Friday, September 24, 2010

8th Annual Fredericksburg Oktoberfest, This Weekend

The 8th Annual Fredericksburg Oktoberfest takes place this weekend at the Blue & Gray Brewery. The brewery's new location allows for an expanded venue so there's plenty of room this year. I stopped by Friday afternoon and enjoyed a couple of 1/2 liter mugs of the Blue & Gray Oktoberfest. I always look forward to this annual offering, and this year's batch seems especially well-done. I picked up a growler last week when it was first released, enjoyed it over the weekend, and will surely go back for more.

The Oktoberfest celebration continues on Saturday, starting at 11:00AM, with activities all day until 8:00PM. German food will be available outside, as well as special menu items inside at Lee's Retreat. As always, this is a family event so bring the whole gang and enjoy the day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Capital Ale House Oktoberfest

On Saturday, Capital Ale House held it's second annual Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg. I was spending time with family in Maryland, and enjoying Polock Johnny's sausages and Guinness, so was unable to attend. Judging by the "live" updates I saw on Facebook, the estimated 15,000 folks attending had a great time. I'll point you to an article in today's Free Lance-Star for more information and pictures from the event.
With a swing of a mighty wooden mallet, Mayor Tom Tomzak kicked off Oktoberfest in downtown Fredericksburg at noon yesterday.

He hammered home a tap in the first keg, then handed a stein filled with some of its foaming contents to Evan Judd, a World War II veteran who took part in the Berlin airlift.

Article continues...

And don't forget, local Oktoberfest celebrations continue next weekend, September 24 - 25 with the 8th Annual Fredericskburg Oktoberfest at Blue & Gray Brewing Company.

Virginia Brewers Show Their Metal, Again

Western States like Colorada, California and Oregan get a lot of (well-deserved) attention for the the fine craft beers produced there. However, Virginia brewers continue to show the world that good beer comes from these parts too! Three Virginia breweries came home with medals from this year's Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.

The 151 judges at GABF judged 3,523 beers in 79 style categories. That's an amazing feat by itself!

Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland, VA was awarded four medals:
  • GOLD in Category 6: Coffee Flavored Beer for Baltic Coffee
  • GOLD in Category 24: American-Style or International-Style Pilsener for Gold Leaf Lager
  • BRONZE in Category 51: English-Style Mild Ale for Ale of Fergus
  • BRONZE in Category 61: South German-Style Hefeweizen for Wintergreen Weiss

Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA came away with two medals:
  • GOLD in Gold Category 1: American-Style Wheat Beer for Sandy Bottom
  • BRONZE in Category 41: German-Style K├Âlsch for Kolsch 151

Great American Restaurants (Sweetwater Tavern) in Centreville, VA brought home one medal:
  • GOLD in Category 53: Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter for Gar Pale Ale
Congratulation to these Virginia brewers! You can see the complete list of awards at GABF web site.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shooting Creek Brewery at Capital Ale House

We've been following Shooting Creek Brewery in Floyd, VA since mid-2008. Although they started distributing beer in March of 2009, I've not had the opportunity to try any of the beers. That changed a couple of weeks ago when the Capital Ale House "Steal the Glass Night" featured two beers from the brewery.

The first beer I ordered was Shooting Creek Rebel Ale. Shooting Creek describes Rebel Ale as "Brewed with malted barley and rye for a unique flavor-quenching zip, rich malt character, and deep amber glow. Moderately bittered using Cascade hops grown by Shooting Creek Farm brewery." The beer (at right) pours a cloudy, golden-amber color. I noted very faint grainy notes in the aroma. The taste is somewhat sweet, with some toasted malt detected as well. There are bitter citrus notes that come through at the finish, leaving behind a dry finish. Overall it's an easily drinkable beer, but not extraordinary.

