B/A/Y/S Taste Test

Yes, that’s right – not just a tasting, but a taste test.

You see, we managed (through what I expect was a clerical error of some sort…) to get hold of not one but TWO bottles of the Ghost 1 edition of Adroit Theory/Mud Hound Brewing collaboration B/A/Y/S Imperial Stout.  We were also privileged to be among the few to receive a bottle of Ghost 3 of the same beer.  Since we’d been saving the Ghost 1, what better time to drink it than to compare to the 3 and see what”s changed?*


Well, first off, the obvious. The bottles are different, the label is different and it’s corked and caged instead of capped.  All in all a better presentation, which does actually improve flavor (psychology. it works, b****s).  On top of that, we know from various means that the Ghost 3 was fermented on cherries and hazelnuts in whiskey barrels.  This should be a pretty significant change, then.  We shall see just how significant in a few moments.

Even on the pour the differences are immediately apparent. The Ghost 1 has an immediate foam-up which drops off into continuous streams of bubbles from nucleation points in the glass, most closely compared to a champagne.
On the other hand the Ghost 3’s carbonation approximates what you’d see after pouring a soda into a glass.  Neither one has significant head retention, though Ghost 1 more than 3.  There’s almost no difference in the color, but then with a name like “Black As Your Soul”, how many shades of variance would you really expect?**

On to the smell test! Well, they smell great.

Oh… you wanted more than that! Starting again with the Ghost 1, we got an immediate hit of roasted malts and an impression of sweetness – no real surprise for an Imperial Stout.
The Ghost 3 was more complex, showing off the cherry aroma to good effect, but more upfront was the chocolate and coffee combination.

Flavor-wise we found the Ghost 1 to be very like a traditional Imperial Stout.  The coffee that was missing from the aroma was here on the front end.  Overall it was full of roasted malt flavors, with a bitterness on the backend.  The high carbonation lent it a sharpness we weren’t anticipating but which caused it to drink faster than anticipated.
The Ghost 3 by contrast had strong flavors of coffee, cherries, chocolate and hazelnut throughout, much more complex in flavor but without as much variation across the experience. The chocolate/hazelnut led me to describe it almost as “nutella beer” – not a bad thing, in my mind.  The lower carbonation may have contributed to the overall creamy, rich mouth-feel. This is not a beer I would be able to have more than one of in an evening.  If you watch for it you can also pull out the whiskey notes from the barrel aging. So often barrel-aged beer is overwhelmed by the liquor left in the barrels and we were happy that that was not the case here.


Overall, we thought that the Ghost 1 was much more in the vein of making a strong entry into the style, perhaps getting your feet set firmly before following through with the flurry of punches we anticipate seeing come out of Adroit Theory in the near future. This beer will likely age very well, and should we get our hands on more we will surely be putting it away for a special occasion or two. That said, we also felt the need to describe this as a “campfire-drinkin’ beer”, perfect as a winter warmer to keep the chill away.
Ghost 3 is much more playful and more experimental. To return to the martial-arts metaphor, this is a quick, experimental kick towards the face to test if your opponent is really paying attention.  Let me warn you – pay attention!

* Please note – there are two of us drinking here, and we are professional beer drinkers. Of a sort. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the average individual drinking two of these imperial stouts back-to-back

** No, really.  We’re not doing “fifty shades of grey” jokes on this blog.  I said NO.

Upcoming November Events In (an around) Leesburg

I know it’s been a while since we’ve posted one of these on the blog. Without further adieu, here are some events to get our fall/winter kicked off to a great start. So, get out those calendars and start getting some dates set aside.

November 7, 2012 @ 7:00 PM: Tuscarora Mill is hosting Bell’s Brewery for a 5 course all-inclusive beer dinner featuring the Kalamazoo, MI beers and Chef Patrick’s wonderful pairings. $85 for 5 wonderful courses.

November 7, 2012 4:00-9:00 PM: Lost Rhino is celebrating the release of their Woody Creek Stout by throwing a great bash. Come on out to the brewery and get special prices on snifters of this bourbon barrel aged stout.

November 8, 2012 @ 7:00 PM: Magnolia’s at the Mill will be showcasing beer from Green Flash Brewery. Come and see what awesome pairings Chef Mark brings forward with these great brews. $75-all inclusive. BRING FRIENDS!!

A wonderful announcement! MacDowell Brew Kitchen and MudHound Brewing have announced that the MudHound has received their license to brew at the Brew Kitchen. This is fantastic news for the addition of LoCo breweries and we, for one, are looking forward to try the new beer! A big CONGRATS to the guys at MudHound and MacDowell’s and THANK YOU for giving us more great local brews!

As always, if there’s an event you know of in the area that we’ve completely missed; PLEASE feel free to post on our FB page, TWITter feed, or just put a comment below. Just so long as the word gets out – the better.

Keep your beers cold, craft. and local when possible! CHEERS!

