We love our local breweries here on Delmarva. However, we wouldn’t be able to advertise our upcoming beer festival in Chincoteague as a totally keepin’-it-local experience if we didn’t bring in breweries from all over Virginia.
Our featured brewery at the April 28 festival is Black Narrows, Chincoteague’s first craft brewery that first opened its doors a handful of months ago. Also representing the Shore of Virginia is Cape Charles Brewing Co., a totally new brewery that won’t be pouring just yet, but will have reps to tell folks all about what’s in store.
In addition to those Shore breweries, Virginia brewhouses from Norfolk, Richmond and Nellysford will also be on-site to provide festivalgoers with a thorough taste of the craft brews that the Old Dominion has to offer. Add that to the never-ending list of reasons why Shore Craft Beer Fest: Chincoteague is so cool; while Shore beer festivals tend to be heavy on the coastal Maryland and Delaware breweries, Chincoteague provides a little taste of everything.
What’s cool about O’Connor: In 2010, O’Connor Brewing served its first batch in a garage warehouse. Fast forward eight years later, and they’re one of the fastest-growing independent craft breweries in Virginia. Now with 40 employees and a much larger brewhouse than their original location, O’Connor is ever-expanding into the East Coast markets, and brewery founder Kevin O’Connor has said his goal is to be producing 30 to 40,000 barrels by 2020.
Try this beer: Great Dismal is a swamp in Virginia and North Carolina, a National Wildlife Refuge, and a full-bodied black IPA brewed by O’Connor Brewing Co.
What’s cool about Smartmouth: Smartmouth, based out of Norfolk, just opened their Virginia Beach “Pilot House” back in December. The name pays tribute to the region’s roots in aviation, and also to the fact that it’s where they pilot their more experimental trial beers. The Pilot House is located in a former post office, and is a sure stop for craft beer lovers traveling through Virginia Beach.
Try this beer: Smartmouth’s spring-and-summertime seasonal, Sommer Fling, is a German-style hefeweizen with summery notes of clove and banana.
Hardywood Park Craft Brewing
What’s cool about Hardywood Park: Hardywood’s motto is “Brew With a Purpose,” and that they do. Not only do they brew with local ingredients, but all of the brewery’s power is sourced from renewable energy, and they also use as much recycled packaging and sustainable material as they can. Through their partnership with the James River Association, they’re able to recycle their used beer barrels into rain barrels, and they also use handcrafted “TreeCycled” tap handles in the brewhouse.
Try this beer: As the weather warms and the flowers blossom, it’ll come time to try Hardywood Park’s Peach Tripel. The Belgian Abbey-Style Tripel is refermented on over 50 pounds per barrel of peaches, apricots and nectarines, and becomes available in late spring.
Bold Mariner Brewing Co.
What’s cool about Bold Mariner: “Just as the city of Norfolk has its history rooted to the sea, so does The Bold Mariner Brewing Company,” says Bold Mariner. The brewery’s founder Michael Stacks in a U.S. Navy Veteran, and their sea-based history is reflected in beer names like Liberty Cuffs and Barrel Aged Scurvy Dog.
Try this beer: The Frogman, a caramel and bready malted amber lager, is a favorite of Virginian craft lovers and is currently on tap in the governor’s mansion. Seriously. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently tweeted out a poll asking which beer should go in the mansion’s kegerator, and Bold Mariner’s Frogman won by a long shot.
Bold Rock Cider
What’s cool about Bold Rock: Non-beer drinkers, rejoice — in addition to the spiked tea provided by Hoop Tea, hard cider will also be available from Nellysford, VA’s Bold Rock Cider. With their original cidery located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Bold Rock is not only the most scenic cider barn in Virginia, but it’s almost certainly the freshest, too. They use apples from regional farmers in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, all sourced within 35 miles of the cideries.
Try this cider: Virginia Apple Cider is made with Granny Smith apples from, you guessed it, Virginia. This cider is gluten-free, light on calories and pairs well with poultry, pork and seafood.