Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fredericksburg Brewfest

Clay and I decided to go up to Fredericksburg and check out their beer fest. I didn't have any expectations just vague notions of the fizzy sort. Upon arriving in or around the city, we picked up Clay's brother-in-law. He's an affable beer lover who was happy to be picked up and delivered to the beer. After an oddly efficient carding/wrist band process there was a small mix up over tickets with the admission staff. Some small bit of consternation later we were in the beer fest.

This fest was all outside and the weather was perfect. The sun was shining, breeze was gentle, and the temperature was moderate. There are few things about outdoor events that are noticeable straight away: accommodating or fest-wrecking weather, attraction layout, and adequate restroom facilities. The first two were good. The last one was an issue. There weren't enough port-a-johns. I recall the line being about 20 deep most of the day. Not a big deal to me, but important to note in general.

 The beer representation was impressive. There were native and national breweries mostly offering their year-round staples. Beers that I actually recall without the aid of my camera: Lickinghole Creek's Goochland Quad and Blue Mountain's A Hopwork Orange. Both of these beers were delicious and worked well in the atmosphere of the festival. The full list you can check out the Fredericksburg Beerfest website.

During our meandering, boozy jaunt around the fairgrounds we met a few characters. We met a guy and gal  who both loved beer and seemed to be having a good time. We ran into them a few times and their condition had progressed each time. The last time we crossed paths the young lady was ready to leave and seemed to be experiencing an individualized earthquake. They were nice, and I forgot to take a picture of them. I really enjoyed talking to them, and I was especially impressed at the gal's appreciation of fine craft beer. Not to say women don't appreciate beer, it's just beer advertising, marketing, and attitudes are as such that women don't always feel welcome in the scene. I'm glad to frequently see this is changing.

The booths whirred by as we consumed tiny cup after tiny cup of mostly delicious, golden suds. I ate cheese fries and fried pickles from Legend Grille, and Clay sustained himself on tornado chips and an Italian sausage sandwich that took a lifetime to be ready.

Other beer stand-outs were Isley's Choosy Mother Peanut Butter Porter (worn in well for me, as it's local), Adventure Brewing Co.'s Backpack Wheat, and Rusty Beaver's Roy's Big Bad Brown Ale. Rusty Beaver is a new one for me. I've definitely had their beer before, I've just not liked it until now. The brown ale was chocolately and malty. There were no apologies to crisp or hop flavors here. I really enjoyed this brew.

After hours of strolling and drinking we noticed people were starting to close up their tents and patrons were leaving. We started drinking water and rousing ourselves from our beercation. We ended up going to Wawa to get some grub for the drive back home. We both got the Buffalo Chicken sub. After drinking all day, that sub tastes like ambrosia made real. The festival left me satisfied and happier, and made my weekend something to talk about at work. I think that's what you want from a beer festival.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chincoteague Saltwater Brew 'N' Que

If you are anything like me you enjoy some great BBQ to go with your beer. Maybe you made it in a crockpot, smoked it on your own, or just went out and bought it but there is something special about the combination of beer and BBQ. Well to kick off the beginning of warmer days there is a new festival happening out in Chincoteague for all you beer and BBQ lovers that the Virginia Beer Blog heard about. I'm pretty excited about this for a few reasons...I love beer, I love BBQ, and being that close to the water sounds like an outstanding way to spend a weekend.

According to their site there will be 17 different breweries that encompass the varying flavors of Virginia as well as some close breweries (Heavy Seas, Dogfish Head, Flying Dog) that offer some great options as well! Additionally there will be music, a kids zone, unlimited beer tasting (!), a wing competition...oh, and an official Kansas City BBQ Society competition! Between the two days there will be more to do than I think I've seen at most festivals around the state, and as this is the inaugural Brew 'N' Que it can only get better from here!

The Brew 'N' Que begins on Friday, April 24th and goes through Saturday, the 25th and looks like a great excuse to drive out to Chincoteague to enjoy some of the state's best breweries (unlimited pours!) as well as some of the best barbeque in the country! Tickets are $15 presale, $25 the day of...both of which are some amazing prices for the number of breweries showing up, entertainment, etc. There is also a suggested donation of $5 at the door with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department.

I attended a festival in Chincoteague a few years ago and have to say it is one of the best venues for an event like this. With the warmer weather, great setting, and lineup of food and beer you can't go wrong checking this out. If the trip is a long one for you the website also offers some hotel deals. This looks like an amazing chance to go visit Chincoteague, drink some great beers, and eat some BBQ! If any of that sounds appealing, which why wouldn't it?!, then check out their site and buy some tickets!