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Celebrating the Ancient Art and Appreciation of Locally Crafted Beer

Thursday, January 15, 2015

December 2014 Blue Ridge Brewers Meeting

Blue Ridge Brewers Association
               Summary Dec. 13th 2014
Field To Taps
  The 6 row barley planted last year by Jeff Jennings was harvested, cleaned and malted by Barry Woods of Wood Ridge Farms in Louisa County. Yield was @ 750 lbs. There is @ 200- 250 lbs. that will be sold for @ $ 1.00/lb to the group members, and $1.25 to non-group members. Discussed was the possibility of group field trips to other brewers and developing an association brewery. The group is working with Liz Lewis from L.D.I. (Luray Downtown Initiative) about the possibility.
 The group also welcomed new members, David Good and Kathy Mikus, as well as a local “Santa” and his helper, who paid a visit. Ho-Ho-Ho.   Thanks to everyone for the holiday goodies to munch on with our craft beer.
Brews presented
Charlie- Sol Mexican Beer
This pilsner style beer had a very light and clear- amber color with a slightly sweet taste-definitely a summer beer that will pair with a fresh fruit platter.
Chris-Farmhouse Ale
This Belgian style ale that was aged this past summer presented a creamy head, a light clear amber color with a somewhat sweet taste. It had a slight sweet/tart aftertaste. This brew should be drunk with soft, salty pretzels and/or apples of all kinds.
Kevin- Lavender Saison
Dried lavender flowers were added to this all grain brew at the end of the brewing. Belgian yeast was used in the process also. It had a light amber color with a pleasant earthy, herbal taste and a light sweet after taste. Pair this with  lamb, rice pilaf and other Mediterranean - spiced  vegetable and meat dishes.
Chris- Turbo Cougar from Devils Backbone
This summer lager had a medium amber color with a smooth light taste. The after taste had a slight bite. Bring this brew on a picnic.
Dan-Honey Brown
A combination of 5 malts and honey were used to create this dark amber colored brew that had a slight chocolate and blackberry sweet taste balanced with a hoppy taste. This should be paired with peppered foods as well as cream or custards desserts.
Charlie- Dos Equis Winter Bach
This brew had a pleasant beginning and aftertaste and a medium dark amber color. It can be paired with cheese plates or drunk by itself.
Tim-Smoked Porter
The smooth smoky presenting taste came from smoked barley. This medium dark amber colored brew had a chocolate caramel aftertaste. It would pair well with roast beef, potatoes and vegetables, just be sure to add garlic to the beef.
Chris-Pumpkin Porter
This brew had a clear dark amber color with a slight sweet presenting taste and a mild spicy after taste. Pair with anything that has raisins and nuts, especially quick breads.
Dan- Whiskey Barrel Porter
Bourbon was used to give this brew a slight whiskey and smooth taste with a slightly sweet after taste. It also had a nice creamy head. Use this porter with pork dishes, schnitzel and potato pancakes.
Tim-Sam Adams Belgian Stout
23 ingredients were used to create this chocolate and sour tasting brew. It presented with a creamy head and clear dark amber color. Pair this with salty foods. It’s an acquired taste brew.
Kevin-Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout
Chocolate malt, cinnamon and Ancho pepper were used in the brewing of this clear, dark amber colored stout. Presenting and after taste were deep and slightly sweet. Beside Mexican(not Tex-Mex) foods, pair with raisin, dates and dark plum foods.
Kevin-Local Cider
6 bushels of apples and Belgian sugar were used to produce this cider that had a sweet, tart and slightly apple taste.  It had an alcohol level of@ 8-9 %. Pair with cabbage dishes, soft cheeses and salty caramel foods.
Carl & Laura (another new member)-Brew L
This medium dark amber colored brew had a crispy, balanced malty and hoppy taste. The after taste was a little bitter. Just sip this brew or pair with light somewhat sweet foods.
Carl & Laura-Brew M
This brew had a medium amber clear color with a mild flowery and bitter orange presenting taste. The after taste was pleasantly hoppy. Drink with sugar cookies and vegetable dishes that contain carrots.
The group plans to decide shortly, what their long term objectives will be and what is needed to reach them.

