Archives for the ‘Events’ Category

Strangeway’s Debut and Steal the Glass Event

Author: From • Dec 21st, 2017
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
Earlier this week, Capital Ale House in Fredericksburg hosted a Strangeways Brewing "Steal the Glass" event. As reported recently, Strangeways recently entered into an agreement to begin local distribution of their beers. Tuesday's event marked the first Fredericksburg appearance of the beers outside of the brewery. Colleen and I decided to stop in and enjoy a few good beers and some tasty food.

Four Strangeways beers were being poured this evening; Überlin Berliner Weisse, Helles Frozen Over, Tirami’Zu Brew Rum Barrel Aged Porter and Home for the Holidays Spiced Cranberry Sour.

I've been enjoying some sour beer styles of late, so I chose the Home for the Holidays Spiced Cranberry Sour. The attractive red beer has a refreshing tart fruit flavor with a hint of spice. The low 4.2% ABV was welcome as I emptied my glass quite quickly.

Colleen started with Tirami’Zu Brew Barrel Aged Porter. I stole only a brief sip, not wanting to disturb my soured tastebuds, but I think I'll check that one out at the brewery soon. It was full of creamy dark chocolate aroma and flavor.

We've enjoyed several visits to the nearby Strangeways Fredericksburg location, where they keep around 40 unique beers on tap, so having just four options from which to choose made for an easier than usual decision process. For our next round, to accompany our meal, we simply ordered "the other two."

This time I sipped the Helles Frozen Lager and Colleen claimed the Überlin Berliner Weisse. The Helles had a nice crisp, grassy bitterness. A lighter bodied beer than I typically drink, it went well with my French Dip Steak and Havarti sandwich.

While we were enjoying our dinner I noticed that Capital Ale House owner Chris Holder and Neil Burton, the Strangeways Brewery owner, were also in attendance to help celebrate the new distribution status. I hadn't seen either of them for some time so took the chance say hello and enjoy a quick chat about beer in Fredericksburg.

Besides two more glasses to add to our glassware collection, we obtained a bunch of Strangeways swag as well. We enjoyed a pleasant event talking, eating, and drinking. I'm can now look forward to seeing even more Strangeways beer variety at my favorite local establishments.

Harry’s Wing & Beer Dinner

Author: From • Sep 23rd, 2017
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
Last Wednesday evening Harry's Alehouse held a Wing & Beer Pairing. This was the first beer dinner event we've been able to get to at Harry's and it sounded like one we'd very much enjoy; four chicken wing selections paired with four beers.

We arrived late for the start of the dinner, and the diners were close to finishing the second course. (We misunderstood the starting time.) Both the manager and the owner stopped what they were doing and got use seated and made sure the kitchen prepared the missed pairings for us, and we were caught up in no time. We very much appreciated the extra effort and attention.

The first course featured Thai Sticky Wings paired with Allagash White. The three wings were moderately spicy but the Witbier cut right through that and refreshed the pallet. True to the description, the wings were oozing with a very messy and sticky sauce. Fortunately Harry's provided plenty of napkins and wet wipes too!

Next up was Memphis Hot Wings and Triple Crossing Paranoid Aledroid. This time the wings featured a classic dry rub. I'm a fan of the dry rub barbecue and Triple Crossing Pale Wheat Ale is a beer I've enjoyed several times at Harry's as well. I liked this combo very much.

The heat was turned up for the third course of Korean Hot Wings served with Perennial Artisan Keith's Korner. The Wings were smothered in a thick, deep red, and hot, sauce that created a bit of perspiration on the top of my head. Pickled radishes were served on the side. The IPA could not quite overcome the intense flavor of the wings, and its flavor was somewhat lost. Although the pairing didn't work as well as the others, the wing flavoring was very well done.

The final beer of the evening, Founders Nitro Rubaeus, was paired with Peanut Butter and Jelly Wings. Admittedly, I had my doubts about this one. The wings had a strawberry glaze and were accompanied with a peanut butter dipping sauce. The wings were flavorful, but my least favorite of the evening. The beer, to my surprise and delight was very good. I haven't been a big fan of fruit beers but the raspberry flavored beer made for a refreshingly fruity dessert finish.

