Collab

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:  bit.ly/historyontapvbc

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: bit.ly/vbccateredaffair

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. 

Quick Hits & Food Trucks, Part 2

It's been an amazing start to the new year in the Greater Williamsburg area. The biggest news (at least for us) is that The Virginia Beer Company's buildout at 401 Second Street is practically complete! With the exception of a few odds & ends on our punch list, we've been working steadily along to make this facility into the brewery of the future. With the wrap of construction and the start of brewing (maybe that's bigger news!), we've been busy getting ready for a grand opening in the spring, and find ourselves trying to take a moment to recap the amazing start to the year.

In our last update, we provided a few notes on the delivery of our brewing equipment and the progress of our buildout. In addition, we were getting hungry over the prospect of food trucks being allowed in York County. The December vote that was set to allow food trucks was tabled due to a complication (per WYDaily), but the New Year's resolution stuck early and the Board of Supervisors passed the updated regulations in January (per WYDaily) (almost a year after we first started the conversation)! We had initially worked to design 401's beer garden so that food trucks could pull alongside the space and provide access to their sumptuous morsels while our patrons were enjoying the outdoors with a Virginia beer in hand in front of the brewery. We're now excited about the opportunity to work with Williamsburg's amazing culinary artists and introduce the area to some new flavors (such as from our friends at Karnage Asada) now that we can formally host food trucks at 401!

Meanwhile, the Hampton Roads craft beer scene continued to grow in new and exciting ways. Future openings by fellow newcomers were announced and upcoming moves and expansions by other known brewers were unveiled. In addition, the year-end brought with it a time of celebration for the amazing brewing going on around the area. We were thrilled that our Public Frenemy No. 1 collaboration with fellow York County brewery Alewerks Brewing Company received a silver medal for Best Collaboration at the VEER Magazine Golden Tap Awards! To play even a small role in the HRVA craft beer scene in 2015 before we open was a great thrill. We CANNOT WAIT to get even more involved when Spring 2016 rolls around!

VEER’s 2015 Golden Tap Award Nominees

VEER Magazine (which recently featured a great article about Virginia Beer Co.) has unveiled it's spectacular list of nominees for it's 2015 Golden Tap Awards! There are over 40 categories featuring beer styles, breweries, beer stores, and everything in between.

The Virginia Beer Co. is thrilled to be included in the Collaboration category! Our Red Rye IPA collaboration brewed with Alewerks Brewing Company, Public Frenemy No. 1, is included in a delicious field of collab brews.

Make sure to show your support for your favorites (we may be biased in one category) by voting early & often ahead of December's awards ceremony party at O'Connor Brewing Company!

#PublicFrenemyNo1

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!

Williamsburg Craft Collab Gets The Full Treatment

We here at The Virginia Beer Company are pretty stoked for Sunday's upcoming Whistle Belly festival here in Williamsburg. Beyond this shaping up to be an epic Virginia beer (and more!) event, it will also mark the debut of our second collaboration, and our very first in Virginia - a Red Rye IPA brewed with/at Alewerks Brewing Company! Our friends in the press have picked up on the story of Williamsburg's hometown brewery and Williamsburg's newest brewery coming together to celebrate craft beer in Williamsburg & Virginia. Read more about how this all came together, and join us on 8/2 to be some of the very first to try this new brew!

"'We're excited and honored to debut the collected efforts of Geoff Logan and Jonathan Newman at Whistle Belly,' says Michael Claar, DoG Street Pub General Manager and Whistle Belly festival organizer. 'This is a long awaited peek at what's in store from The Virginia Beer Company, who has been building anticipation from this community for a while.'"

"[Virginia Beer Co. Co-Founder Robby] Willey said Alewerks had been helpful and offered insights into the industry as Willey and co-founder Chris Smith prepare for a fall opening of the Virginia Beer Company. Willey said Red Rye IPA was a natural extension of that relationship."

 - Ian Brickey, WY Daily Reporter

Williamsburg Craft Beer Reaches New Heights with a Collaboration IPA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Williamsburg Craft Beer Reaches New Heights with a Collaboration IPA

WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia – July 22nd, 2015 – Alewerks Brewing Company and The Virginia Beer Company are collaborating on a new beer set to premiere at the upcoming Whistle Belly festival on Sunday, August 2, 2015. Alewerks Brewing Company is Williamsburg’s hometown brewery, having been in operation since 2006. The Virginia Beer Company is the newest addition to the local craft beer community with plans to open in the Fall of this year.

