Beer Reviews

Sierra Nevada: An East Coast Compound with a NorCal Feel

Sierra Nevada officially opened the doors to its North Carolina brewery/restaurant/bar in March of 2015 after a phased approach starting last summer. While I’m not the biggest fan of their beers overall, I still thought I had to visit while I was in the Asheville area. I made the long trek from the cabin outside of Canton through Asheville to Fletcher, about an hour drive. I have to admit that I was under the impression that the brewery was closer to Asheville proper, but it actually lies about 17 miles south of the city, which is about a half hour drive. As we pulled through the gate, I quickly realized why it was located so far from the city. It seems to be by design. After winding through a half mile of forest and over a small stone bridge, we pulled up to the parking lot, which was appointed with …

Read More »

Quick Pour: Adroit Theory Don’t Believe the Hype (Ghost 241)

Producer: Adroit Theory Brewing Company; Purcellville, VA Style: IPA/Double IPA Price Range: $12.99 / bottle (12.7 oz) ABV: 10.6% Appearance: Aroma: Virginia Pour House Review: The other Adroit Theory beer I picked up at Crafted is a new one that even the owner of the store hadn’t had a chance to try yet. This is bottle #110 out of 450, so I’m guessing this particular batch is pretty limited. It pours a deep amber with red and orange hues and very little head. The aroma is sweet and malty, with hints of maple syrup and earthy notes. The first sip is heavy and malty, with a big boozy middle and finish. The hop character is pretty well balanced with the malt, but the malt backbone is huge on this beer. It’s almost a cross between an IPA and a barleywine. The beer coats the palate with sweet syrupy notes and …

Read More »

Quick Pour: Adroit Theory Angel’s Trumpet (Ghost 164)

Producer: Adroit Theory Brewing Company; Purcellville, VA Style: IPA w/ mangos Price Range: $14.99 / bottle (12.7 oz) ABV: 7.0% Appearance: Pale cloudy straw, small foamy white head Aroma: Grass, straw, hint of mango Virginia Pour House Review: I stopped in at a craft beer store down in Haymarket, VA called Crafted to pick up some beer for my trip to Asheville, NC. The owner told me they had been open for about a year and a half but I just recently found out about them from a neighbor. It’s a cool little store and they had a great selection of hard-to-find beers. While I was there, I picked up a couple beers from Adroit Theory, including Angel’s Trumpet. This is a beer that I have been coveting for a while now so of course I was excited to finally try it. It pours a hazy pale straw color with …

Read More »

Quick Pour: Lost Rhino My Imaginary Girlfriend (MIG)

Producer: Lost Rhino; Ashburn, VA Style: India Pale Ale Price Range: $8-10 / bottle (22 oz) ABV: 6.1% Appearance: Cloudy straw color, small foamy white head Aroma: Grass, straw, orange, grapefruit, mango Virginia Pour House Review: Lost Rhino recently released this year’s batch of My Imaginary Girlfriend, or MIG for short. The beer pours a cloudy straw color with a small foamy white head that quickly dissipates. The aroma contains hints of citrus in the form of orange, grapefruit, and maybe mango. There is also an earthiness with some grass and straw coming through. The citrus notes pop out right at the beginning of the first sip but there is an earthy middle and finish, with a lingering bitterness. I love this beer because it presents a perfect balance of hops with a strong malt backbone while remaining pretty light at 6.1%. Lost Rhino makes some great seasonal IPA’s and …

Read More »

Ocelot Brewing: A New Go-To in Loudoun County

Note: This post was written on Memorial Day. Since my first visit, I have visited Ocelot almost every weekend. Loudoun County boasts some pretty serious craft breweries, as evidenced by my last post. While that only begins to scratch the surface of what the county has to offer, it’s a good starting point for getting into the local craft beer scene in northern Virginia. After visiting a new brewery in Sterling this weekend, it is safe to say that there is some serious competition for all other Loudoun County breweries. Ocelot Brewing opened its doors for a soft open in April but they had their grand opening this weekend. It is located in a no-frills industrial park off of Old Ox Road/Rt 606 in Sterling, but don’t let the exterior fool you. The interior is inviting with what looks like a bar and tables made from repurposed wood and a southern …

Read More »