Harry's Wing and Beer event made for an enjoyable evening. I found it to be a nice twist from the usual "beer dinner." The pairings were well done, and both the wing and beer selections were tasty.

Although the twelve Wings and all the beer was more than satisfying, we were enjoying ourselves so much that we decided to linger for another beer and more food. Since I missed getting the full flavor the Perennial Artisan Keith's Korner IPA, I opted for a glass of that one with my "second" dinner.

We're looking forward to enjoying more events such as this at Harry's Alehouse.

St. Patrick’s Festival To Honor Jeff Fitzpatrick

Author: From • Mar 15th, 2017
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
The annual St. Patrick's Day parade and festival at Adventure Brewing South (formerly Blue & Gray Brewing) has been renamed to honor the late Jeff Fitzpatrick. The Free Lance-Star reports...
Adventure Brewing Co. is raising a pint to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in memory of the late Jeff Fitzpatrick, the area’s first local brewer.

Adventure bought Blue & Gray Brewing Co. in Spotsylvania County and are continuing his tradition of holding a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Adventure’s owners have renamed the event in his honor.

“We’re excited to host the parade this year,” said Stan Johnson, one of Adventure’s owners, in a news release. “The parade is a tradition for the families of Fredericksburg, so we’re glad to have the opportunity to continue that, and to honor Jeff’s legacy in the craft beer scene.”
This is a fitting tribute to this pioneer who brought craft beer to the Fredericksburg area. This quote from Jeff, a faithful Irish Catholic, fits his humor perfectly, and I can imagine the smile and laughter on his face when he said it. "We said ‘Kids eat free,’ and I ought to have known better than to invite a bunch of Irish Catholics to have their kids eat free."

See "Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade renamed in memory of Fredericksburg area's first brewer" for the full story.

Event: Adventure Brewing Oktoberfest

Author: From • Aug 20th, 2016
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
Since Adventure Brewing purchased Blue & Gray Brewing, the most frequent questions I've heard from folks revolve around the future of the popular St. Patrick's Day and Oktoberfest celebrations held each year at Blue & Gray. I've been told that these events will continue at the new Adventure Brewing South location, but it's still been a matter of "wait and see."

We know now that the fourteen year Oktoberfest tradition will continue. Adventure has announced plans for their first annual Oktoberfest on September 17th from 12:00 PM -8:00 PM. The event lives on, though with some changes.

The biggest change, and most exciting I think, is the addition of other local breweries to the lineup. Currently Maltese Brewing Company, Rusty Beaver Brewery, and Wild Run Brewing Company are all on the list. Ticket fees will include either a shaker pint or an Oktoberfest mug, and a token for a beer fill. There will traditional Oktoberfest foods for sale, as well as games and vendors.

More details and advance ticket sales can be found at the event website.

Blue Mountain Beer Dinner

Author: From • Apr 22nd, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
On Tuesday evening we enjoyed a beer and food pairing with Blue Mountain Brewery at Capital Ale House. The beers were not ones that are usually available at the restaurant, and the food dishes were specially created for the event as well.

The Menu
Hors d'ourves
Toasted smoked Gouda and vegetable brushetta
Paired with Maggie Maibock

Wedge of romaine with almonds and dates finished with carrot ginger dressing
Paired with Steel Wheels ESB

Beer battered avocado with lime crème fraiche
Paired with A Hopwork Orange

Surf and turf of cilantro lime steak and cocoa coconut shrimp with Duchesse potatoes,
paired with Prizefighter IPA

Bacon and carrot cake truffles with vanilla cream,
paired with Local Species Belgian Pale Ale

The food was all quite tasty and the pairings worked well. The toasted smoked Gouda and vegetable brushetta that started off the evening was exceptional. A bunch of us suggested to the manager that it would make a good addition the Capital Ale House menu. I know headquarters will be getting a few emails with that same suggestion. The Maggie Maibock went well with the appetizer and was a good "easy" beer to start the evening. The salad course, though simple, was surprisingly enjoyable with the ESB.

The beer battered avocado was an unexpected treat. I wasn't sure at first how if would work, but it did. The selected beer, A Hopwork Orange, raised some questions at our table. I had the beer last year, and I recall it being candy sweet with an orange flavor. The beer poured this evening was a citrusy IPA. The brewery rep also described it has having a wheat beer base, which none of us detected.

