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/

Fresh Powder Returns

Slopes open on February 2nd for the return of Fresh Powder! Draft + Large Format Cans of this seasonal 100% Citra Double India Pale Ale return at Noon on Saturday, 2/2. Variants, Food Truck, and Live Music!

Click the link. Cut the line. Hit the slopes. Fresh Powder awaits. ❄️
🎿 https://virginiabeerco.craftcellr.com/offers/41091

This year, we're teaming up with CraftCellr for those who can't make it on release day! If you want to lock down your 4-pack of this DDH Lupulin Powder DIPA ahead of time, simply use the link below to reserve yours so you don't have to fight for your spot on the lift. We'll hold a limited number of Fresh Powder cans for pick-up during taproom hours starting at Noon on release day up until 7 pm on Sunday, 2/17.

Virginia Beer Co. Recognized Internationally

The Virginia Beer Company ended 2018 on a high note, receiving a European Beer Star Award for its Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout recipe in the worldwide Dry Stout category!

In mid-November, Virginia Beer Co. Co-Founder Chris Smith traveled to Nuremberg, Germany to attend BrauBeviale 2018 with 40,000 colleagues in the worldwide craft beer industry. BrauBeviale is the largest craft beverage exhibition in Europe and one of the largest in the world. Assistance from the Brewers Association's Export Development Program allowed Virginia Beer Co. to serve Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout, Apricot Orchard Brett Golden Ale, and In The Moment Citra & Mosaic Wet-Hopped Double IPA to thirsty attendees at the Brewers Association booth on the trade show floor.

The highlight of the trip was the presentation of the European Beer Star Awards, during which Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout was awarded a Silver medal in the Dry Stout category! The competition was strong, with 2,344 total beers from 51 countries entered into 60 categories.

“We were honored to be one of just 23 U.S. craft breweries to receive a medal,” remarked Chris. “Shout out to Port City Brewing Company for repping Virginia with us! Thank you to the BA, the organizers of BrauBeviale, the Private Brauereien team, and everyone in Nuremberg who stopped by for a beer. We look forward to returning to Europe for more beers & cheers in 2019!”

Virginia Beer Co. will again be sharing its recipes overseas in late February as part of a delegation of breweries representing Virginia at the Craft Beer Rising festival in London (the second year in a row that Virginia Beer Co. has attended this international festival).

More via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaBeerCo/posts/1102739599907702


⚓ $18 online (vs. $22 gate)
⚓ $5 Student Discount (code: ROLLTRIBE18)
⚓ 12 & Under get in for FREE

· · ·

revelry - noun - rev·el·ry - /ˈrevəlrē/:

lively and noisy festivities

· · ·

On Friday, October 12th, VBC sets sail for the Martha Wren Briggs Amphitheatre at Lake Matoaka. Steer your way to Williamsburg’s most idyllic music venue for an evening of Revelry! The gates open at 5:30 PM and local favorites BrassWind take the stage at 6:30 PM. America’s Yacht Rock Captains, Three Sheets to the Wind, follow at 8 PM.


At least six Virginia Beer Co. offerings (including new releases and old favorites) will be available for purchase. Food will be available for purchase from Old City BBQ and The Catering Company of Williamsburg.

Parking fees are included with ticket purchase. Additional information can be found in the Event FAQ. Join us as we revel in good food, good beer, and good company!

Three Sheets to the Wind

Named "Best Band" by STYLE Weekly seven years running (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017), Three Sheets to the Wind is "America's #1 Tribute to Yacht Rock."

Three Sheets to the Wind pays authentic tribute to soft rock classics from the late '70s and '80s—undoubtedly the smoothest music ever created by mankind. It was an era of high gas prices and oil embargos that led America back to the simple joys of sailing, pina coladas, moustaches, and makin' love…sweet love.

The heartbeat of this sexy-tet belongs to short-shorted drummer Danny Marnier. Bass duties fall to steady shipmate Sonny Pockett. The saccharine saxophone sweetness is supplied by Goldman Sax, while manly keyboardist Walter Ego, guitarist Captain Max Power, and multi-instrumentalist Topper Dandy rock you softly with their sincere vocal delivery and sweeter-than-TaB™ harmonies.