"The Virginia Beer Company team has the ability to produce a fantastic product, the desire to promote area businesses, and above all, the passion to celebrate the amazing craft beer scene in Williamsburg,” says Robby Willey, one of The Virginia Beer Company’s Co-Founders. “What better way to do all of the above than by combining forces with Alewerks Brewing Company and unveiling our shared vision at the premier local celebration of food & Virginia beer, DoG Street Pub's Whistle Belly!"

With plans to debut a brand new Red Rye IPA at the upcoming food and beer festival, the two companies have been busy with the brewing process. "Alewerks Brewing Company is proud to partner with The Virginia Beer Company to produce a beer in celebration of Williamsburg's burgeoning craft beer scene. Our collaborative Red Rye IPA will debut at DoG Street Pub's Whistle Belly on August 2, and will be available locally thereafter. This unique IPA is built on a foundation of spicy rye, luscious crystal, pale, and a touch of roasted malt, while also featuring one of the brewing industry's newer hop varietals, named ‘Azacca’. Expect this hop to bring notes of mango, papaya, pineapple and citrus to the beer's overall flavor and aroma profile,” says Geoff Logan, Brewmaster at Alewerks Brewing Company. “At Alewerks, we welcome our new brewing brethren to the local craft beer scene and are excited about working together for many years to come!"

“We're excited and honored to debut the collected efforts of Geoff Logan and Jonathan Newman at Whistle Belly,” says Michael Claar, DoG Street Pub General Manager and Whistle Belly festival organizer. “This is a long awaited peek at what's in store from The Virginia Beer Company, who has been building anticipation from this community for a while. Williamsburg is a burgeoning incubator for creative, locally conscious businesses and it is being rewarded by Alewerks Brewing Company welcoming a collaborative craft beer community.”

This new craft beer will debut at the upcoming Whistle Belly festival, then premiere on National IPA Day in the Alewerks Brewing Company taproom on August 6. Tickets for Whistle Belly are available online at whistlebelly.com and information on the National IPA Day release is available at alewerks.com and virginiabeerco.com. Whistle Belly is presented by the Junior Woman's Club of Williamsburg who will use all proceeds as grants and scholarships for local charities and students.

Pictured (from left to right): Geoff Logan, Brewmaster, Alewerks Brewing Company; Robby Willey, Co-Founder, The Virginia Beer Company; Jonathan Newman, Brewmaster, The Virginia Beer Company; and Chris Smith, Co-Founder, The Virginia Beer Company.

What's Brewing... Part 3

While things are getting more and more busy around here working with contractors, engineers and equipment manufacturers, I have still found time to be brewing each week; and we’ve had a fairly good mix of experimental beers possibly destined for our 5bbl Pilot Brewhouse and many batches of our planned year round beers.

On the more technical side of things, now that we have our building settled it’s been time to focus on the water chemistry there, so recently we sent a sample out to an independent lab for analysis. I had been brewing test batches from a different water source, so it’s been important to re-brew all of our beers using the water that I’ll be using on a production scale for The Virginia Beer Co. beers. Our water at 401 is actually pretty well suited for brewing- for paler beers it does take a little tweaking to get the alkalinity under control, but nothing drastic, and it is pretty much perfectly suited for brewing darker beers with their more acidic grists, which naturally neutralize some of that alkalinity. It’s definitely been a chore collecting water for brewing ahead of time, but it’s worth the effort to be able to understand the needs of our brewing water prior to our opening!

Brewing of course is part science and part art, so let’s move on to the more interesting artistic side of what’s been brewing in Williamsburg. One particularly fun beer actually came about through conversations with the good folks over at the restaurant, Silt, here in Williamsburg. The VBC team went over there one afternoon to meet their team, and naturally I got to talking with Chef Nelson Miller about beer and food pairings. He mentioned that he had always thought that peppadews (a sweet, red pepper) would make a great beer ingredient, and I was intrigued by the idea. Of course Nelson sent me off with a huge jar of peppadews and I started planning an Imperial Peppadew Porter with the idea that the chocolate malt flavor would balance and complement the sweet, mild heat of the peppers nicely. And of course as I looked more into the peppers, I realized they were pickled… Vinegar and Imperial Porter didn’t seem like such a great idea, but I was happy with the base beer recipe I had written, so I headed to a local market to try to find fresh peppadews, but had no such luck. While wandering around the market looking for something interesting to add to the Imperial Porter I had designed, I came across Goji berries. Known as a bit of a super-fruit for their high nutritional value, Goji berries are a small red berry native to China that have a mildly tart and somewhat bittersweet berry flavor. They seemed like a perfect match for the chocolate forward beer I had planned! On the brewday I packed the hopback vessel full of the dried berries and ran the hot wort through the vessel extracting the berry flavor (and a bit of their red hue) just prior to cooling the wort on it’s way to the fermentation vessel. The beer was a total experiment, and the results were quite nice. Goji Porter clocked in around 8.6% ABV with a nice tart and slightly sweet Goji note in the background and beautiful red highlights in the glass. It may not have been the beer Nelson and I initially envisioned, but without that collaborative conversation, the beer never would have come into being… And I hear he’s working on sourcing some fresh peppadews, so fingers crossed for that!