Sharron Burgess, recording secretary  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blue Ridge Brewers Association July 2014 Meeting at the New Market Collective

Blue Ridge Brewer’s Association
          Meeting Summary July 2014

 This month’s meeting was held at the Market Cooperative in Luray, Va., the new home for the group’s meetings. Visiting from Spain were Alex Rios and Pablo Garcia.
 Discussed was the development of a strategic plan to be later upgraded to a business plan; a tasting survey and brewing demonstration booth at the Heritage Festival in October; for the September meeting, having members bring the last of their summer’s brews, then, mixing them and lastly, in place of tasting meetings, occasionally visit local breweries, such as 3 Notch Brewery in Harrisonburg and Licking Hole Creek Farm Brewery.
The following brews were presented:
Tim-Belgian Wit
Similar to Blue Moon, this brew was light, crisp and clear. Orange “cutie” were added to the end of the boiling phase that added a slight citrus taste.  Drinking this with a slice of orange in the glass adds a pleasant sweetness. Pair this with green salad, grilled veggies(no tomato), grilled fish or chicken and mango sherbet. Great summer meal.
Kevin-Blackberry Red Ale
This all grain IPA with blackberry syrup added to a basic Irish Red Ale recipe was crisp, slightly tart with a mild creamy aftertaste. Drink this with a chicken avocado green salad, crusty Italian garlic bread and frozen custard.
Chris -Wild Cat from Old Bud Head Brewery
This brew had a medium amber color with a sharp presenting taste-a true pizza and antipasto beer. It would also pair with peppered coated grilled meats, Mediterranean style veggies followed with fruit and cheese.
Dan-Green Cap IPA and Red Cap IPA
Both had a crisp, pleasant malt taste that was also sweet. Red cap had an additional caramel taste. Both brews will pair with anything tomato, especially gazpacho and BLT’s. Add French Vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Kevin-3 notch Brewery IPA
This brew had a medium, clear amber color and a slight sharp but mellow presenting taste, smooth after taste. Pair this with minted lamb and Mediterranean spiced veggies-yellow squash, spinach for example. Add fresh fruit for dessert.
Rische- 90 minute IPA
90 minutes was the length of brewing time for this beer. It had a clear, medium amber color, creamy malt taste. This brew is a definite partner to juicy, hamburgers with any variety of condiments and favorite cookout dishes. Don’t forget watermelon for dessert.
Kevin-Chocolate Maple Porter
This porter had maple syrup and Belgian candy sugar added to the processing and resulted in a slightly rich chocolate taste with a smooth, slight black coffee aftertaste. Besides the obvious pairing with chocolate and raspberry desserts, this will also pair with caramel and butterscotch desserts.
Dan- Casteroides – Imperial Stout
 This brew was bottled aged for almost a year resulting in a smoother and mellower presenting taste and pleasant spicy aftertaste. Besides sipping this beer, add it to frosting for a German chocolate cake, orange duck glaze and homemade BBQ sauce.
Chris- Mead/Beer
Braggot yeast and malt were added to this honey mead. The presenting taste was slightly tart, changed to sweet and ended with a peppery aftertaste. This brew will pair with Creole dishes, especially blackened fish and meat. It will also pair with marinated figs and apricots.
The group discussed mixing styles of crafted beers for different flavors.  Casteroides and Braggot/Mead combined gave the Imperial Stout some sweetness, and reduced the strong/sour flavor of the Braggot Mead.
Personal note- As the group’s experiences grow, their experiments are quite successful.
Sharron Burgess,
Recording Secretary


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 1st Meeting and Craft Beer Tasting

Blue Ridge Brewer’s 
Summation for
February 1st,2013

This month’s meeting was held at Kevin and Elisa Crisler’s home in Luray and was different from previous meetings. A one hour business session followed the tastings. Future meetings will continue to have business sessions prior to regular group brew tastings.
Discussed was the following;
 Joining the American Home Brewers Association as individuals or as a group
Obtaining the Beer Judge Certification Program- Final test is in Lynchburg, Va. On May31st and volunteer to judge various contests
Pursue grants for educational purposes
What was decided, by a unanimous vote, was to create a formal structure for the group and decide what direction the group would then follow.
Various suggestions for directions were;
Community Education about brewing by selling home brew kits, beer brewing demonstrations at local events, joining Page County Locally Grown, working with local beer brewing hobbyists by offering classes, growing and selling barley and hops, creating specialties of each grain, entering competitions and eventually start a local brewery (brew coop).
Research that is needed;
What are the State and local regulations concerning alcoholic beverages in various scenarios.
Start developing a more formal group structure and group approved direction.  Establish By Laws.

