Virginia Craft Brewers Fest: The VBR Awards

Posted by  Hamilton Riley   in  Events     3 years ago     1356 Views     Comments Off on Virginia Craft Brewers Fest: The VBR Awards  


The stage was empty early, but the festivities concluded here with some hardware presentations.

Did we have a fun time or what? For us it was a 7am wake up call to drive across the state from Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia to meet up in Charlottesville, carb up some, and head down to Devil’s Backbone Basecamp for an exciting afternoon of drinking beer and meeting new people. To everyone we got to talk to, from brewers, reps, and patrons, thank you for indulging us, especially as the day went on. To everybody else (which was like 99% of the total populaces) we’ll catch you next year.

But this day was not just about a huge beer festival, it was time to reward all the hard working people who make craft beer in The Commonwealth with some awards. If you haven’t seen the official list, you can CHECK IT OUT HERE. But we just did not want to stop there. So in true VBR fashion, we decided to give out some awards as well. So we would like to present our own VBR Awards from the brews we were able to sample. Enjoy!

Stretchy Pants – Pleasure House Glo
Awarded for being the beer most likely to accidentally end up as two, six, or more beers when all you wanted to have was one with dinner, the Glo is a Blonde Ale that was one of the few samples we actually finished.  Yes, we poured beer out all day long, but only because in order to try 70+ new beers you have to keep it civil.  So imagine our delightedly surprise when after chatting with the Pleasure House team we look down to find empty glasses.  Real good stuff.
(runner-up, Beer Hound Teufelhunde)
The “O” Face – Extra Billy’s Citra Ass Down
Awarded to the beer which was the biggest surprise of the day, as in, “Oh my, what was that again?”  We hadn’t heard of Extra Billy’s, and the name alone seemed bold enough until we actually took a sip.  With robust flavors, it’s easy to imagine a full pint evolving as you get to the bottom of the glass.
(runner-up, Spencer Devon Soleil Wit)
Pucker Up – Strangeways Wake Me Up Before You Gose
It’s really hard to balance sour and tart flavors in a beer without it overwhelming the beer’s profile.  Strangeways got this one right with some extra red wine barrel aging.  The name was also a nominee for a later category…
(runner-up, Apocalypse Lustful Maiden)

Sponge Worthy – Ardent Batch 15
Ever been in a relationship that looks like it could go somewhere, but you don’t quite feel ready to commit?  And then you do, and it was worth the wait…  Our Sponge Worthy award goes to the Batch 15, which starts hoppy and brings out some malts for balance as you let it linger on your tongue.  This is the kind of beer you stick in the kegerator and are still totally head over heels for months later.
(runner-up, Blue Mountain Dunkel Lager)

It’s Still August, People! – Seven Arrows Fallen Timbers Oktoberfest
Pumpkins, Vienna Lagers, Märzens, oh my…  What seemed a sick joke at first became a roll out party for a lot of the fall seasonals, and as the runner-up put it to us, with so many pressure to be first to market most breweries are bottling their Fall lineup in July.  Our top award in this way-too-early category goes to the lads in Waynesboro with what is one kickass malt-forward Oktoberfestbier.  We have Isley next, but really you couldn’t go wrong with Blue Mountain, AleWerks, or a host of the other entrants.
(runner-up, Isley Stunt Dubbel)
Moniker…What Kind of a Name is That?! – Loose Shoe Wyld Ryed
You can tell the brewers are having fun when the names are so double entendre-laden they actually have three meanings.  Our award for best beer name goes to Loose Shoe’s Wyld Ryed (a decent beer in its own right), but let’s give some props to runner-up My Bitter X, the aforementioned Wake Me Up Before You Gose, Triple Crossing’s Clever Girl, Citra Ass Down, and oh so many more…
(runner-up, Belly Love My Bitter X)

Here’s My Card – Beer Hound, Culpeper
One of the best parts of these sorts of festivals is getting to chat with the very people who made your beer.  Our VIP passes got us some extra face time with several of our favorite breweries (as well as some we’d never heard of), and the sheer breadth meant many lines were short enough to continue conversing without depriving other revelers of beer.  Our favorite conversation was with Frank from Beer Hound, who literally promised a good time (and begged us not to share the details).  We’ll be visiting those guys soon, and are also keen on checking out Pleasure House.
(runner-up, Pleasure House, VA Beach)

Most Likely to Succeed – Brothers Imperial Milk Stout
Our Best in Show is also a crowd pleaser, even despite that 8.5% ABV threatening to cut your night short.  The Brothers Imperial Milk Stout was silky smooth with a great roasted backbone.  We’d kill to see this on nitro, or just to get more than a 2 oz. taster in general.  There were a number of other great entries (including some not available to the tasting public), which is what made the 2015 Virginia Craft Brewers Festival such a great time.  Cheers!
(runner-up, Seven Arrows Fallen Timbers)


Former founder and writer for, now Co-Founder and writer for Virginia Brew Review. Life is too short to drink bad beer, but just long enough to write about it.