Moving on to the main course of "surf and turf" we were treated to tender, juicy steak bits and nut encrusted shrimp. The menu noted "cocoa coconut" but the crunchy coating was all peanut flavor. The Prizefighter IPA was quite similar in flavor to the beer served in the previous course.

And finally dessert! The bacon and carrot cake truffles were either a hit or a miss with the diners. I enjoyed them but I saw some who rejected them outright. Local Species is one of my favorite Blue Mountain beers and it was a fitting finish to the meal.

The speed at which the courses came out seemed to be a bit rushed and I frequently found myself gulping down the last of my beer as the next course was being placed. Colleen noted the absence of any of the brewery's dark beers, and the last three beers were quite similar. But, overall it was a very enjoyable evening. The beers were all poured in generously sized samples, so there was plenty to go along with the food. The food was well prepared and as a whole enjoyed by all and the evening finished with smiles all around. It's been a long time since the Ale House hosted one of these events, and this one was very reasonably priced. I hope CAH does more of these events in the future.

Now, I'm off to email Capital Ale House headquarters with my menu suggestion...

Stealing the Flying Dog Glass

Author: From • Dec 18th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
Tuesday evening the Flying Dog RV was spotted outside Capital Ale House. The occasion was a Flying Dog "Steal the Glass" night, featuring four Flying Dog beers served in an attractive etched glass. How could we resist going in?

The four beers featured were Bloodline IPA, Hoppy American Wheat, Kujo Coffee Stout and Gonzo Imperial Porter on Nitro. All excellent beers that we've had before. I opted for the Bloodline Blood Orange IPA and Colleen selected Hoppy American Wheat.

Bloodline IPA seemed to be the most popular selection, based on comments I heard at the bar. It's a bright, citrusy IPA that's quite refreshing. I posted a full review of the beer previously. Equally enjoyable was the Hoppy American Wheat. A blend of a bitter IPA and a wheat beer, this member of the Brewhouse Rarities series is a unique take on the traditional wheat beer. More info can be found in this previous review.

Flying Dog beer peddlers Adam and Pete were there to talk about the beers. I got a chance to chat with them a bit about Flying Dog's plans for the upcoming year. Let's just say I'm looking forward to enjoying some interesting beers from the brewery in 2015.

And those cool etched logo glasses? We decided we really needed a set of four, so we enjoyed another round of our selected beers with Capital Ale's tasty, and huge, Lamb Gyro Burger. It was a fitting finish to a fun day that included a fun visit to the range.

Isley Beer & Cheese Pairing

Author: From • Dec 12th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
Thursday evening Capital Ale House set out a Cheese & Beer pairing featuring Isley Brewing Company. Three Isley Beers were paired up with three cheeses; Tall, Dark and Hopsome Black IPA with Lusk Gouda, Off the Boulevard Irish Red Ale with McClure Swiss, and Choosy Mother Peanut Butter Oatmeal Porter with President Brie.

Also included with the cheeses was a couple slices of a very delicious bread with a salt and herb crust. We enjoyed the side of bread as much as the cheese and beer. The bread and cheese platter would stand on its own as an appetizer.

This event was originally advertised to feature four beer and cheese pairings, with an Isley rep in attendance to talk about their beers. We think there was a logo glass included as well that we missed getting. That said, we're quite capable left on our own and enjoyed the beers and making our own commentary.

The first pairing, the Tall, Dark and Hopsome IPA and Gouda, was quite good. I took a few sips of the beer before the cheese plate arrived and really liked the beer. The pine and citrus hops with roasted malts was a tasty combination. It's a beer I'd have again. Interestingly, adding in the Gouda, the flavor of the beer took on a slightly sweeter tone. The flavors were noticeably influenced by the cheese.

Next up was Off the Boulevard Irish Red Ale and Swiss. The Red Ale had a distinctly fruity aspect along with the biscuity malt. After sipping, Colleen and I at the same time remarked, "I taste pears." The ale had a decidedly malty cider slant, in appearance, aroma and flavor.

