Cans + QC

Bad news, my friends. We're out of Free Verse India Pale Ale cans.

"But you guys canned a fresh batch on Wednesday, right?"

Yes. Yes, we did. But we can't sell it to you yet.

We take quality control very seriously here at VBC. From our raw ingredients and water, to our cleaning regimen and packaging, quality control is our number one concern, especially with our growing Brettanomyces barrel-fermentation program (more on that later).

Every batch of beer we produce goes through rigorous, in-house microbiological lab testing to ensure that the beer is as intended and infection free. Unfortunately part of this process involves time.

After we move a batch of beer to the brite tank we take aseptic samples of the beer. To ensure sterility of the sample, we flush the sample valve with 70% isopropyl alcohol and flame the port with a propane torch. After cooling the sample valve by running beer through it, we collect an aseptic sample for testing in the lab. This sample is then added to two different selective media - one of which tests for lactic acid bacteria (lactobacillus and pediococcus) and another that tests for wild yeast (Brettanomyces).

Here's where the time part comes in... It takes a minimum of 4 days of anaerobic incubation at 20°-25° C to determine if there are beer spoilers in the beer, so we hold beer in the brite tanks for that long before we will ever package it. Once it clears this test (which thankfully has always been the case - knock on stainless AND wood), we are ready to package into kegs and cans.

After canning we take more aseptic samples from multiple cans and repeat these microbiological tests and incubation time. This of course brings us back to the beginning of this post... We're sorry, but even though Free Verse cans are full and cold in our cooler, we cannot, in good conscience, release this beer until we know it is exactly what we intend it to be (down to a microbiological level) even if it means being out of cans for a few days.

We may bend these rules for some very limited runs of brewery-only release cans in the future, but for our flagship Free Verse India Pale Ale that sees growing distribution, there's simply no risking the beer or our reputation simply to get the beer out a few days early.

All that said, assuming the lab work comes back clean...we'll have Free Verse India Pale Ale cases in the taproom ready to go on Sunday at Noon for all your Super Bowl shenanigans!

I'm an Atlanta guy, so:  cheers to high standards for beer quality and the Falcons!

Batch 100!

Yet another new beer! On Wednesday we'll be tapping Batch 100 Imperial Oatmeal Porter with Vanilla Beans (9.8% ABV). This was one of our easier naming sessions, as you can imagine. The beer was brewed on our 5 barrel pilot system with a helping hand from our 30 barrel big boy brewing system. Earlier in the year, Jonathan quickly figured out that brewing high-ABV beers on the 5 barrel system was tough due to the size of the mash/lauter tun. The amount of grain needed to produce enough sugar for the yeast (in the case of Batch 100, 950+ pounds) required at least two separate mashes, which was adding an additional 3-4 hours to the overall brew day.

The solution has turned out to be using the 30 barrel mash/lauter tun for the first step of the brewing process. The grain is milled as normal and then transferred to the 30 barrel mash/lauter tun through an auger pipe. Once the mashing and lautering process is complete, the wort is then transferred to the 5 barrel kettle for boiling. The Batch 100 recipe calls for 4 specialty malts and flaked oats in addition to the base malt that we use in the majority of our beers. Chocolate malt is one of the speciality malts - it provides most of the color and a lot of the classic Porter flavor you will taste in the beer.

When fermentation was almost complete, Jonathan prepared 41 Madagascar Vanilla Beans and dropped them into the fermentation vessel. Why 41 beans? Because we can only purchase them in quantities of 16 or 25! After 3 days of conditioning, the rich vanilla flavors we were hoping for were evident and the beans were removed. From there, the beer was cold conditioned, carbonated, and packaged into kegs. Now it's ready for the taproom! 

