Author Archives for Alex Hannagan

Road to Idaho, Hardywood Park Brewery (Richmond, VA)

  3 weeks ago     117 Views     Leave your thoughts  

Sorry, there's no Bing Crosby or Bob Hope here.  They were headed to Morocco, not Idaho.  But since all of VBR will be on the road starting today, I thought it only somewhat proper for our last review prior to #Brauheist2017 to focus on experimentation.  I know what you mean, I was hoping to be done by 2018...ja, that's true, we had big plans for 2018.  And no, no, no, you demented freaks...#Brauheist2017 is nothing that involves the dreaded FLÜGGÅӘNKб€ČHIŒßØLĮÊN (NSFW!!)  There may be a Golden Mile mixed in, for good measure.  Really, we mean flavor and original beer styles.  The…

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Illusion of Safety, Adroit Theory Brewing Co. (Purcellville, VA)

  3 weeks ago     156 Views     Leave your thoughts  

It's been the summer of Gose.  I really could not have predicted myself saying that three months ago, much less a year or more.  But something unexpected truly happened when a series of them started popping up in my festival recaps from June on into August.  It was my favorite type of beer this past summer.  Maybe it's the brine or the full on acidic tartness.  But whereas Hefes and Wits were my post-high noon lawnmowing session go-tos before, I've made some space in my fridge recently for something a bit lighter but just as refreshing.  One of those beers…

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Songlines, Right Proper Brewing Co. (Washington, DC)

  1 month ago     133 Views     Comments Off on Songlines, Right Proper Brewing Co. (Washington, DC)  

If a brewery is going to be successful, it will have a little bit of something for everyone.  As such, some strategies carry more inherent risk than others - going all IPAs, Belgians, sours, and so on.  The point is that if your preferred style matches that of the Head Brewer, you're probably going to keep coming back.  If the brewer bets everything on one particular trend, and it doesn't draw volume, then they will be in trouble, quick.  For such reasons I thought that breweries betting on sours was a big mistake.  That Saison trend worked out, right?  And…

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Big Papi, Commonwealth Brewing Co. (Virginia Beach, VA)

  1 month ago     207 Views     Comments Off on Big Papi, Commonwealth Brewing Co. (Virginia Beach, VA)  

A reason it's hard to hate on the craft beer scene is that while you get plenty of "beer douches," as I recently heard it put, the overwhelming majority simply love the stuff so much that they're willing to share it even when it's hard to come by.  Including with complete strangers.  This happened to me the other week while visiting spacebar, one of the OG spots for craft beer in NoVA.  On this visit, us VBRers are chatting and one of us knows the bartender, who asks us how we're faring with some new IPAs.  A shade-throwing remark on…

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We Went There: Barrel Oak Farm Taphouse (Delaplane, VA)

  1 month ago     254 Views     Comments Off on We Went There: Barrel Oak Farm Taphouse (Delaplane, VA)  

A little over a year ago I was out at Barrel Oak Winery picking up the wine barrel that we had "bought" through our membership in their Barrel Cru club.  Some sidebar conversation led to the revelation that just as the experience-based locale had expanded its vineyards with patios, pizza, and even sangria over the prior few years, a long-gestating project by owner Brian Roeder to open their own on-premise brewery and taproom was nearing fruition.  While it would take until almost Thanksgiving of 2016 to have the grand opening, Brian's explanation that Barrel Oak Farm Taphouse, or BOFT, was…

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2017 DC Beer Week: Aslin Tap Takeover at Mad Fox Taproom (Washington, DC)

  1 month ago     182 Views     Comments Off on 2017 DC Beer Week: Aslin Tap Takeover at Mad Fox Taproom (Washington, DC)  

Let's be honest, after the beer-infused bacchanalia that was the 2017 VA Craft Brewers Fest, our attention wasn't necessarily on DC Beer Week (DCBW).  The good folks at DC Beer really do a good job of both scheduling and integrating a ton of different regional and national brewers into a slew of events around the area, though, and in the past we've attended everything from Brewers Bashes to Scavenger Hunts to random takeovers that somehow coincided with the general festivities.  Even though it's "DC" Beer Week, what's clear is that they really mean "DMV" Beer Week - DMV to us…

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2017 Virginia Craft Brewers Fest Awards (Broken Lizard Edition)

  1 month ago     246 Views     Comments Off on 2017 Virginia Craft Brewers Fest Awards (Broken Lizard Edition)  

The most recent version of the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest (VCBF) moved from its previous confines at Devils Backbone Basecamp to Ix Art Park in downtown Charlottesville, also the site for gracious host Three Notch'd Brewing's new taproom/crazy basement out of a grindhouse flick.  It was a tightly knit affair, with vendors and special booths spread throughout a winding series of lots.  You could listen to guest speakers talk about the brewing culture and industry, jam out to country and bluegrass, or try (and fail miserably) to make your way to each of the 100 or so brewers in park. …

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COLOSSAL SIX, Port City Brewing Co. (Alexandria, VA)

  2 months ago     314 Views     Comments Off on COLOSSAL SIX, Port City Brewing Co. (Alexandria, VA)  

Hello, darkness, my old friend I've come to drink with you again Because your anniversary reigning Left its fruits while I was training And the yearning that you planted in my brain Still remains Within your COLOSSAL SIX In restless dreams I drank alone Snifters filled by Russian clones 'Neath the halo of my cold stash I flipped the bottle cap off into the trash When my nose was crushed by The flash of buttered toffee Charred and oaky So spoke your COLOSSAL SIX And in fluorescent light I saw Ten hundred people, maybe more People drinking without speaking People…

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Round & Round, Ocelot Brewing Co. (Sterling, VA)

  2 months ago     154 Views     Comments Off on Round & Round, Ocelot Brewing Co. (Sterling, VA)  

Hoppy IPA Day!  There's only one way to celebrate such an occasion, and that is through the extravagance of some of the Lord of NoVA IPAtion, Ocelot.  These guys have been pushing the boundaries of West Coast, Belgian, and other sub-styles for more than two years now.  Sure, you might a different kind of experimentation elsewhere in the state, but for big hoppy flavors, you could do little better than to sneak out past the gates at Dulles and swing by a brewery so well hidden, you probably wouldn't know something good was there but for the cars sprawled all…

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Golden Ox, Old Ox Brewing Co. (Ashburn, VA)

  2 months ago     154 Views     Comments Off on Golden Ox, Old Ox Brewing Co. (Ashburn, VA)  

While the NoVA beer scene now counts nearly 20 breweries and brewpubs (with an average of 3-4 new ones every year), the vast expanse of the region means that some of the brewery clusters require a full day of planning and driving just to hit 3-4 on a Saturday afternoon (with a DD or Uber to help out, of course).  For those of us with rugrats, a better bet can sometimes be to uncover new releases at the many forward-leaning restaurants and bars which increasingly serve regional brews under the popular #drinklocal mantra.  A few years ago, we moved our…

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