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Radegast, BadWolf Brewing Co. (Manassas, VA)

  5 months ago     384 Views     Comments Off on Radegast, BadWolf Brewing Co. (Manassas, VA)  

"Be careful, both of you.  The enemy has many spies - birds, beasts!" "Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue; and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends." -Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring Oh, hearts of geekdom.  Yes, yes, we know that "Radegast" refers to a Czech style of beer as well as the Slavic god of hospitality.  But you can't look at this bottle's label without nerding out over some very Tookish flowery script!  BadWolf also likes to…

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Against the Wall (Contra El Muro), Coelancanth Brewing Company (Norfolk, VA)

  6 months ago     351 Views     Comments Off on Against the Wall (Contra El Muro), Coelancanth Brewing Company (Norfolk, VA)  

As we have just taken down all of our decorations and stowed the trees for another year, it's time for me to dig through my tasting notes from various celebrations to see what made the 'nice' list. This one was a no brainier. If you look at the tag, it was bottled the day it came out, given to me the next day, and consumed from Christmas to New Years. I'm sure I have reviewed fresher, but…

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Mango Habañero Red IPA, Bald Top Brewing Co. (Madison, VA)

  6 months ago     399 Views     Comments Off on Mango Habañero Red IPA, Bald Top Brewing Co. (Madison, VA)  

With so many breweries starting to pop up in Virginia, it's easy to miss a few as they're still quite scattered throughout the Commonwealth.  What makes me embarrassed, though, is basically driving by some of the seemingly out-of-the-way locales on a somewhat regular basis.  In this case, I was at the 2017 VA Craft Brewers Festival when I encountered Bald Top out of Madison.  I somewhat cheekily asked them "how deep" they were into Madison County, only to have my sun-tinged dome glow a bit more red when they replied they were right off Rt. 29 Business in Madison proper. …

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Kentucky Christmas Morning, Hardywood Park Brewery (Richmond, VA)

  6 months ago     361 Views     Comments Off on Kentucky Christmas Morning, Hardywood Park Brewery (Richmond, VA)  

Oh come, let us adore them... Oh come, let us adore them... Oh come,  let us adore them...  Hardywood Park! Kentucky Christmas Morning, Hardywood Park Brewery (Richmond, VA) Barrel Aged Coffee & Gingerbread Stout, 10.6% ABV, 55 IBU Presentation:  Bomber pour into Crystal Tulip.  Yeah, we went extra high class for this one. Appearance:  The head pours rusty before oxidation leaves it more tan - it's creamy but no lattice results.  The beer base is a deep black without any coffee inflections. Taste:  The nose is incredibly complex and, honestly, the best part of this beer.  Remember - smell is…

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Dutchess, Caboose Brewing Co. (Vienna, VA)

  7 months ago     512 Views     Comments Off on Dutchess, Caboose Brewing Co. (Vienna, VA)  

Last night I informed fellow VBR crewmember Ben that I'd scored a rather large reservation at Caboose.  We got into a version of the "5 Whys" game that would make a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt rather proud, but the gist was, "why bother to make a huge reservation at a place like that?"  Two reasons:  Craft Beer in the Commonwealth is a thing.  Popular places get crowded, especially ones that also have a food service that causes folks to stick around and hog space for a long while.  I grew up and went to middle and high school…

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Great Scotch, Center of the Universe Brewing Co. (Ashland, VA)

  7 months ago     432 Views     Comments Off on Great Scotch, Center of the Universe Brewing Co. (Ashland, VA)  

Though I'm in the midst of something of a Stout Renaissance for this winter season, the homebrewing club I recently joined has a number of folks who, like me, are huge fans of Scotch Ales/Wee Heavys.  (Wee Heavies?  Skip it...)  We've had a running debate about which are our favorites here in the Commonwealth.  I had previously nominated a few different barrel aged Scotch Ales here and there from NoVA, because it turns out that's something our local breweries up here seem to do quite well.  After a bottle shop run a few weeks ago, I had a neighbor over…

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Master of Oranges, Aslin Beer Co. (Herndon, VA)

  7 months ago     604 Views     Comments Off on Master of Oranges, Aslin Beer Co. (Herndon, VA)  

Double IPA, chug it all away I'm your source of self-destruction! Livers'll pump with fear, filter darkest fear Bringing on your toxic function! Sediment you'll see Floral's all you need Dedicated to How I'm thrilling you... Start sipping faster Obey your Master Your blood runs faster Master...Master! Master of Oranges, I'm pushing those hops Juicing your tongue, it's pulpy and dank Conditioned by me, the flavor can't stop Just call out my name, I want you to thank Master...Master! Just call out my name, I want you to thank Master...Master! Evenly coats the tongue, never you'll be numb Tropical becoming…

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Box of Chocolates, Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, VA)

  7 months ago     404 Views     Comments Off on Box of Chocolates, Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, VA)  

....You never know what you are going to get.... Ugh. The low hanging fruit was just too tempting. I know Starr Hill set us up for that one, but I don't really care. What I do care about is great brews. And now that winter is finally here, it was time to break open their most recent foray into varietals. It seems that most breweries put together 2 types of mixed packs. The first is the one that is most common to everyone: 4-6 different types of beers packaged as a series that shows off the range per season. It…

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Anastasia’s Chocolate Fantasy, South St. Brewery (Charlottesville, VA)

  7 months ago     379 Views     Comments Off on Anastasia’s Chocolate Fantasy, South St. Brewery (Charlottesville, VA)  

On a day when our first snow of 2017 hit, I was reminded of how well Stouts go with cold weather, but not for the reasons you think.  You see, I recently celebrated the birth of my third little girl, and her two older sisters have been on a cartoon binge the past 10 days that would make Cartman proud.  My wife and I were trying to think of movies we haven't bought them, while at the same time in the back of my mind I was wondering what beer would go best with sub-freezing temperatures a Russian would be most…

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Zero Fox Given (Cask), Mad Fox Brewing Co. (Falls Church, VA)

  7 months ago     395 Views     Comments Off on Zero Fox Given (Cask), Mad Fox Brewing Co. (Falls Church, VA)  

I've done CO2 and Nitro, but this is my first ever review of a Cask presentation of a beer.  I liked the carbonated version plenty well, and just happened to be at Mad Fox the day after their newest NE IPA made its debut on cask as well.  It's a new beer overall, and if my notes/underwhelming prose don't do it enough justice, then my sincere apologies.  I ignored my family to type everything below into my phone one agonizing tap at a time lest I forget the essence of my first impressions.  My kids wanted fries, ketchup, blowing on…

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