The first mash in at The Virginia Beer Company (which was Single Hop Sessions - Mosaic) took place on January 24, 2016. Those of you who have been with us since the beginning will probably remember that opening day beer! Batch 100 was brewed on December 21, 2016. One hundred batches in 333 days - not too shabby for our first calendar year. All told, we brewed 57 unique beers in 2016. Five of those beers are still biding their time in various barrels, waiting for a 2017 release. That is a new beer for the taproom about every seven days or so following the opening day lineup we had available on March 26, 2016! Besides our four year-round beers, there were only five beers that were brewed twice (Citra Pale Ale, Deadbolt Double IPA, Saison Tournante - Rye & Amarillo, Green's View IPA, and Rob Your Head Imperial Red). Others may return in the future...we're excited to share those old friends as well as many, many new beers in 2017!

Ho-Ho Holidays Come to 401

 The holidays are upon us and we are giddy with glee for the fun that's leading us into 2017! We hope you'll join us throughout November + December for festive beers & cheers as we wrap our first year in business with cavalcade of beer releases, discounts, food trucks, and events! 

Regular business hours unless otherwise noted, AND there is always a food truck on premise every day we're open

Wednesday, 11/23:  Awkward Wednesday! Trying to hide from your high school prom date while you head out for a pre-Thanksgiving pint? Well 401 wasn't open last year so hide out with us + Creekside Catering Co.! Then take us home for Thanksgiving dinner (we won't argue politics with your aunt): discounts + free koozies for case purchases; steal the vessel when buying/filling new glass growlers & grunts & Crowlers; discounts on fills of new Hydro Flask growlers! 

Thursday, 11/24:  Thanksgiving! We're closed for the day and wish you, your friends, and family the very best. See you on Friday! 

Friday, 11/25:  Black Friday! Open 12-9:30 pm and joined by The Grilled Cheese Academy. Offering STEEP discounts on all VBC merchandise, apparel, and vessels. Plus we're teaming with The Wine Seller and Copper Fox Distillery on a food drive for Feed Our Future in honor of Sparkle Friday! Pat yourself on the back with a fresh Brewmaster's Pin, tapped around 3:30ish. 

Saturday, 12/3:  Food Truck Frenzy! Four brewery tours - three food trucks - two live bands - one brand new holiday beer release! 

Tuesday, 12/6:  History On Tap! We team with Colonial Williamsburg, the Virginia Beer Museum, and the Virginia Historical Society to bring you an evening of tasting, learning, and touring. Tickets required to sample our historic beer collaboration and learn about beer through the ages:

Wednesday, 12/7:  New beer release! 

Friday, 12/9:  Food truck + new Brewmaster's Pin tapped around 3:30ish! 

Sunday, 12/11: The long-awaited debut of Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout in cans! Plus specials on cases of 12 oz. cans and a food truck too! 

Monday, 12/12:  Holiday Beer Dinner at the brewery with Creekside Catering Co.! Tickets required:

Friday, 12/16:  Food truck + new Brewmaster's Pin tapped around 3:30ish! 

Saturday, 12/17:  A Holiday Homecoming concert with Big Mama Shakes! 5 BANDS (plus TWO food trucks!) bring down the brewery as we welcome friends & family back to Williamsburg for the ho-ho holidays! And a new beer release featuring an IPA collaboration with Aslin Beer Co.

Thursday, 12/22:  The Virginia Theatre Machine haunts the beer garden from 7-8 pm for their own unique version of A Christmas Carol! Free, family friendly show! 

Friday, 12/23:  Food truck + new Brewmaster's Pin tapped around 3:30ish! 

Sunday, 12/25:  Christmas Day! We're closed for the day and wish you, your friends, and family the very best. See you on Monday! 

Monday, 12/26:  HOLIDAY BONUS HOURS (Monday from 12-9 pm) to celebrate the week between Christmas and New Year's ahead of normal hours starting again on Wednesday, 12/28! 

Tuesday, 12/27:  Open two extra days (Tuesday from 1-9 pm) to celebrate the week between Christmas and New Year's ahead of normal hours starting again on Wednesday, 12/28! 

Friday, 12/30:  Food truck + new Brewmaster's Pin tapped around 3:30ish! 

