The restaurant has two dining rooms on the street level, and a display beer cellar downstairs. There is also a lounge area with dart boards and leather couches. As we were led to our table I was eying the 80 foot bar, the stocked beer coolers behind the bar, and the array of tap handles at the end. Capital Ale House currently has 60 beers on tap and over 300 bottled beers on stock. According to company president Matt Simmons, about 100 kegs and 400 cases of beer were delivered last week in preparation for the opening.
My first order of business was to peruse the beer menu, which is an 8.5" x 11" book with around 25 pages of beers listed. I opted for a Lights Out Holiday Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Virginia. The beer was dark with a moderate beige head. It has roasted malt flavors with some hop bitterness at the end and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Colleen and I both ordered the Ale House burger. This thick Angus burger was cooked just right and topped with sautéed onions, lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese. The burgers were served with frittes (fries) and two flavors of spicy mayonnaise.
As we ate, other patrons began filling the seats. It looks like they will have a busy opening day. There seemed to be plenty of staff on hand and our server, Nina, was prompt and friendly. She was enthusiastic but admitted a bit of trepidation over the extensive beer menu. Even though the restaurant had been open less than an hour and already had a good size crowd on hand, I had no complaints about the service we received.
The Fredericksburg location will feature the same $1 burger specials on Monday evenings and "Steal the Glass Night" on Tuesdays as their other locations. No burger deal this opening week, but the Tuesday, November 4 "Steal the Glass Night" will feature Schneider Aventinus. Capital Ale House also offers free Wi-Fi internet. And, if you are looking for good beer to take home, the bottle menu is available "to go" at a 25% discount off listed prices.
My visit today was short and I didn't get to truly explore the extensive beer selection. It will be nice to have such a wide variety of beers available locally. I'm looking forward to trying out many new and hard-to-find beers at the Capital Ale House. And, a reminder, the GABF Pro-Am Silver medal beer, Smoke Out, by local homebrewer Lyle Brown will be tapped this Friday at Capital Ale House. I hope to see you there.
Update, Nov. 6: The Free Lance-Star has a good article about Capital Ale House today. (They still insist on calling it a brewery on the front page of the paper.)