Hosted at the valley fairgrounds of Devil’s Backbone Brewing’s Basecamp site in the Roseland’s Wintergreen Mountains, August 2015′s sold-out 4th Annual Virginia Craft Brewers Fest gathered serious-minded beer geeks, young families and local denizens for a memorable and spirited celebration. 60-plus brewers offered 300-plus beers as live music played and several food trucks served fine fare for a few thousand campers, RV enthusiasts and hotel-bound patrons congregating along the stunningly bucolic Blue Ridge Trail this sunny Saturday afternoon.
During the 5-hour escapade, I hit 20-plus Virginia brewers’ beer tents and consumed nearly 50 previously untried offerings (listed directly below in Beer Index). Over the last ten years, the Old Dominion State’s brewing capacity has grown exponentially thanks to less antiquated regulations being enforced. Nowadays, instead of having barely ten craft breweries statewide as it did a decade hence, there are close to 100 licensed Virginia breweries with many more debuting this year.
My favorite brewery at the fest had to be Richmond’s Strangeways Brewing, whose diverse range of elixirs included Gourd Of Thunder Pumpkin Porter, Boom Choc-O-Lotta Chocolate Lager, Legalize It Kulture IPA, Lucky Charms Berliner Weiss and Wake Me Up Before You Gose Ghost Pepper. Ashburn’s Old Ox Black Ox Rye Porter and Alpha Ox Session IPA fared extremely well, as did Charlottesville’s Champion Killer Gose and Missile IPA. Culpeper’s Beer Hound Olde Yella Pale Wheat Ale was also superb.
Best of Show went to Richmond-based The Answer Brewpub for titillatingly fruited Grand Larceny India Pale Ale, whose Headina Weisse also fared well competing against Midlothian-based Extra Billy’s My Only Weiss.
See entries listed below for individual reviews.