Another more experimental and collaborative beer came through the taps recently. One of our main hop suppliers,47 Hops, sent me some samples of a new hop variety called Pekko (pronounced “peek-o”) to try out. Having never used the variety before, I was very excited to see what they were all about, so I devised a fairly straight forward malt-bill in order to let the hops shine. The finished beer had a very distinct peach aroma and flavor from the hops that was quite pleasant! A perfect example of a beer that would fit in one of our planned taproom series of beers, a line we’re calling Single Hop Sessions. It should be a great way for taproom drinkers to explore the wide variety of hops available on the market!

One other intriguing beer that I’ve been quite pleased with of late is another iteration of our rotating Saison Tournante series. Our citrus peels supplier sent us some dried tangerine peel a couple months ago, and the aroma of tangerine just begged for warmer weather and a saison! As soon as the spring started to come about I propagated saison yeast that I had saved from the fall and got to brewing. In addition to the tangerine peel, I also used Australian Galaxy hops, which have a distinct tropical fruit aroma and flavor. The resulting beer pours a hazy orange and has an intoxicating tropical tangerine flavor and aroma that are perfect for drinking outdoors on a beautiful day.

That’s all for now… It's been an adventure brewing full time with The Virginia Beer Company, through our first collaboration with Twain's, along with all the 20+ (and counting) styles and recipes we continue to develop and refine. And the adventure continues:  time to head to the building to filter and collect water for Monday’s India Pale Ale brewday!

Twain's Collaboration Brew

It’s said so often it’s almost cliché, but the craft brewing industry really is a very congenial and cooperative industry, probably unlike any other. Even the competition, which is certainly growing rapidly, really has a friendly aspect to it. A good example of this is the proliferation of collaboration beers you see across the industry between craft brewers both large and small. Collaboration brewing is a great way to work with other breweries, learn from each other's techniques, talk about recipe development philosophies, and most importantly have a lot of fun!

A few months ago my friend Chase Medlin, head brewer at Twain’s Brewpub in Decatur, reached out to me asking if I’d like to come down and do a collaboration with him at Twain’s. Without hesitation the answer on my end was a resounding, “Yes!” Chase is a good buddy from my days in the Atlanta brewing scene, and he makes excellent beer at Twain’s, so I was excited for the project.

We decided we wanted a way to incorporate both Williamsburg, Virginia and Decatur, Georgia into the beer. The first idea we kicked around was a Double IPA using hops grown in Virginia, but neither of us was terribly excited about that idea, especially because Chase already keeps a steady rotation of excellent hop-forward beers on tap at the pub. We started thinking about the time of year that we’d be releasing the beer, so something darker and boozier seemed to fit the bill. Chase had the "light bulb" moment that sent us in our ultimate direction- use coffee from a Williamsburg roaster and a Decatur roaster! We both loved the idea and decided a high gravity brown ale would be a unique base style for a coffee infused beer.

As the recipe started to take shape it was as though we were reading each other's minds- I suggested using flaked oats to give a smooth mouthfeel and help to cut some astringency that coffee can sometimes add to beers, and Chase suggested using maple syrup as an adjunct sugar source... We were completely on the same page, and Double Breakfast Brown was born.

Around Thanksgiving I was going to be in Atlanta for the holidays, so we scheduled our brewday for that week. The brewday with Chase and Assistant Brewer Brad Davis was a great time and everything went smoothly. I brought a Guatemalan coffee roasted by Williamsburg’s Aromas World Coffeehouse. We added this coffee to the mash allowing it to steep with the grains. The brewery smelled amazing with the blend of dark malts and coffee coming from the mash tun. Once we filled the kettle and moved onto the boil, Chase’s Atlanta coffee connection, the roaster from JavaVino arrived, and we began a blending session of different coffees to pick what we would add to the cold side of the process. We ended up going with a Nicaraguan bean and a blend of cold brew and espresso for the final beer. This mixture was to be added to the finished beer in the serving tank.

All reports from Chase and Brad say the beer has turned out quite nicely at a robust 9.3% ABV. The release will be this coming Wednesday, 12/17, at 7 pm at Twain's Billiards & Tap, so if you’re in Atlanta definitely come out for the party and try our Double Breakfast Brown! I know I can’t wait to try it.

DBB.jpg

Proper serving vessel - important any time of the day!