Sunday, 1/1/17:  Closed for New Year's Day. Thanks for an amazing 2016 and well wishes to you all for an amazing 2017! 

Monday, 1/2/17:  Starting 2017 off with INDUSTRY DAY + NIGHT! Open from 12-9 pm and offering 50% off all liquid when you show a current pay stub from a restaurant, food industry, or beverage industry job. 

Welcome the Harvest

Fall is here and we are celebrating the harvest season with a bounty of bodacious beer events! More information to come, but please see below for our plans for the first half of the wonderful month of November. And don't forget, we have a food truck on site EVERY day that we're open! 

Visit our family friendly taproom & pet friendly beer garden every Wednesday through Sunday for beers & cheers! 

Careers & Beers

Note: As of 9/6/16, all positions have been filled! Thank you to all who have applied and we will be sure to post an update when more positions open up in the future.

The Virginia Beer Company is pleased to announce that it is seeking another full time (40+ hours/week) staff member to join our taproom team! This role includes the following responsibilities:  

  • pour beers
  • fill growlers
  • clean/organize taproom and taproom amenities
  • maintain bar area before, during, and after taproom hours
  • restock kegs in the taproom cooler
  • organize, inventory, and sell merchandise
  • clean/organize taproom & beer garden facilities (inc. restrooms)
  • answer questions about beer styles, VBC products, and area events
  • assist with live events and special releases
  • act as a brand ambassador for VBC

Candidates should have flexibility in availability. Willingness to work both individually and in a team setting and in a fast paced environment. Interest in learning about the brewing process and facets of operating a brewery + taproom + beer garden. A desire to be social (beer is fun!) but professional (brewing is work). Willingness to be the face of the company; our taproom staff are the public facing persona of the brewery! A thirst for adventure...we are a startup, so it will be an adventure! 

Backgrounds in the brewing industry and/or within the bar and restaurant world are helpful but not required. More important:  passion for the community. We are dedicated to engaging the community around us and giving back to it. Whether it be the beers we brew, the events we host, or the interactions we have with each patron, our staff must be excited about the opportunity to build up and give back to the community that supports us. 

Taproom hours:  

  • Monday - Closed (open for private events)
  • Tuesday - Closed (open for private events)
  • Wednesday - 4 pm - 9 pm
  • Thursday - 3 pm - 9 pm
  • Friday - 12 pm - 9:30 pm
  • Saturday - 11 am - 9:30 pm
  • Sunday - 12 pm - 7 pm

To apply:  Please send an updated resume along with a cover letter that includes your five favorite beers (and why) to -

We look forward to working with you and working together to serve the Williamsburg area and beyond! 

August is VA Craft Beer Month

August is Virginia Craft Beer Month and we here at 401 are STOKED to finally be able to participate with our very own beers and our very own brewery. We have a bevy of amazing events scheduled throughout the month and more being added all the time. Food trucks EVERY DAY we're open plus new cask ales and live music EVERY FRIDAY.

Click on the links below for more information about each event, and check back early & often for more. Ready for beers & cheers? We are!

8/4:  National IPA Day at 401

8/5:  Friday Night Live (6-9 pm) feat. music by Chisman Creek Band's Southern Junction + food by Creekside Catering Co.

8/6:  Poses & Pints (9:30 am) + Food Truck Frenzy!

8/7:  Whistle Belly

8/10:  VBC + Alewerks Collaboration Release at 401

8/12:  Friday Night Live (6-9 pm) feat. music by Band JNM + food by Capt'n Crabby

8/13:  Pure Barre pop-up class at 401 (9:30 am)

8/13:  Alewerks Jubilee celebration feat. Williamsburg Tasting Trail

8/13:  Flavor: Beer & Food...A Culinary Collaboration @ Hunt Club Farm

8/19:  Friday Night Live (6-9 pm) feat. music by Scott Varney + food by Cast Iron Catering

8/20:  Drop-in yoga class at 401 with Yoga on Tap (9:30 am)

8/20:  Virginia Craft Brewers Fest @ Devils Backbone Brewing Company

8/23:  VBC Beer Dinner @ 1608 Crafthouse (6:00 pm)

8/26:  Friday Night Live (6-9 pm) feat. music by Robbie Kerns + food by Creekside Catering Co.

