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Old Bust Head Brewing Co. | Vixen Irish Red Ale

old bust head vixen irish red ale
Jason Murphy

Old Bust Head Brewing Co. is a solar-powered microbrewery located in Fauquier County, Virginia. The brewery and taproom are situated in Vint Hill, a farm with five decades’ history as a top-secret military listening post—a unique location for a brewery to call home!

About the Brewery

“We’re all about creating meaningful connections and fostering a sense of community,” said Cara O’Neal, social media manager for Old Bust Head. Operating with sustainability in mind, the team’s goal is to ensure they leave a little extra richness for future generations to enjoy.

Old Bust Head is passionate about craft beer and its creative possibilities. “We cherish the authenticity of our unique location and the stories it holds,” O’Neal said.

With a strong foundation in crafting traditional ales and lagers, its team has honed its skills to create award-winning brews that range from classic favorites to innovative creations.

Foxy Lady

One such award-winning beer is their Vixen Irish Red Ale. The name comes from the hills that surround Old Bust Head, home to the red fox. Female foxes are called—you guessed it—vixens!

“Our brew, Vixen Irish Red, takes its name from this wild creature, paying homage to a piece of Fauquier County’s natural beauty,” said O’Neal.

Image provided by Old Bust Head Brewing Company

Unrelated to the name of Old Bust Head’s Irish Red, owner/operator Julie Broaddus adopted a chihuahua named Vixen, adding an extra layer of affection for the name. Who can’t get behind a delicious beer and a cute little dog?

Why Irish Red?

Why did Old Bust Head’s team decide to brew an Irish Red Ale? The answer is simple.

“One of the primary motivations to brew this style is our commitment to providing our customers with a diverse range of beer options,” Broaddus said.

Old Bust Head’s staff believes in the importance of both honoring traditional brewing styles and exploring new and innovative flavors.

“Our first beers included a Czech Pils, an English Style Pale Ale and an Irish Red,” said Broaddus.

The initial offerings were a testament to the team’s desire to brew classic beer styles from around the world. By crafting an Irish Red, they aimed to pay homage to the time-honored brewing traditions that shaped the beer world.

“For us, these beers offer a sense of nostalgia and familiarity, allowing our customers to enjoy beers that have stood the test of time,” Broaddus said.

Classic Flavor

Using a brewer’s pale malt, caramel malts and roasted barley, Vixen tastes true to style. Rich caramel notes blanket the palate upon first sip. While the caramel is rich, the notes don’t overpower the roasted malt flavor toward the end. The roasted malts cut some of the sweetness from the caramel. Both work together to create a symphony of palate-pleasing flavors.

We’re not the only ones that are impressed with Vixen, though. It won a bronze medal at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival in the Irish-Style Red Ale category. To go along with Old Bust Head’s win at Great American Beer Festival, Vixen also won a silver medal at this year’s Virginia Craft Beer Cup in the Irish and Scottish Ales category.

If you’re a fan of Irish Red Ales, put Vixen on your list. You can find it year-round throughout Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland.


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