Presented Brews;
Chris- Timberville  Cider Makers Barrel
  Wild fermentation is used to create this locally made cider that had a fruity, dry taste. Light in color, this brew has a tart taste similar to Granny Smith apples. It would pair well with a Prima Vera pasta, sharp cheese and mustard glazed ham.
Kevin-Schafley White Belgian IPA
 This smooth, creamy brew uses a combination of Australian hops. It has a medium ,clear amber color and would pair well with favorite comfy dishes such as, vegetable soups and various baked apple or pear desserts.
Dan- Pilsner
 Aged for 7 months, the brew was made with a lager yeast that gave it an earthy taste. This is a mushroom and garlic based pizza beer. Serving it cold will improve the flavor.
Josh-Wheat IPA
 This bright colored brew has a combination of white wheat, bitter hops, toasted malt and flaked wheat and was filtered with rice hulls. The complex taste, creamy with a slightly dry after taste is similar to wine as it has a slight plume note. Pair this brew with simple pork or veal dishes that include plums.
Dan- Flat Tail IPA
 This clear colored brew has a pleasant, malty, tropical fruit taste due to the Maris Otter, Cascades and Citra blending. The bittering agent is Columbus hops. Pair this with baked brie and apricot chutney and a rail mix of nuts and apricots. It’s a snack brew.
Josh- Dubbel Belgian Style
 This brew has a German pilsner malt, some hops as a bittering agent and Belgian Candy Syrup to increase gravity. The result is a slight raisin taste. It will pair well with Boston styled Baked beans and Beef Stroganoff.
Tim-Smoked Porter
 This porter uses Brewer’s Best Grained Smoke that gives it a medium, smoky taste. It has a clear color and slightly hoppy taste. Pair with any recipe using cranberries and/or oranges. This will decrease the smoky taste, while increasing the cranberry/orange taste.
Kevin- Vanilla Porter
 This clear colored porter has Myer’s Rum added to the brew, resulting in a mild, bright tartness for a porter. This will pair well with baked ham minus the usual, pineapple/cherry topping. Use apples instead and add sweet potatoes and/or winter squash to the meal.
Kevin- White House honey Porter
 A local honey (Paw Paws) is used in this porter. It gives the brew a slightly, green fennel taste. Just sip this brew and enjoy.
Tim-Oyster Stout
This brew from Licking Hole Brewery has a slight bite as well as a sea water taste and a slight, sea food after taste. It’s an “okay” brew.  Had to be tried and gets high point on the originality style scale.
Dan-Whiskey Barrel Imperial Stout
Introduced at a previous meeting, this brew has been aged. The result is an enhanced version that is still excellent.
Kevin-Traditional Honey Mead
This mead that has been aged for 3 years is smooth and light, with an apple, clover, wildflower taste. A Missouri honey is used as the base. Although the presenting taste is dry, the after taste changes to a slightly sweet taste. Pair this with cream pasta dishes.
Combination of brews-
A new experiment that Dan and Josh presented, using Casteroides and whiskey barrel IPA. It has a smooth, chocolate and caramel creamy, beginning taste that lingers with a slight whiskey taste. This is a chocolate lover’s combination.
The group also visited Kevin’s hop garden, discussed growing hops, then toured Kevin’s cellar brewing room.
Additional combination will continue at future meetings.
Sharron Burgess,
Recording secretary

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Concept that's Catching on - Simpler Brewing with 1 Gallon Batches


After struggling this COLD winter with setting up and moving 10 gallon kettles and burners outside when the weather is perfect and then back in-doors, and 5 gallon carboys (oy, my achin back!).  I stumbled across the above link and the light bulb definitely went off! So, I wanted to pass on the new trend of 1 gallon batch brewing to anyone who wants to create smaller batches, more variety, allow for more creativity & experimentation.  Of course, I purchased the book "True Brews" and it has recipes for everything, from many styles of home brew beer to, Mead, fruit Kombucha, fermented cider, sodas....you name it.  The creativity floodgates have opened!  My back is saved!
Chinook Barlely Wine with homegrown centennial hops

Also, for anyone just starting out, it's easier to start small and build from there, and you can immediately start with all grain brewing because it's MUCH simpler in smaller batches (no big kettles, can cook on your stove (no massive propane burners needed).  So far, this method suits me to a "tea" (kombucha tea, that is).

