The first ever Virginia Craft Brewers Fest was held this past Saturday, on the grounds of the Devils Backbone Brewing Company, in Nelson County, Virginia, presented by the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild and the Virginia Manufacturers Association "to promote Virginia's craft brewing industry and the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild."
Photo courtesy Skye Marthaler of www.beerfellows.com.
The festival was also the running of the 2012 Virginia Craft Beer Cup competition, in which twenty-four Virginia breweries participated. Judges awarded three medals in each of five categories, and one, the Virginia Craft Beer Cup, to the brewery which brewed the beer judged best-of-show.
Here are the results.
- PALE ALE:
- Gold: Port City (Alexandria, Virginia) Monumental IPA
- Silver: Starr Hill (Crozet, Virginia) Double Platinum
- Bronze: Mad Fox (Falls Church, Virginia) English Summer Ale
- Gold: Capitol City (Arlington, Virginia) Oatmeal Stout
- Silver: Hardywood Park (Richmond, Virginia) Gingerbread Stout
- Bronze: Port City Porter
- Gold: Devils Backbone (Roseland, Virginia) Schwartz Bier
- Silver: Lost Rhino (Ashburn, Virginia)Rhinofest
- Bronze: Starr Hill Festie
- Gold: Wild Wolf (Nellysford, Virginia) Blonde Hunny
- Silver: Devils Backbone Azrael
- Bronze: Port City Optimal Wit
- Gold: The River Brewing Co (Radford, Virginia) Farmhouse Hefeweizen
- Silver: Lost Rhino Rye Wit
- Bronze: Wild Wolf Ginger Lager
There were 67 entries from 24 breweries. Alexandria, Virginia's Port City Brewing snagged the most medals: three —one gold, and two bronze.
To determine the overall winner, the judges re-tasted and re-judged the five gold medal-winning beers.
And, their choice for winner of the 2012 Virginia Craft Beer Cup was ...
... host brewery Devils Backbone —for its Schwartz Bier.
Our 2010 Bronze medal winning World Beer Cup Schwartzbier is Back! Black, light to medium body with subtle roasted notes of coffee and caramel. These flavors blend together with a smoothness that only lagers can provide. 5.1% abv, 22 IBUs
By all accounts, it was a wet day in Roseland for the 1,250 attendees, with intermittently heavy showers throughout the day. So, kudos and thanks belong to the folk at Devils Backbone for organizing this first ever Virginia Craft Brewers Fest, and for successfully slogging through!
Congratulations belong to all the breweries that participated, and, in particular, to brewer Jason Oliver —and the rest of the brewing team at Devils Backbone— the holder of brewing bragging rights throughout the Commonwealth ... until next year!
- Lyle Brown —a Master Beer Judge based in Virginia— was the Competition Director. He selected judges among local professional brewers, local beer professionals, BJCP judges, and beer writers: Matt Reich (EcoLab at Coors, formerly Starr Hill), J.T. Smith (Maryland Brewers' Association), Les White (MD Homebrewers Guild), Steve Marler (longtime beer judge, and officer of homebrew club, B.U.R. P.) Diane Catanzaro (BJCP judge, and past Beer Drinker of the Year), Chris Jones (BJCP judge), Julie Jones (BJCP Master Judge), Al Reece (beer writer). Tastings were blind with judges seeing entry numbers only. The judges worked in pairs and used scoresheets similar to those of judges at the Great American Beer Festival, but with no numerical scores, just perceptions and impressions. A smaller panel selected the Cup Winner from among the 5 gold medal winners.
- Photos of the winning brewers, as posted on Facebook by blogger Jolly Good Fellows: here.
- The Virginia Cup has been an on-again, off-again, recognition of Virginia brewing. With approximately 40 'craft' breweries open in the state, and the formation of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, it may be here to stay. The trophy itself, fashioned from kegs, is patterned after the Dominion Cup, its predecessor from the 1990s and early 2000s.
- The State of Virginia, in an official proclamation, designated August 2012 as Virginia Craft Beer Month. The state's tourism department was actively involved in promoting the festival, as was a still-nascent Virginia Craft Brewers Guild.