8/27:  Pure Barre pop-up class at 401 (9:30 am)

8/29:  Community beer dinner at 401 feat. Foodatude

BIG Weekend

TWO beer releases, TWO food trucks, TWO events, TWO days. Kinda loving this weekend so much that we're adding hours on Sunday!

Things kick off Saturday at Noon with Belgians & Bro's and Wit & Measure! Bro's Fish Tacos will be serving 'til 9ish and we're open until 9:30 pm!

But don't sleep on least don't sleep in! We are opening EARLY for Fans on the Run | June. We'll be up & pouring at 9:30 am after the run, joined by Paradise Bistro @ The Virginia Beer Co who will be serving BREAKFAST on the beer garden! And we'll be bringing back Fans favorite Rob Your Head Imperial Red for the occasion.

Later on Sunday Barley's Visits Virginia Beer Company at 1 pm for a guided tour + tasting with our brewmaster. AND Paradise Bistro at The Virginia Beer Co. continues to dish for lunch & dinner. Open until 7 pm!

Happy/hoppy weekend, all!

94.9 The Point + Taste The Trail Escape

We recently had the pleasure of joining our friends from The Williamsburg Winery on 94.9 The Point in Virginia Beach to sample some of our year round beers and to discuss our new shared tasting package (see the live stream here). TWW is incredibly supportive of the wonderfully diverse food & beverage scene in Williamsburg, so they were kind enough to team up with The Virginia Beer Co. and Silver Hand Meadery for a new Taste The Trail Escape package. Thinking of spending a night in Williamsburg? You should be!

Wine? Check.

Mead? Check.

Beer? Check.

Food? Check.

Cheers? Check. Check. Check!

For more information, please visit the Wedmore Place website.

Grand Opening (aka, Bring On The Burg Beer)

We here at The Virginia Beer Company have been working around the clock ahead of our grand opening, which is quickly coming up on Saturday, March 26th from 11 am - 9:30 pm! Beers have been brewed, the taproom is coming together, and the weather is turning towards beer garden season. So is anyone interested in getting together for a pint? We hope so because we have a lot of beers and a lot of cheers to share starting on Saturday!

We're looking forward to welcoming you to our brewery + taproom + beer garden at 401 Second Street in Williamsburg, VA. We expect the grand opening to be a lot of fun and want to ensure everyone has a great experience. Ahead of Saturday's festivities we're putting together some notes to make sure the day is organized and the service is efficient - meaning everyone joining us for the celebration can spend more time enjoying beers & cheers with us.

The Virginia Beer Company Grand Opening

 401 Second St., Williamsburg, VA 23185

March 26th from 11 am until 9:30 pm

Coming? Let us know on Facebook!