When your soft rock needs a little extra kick, Three Sheets to the Wind will appear with world renowned, three-piece brass section, The Rounding Cape Horns. Book at your own risk and hide your daughters, though, because the combined talents of this noble nonet are smoother than Billy Dee Williams--and rest assured that it works…every time.


Brasswind started in November of 2017. All friends with one another but hardly ever playing together in the same room...they all decided it was time! Some of the most talented musicians in the area coming together to form a 'SuperBand' of sorts! Brasswind specializes in executing high-quality vocal and instrumental displays and recreating the classic horn-band sound of our yesteryear's!

Envision being in a big hall venue or amphitheater seeing Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, James Brown, The Temptations, or The King of Pop Michael Jackson! Music back when music was music! An era of culture filled with prolific musicians and quality repertoire that was written with substance and purpose! Brasswind can do it all. High-energy horn arrangements to get you moving, or beautiful ballads that will have you swaying with that special someone.



5:30-10:30 PM



Set Sail With VBC! 

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.

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!

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

VEER Magazine Visits 401

The Virginia Beer Co. recently had the pleasure of hosting Elizabeth Erschens, of VEER Magazine & Virginia Craft Beer Magazine (and HomebrewUSA & HomeBrew USA -Hampton!), at 401! Elizabeth turned that visit into a wonderful article that is currently gracing the pages of the most recent issue of VEER! We can't say enough how much we greatly appreciate the kind words. And we can't wait to host Elizabeth and everyone else at 401 once our buildout is finished; things will look just a little different and we'll have a lot more beer!

Check out the article in the current issue of VEER, or on VEER's website at the link below: 

Williamsburg Readies for Virginia Beer Company

Via @VirginiaBeerCo on Instagram: 

Alewerks Collaboration Beer

When Alewerks Brewing Company's Brewmaster, Geoff Logan, first approached us about doing a small batch collaboration beer, obviously, I was excited at the opportunity. It’s to the point that it’s cliché, but despite the inherent business competition, craft brewing really is a congenial and collaborative industry, and nobody exemplifies that more than Geoff.

Geoff and I first started talking casually about what we might want to brew back in the spring, at the local homebrew club, CASK (Colonial Ale Smiths and Keggers), spring party. Conversation over a couple well-done homebrews led to discussing some of the newer hop varieties that have gone into production in recent years, specifically varieties coming from the American Dwarf Hop Association.

Azacca is one of these hops, and will be featured heavily in The Virginia Beer Company's year-round IPA, so I have plenty of it contracted for the next few years. Geoff was interested in working with the new variety, so we had a bit of a direction for the collaboration, and we eventually settled on a Red Rye IPA as the base beer.

Azacca is a great, high alpha acid variety, which also has great oil content giving intense aromas of tropical fruit- mango, pineapple and the like. The fruity character of the variety is almost overwhelming as a standalone hop, so we decided to balance it with some Simcoe for a little bit of dank, resiny, pine flavor and aroma.

The brewday at Alewerks went quite well, and it was great to be back working in a brewery again after a year of pilot batching. The rye malt gives a nice crispness to the beer that allows the hops to really shine in the IPA. We also did all of our hop additions at the end of the boil and in the whirlpool, in order to keep the bitterness moderate for an IPA (around 65 IBUs) while still packing the wort with as much of the aromatic and flavorful hop oils as we could. The beer was then dry-hopped with copious amounts of Azacca to really pull out the tropical aromas of the hop- it seemed a fitting choice for a summer release. And with 2 lbs. of dry hops added per barrel (for 20 total lbs.), those tropical aromas and flavors should shine like the summer sun!

Speaking of the release, we’re excited to pour our collaboration Red Rye IPA alongside many of Alewerks’ other beers on Sunday, 8/2 at the Whistle Belly Virginia Beer & More Festival in Williamsburg, hosted by our friends at DoG Street Pub. It should be a great celebration of all things Williamsburg beer. And we're excited for the follow-up release at the Alewerks taproom on Thursday, 8/6 as part of the National IPA Day celebration.

Cheers to collaboration and exciting new hop varieties!