Beer Reviews

Stunt Dubbel, Isley Brewing Co. (Richmond, VA)

  4 days ago     45 Views     Leave your thoughts  

If you're someone who thinks that pumpkins and yams end with October, clearly you've never been sucked into a Yankee Candle, Bath & Body Works, or any other purveyor of autumnal scents.  This is bigger than a can of gourd slathered into a pie dish, or the sweet potato biscuit recipe my very own mother has refused to share with me even 30 years after I became addicted to them.  It's also bigger than that whole spiced coffee bit dominating even your workplace pantry's Keurig, and the indefensibly questionable notion that pumpkins are fruity enough to go into ice creams…

View More

Cruise Control, Crooked Run Brewing (Sterling, VA)

  1 week ago     82 Views     Leave your thoughts  

It's not sexy. It's not popular. It's not what's now. As we shift out of a fall season that has shown utter disdain for seasonal beers the likes I haven't since I started opining, this should be the time to start getting into stouts. Most of our faithful readers know that this is where a lot of brewers across The Commonwealth shine on the national stage. Don't worry, we'll get to all those. But I didn't want to get too far into the season without talking about this beer. I usually start all my pilsner reviews the same way: complaining…

View More

Lazy Flocculation, Benchtop Brewing Co. (Norfolk, VA)

  1 month ago     100 Views     Comments Off on Lazy Flocculation, Benchtop Brewing Co. (Norfolk, VA)  

There seems to be an emerging pipeline from the Tidewater area up to NoVA these days, but what's most peculiar is that it's direct into the small bottle shops and not the bigger retail stores.  One would think buying power would play a role with the wholesalers and distributors, yet when my feeds alert me I'm only too happy to duck into the store(s) around the corner.  That's especially been the case with Benchtop, who immediately flew onto our radar after their GABF win in 2017 and has impressed us more and more with each successive visit or tasting.  They…

View More

Bourbon Barrel Baltic Sunrise, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (Richmond, VA)

  1 month ago     171 Views     Comments Off on Bourbon Barrel Baltic Sunrise, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (Richmond, VA)  

How do you view beer?  Is it something which augments a dinner or social engagement?  Is it something you love in its own right?  Your answer to that question may impact how you like some of the ultra-big and -heavy beers that exist on the fringes of the Virginia beer scene.  If you enjoy beer just to enjoy beer, the layered complexity and boldness of something that took a year (or more) just to make it to your glass may be lost entirely.  I'm always reminded of this when we have some (non-craft beer type) friends over, and I'm gushing…

View More

New@Life, Oozlefinch Craft Brewery + Old Ox Brewery

  2 months ago     178 Views     Comments Off on New@Life, Oozlefinch Craft Brewery + Old Ox Brewery  

There we are, sitting at spacebar on a seemingly random Thursday night.  The menu has almost completely changed over from the previous week, and their usually innocuous tap list posting to social media looked the same as usual.  Well, almost the same.  Two Oozlefinch beers on draught?  In NoVA?!  This required a visit.  To our half-surprise, we ran into the owner of Oozlefinch, Russel Tinsley, as he made table rounds to talk about the two offerings.  There was a fruited Berliner Weisse, but the more intriguing beer was a collaboration with Old Ox Brewery (one of our local faves) that…

View More

Lost Weekend, Bluejacket Brewing (Washington, DC)

  2 months ago     277 Views     Comments Off on Lost Weekend, Bluejacket Brewing (Washington, DC)  

Wha... why are we talking about a beer that's not from Virginia?  Apart from the fact that we've covered Bluejacket before, or that there's some serious cross-pollination between DC and VA breweries, we happened to notice a picture of the Bluejacket taproom on the twitters recently.  You see, the Brewers Association released a study similar to a question we've asked before, on whether or not breweries with taprooms draw better sales (the answer as always...it depends).  Well, what was important was that they used a picture of Bluejacket on social media as part of the study's release.  We recognized it…

View More

Vapid, Aslin Beer Co. (Herndon, VA)

  3 months ago     312 Views     Comments Off on Vapid, Aslin Beer Co. (Herndon, VA)  

We've joked about mules waiting in line for Aslin beers before.  We've also marveled at the rarity of finding not just one, or even two kegs, but an entire tap takeover from Aslin.  It's all for good reason - over July 4th weekend I was lucky enough to visit both Tree House and Trillium while visiting a friend near Boston.  While in line at Tree House, my amusement in watching people wheel out whole dolleys of beer was interrupted by a gal in front of me asking if I were actually from Virginia (I had a UVa hat on).  I…

View More

Twin Cannons, Tin Cannon Brewing Co. (Gainesville, VA)

  3 months ago     264 Views     Comments Off on Twin Cannons, Tin Cannon Brewing Co. (Gainesville, VA)  

If you had to take the name of your brewery and find a cool pun to describe your flagship Double IPA, Tin Cannon absolutely nailed it.  Twin Cannons could refer to so much - a double blast of hops, florals, bitterness, fruit, malts, or just a double tap to the ole noggin when the warmth of the alcohol finally sets in.  It was one of my favorite discoveries at a beer festival a few years ago, but just a sheer loathing of trying to slog out I-66 to Gainesville kept my snobbish self away for a while.  That's what 20…

View More

Stairway, Ocelot Brewing Co. (Dulles, VA)

  3 months ago     241 Views     Comments Off on Stairway, Ocelot Brewing Co. (Dulles, VA)  

"Stairway is so 🔥🔥🔥 right now." So read the 4-pack table at Ocelot's third anniversary party a few months ago.  When you signed in and grabbed your beer and to-go tickets, they told you that once you were ready to check out, you could go pick an available 4-pack and waltz out.  I saw a few options and went up to snag one, only to encounter a finger wag. "Not so fast.  Ticket?" said one staff member.  I handed it over. "Here you go," said the other, pushing across some Stairway. "You mean we can't pick anything else?" I inquired.…

View More

Tapestry, Commonwealth Brewing Company (Virginia Beach, VA)

  3 months ago     263 Views     Comments Off on Tapestry, Commonwealth Brewing Company (Virginia Beach, VA)  

It's not like I can't write about what I want, but I will use my birthday today as an excuse to get back into one of my most favorite beer styles. It is a full-time, day job with benefits to keep me from composing every article about Belgian-style sour ale. Several VBR members have been known to clear out cellars at local watering holes that offer this ruby goodness. But the one issue we face is that it is still extremely hard to find in the state. Yes you can find sours and fruit beer, it is rampant through Northern…

View More