Brewing

Virginia Beer Co. to Debut Two Community-Inspired Beers

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On Friday, August 23rd, The Virginia Beer Company is releasing 39 Words. This “Super Saison” (brewed with Blueberry Puree, Raspberry Puree, and Lemon Zest) was Designed and Brewed by the Women of the Virginia Beer Co. to celebrate Women’s Equality Day 2019 (commemorating the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution).

“The idea was first broached by one of our Brewers [Brad Adams],” commented VBC Taproom Manager & Business Developer Luci Legaspi. “We have a diverse group that makes up the Virginia Beer Co. family and we celebrate everyone’s ideas and identity. We have 5 women on the team and each of us loved the idea of spending a day in the brewery putting our touch on a VBC brew. We all had our own ideas for a recipe, but we all agreed that we definitely wanted to do something big and bold. This ‘Super Saison’ is packed with fruit flavor; and at 8.1% abv it’s definitely a bold take on a traditional style!”

The name, 39 Words, is the number of words in the 19th Amendment, which passed Women’s Suffrage in 1920. The Draft + 16 oz. Can releases will begin this Friday, 8/23 at Noon kicking off a full weekend of live music, new tappings, and rotating food trucks. "Saison up" all weekend then join the celebration of diversity, inclusivity, and beer brewed for all on Women’s Equality Day (Monday, 8/26). 39 Words will be available for a limited time exclusively at The Virginia Beer Company (401 Second Street).

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As part of this weekend’s celebration of community, the brewery will also be tapping a Golden Ale collaboration with the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg on Saturday, August 24th. This Golden Ale was brewed in celebration of Kiwanis largest fundraiser of the year – Shrimp Feast – the 40th year that the event has been organized. This smooth and crisp Golden Ale (named Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy) will be tapped on Saturday at Noon as part of the Virginia Beer Co.’s 3rd Annual Crab Pickin’ in the Beer Garden seafood event. A portion of proceeds from every Pint of Golden Ale sold will be donated to Kiwanis.

“The Virginia Beer Company has been proud to be the exclusive craft beer provider for Kiwanis Shrimp Feast since the brewery opened in 2016,” remarked Co-Founder Robby Willey. “We love working with Kiwanis on this event, one that supports a number of amazing organizations in the community such as Dream Catchers and Camp Kesem. As this is the 40th anniversary of Shrimp Feast we thought a special brew was in order, and a seafood fest at the brewery seemed like a great time to kick off Shrimp Feast season!”

Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy will be released on Saturday, 8/24 and will be available exclusively at The Virginia Beer Company and at Shrimp Feast XL. Shrimp Feast XL will be held on Saturday, September 14th at the Jamestown 4-H Educational Center from 4-7 pm. Tickets for Shrimp Feast will be available for sale at The Virginia Beer Company (401 Second Street) on Saturday, 8/24 from 12-6 pm; at Suter Printing (4399 Ironbound Road) during operating hours; and online at www.williamsburgkiwanis.org.

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Virginia Beer Co. Plans to Double Production Capacity in 2019

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — With a year over year average production capacity increase of over 20%, the Virginia Beer Co. is poised for another summer of growth with the addition of its first 90 bbl brite tank and first 90 bbl fermenter. In addition, the brewery recently installed a new 60 bbl fermenter (its sixth).

“We’re finding that we simply can’t keep up with demand for our flagship India Pale Ale, Free Verse,” noted VBC co-founder Chris Smith. “Based on the popularity of this recipe we were at a point where we were having to short the taproom in order to fulfill distributor orders in our home market [Hampton Roads, VA] and our first growth market [Richmond, VA]. We just installed a custom built Alpha Brewing Operations canning line so we hadn’t planned on any additional infrastructure investments this year. We quickly realized that it wasn’t sustainable (or recommended!) to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ so we pulled the trigger on three new tanks including our two largest to date, which will increase production capacity by almost 50% compared to last year.”

The brewery’s 30 bbl system is used to brew four flagship recipes — Free Verse India Pale Ale, Saving Daylight Citrus Wheat, Wrenish Rye Amber Ale, and Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout. The VBC brewing team typically double batches these recipes, along with seasonal releases, into the existing 60 bbl fermenters already staged within the brewery. The addition of a set of complementary 90 bbl tanks will allow the Virginia Beer Co. team to triple down on the production of their most popular offering, Free Verse, and free the team up over time to allow for growth of new recipes first brewed on the brewery’s 5 bbl pilot system.

One such recipe, Liquid Escape, is now on the precipice of being added to the brewery’s year round offerings. “This tart ale brewed with Lemongrass and Sea Salt was really popular when we released it as a taproom-only offering,” reflected brewmaster Jonathan Newman. “We love the way it could diversify our other offerings, and at less than 4.5% ABV we know it’s a crusher. But without these new tanks my team pretty much had to hurry up and wait to turn around as much Free Verse on the the larger system as possible. Now we have the tanks in place to plan for the Free Verse we need and to make the first change to our Year Round lineup since opening in 2016…without shorting anyone waiting for or wanting our beer.”