There are also some fun 1 gallon recipes on the internet:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

LDI Halloween Fundraiser and VA Craft Beer Tasting Event Hosted by BRBA - October 25th 2013

5 Styles of Virginia Craft Beers were available for tasting from Blue Mountain Brewery, Devil's Backbone Brewery with a Port City Porter thrown in the mix to complete the evening of music, craft beer, and costume.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Summary October 13th 2013
The meeting was held at Dan’s Beaver Run Brewery. He explained his “step mash method” of brewing, the importance of temperature and timing to insure proper fermentation and flavor. Kevin, Rich and Dan also explained that stouts, porters and some IPA require slow pouring to
minimize heads and the more rings left by the heads mean a better flavor.
Kevin demonstrated the “Fast Track” bottle racks that results in cleaner bottles and requires less space for drying bottles.
Chris reminded all present that volunteers were needed for the LDI Halloween Party to be held at the Art Warehouse, where the group will be in charge of the craft beer tasting.  The brews will be from the “Blue Mountain” and the “Devil’s Backbone” breweries.
Oktoberfest Food served:  Brat’s and Kraut, homemade goat cheese and crackers, sweet potato pie from home grown sweet potatoes.
Brews presented were:
Jim-Belgian Ale Summer Saison- This brew, which can be light or dark and uses Northern Brewer honey extract, is truly a taste of summer-light, mellow, pleasant tasting. Great for a late summer picnic of summer fruits, creamy potato salad and hotdogs.
Dan-Czech Pilsner-The white wine of beer, this brew is mild, smooth in flavor with a slightly sour taste. It would pair nicely with an autumn dinner of sweet-glazed chicken that included roasted sweet potatoes and mild flavored vegetables.
Charlie- Munich style Lager- This brew has a caramel and malt taste that is crisp and slightly creamy. It would pair well with warm apple desserts.
Chris-Kriek Lambic- This “Champagne of Beer” which uses wild yeasts, comes from the Seine River valley in Brussels. It has a sweet then sour fruity cherry taste. It would serve well with dinners of roasted pork and roasted vegetables, as well as, creamy, soft cheese appetizers.
Tim- Octoberfest – This brew, which uses dark malt and lager style yeast is a fall, “comfy by the fire” beer. It’s mellow with a comfortable smooth after taste. Serve with warm, cream style fall vegetable soups or baked macaroni and cheese.
Dan- Flat Tail IPA #25 - This brew has a mellow creamy taste with a slight bite to the aftertaste, a great brew with bratwurst, scalloped potatoes and steamed greens.
Alex and Pablo(living in Spain)- Spanish IPA Domus- This brew has a surprising combination piney, citrus and spicy coriander taste. It would complement paella and vegetable beef soup. 
Spanish IPA Sibellia-   This brew has a simple, creamy, pleasant taste. Pair this with sweet autumn pies.
Kevin-Aged Rye Porter – This porter, which was featured at the last meeting in June has been aged in the bottle, similar to wine. The flavor has improved and mellowed; still a great sipping beer.
Rich-Irish Stout- This brew definitely needs to be poured slowly, as long as 19 minutes is one suggestion. It has a rich creamy taste with a light sweet aftertaste that becomes slightly acidic. It would pair well with wild wood fowl dinners that include a variety of sweet winter squashes or pumpkins, cranberries and corn, the foods served at the first Thanksgiving dinner.
Dan-Imperial Stout- aged in Maker’s Mark whiskey barrel- This brew has a sweet, silky smooth taste of mocha that continues into the aftertaste. Chocoholics can pair this with chocolate mousse or chocolate covered baked pears for dessert.
Imperial Stout-as above, not on oak- This brew has less of a mocha taste, more of a malt taste and is not as sweet as the one above. It can be paired with chocolate desserts, bake fall fruit desserts and fall desserts in general.
Kevin-Imperial Stout- This brew begins with a slight bite, then the taste becomes creamy. It too can be served with roasted wild wood fowl with baked potatoes and seasoned green beans.
Sharron Burgess
Recording Secretary and food pairing expert.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Brewer at Work - Imperial Stout Aged in Whiskey Barrel

Dan's experiment of transferring Imperial Stout into Used Whiskey Barrel for Aging  approx 2 weeks (or more).