There are a lot of brewery festivals and craft contests in the world of craft brewing, especially as craft brewing is expanding to fill the whole of North America. People like to show off their ability to adapt to the wide variations that craft brew presents, and that is a good thing.
Virginia is no different and this weekend they had the Virginia Craft Brewery Festival in Nellysford down in Nelson County. This is the fourth time they have had the festival and this is the third time I have packed up to attend. Each year it has grown and taken over the Devil's Backbone brewery cafe for the weekend. This year was no different - except that it was bigger than ever before!
This year 60 brewers attended the festivities with two beers each for 120 beers just to be sampled. Also, they had a series of three awards in a range of brewing categories. Some of the categories were new this year, including sours. Every brewery is invited to enter each individual category; there is no size requirement, which makes this comptetion an investment of equals.
This time, in addition to the usual food trucks, they had outdoor games and an arcade. (Hey, I raked in 14,000 on Centipede!) It is a complete afternoon of fun and frolic - not to mention a complete range of beer.
In terms of beer, I had a collection of seven beers, several of which were really good, and one of which needs to go back to the drawing board. So lets meet our final contestants:
|Adroit Theory Brewing Company|
- The Devil Made Me
Dark, rich and bourbon flavor, this brewery was in strike with this batch. It was in your teeth kind of vicious, the brew just dared to you to try it. Untappd: 4.75
Hardywood Brewing Company
This was a another visit to Hardywood Brewing Company and it was well placed. Its a little lighter but it is still in the Belgian family. Untappd: 4.5
Apocalypse Ale Works
|Apocalypse Ale Works|
- Lustful Maiden Belgian Dubbel
A show surprise! The spirit is in there, but the flavor is a bit weak. It got the heaf, but it is really missing a unique flavor. Otherwise is has everything. Untappd: 4.0
Fair Winds Brewing Company
- Quayside Kolsch
I have tried this once before and it came up the same: blah. They are searching for the taste of kolsch and they are missing it by a wide margin. Its OK, its drinkable, but it is not kolsch. Try again! Untappd: 2.5
Spencer Devon Brewery
|Spencer Devon Brewery|
- Soleil Levant Witbier
They have hit this on the head. Warm and charming, the witbier has spirit. It not a light beer, but it comes off that way. Its like a good friend in the bar: warm, personable and ready to help you do your bidding. Untappd: 4.5
Parkway Brewing Company
- Four Damn Fights to a Pint
This was brisk and refreshing. This beer really holds its own. It has two flavors drawn from the hops, one from the start to mid and one from mid to end. They have a flavor of one, but in a transition, It is really good. Untappd: 4.0
Tin Cannon Brewing Company
- Virginia Blond Ale
This one was smooth and easy to drink. It is really well bodies and sophisticated, like a number of their beverages. It is just a nice beer to drink and you could do this any number of times. Untappd: 4.25
|Virginia Craft Brewers Guild|
The Virginia Craft Brewing Festival was a fun festival, replete with a number of craft breweries, awards, food, arcades and games. If you missed any part of it, I assure you, it will be back again next year.