Craft Brewery Options in the Virginia Mountains | Richmond Times Dispatch

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With temperatures falling and leaves turning, central Virginians will soon flock to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley to soak up everything autumn.

A-BeerTrail_QCB_LWalters_22_wCharlottesville and the Nelson County areas are known for their craft-brewing experiences, but a trip farther west on Interstate 64 and north on Interstate 81 through the Shenandoah Valley will surprise and delight with numerous craft beer options.

Pale Fire Brewing Co., located in the renovated Ice House building in Harrisonburg, features a large horseshoe bar, an outdoor patio that overlooks the courtyard, and a sizable collection of albums customers can listen to on the in-house turntable. Tap offerings are displayed on a series of 33 and 45 RPM records affixed to the wall instead of the traditional chalkboard menu.

Pale Fire founder and general manager Tim Brady is a big music fan. “There is either a musical or art undercurrent to the names of the beer we produce here.” Village Green (Double IPA) is named after the Kinks’ sixth studio album. Naïve Melody (Nelson Sauvin Saison) is a Talking Heads song, and Lucille (Oatmeal Stout) is named after B.B. King’s guitar.

“The biggest niche I like to think we have here is a team of experienced brewers,” Brady said. “I worked in a brewery from 2001 to 2008 and started on the ground floor mopping up spills, then worked my way up. We are guys that started on the bottom rung of the beer industry.”

Pale Fire opened in April 2015 and specializes in hoppy and Belgian-style beers. Their Salad Days American Saison (7 percent ABV, 40 IBU) has won awards at both the 2016 World Beer Cup and 2015 Great American Beer Festival. “That’s my favorite,” Brady said of Salad Days. “It’s dry and spicy and includes Amarillo, Simcoe and Cascade hops. The name comes from a Shakespearean term that refers to responsibility-free days. I tell people it’s best to enjoy on a well-earned day off when the boss isn’t on you at work or the kids aren’t screaming at home.”

Other craft options in Harrisonburg include Brothers Craft Brewing, known for quality beers, such as Hoptimization and Lil’ Hellion; Three Notch’d Brewing Co., which opened a location in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood Oct. 1; and Wolfe Street Brewing Co., which is owned in part by the founder of Back Bay Brewing Co. in Virginia Beach.

Still in the mood for more? Head 25 miles south to Staunton where three more sets of taps await. Start with Redbeard and Shenandoah Valley brewing companies, located in the Wharf Area Historic District just around the corner from one another.

Redbeard Brewing specializes in small batches of big beers. It was awarded a bronze at the Virginia Craft Brewers Cup Awards in August for 221b Baker Brown, an English Brown Ale.

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. started as a home-brew supply store in 2012 then added a taproom in 2014. When you visit, try the Virginia Native Amber Ale. According to the website, it is the first all locally sourced ale in Virginia The hops are from Augusta County, the malts from Nelson County.

To complete the trifecta, Queen City Brewing Co. is a mile north, but still in the downtown area. Founded in 2003, it was the first brewery in Staunton since Prohibition and has 25 of its own beers on tap.

Source: Richmond Times Dispatch, by Darrell Wood. View original article.