One Day, One Island, One World of Beer
This past Saturday marked the first time the World Beer Festival has made its way to Richmond. And what an experience it was!
I had the extreme fortune of being able to experience both afternoon and evening sessions of the festival. Yes, I know you’re jealous. It’s alright, I would be too if I weren’t me. Part of my excitement comes from the fact that even in the sweltering heat of a Richmond summer, people came out, bought tickets at the door, and packed the beer gardens. Thankfully, the thunderstorm between sessions put an end to the heat.
Old Dominion’s Hop Mountain lived up to it’s name. Like a hoppy beer, then this pale ale is for you.
Lusty Monk Mustard provided an unexpected kick that would work well with just about any beer.
Unibroue’s Blanche de Chambly was a refreshing beer straight from Quebec, Canada. Sam Adam’s Blackberry Witbier was an unexpected treat. Blue Point Brewing’s Blueberry Ale made me want a plate of waffles; maybe try adding it intead of water to your favorite pancake mix.
Harlem Brewing Company had their Sugar Hill Golden Ale on hand. This outstanding beer gets a lot of its character from the hops grown at the brewery.
I could not pass up Breckenridge Brewery’s Vanilla Porter. The vanilla really comes through in this beer.
Full Sail Brewing’s Session Black Lager would be perfect for a relaxing get together with friends just shooting the breeze.
O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale from Carlow Brewing was very smooth and refreshing.
Finished the afternoon session by going on a tasting tour of beer and chocolate. Editor Julie Johnson from All About Beer Magazine was our tour guide for the tasting.
Full Sail’s Pale Ale was paired with chocolate chip cookies. The hop bitterness complimented the cookies unexpectedly well.
- Smuttynose’s Star Island Single paired with malted milk balls brought out the underlying malty character of this beer.
- Eating chocolate covered pretzels with Breckenridge’s Vanilla Porter made the beer taste like cookies.
- Dark chocolate covered almonds combined with La Fin Du Monde, or “The End of the World,” made an odd pairing that absolutely worked.
- Dark chocolate was had with Monk’s Cafe Sour Beer or Bluegrass Brewery’s Bourbon Barrel Stout. Though the stout was more liked by the crowd, the sour beer made for a tasty pairing as well.
And with that the afternoon session came to a close. Taking a break for food and air conditioning, I relaxed before heading back for the evening. Yeah, I know I have a tough job. Somebody had to do it! Thankfully, the short thunderstorm during the break cooled things down.
Then it was time for another tasting tour, “Brews in the News” hosted by Gregg Glaser, News Editor for All About Beer Magazine.
- Urthel’s Saissonere was a great beer from the only female brewer in Belgium. Influenced by a love of American styles, the brewer added extra hops to increase the bitterness of her saison.
- Sierra Nevada’s Souhern Hemisphere Harvest uses hops that are shipped direct from a farm in New Zealand.
- Hop Pursuit is an extra hopped pale ale with crazy bitterness from Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve.
- Williamsburg Alewerks’ Coffee House Stout is a milk stout that brought up an interesting side note about how doctors in England used to prescribe beer for nursing mothers.
- Heavy Seas Smoke on the Water is an imperial porter where the malts have been smoked over a wood fire giving the beer nice smoky character similar to German style smoked beers.
With the tour done, it was time for another rare beer. This time it was Brooklyn Brewery’s Buzz Bomb Ale, which is actually a mead.
Put an end to the evening by going on a second tour of chocolate and beer. There were a few changes this time through. D.L. Geary’s Pale Ale was paired with the cookie. Weyerbaucher Brewing’s Heresy was paired with the dark chocolate. The apparent absence of any bourbon flavor makes one think the beer was aged in new oak barrels rather than those that had previously had bourbon in them. There was a notable difference between Weyerbacher’s and Bluegrass’s oak barrel aged stouts.
After searching in vain for a third rare beer, I decided to call it a night. As people exited for the night, I could hear them express their enjoyment and desire for the festival to return again next year. Completely satisfied and commemorative glasses in tow, I too can not wait for next year’s festival.
Silver Dining has been a home chef since the first time his mom asked him to start dinner before she got home. He believes cooking should be fun and draws immense pleasure in seeing the satisfied faces of his guests. Find more inspiration on his personal blog “Chef Tell’s Kitchen.”Stay up to date on Richmond brews and more beer news on his Richmond Beermeister Blog.
“People truly came out and celebrated who and what they are. It was amazing.”September 26, 2016
- BREAKING: Senate bill to offer protections for LGBTQs in housing passes first vote with bi-partisan support
- BREAKING: Senate Bill to add protections for Virginia’s LGBTQ public employees passes first hurdle
- Madonna responds to criticism over Women’s March speech
- Broadway smash and Grammy winner Idina Menzel returns to Richmond this Spring
- State Department’s apology for decades of anti-LGBTQ discrimination removed from official website