#virginia Archives – PorchDrinking.com
The 2020 Virginia and DC Best in Beer features a community surviving and even thriving in this most unusual year. It was a time of coming together where local breweries invented new ways to reach their loyal customers, and those customers took their “drink local” mantra to new heights. Together, the local craft beer community weathered the storm with remarkably few breweries closing, and even a few new ones opening.
Local breweries continued to put out some wildly creative and delicious beers and perhaps more than ever proved their worth as creators and sustainers of social bonds. The Virginia and Washington, DC craft beer communities look forward to a more “normal” 2021 while taking pride in their remarkable resiliency throughout the unprecedented global challenges of 2020.
One of the greatest benefits to our “What We’re Cooking” series is that PorchDrinking has the chance to do our own special kind of recipe development. Any chef will show you how alcohol can be present in just about any kind of dish for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert but beer is mysteriously underrepresented. However, just like home brewing, it means there’s a world of undiscovered projects just waiting to be uncovered. And Scott Johnson may have found a new beer-tasting seasoning to hit the shelves with Imperial Stout Salt!
On the cusp of Thanksgiving 2020 after an incredibly stressful year; we all deserve a moment to indulge. Though as you can only fill your stomach so much or tolerate a certain amount of beer; what do you choose? Well, there’s no better option to treat your senses than to enjoy a beer that comes with its own recipe card!
Tis the season for Saison, and Väsen Brewing out of Richmond, Virginia, has put out one of the best in the mid-Atlantic. Their Triple Peach Saison hits all the right notes for the cooler weather and shorter days, perfect for leaf-peeping along the Blue Ridge Parkway or sipping next to the year’s first bonfire.
Breweries have taken the initiative to distribute their beer due to the restrictions of COVID-19. In turn, craft beer fans should support as many nearby breweries as possible as they push through uncertain times. Not only are you doing what is right for local businesses but you may discover your new favorite beer from down the block! That’s how I came into contact with Restless Moons Brewing Company Harrisonbürger Pilsner.
The Answer Brew Pub is well-known across the mid-Atlantic for its fruited sours (Joose, anyone?) and phenomenal IPAs, but whoever names their beers is the real superstar here.
You read the title of that beer above right. It’s been double-checked it for you. Can you guess the beer name’s reference?
Aslin Beer Company has been producing some of the best beer in Virginia for quite a while now, and the addition of a new taproom in Alexandria, VA last year has upped their game to another level. Known for their high-ABV stouts, fruited sours and hazy IPAs, Aslin continues to hit the mark across the board with solid beers.
Compared to every other season, autumn always conjures up particular styles of beer. Pumpkin beers, Märzens, and Ambers match drinkers’ palates like the changing shades of leaves. As the summer winds down during peaks of sweltering humidity, you wouldn’t think there could be a beer over 10% fitting for the season. Thankfully, us Virginians have access to a beer that perfectly represents the twilight of summer with Lickinghole Creek’s Coconut Quad.
Richmond, VA is known to some as a mecca for craft beer in the state for lovers. Ardent Craft Ales was originally started as a cooperative of homebrewers who wanted to get out of their kitchen and brew a little more seriously. To do so, they rented out a garage with a half-barrel system and started brewing every Sunday in said garage located in the Churchill region in the eastern side of the city.
When you walk into Solace Brewing, you feel a bit happier. The vibe at this sprawling facility in Sterling, Virginia is just cheerful. From the employees to the customers, the brewery seems to live by its motto: “Find Your Solace.”
Every once in a while, you have that experience with beer that completely blows your mind and excites your taste buds in ways others have not. Vasen Brewing Company out of Richmond, Virginia, has done just that with the recent and first bottle release of Savvon–a dry-hopped Farmhouse Ale. The complexity and flavors capped within these bottles were amazing and worth every drop.
Virginia’s beer market is booming, with big names and new, sprawling establishments. Among those, Sinistral Brewing Company, located in Manassas, VA, really embraces simplicity, though it certainly isn’t dull. Sinistral takes family and community to heart: its location is right near a commuter rail station; they provide a venue to featuring local musicians and they name beers after colleagues’ children, just to give a few examples.
The reckoning of New England IPAs is going to come. After years of the milkshake beer being the new kid on the block, trends are slowly switching back to old school pale ales and even hopped lagers. I don’t think the NEIPA will fully go away, but when every brewery jumps on the trend it just loses it’s panache. I thought I had tasted every kind of juice box imaginable … until trying The Implication from Aslin Beer Company.
Autumn is the season of pies. Whether it’s pumpkin, sweet potato or pecan, we all know the colder months bring forth a nostalgic desire for those traditionally warming, sweet sensations. So when the wave of pumpkin-spiced everything (including beer) takes over, how do you stand out? Brothers Craft Brewery cuts to the core of this dilemma by releasing a specially brewed apple ale, Blonde Betty.
There is no beer scene in the Shenandoah Valley without the influence of Brothers Craft Brewery, formerly known as Three Brothers. These guys have been providing wonderful beers in the Appalachian Mountains since the Virginia beer boom in 2012 by catering to both sides of the craft beer spectrum. They recently won Best in Show at the Virginia Craft Beer Cup for their flagship Lil Hellion; their barrel-aged beers like Resolute and Drunken Mornings are loved by rare beer collectors.
Ballast Point made a fantastic decision in opening their East Coast location in southwest Virginia. Daleville is near rolling mountains outside of Roanoke and has a cluster of outposts from well-known breweries, like Deschutes, Starr Hill and soon, Three Notch’d. Ballast Point’s production brewery, tasting room and restaurant opened in 2017 and has floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the landscape.
When traveling, it has become commonplace in our society for people to bring back souvenirs for friends and loved ones. It could be a shirt from a local professional team or a keychain with their name etched on it (which is a sore subject for someone who seemingly always struck out as a young kid when trying to find the one with my name on it). But for those closest to me, they know to expect some samples of local beer brewed in the town or city I was visiting.
Spring is here but that doesn’t mean porters should disappear from your lineup, notably something that’s light, slightly sweet and beloved in your hometown. Personally, I was shocked when I saw that I hadn’t profiled this Clara’s Vanilla Porter from BadWolf Brewing Company, located steps from my home in Manassas, Virginia.
I’ve been enjoying this beer during Friday night date nights with my husband for months now, thrilled with its low ABV and full body.
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.
My Secret Santa may still be a secret, but his great taste in Virginia beer is definitely not. I was gifted Hardywood’s Gingerbread Stout and shared it with my family during Christmas. Despite enjoying it in Florida’s 80-degree December heat, we found the Imperial Milk Stout delicious, sip-able and surprisingly light.