  • Tickets:  In order to make the beer ordering/serving process as simple as possible, we will be selling beer tickets at the door. This makes any line that may form start at the door and not at the taproom bar! We have three serving sizes: 4 oz. - 10 oz. - 16 oz. One ticket = 4 oz. Two tickets = 10 oz. Three tickets = 16 oz. Each ticket will cost $2.25 (tax included) and you may purchase up to 12 tickets ($27 total, tax included) on your way in. Once inside, you can exchange up to three tickets at one time. If you use all of your tickets but decide you're enjoying the day so much that you'd like another round, you will be able to purchase additional tickets.
  • BEERS:  We will have eight beers on tap at 11 am, and have additional batches in kegs at the ready should we thoroughly enjoy all of one of our small batch Workshop Series beers before the day's end. We will also feature a jockey box on the beer garden featuring two beers! At some point in the day we'll be tapping one keg of a special Double IPA (DEADBOLT), and we will also feature two different cask beers throughout the day. Please note: we will be featuring draft only selections when we open, and plan to begin offering canned beer later this summer!
  • Flights/Growlers:  To ensure that everyone has a chance to try our beers, we will not be featuring full flights or grunt/growler fills on Saturday. You may exchange up to three tickets at one time, so you could choose to sample three 4 oz. pours. We encourage sampling small sizes of many of the beers as some of our Workshop Series batches may not return to rotation anytime soon! Never fear:  we will host limited hours on Sunday, 3/27 from 2-7 pm and will offer full flights and grunt/growler fills starting on Sunday and beyond!
  • Cash/Credit:  If possible please bring cash with you. We will accept all major credit cards, but cash exchanges will greatly speed up the ticket purchasing process! And once inside, please remember to tip those who will be carefully pouring your beers. Even though the monetary exchange will take place away from the bar, the hardest work of the day will be taking place behind it! Also of note: apologies in advance but at this time we do not accept checks.
  • FOOD:  We are thrilled to announce that our friends KARNAGE ASADA will be inhabiting our food truck pull-in alongside our beer garden from 12-8 pm on Saturday. Meals purchased from Karnage Asada may be enjoyed both on the beer garden and in the taproom. In addition we will offer local varieties of Whitley's Peanuts and Route 11 Potato Chips for sale in the taproom. Please come with an appetite for fun & food!
  • Parking/Transport:  We have 46 spots around our facility, all of which you make take advantage. We are hoping for a capacity crowd on Saturday so if possible, please consider carpooling! If you are a local, the use of alternative methods of arrival would also be appreciated. There are sidewalks leading in all directions to/from the brewery, and while our bike racks are not yet installed (but will be coming soon!) we have numerous posts around the facility to use for chaining up your bicycle in the meantime. The WATA bus route runs near the brewery and we would also suggest ride share options such as local cab companies, Lyft, and Uber. If you do end up driving and need to park elsewhere, please be respectful of our neighbors. While they are open to helping us with spillover needs we would like to keep their lots clear when possible!
  • Guests of all Ages and Varieties:  401 is a family friendly environment and we ask that no one under the age of 21 comes to the brewery without being accompanied by a parent or guardian. While we also plan to make our beer garden a pet friendly space, we would also ask that the pups and kittens of the area refrain from attending Saturday's celebration. With the spring weather looking sunny and clear we expect the garden to be rocking & rolling and would hate for anyone's paws to get stepped on.
  • Smoking/Vaping:  401's taproom and beer garden are both smoke free environments. Due to the roll-up garage door that will remain open to the front of the building on nice days, we can't allow smoking on the garden. We will have a designated smoking area along the rear sidewalk along the building and ask anyone who steps out to please follow the posted signs to this space. Thanks in advance for your consideration of others!

Saturday is going to be a great day and we can't wait to celebrate our opening with each and every one of you. Please be patient but don't hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or concerns throughout the day. Come prepared for a crowd - let's all make some new friends! Looking forward to inviting you in to know us and our beers better. Cheers from Williamsburg, Virginia!

Cheers From Williamsburg, VA

At Long Last

The reports of Virginia Beer Co.'s opening have been greatly exaggerated...but not by much! Here at 401 we have been brewing on both our 30-barrel brewhouse and our 5-barrel pilot system since late January. We're working hard to get our 2,000 sq. ft. taproom and 2,000 sq. ft. beer garden ready to host each and every one of you. And it's all finally coming together! Our beers and our facility are almost ready. We'll be putting 401 through it's final paces in the coming weeks before our grand opening, which we can finally announce will be on Saturday, March 26th. We have MANY more details to come. In the meantime, please note the following dates (we promise these don't involve much beer...we're saving the good stuff for 3/26!). And keep the 26th marked on your calendars:  we'll have plenty of beers and plenty of cheers ready and waiting for everyone on 3/26!

Saturday, 3/12 - Hosting a private event

Sunday, 3/13 - Hosting a private event

Tuesday, 3/15 - Hosting a private event

Friday, 3/18 - Hosting a private event

Wednesday, 3/23 - Hosting a private event


Cheers & Beers