Since opening in March 2016, the Virginia Beer Co. has increased production capacity by 131%. Free Verse IPA and additional Virginia Beer Co. offerings can be found across much of the Commonwealth of Virginia and in select international markets. Liquid Escape makes its debut on draft and in 6-packs beginning in mid-June.

The Cellar Circus

Virginia Beer Co. to Begin Release of Cellar Circus

Barrel-Fermented Permutation Series

The Cellar Circus is a new oak barrel-fermented permutation series concocted by the brewers of the Virginia Beer Co.

“This is a thoughtful experiment in Brett Farmhouse Ale recipes fermented directly in 11 Red and 11 White Wine Oak Barrels with a fusion of Saison yeast and Brettanomyces,” stated VBC Brewmaster Jonathan Newman.

Blending from unique, individual red and white wine barrels creates a litany of flavors amplified by almost a year spent fermenting directly in wood. Sweetness from the oak barrels is immediately followed by aromatics produced by the estery qualities of a Saison and delicate use of a variety of hops. Upon further investigation, the character instilled by the use of Brettanomyces during fermentation produces a complementary fruit-forward aftertaste with a clean, dry finish.

These will be the launch of an ongoing exploration of the infinite number of permutations possible as a result of purposeful, experimental barrel-fermentation and blending. The first two releases – Blend No. 001 and Blend No. 002 – were aged entirely in oak for almost a year, then blended and bottle-conditioned since Jul. and Dec. 2018 (respectively). These Brett Farmhouse Ales will be unveiled in the Virginia Beer Co. taproom beginning in late April with planned releases of new blends every quarter going forward.

“Featuring a rotation of hops and a combination of yeast, oak, and time…the finished product is complex yet delicate,” noted Jonathan. “After over a year of fermentation and aging, these blends are ready to enjoy now and fit for extended cellaring. We hope you’ll enjoy peaking behind the curtain to learn about the juggling act of brewing with wild yeast and the many permutations of blending as much as our team has.”

Learn more via the brewery’s Facebook page here: facebook.com/events/335109860541635/

Help Us Make More Of The Good Stuff

Help us make more beer! We're starting the search to grow our production team. We have new tanks, more taps, growing territories, and a canning line on the way! If you're interested in a career involving everything that goes into beer & brewing, click on the link below to learn more about joining our badass brewing team.

https://discussions.probrewer.com/showthread.php?78806-Brewer-Cellar-Position-Virginia-Beer-Company
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BeerAdvocate’s Class of 2016: 34 of the Best New Breweries in the US

BeerAdvocate’s Class of 2016: 34 of the Best New Breweries in the US

WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia – On the cusp of its first anniversary, The Virginia Beer Company was recently recognized as one of the top new breweries in the country by BeerAdvocate magazine. As part of BeerAdvocate’s annual “Class Of” honors, 34 breweries out of the 861 new breweries that opened across the country in 2016 were selected as the best in their class. Virginia Beer Co. was one of two Virginia breweries selected for last year’s honors.

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!

The Brew Enthusiast

We started 2017 off by catching up with our friends at The Brew Enthusiast, and spent some time discussing/enjoying 'Burg beer and looking ahead to what's brewing in the new year. Cliffs Notes: seasonal cans, bottle releases, more barrel-aging/fermenting, new small batch beers, and all the cheers you can handle! 

I think VBC is going to do well, both because the founding team is awesome, and because they’ve already set a solid foundation on their business. Their brewhouse, already stocked with a 5-barrel pilot system, is built for long term growth, and they made it abundantly clear that that they’ve got s%#t to do and they’re going to get it done.
— Chris McClellan, The Brew Enthusiast

Full article available at The Brew Enthusiast

Robby Willey (co-founder), Chris Smith (co-founder), and Jonathan Newman (brewmaster)

Local Scoop Gets The Scoop On VBC

We're all really excited (understatement) about the start of brewing at The Virginia Beer Company. Just as we were preparing for our very first brew day in January, The Local Scoop swooped in and got the scoop (so to speak) on our plans to get brewing and get open in 2016. Excerpt below and the full story can be enjoyed here

Amid the hustle and bustle of preparations last week in anticipation of Winter Storm Jonas, the team at Virginia Beer Co. was busy preparing for another momentous, albeit less apocalyptic, occasion.

After years of planning, co-founders Robby Willey and Chris Smith, along with brewmaster Jonathan Newman, worked despite the backdrop of snow to get ready for the first brew day at their Second Street brewery in Williamsburg.

If all goes to plan, the new craft brewery will have its first beer completed by mid-February, with a goal to finish seven more beers ahead of a grand opening tentatively scheduled for March.

“We’re all really excited,” Willey said.
— Amanda Kerr, The Local Scoop Magazine