Monthly Archives: June 2011

New Belgium Rolling into RVA this Fall

With the news that New Belgium Brewing would start distributing their beers in Richmond this fall, craft beer lovers are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Colorado giant.  With no frame of reference, I decided to take a look at New Belgium’s beer list. To say the list is big would be an understatement. New Belgium boasts twenty year round beers which does not include their 4 seasonals and 5 collaboration beers.  From where I am sitting, 29 beers is a very impressive numbers.  It would be easy to say I’d like to try all of them, but I’ll try and narrow it down to just a few.

Abbey Grand Cru

As a homebrewer, I have to respect co-founder Jeff Lebesch for bringing his first homebrew to market.

2° Below

It uses Sterling hops so as far as I’m concerned that makes it awesome.

Super Cru

I love saisons. I love the taste of asian pears.  Putting them together sounds like a winning combination. some may even say “SUPER!”

Fat Tire

It is probably New Belgium’s most well known beer.  Of course, it makes the list.


They call it an Enlightened Black Ale.  With all the studying of centuries-old Belgian texts, I expect it to take me back in time.

That is just a little of what could be in store for Richmond craft beer lovers.  Like the coasters in the picture, check them out over at Copper Blog to scoop them up.

Experiencing the Beer and Food of SAVOR!

Photo © Eddie Arrossi

Richmond’s World Beer Festival may have been canceled but that will not stop me exploring the ever expanding world of craft beer.  Saturday June 4th marked the second day of SAVOR, Washington, D.C.’s premier craft beer and food event. Tickets for this event sold out in a matter of minutes after going on sale.

Now in it’s fourth year, Brewers Association has expanded SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience to two nights inside the beautiful National Building Museum.   The effect of SAVOR on DC’s craft beer scene has been even more outstanding.  The number of restaurants and bars championing craft beer has almost tripled since Savor’s inception.

But why should SAVOR be important to craft beer lovers in Richmond?  Simply put, it is the possibility of new beers in the market that were previously unavailable locally.  Before I go on, let me explain a little about how breweries are selected to attend Savor.  In total, there were 72 breweries in attendance, 12 of which are supporting breweries who  attend every year.  The other 60 breweries are selected by a lottery system. Even though it is the luck of the draw, the breweries selected deserve the honor they have just received. Nothing proves this more to me than the fact two of my favorite North Carolina breweries, Big Boss Brewing and LoneRider Brewing, were in attendance for the first time.

The Wednesday prior to Savor, Big Boss took over the taps of Birch & Barley, serving their entire beer line-up.  At SAVOR, Big Boss was serving their two heavy hitters Monkey Bizzness and High Roller. With High Roller, Big Boss has managed to create an India Pale Ale that has the required bitterness and hoppy aroma but not overpowering at the same time.

Meanwhile, LoneRider brought in my two of my favorites of their beers. Their hefeweizen, Shotgun Betty, was a no brainer to pair with banana bread.  LoneRider had their brown ale, Sweet Josie, on hand. Once again, I was seduced by this beer. I was not too sure on the pairing of this beer with the Shrimp in  a Blanket dish. Personally, I thought it also went well with the banana bread.

Another first timer this year was Mad Fox Brewing out of Falls Church, VA.  Now here is a true cinderella story;  Mad Fox has only been opened for little over a year.  The owner rightful beamed with pride as he poured me some of his Kolsch Ale.  From the aroma to the taste of a two ounce pour, you could tell this was a beer made by a guy who truly loves what he does and is good at it. Expect very big things to come out of Mad Fox.

Here are some other highlights from my night.

Lazy Magnolia Brewing had their Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale rightfully paired with banana bread.  Their Indian Summer was equally as tasty.

Fort George Brewery’s 1811 Lager was very smooth and refreshing.

DOG Brewing had a Pub Dog Wild Cherry Porter has a tartness that will win over sour beer lovers.

Ommegang’s Three Philosophers was excellently paired with a braised lamb shoulder slider.

Bayou Teche Brewing’s La 31 Boucanee had a unique smokiness that is uncommon in wheat beers.  This beer would be perfect a hot summer barbecue.

Of course, I could not end without mentioning SAVOR Flowers.  This collaboration beer brewed by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Jim Koch of Boston Beer Company was a shoe-in to be the most talked about beer of the night.  It is almost a shame that this beer will not be seen out side of Savor.  When I first heard about the beer and the steps they went to, one of my first thoughts was how many roses do I need to make rose water to brew a batch at home.  Yes, you heard correctly; they created their own rose water just to make a batch of beer.  Add in some experimental hops and age in barrels originally used for Sam Adams Triple Bock in 1993/94, you get an unique beer with the most pleasing floral aromas and a flavors that leave you in a sense of euphoria.  It is collaborations like this that will keep SAVOR going strong for years to come. I will keep a look out for when tickets go on sale for next year so maybe you can be a part of the experience. Cheers!

Photo © Eddie Arrossi