Ultimate 6er | Virginia Beers + Outdoor Music
The weather in Virginia is doing a dance between 20 degrees and 60 degrees, teasing us with warm but reminding us that yes, the groundhog did see his shadow.
We’re going to charge ahead and look to spring and summertime, which means there’s plenty of days to enjoy beers outside to your favorite live shows, cover bands, Amazon Echo streams or whatever.
Grab a beer, grab a seat outside and relax with your favorite artists.
Heart and Soul IPA | The Lumineers
Heart and Soul carries beautiful Mosaic hop flavor and is a great representation from Crooked Run, first launched in Leesburg in 2013 and later expanding to Sterling. For those nearby Dulles International Airport, the Sterling location has enviable food from Señor Ramon Taqueria.
This hazy, golden beer brings just enough sweet citrus to highlight the ethereal music of The Lumineers. Sit back, close your eyes and enjoy.
Front Row Golden Ale | LOCKN’ Festival
“It’s perfect for those hot, August summer days in Virginia to go with great live music and a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” he said. “We’ll be back at LOCKN’ this year with Front Row on draft and you’ll be able to find it at virtually every major music venue in the state.”
Front Row is an easy 4.9 percent ABV and is moving to year-round release this year (huzzah!). It has honey notes, is still hoppy and bitter and is definitely available in drinkable cans.
Jesse’s Girl | Anything at Wolf Trap
This amber ale is solid: Enough head on the pour, enough caramel depth and a bit more robustness than other beers in this list.
Wolf Trap is a performing arts center in Vienna, full of greenery, foliage and recluse from the traffic nearby. The performance season runs from May through September, so plenty of time for chilly nights under the stars (this beer would be perfect there).
For your trivia knowledge: The last U.S. performance of Riverdance was held at Wolf Trap in 2012.
Missile IPA | Miller’s Downtown
Miller’s Downtown in Charlottesville is known for being the place where Dave Matthews tended bar before launching his career, but it’s also a place that continues to push live music, most notably jazz.
The vibe of a local, small-time bar, paired with fantastic, unpretentious music means you need a beer that is low-key but has enough depth.
Missile is from Champion Brewing Company in Charlottesville and is dry-hopped with Simcoe, Cascade and Summit, meaning it’s smooth and punchy. It does have a deceptive 7 percent ABV, so you’ll be moving along with whatever music after a few. Champion likes to experiment, notably with barrel-aged wild beers. Seems fitting to pair with anything live or jazz-inspired.
VIPA | Backyard with Neighbors
Hardywood’s Virginia IPA is a fantastic beer and a standout among IPAs in the region. Sometimes you need a stellar beer to show off to the neighborhood as you’re playing anything from Jack Johnson, to Delta Spirit to The Avett Brothers.
VIPA boasts its local roots, fitting for an impromptu backyard gathering.
“VIPA proudly features Virginia-grown hops from Piedmont Hops, LLC, Huguenot Hops and Misty Mill Hops at Rockmill Farm, as well as two-row barley grown by Bay’s Best Feed in Heathsville, VA and malted at Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, VA,” Hardywood’s web description reads.
It’s available year-round (thank goodness), has a 5.2 percent ABV and 30 IBU.
Freedom Isn’t Free | Jiffy Lube Live
Jiffy Lube Live’s outdoor expanse brings in adored, fantastic artists, including a stream of beloved country music stars. Nearby Heritage Brewing Company‘s Freedom Isn’t Free IPA has a boastful can design to show off and share with friends.
Freedom Isn’t Free is a darker beer — a different choice than the usual sessions, with light pours for tailgating — and carries some pine and earthy flavors. It’s pretty bitter, which is enough to wake you as you’re dancing or singing to your favorite country star.