Quick Pour: Stone/Ecliptic/Wicked Weed Points Unknown IPA

Stone’s latest entry in their collaboration series includes contributions from Ecliptic Brewing in Portland, Oregon and Wicked Weed in Asheville, North Carolina. It is not clear by the description what each brewer contributed to this beer, but it is highly complex. This is a blend of two beers: a hoppy double IPA and a Belgian tripel. The tripel was transferred into barrels that originally housed red wine and were subsequently used to age tequila. After four months, the tripel was blended with the freshly-brewed IPA at one-fourth tripel to three-fourths IPA. It is definitely unlike anything I have ever heard of. Onto the review! Producer: Stone Brewing Company; Escondido, CA; Ecliptic Brewing; Portland, OR;  Wicked Weed; Asheville, NC Style: Double IPA/Belgian Tripel/Barrel-Aged Beer Price Range: $10-12 / bottle (22 oz) ABV: 9.5% Appearance: Clear, deep golden, small white head Aroma: Grass, straw, spice, coriander, grapefruit, orange, wheat Virginia Pour House …

Read More »

Quick Pours: A Trio of Local IPA’s

GRAFFITI HOUSE  Producer: Old Bust Head; Vint Hill, VA  Style: IPA  Price Range: $2 / bottle (12 oz)  ABV: 7.5%  Appearance: Deep amber, clear, with small white head  Aroma: Malty, faint earthy notes  Virginia Pour House Review: The first IPA is from a small brewery near Gainesville  called Old Bust Head. This is brewed in a West Coast IPA style so it promises to be very  hoppy with citrus and pine notes. The beer pours a deep, clear amber with a small white  head. The aroma is faint, but there is some malt and earthy notes. The first sip is big and  bright, with a nice citrus up front and earthy tones the middle. The beer finishes super bitter  with a lingering pine bitterness. For a base IPA, this beer has a lot of flavor and really good  bitterness. It is reminiscent of a West Coast IPA with subtle citrus and big …

Read More »

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Bigfoot (2015)

Producer: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company; Chico, CA Style: Barleywine Price Range: $15 / bottle (750 ml) ABV: 11.9% Appearance: Clear burgundy, foamy white head Aroma: Virginia Pour House Review: Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Ale is one of my favorite barleywines. So when I saw that they were releasing a barrel-aged version this year, I got excited. This is their big, bold seasonal barleywine aged in Kentucky whiskey casks for nearly a year. The beer pours a deep burgundy but is clear with a healthy white head that dissipates upon sitting. The aroma is faint, but some malt and dark fruit stands out. The first sip is big and bold. It attacks the palate with big bitter whiskey notes, with some bitter dark malt in the middle and a lingering overall bitterness. Subsequent sips aren’t quite as alarming and more of the flavor pops through. There’s a lot of whiskey flavor here, …

Read More »

Beer Review: Alewerks Bitter Valentine

Producer: Alewerks Brewing Company; Williamsburg, VA Style: Double IPA Price Range: $10 / bottle ( oz) ABV: 8.3% Appearance: Rich orange amber, small white head Aroma: Citrus, pine, grass, hints of orange, mango, pineapple Virginia Pour House Review: Alewerks releases this big double IPA every year around Valentine’s Day. This year I found it a little later than normal, but judging by the appearance and aroma I don’t think anything will be lost here. The beer pours a deep rich amber, almost orange, with a thin white head. I get big citrus and floral notes in the aroma, with hints of orange, mango, and pineapple, but also an earthiness and some pine. The first sip is super bitter, but there is a lot of flavor here. Lots of citrus bursts through first, but also some floral notes and an earthy finish. The big citrus notes dominate the flavor, with some …

Read More »

Dogfish Head Alehouse Off-Centered Beer Dinner

Last week was American Craft Beer Week and so the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Fairfax had a special beer dinner for the occasion. It was a five-course dinner, each one paired with a beer, and each pairing off-centered. What does that mean? It means that the food was a little off the wall and the beer pairings were not quite what you would expect for the dish. Here’s a quick review of each of the five courses. First Course: The Great Grapefruit Salad with Aprihop The Great Grapefruit Salad consisted of fresh spinach, chopped grapefruit, walnuts, sliced radish, and feta cheese, tossed with a grapefruit vinaigrette. The salad was actually served in half grapefruit rind. The salad had a nice subtle citrus flavor, slightly bitter but not overwhelming. The subtle citrus brought out a citrus in Aprihop that usually isn’t there. The feta offset the bitterness of the citrus and …

Read More »
Translate »