Showing posts with label wild wolf brewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wild wolf brewing. Show all posts

Monday, September 24, 2012

Notions Challenged

I am perfectly happy to admit that I am somewhat opinionated, one thing I do hope though is that when someone or something contradicts my opinion then I am open to listen and change my viewpoint.  On Saturday, whilst working in the Starr Hill tasting room, I had two of my preconceived notions given a good battering.

If you have followed Fuggled for more than a few posts, you will know that I have a problem with the whole "black" IPA thing - originally on the basis that the concepts of 'black' and 'pale ale' are mutually exclusive, but mainly because several versions of the 'style' I have tried have overwhelmingly been dreck. In general, my experience of beers where dark malts have been added to a traditionally pale beer have been negative, but given that hope springs eternal I will try most things when I have the opportunity. On Saturday such an opportunity presented itself.

One of the delights of this part of Virginia is that it is an alcoholics paradise, vineyards, cideries, distilleries and of course for the beer lovers there is the Brew Ridge Trail, which consists of 6 local breweries, , Wild Wolf, Blue Mountain, Blue Mountain Barrel House, Starr Hill and South Street. Every now and again the brewers get together to make a collaboration beer and the latest iteration of said brew was on tap at the tasting room on Saturday, it was a 'black' tripel. It really had the potential to be the perfect shit storm of things I am not a fan off (say it quietly, but I don't really dig tripel as a regular tipple, unless it actually comes from Belgium, or Canada for that matter). Dutifully I poured myself a sample so I would be able to explain the beer to visitors, and low and behold I liked it. The dark malt lends the beer a light roastiness which roughens up the sugary sweetness that you expect from tripels and judicious use of Saaz hops gives it slightly spicy edge. It is a very nice beer, though quite how it differs from a Belgian Dark Strong Ale is beyond me. If you are at any of the breweries on the Brew Ridge Trail and they have it on tap, then look it out and give it a bash, it's good.

About half way through a somewhat quiet shift, it was also the Top of the Hops beer festival on Saturday, one of my other notions was thoroughly debased. A little back story first, in 2006 I worked as the Tour Manager for a stag party organising company in Prague for a few months. One thing that always filled me with dread was when we would have a hen party, that's 'bachelorette' party for my American readers. My experience of large groups of girls together is that they were uniformly louder, more drunken and more of a nuisance than a similar sized group of men, I am not entirely sure why. We didn't have a hen party come into the tasting room on Saturday, we had a bunch of girls from a sorority at Longwood University - about 20 or so in total, with 12 doing the tasting. The tasters ended up on my side of the bar, and were good fun, with plenty of laughs and frivolity all round - and I stand by my comment to one of them that the Soviet Union would have won World War 2 eventually without the Normandy invasions. I also enjoyed the ego stroke of most of them thinking I was in my late 20s, early 30s (I am 36, nearly 37).

So there we go, one shift, two preconceived notions thoroughly challenged and by the time I got home, to the blaring tunes of The Jam, The Clash and The Doors it was time to hang with friends on the deck and booze the evening away. A pleasing prospect that pleased immensely.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Little Lager Land

It seems that the term "Little [insert country name]" is used with abandon to describe places in New York where immigrants from a given nation settled on arrival. Hence you have Little Poland, Little Italy and Little Germany. It is the spirit of that naming convention that I think Nelson County, with a bit of Albemarle County thrown in, here in Virginia should be given the name "Little Lager Land".

On Saturday, Mrs V and I decided we would head out to Blue Mountain Brewery as the brewer there had told me that they now had their new maibock available. Blue Mountain is very, very popular and knowing that we hate crowds, Mrs V suggested going for opening time. Having stationed ourselves at the bar, Mrs V asked for samples of the Classic Lager and their summer seasonal "Summer Loving", a hazing wheaty looking thing that was refreshing and clean, it was almost a shame it was pissing down. I had come for just one beer, Maggie Maibock.

As you can see from the picture it is a nice deep golden colour, though with no much head. Something that baffles me is bars that serve you beer with no head. I won't bore you to tears with tasting notes, suffice to say that it was big, sweet and a touch boozy - basically everything you expect from a maibock, and it seemed to suit the pouring rain much better than Mrs V's Summer Loving.

Pints polished off we headed down to Wild Wolf Brewing as we had not been before. Wild Wolf, as a brewpub, has only been going for about 6 months and as such I won't write too much here about their beer, other than there is potential there and Mrs V commented on the Alpha Ale that it would be much better if it had more body to balance the hops.

Having had the sample equivalent of a couple of pints, we were getting hungry and as we were in the area we popped by Devils Backbone, for the first time in a few months. Again stationed at the bar, a couple of Vienna lagers were soon in front of us, followed, in my case, by a 1949 Lager, a pale lager based on a period recipe, and not bad it was. I finished up abandoning lagers though for a Ramsey's Draft Stout.

There are many moments here that I am very happy for the local breweries and the fact that they have lagers at the very heart of their offerings. Blue Mountain's Classic Lager and Devils Backbone Vienna are two of my favourite beers and in general both breweries do lager well, which naturally makes me a cheerful chap on a rainy day.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...