Capital Ale House was also serving Shooting Creek Buffalo Brown Ale. Not wanting to shirk my duty to try both beers for the benefit of the readers of The Musings, I ordered a Brown Ale, and a Chicken Tostada appetizer to go along with it. This American Brown Ale poured a dark, cola brown with a thin beige head. There is a strong presence of citrusy hops in the aroma, as well as some toasted malt. The flavor followed suit. There was an enjoyable kick of bitter citrus rind on top of the sweet, dark malt. I wasn't sure how a brown ale would stand up to the spicy appetizer, but the citrus hop flavor enabled the beer to do just that.

I discussed both beers with a few other patrons. Folks were divided between disliking the Rebel Ale or finding it "just okay." Everyone I spoke to preferred the Buffalo Brown over the Rebel Ale. No one disliked it, and several found it quite enjoyable. More than one person remarked on being (pleasantly) surprised by the hop level of the beer.

My experience with the two Shooting Creek beers left me looking forward to trying out more beers from this small, southwest Virginia brewery. While "Steal the Glass Night" is a fun excuse for adding to one's glassware collection, the opportunity to try new and hard to find beers is a true treat.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Free Beer for First Responders Saturday, 9/11

This just today from Blue & Gray Brewery.
Free Beer in the brewery retail store 10am-1pm.

Also, and/or a free pint glass from Lee's Retreat Brewpub for First Responders this Saturday, September 11th.

To All First Responders: The Blue & Gray Brewing Co. and Lee's Retreat Brewpub want to acknowledge and say thanks for the work you do. The brewery retail store is offering a free growler fill from 10am-1pm (ABC law states the pub can not process beer give-aways, so you'll need to enter the retail side). Lee's Retreat Brewpub, though, is offering a free pint glass on Saturday with the purchase of a beer in the brewpub during brewpub hours 11am-11pm.

During these specified times, this offer is available to all Police, Fire, and Rescue personnel, (federal, state and local) including volunteers this Saturday, September 11, 2010.

Jeffrey & Lori Fitzpatrick
The folks at Blue & Gray have a long history of supporting our military and first responders. That tradition continues.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg, Twice

Craft beer fans, and fun-loving folks in general, will have two opportunities to celebrate Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg this month. (Yes, the Munich Oktoberfest actually does start in September.)

On September 18, the Fredericksburg Capital Ale House will celebrate Oktoberfest in downtown Fredericksburg with a block party in front of their Caroline Street location. The event will kick off at noon and continue until 10:00PM. This will be the second annual event for Capital Ale House in Fredericksburg. Entertainment will be provided by the SGTEV Hirschjager German dancers and German music by Heidi und Heimat, The Continentals & Low’n’Brows. A large children’s area will include three inflatable attractions, face painter and balloon artists. Food and beverages will be available. Other Richmond are Capital Ale House locations will celebrate Oktoberfest on September 24th & 25th, and October 2.

After you've spent the work week recovering, the party starts again the following weekend. The Blue & Gray Brewing Company will hold their 8th Annual Fredericksburg Oktoberfest all weekend long, September 24, 25, & 26. Family-friendly fun activities include sing alongs, a stein holding contest, Oompah music, ginger bread walk, K-9 demonstration, face painting for the kids, and the Low’n’Brows. And of course, plenty of the ever-popular Oktoberfest Beer from Blue & Gray Brewing will be available along with other Blue & Gray beers. See the event page for the complete schedule of events.

The newly opened Lee's Retreat Brewpub at Blue & Gray will be serving delicious German foods and pastries. Beer will be available for sale in 12oz or 16oz mugs, or a 33.8oz (maas) commemorative stein. Festival hours are Friday 5:00PM-10:00PM, Saturday 11:00AM-7:00 PM, and Sunday 12:00PM-4:00PM.

It's a great month to be a craft beer fan in Fredericksburg!

Update, September 7: This just in from Jeff at Blue & Gray, "VA ABC regulations require us to reduce our weekend event to 2 days, Friday and Saturday."  So plan your weekend accordingly.