

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!