Finally, we came to the Choosy Mother Peanut Butter Oatmeal Porter and Brie pair. In all frankness, we didn't care for the aroma of this one. In the taste, there was some oatmeal and a hint of sweet chocolate. It was however, the peanut butter than dominated. Mixing our sips with the brie and bread, the peanut flavor was muted somewhat. Choosy Mother is a popular and highly rated beer from Isley. But this unique flavor is like smoked beers I think, you either like them or you don't. The beer grew on me as I sipped, but a full pint probably isn't in my future.

Our beer and cheese tasting completed, Colleen and I settled into a few more good beers and the Thursday special of "Endless Mussels." We took good advantage of the all you can eat aspect of the menu. It was a tasty and enjoyable, if somewhat decadent, evening.

Weihenstephan Steal the Glass Night

Author: From • Nov 13th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
The beers of Weihenstephan Brewery in Germany were featured for this week's Steal the Glass event at Capital Ale House. Six different beers were on tap. Fans were able to order any of the six in a tall Weihenstephan glass, or try a flight of small tasters of all six, which also included a glass to "steal." I opted to do an exploration of all six beers.

The beers in the order I tasted, and pictured above from left to right, are Weihenstephaner Kristallweissbier, Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Weihenstephaner German Pilsner, Weihenstephaner Original Lager, Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel, and Weihenstephaner Korbinian Doppelbock.

The beers are all moderately low alcohol beer. The Doppelbock checks in at 7.4%, while others range from 5.1% to 5.4%. This made enjoying the beers quite easy, and I ran through them fairly quickly as well. None of the beers were new to me. Weihenstephan's Hefeweissbier is considered by many to the original and authentic Hefeweizen. The Dunkelweizen and Dopplebock are both long-time favorites of mine. In fact, all of the beers are well made and great examples of classic German styles.

It was a great opportunity to try a range of beers from the world's oldest existing brewery. And apparently many others were looking forward to the event as well. When I first arrived at Capital Ale House for the event, there was not a single seat open at the long bar, and there were many groups waiting for tables. Fortunately a seat at the bar opened up without too long of a wait. I had a tasty dinner of a lamb gyro "burger" while tasting the beers. I enjoyed all the beers, but decided to cap off the evening with a hoppy American-style beer, which is a story for another post.

12th Annual Blue & Gray Oktoberfest

Author: From • Sep 18th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
Fredericksburg's original Oktoberfest celebration is happening this Friday and Saturday at Blue & Gray Brewery. This is the twelfth year for this popular event.

The event kicks off Friday, September 19 at 5:00PM with the traditional keg-tapping ceremony at 6:30PM, with an OOOmpah band providing music until 9:00PM. The celebration picks up Saturday at noon and goes until 7:00PM. There will be stein holding contests, beer barrel bowling, and German food and music. Of course, there will be plenty of authentic Oktoberfest beer from Blue & Gray Brewing, served in a commemorative 33.8 oz maas, a 17oz 1/2 maas, and the standard 16oz pub glasses. Lee's Retreat Brewpub will also have a special menu for the weekend.

The Blue & Gray Oktoberfest is a family friendly event, with game and crafts for the kids too. 

Complete details on activities can be found here.

Thirty Years!

Author: From • Sep 15th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
September 15, 1984. That's the day, thirty short years ago, that Colleen and I made our promise before God that we would spend the rest of our lives together. And it's been a wonderful and amazing thirty years. We've had our share of both joy and sadness. We've gone through times of plenty, as well as the inevitable lean periods. But whether we are experiencing immense happiness, or unimaginable sorrow, we have had each other to lean on.

I cannot imagine my life without this beautiful lady. No matter what trials life may bring, I am thankful she is by my side. When life brings joy, I am thankful that she is there to share it. I thank God every night for her presence in my life. I give thanks again every morning that He put us together, and gave us the son we have raised.

In trying to write this post, through multiple drafts, I came to realize that there is little I can say that doesn't sound cliché. It also made me think about how true and lasting love, and (real) marriage itself, has become cliché and even passé in our culture. Thats too bad. To my shame I am often better at describing a beer than expressing my undying love for my wife. I am, nonetheless, forever blessed by the commitment we began those thirty years ago.

The photos may fade, but love grows stronger with time. Happy Anniversary Colleen. I love you and look forward to the next thirty years.

 But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. --Mark 10:6-9