June Craft Beer Events in Leesburg (and semi-beyond)

Greetings fellow beer lovers:

Firstly, our apologies for not posting the events during May. Things have been crazy and we think that crazy is now behind us and we can return to semi-normal!
Without further adieu, here are your beer events for June for you to look forward to and break the monotony in your work week:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012: Lost Rhino Brewing has their First Wednesday Festivities at their now newly opened brew pub in Ashburn. Head out and try some great food with their great brews – just remember to bring your friends and it’ll be even MORE fun!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 @ 7:00 PM – Tuscarora Mill Restaurant’s Smuttynose Brewing Co. Beer Dinner. Chef Patrick will be pairing his talents with the brewery’s Finestkind IPA, Really Old Brown Dog Ale, and their award winning Wheat Wine Ale. 5 courses/ $85 all inclusive.

Friday & Saturday: June 8-9: SAVOR DC. For those of you who happen to get tickets before it was sold out – kudos to you!! You’ll be enjoying a wonderful event of craft beer and food pairings that is only dreamed of!!! With the attendance of 70+ craft breweries – get your map and plan accordingly. The fact that there is only 2 days does NOT give it justice!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 7:00 PM: Magnolia’s at the Mill presents their Beer & BBQ dinner. Chef Mark will be slow roasting, smoking, and grilling some great cuisine with some fantastic craft beer available. We enjoyed this event last year when they did this; so, come check it out this year! 5 course pairing/$75 all inclusive.

Sat/Sun June 23-June24: NOVA Summer Brewfest @ Morven Park. It’s that time of year for the craft beer festivals to come out and play! Craft beer, food, and music (other than the potential heat advisories) what could go wrong?? Enjoy some great times at Morven Park on Sat from 11-9 and/or Sun 11-7. As soon as the brewery listing is available, we’ll post the link on our FB page.

As always, our brains can only hold so much information at a time, so if we forgot something or if you found a fantastic brew that we DESPERATELY need to try, PLEASE let us know or feel free to post on our facebook page.  You can find us there or on twitter. If you can help us, we can help you.


Upcoming April Events in Leesburg

Greetings folks!
Here are the upcoming April events in (and around) Leesburg. So get your Google Calendars or pen and calendar ready and mark these dates:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012: Lost Rhino’s First Wednesday Festivities are upon us soon at the Ashburn brewery. Please check our Facebook page for specifics as we get them or head to their website at www.lostrhino.com.

Thursday, April 5, 2012- Homebrewers of Western Loudoun meeting from 7:00-10:00 PM at Corcoran Brewing.  For homebrewers new and experienced in the Loudoun area who are looking for brewing advice or needing guidance from other brewers.

Friday, April 6, 2012: Leesburg First Friday is approaching quickly showcasing some great events at all the local stores off King Street and beyond. Afterwards, head over to any of the local watering holes for a light refreshment from Windy City Red Hots, Tuskies, Fireworks, Doener, and MacDowell’s Brew Kitchen. We’ll try to post special events on our Facebook page as we see them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 – Tuscarora Mills will host the Anderson Valley Brewing Company for at their April beer dinner at 7:00 PM.  6 courses from Chef Patrick will be paired with their offerings of an ESB, an Imperial IPA, and other of their great brews from Cali.  Should be a neat one to try if you have never heard of them before.  The menu is on Tuskies Special Events Page if you’d like to see what you’re getting before you go.  $85 all inclusive.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 – Lost Rhino will be having a beer dinner at Clydes at Willow Creek Farm.  Four courses of food and beer pairings. $55 per person.  For more information and to purchase tickets, call 571-209-1200

Thursday, April 19, 2012 – Magnolias at the Mill will be hosting Starr Hill Brewing at 7:00 PM.  Charlottesville’s own will be paired with Chef Mark’s great cuisine.  Special guest Mark Thompson, owner and head brewer, will be speaking to all attendees about the beer and the brewery, so this is NOT one to miss out on!!  $80 all inclusive.

On a side note, if you’re up for a road trip or a weekend getaway, the 1st Annual Cask Festival is slated for April 21st in Richmond.  There are two sessions (noon-4 and 6-10 PM).  The event takes place at:
Capital Ale House
623 East Main Street (6th and Main Street)
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: 804-780-ALES
Here is the link for ticket and brewery information.  http://www.yoursforgoodfermentables.com/2012/03/announcing-1st-annual-virginia-cask-ale.html
The line up looks pretty good – so come on out and support some VA Breweries.  All proceeds go to Virginia Craft Brewers Guild.

Looking forward to seeing everyone out and about now that the weather’s getting nicer and the beer festivals are getting planned!  As always, if there’s anything we’ve forgotten; please, feel free to post on our Facebook page or comment below this post.

CHEERS Beer Lovers!

March 2012 Leesburg Craft Beer Events

Sorry for the late posting, folks – we’re still getting used to the idea that we have a blog!

Tuscarora Mills Restaurant: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 @ 7:00 PM – come out to Tuskies for the Devil’s Backbone Brewery Beer Dinner. A new addition to Virginia’s craft brewery venture, Chef Patrick aims to pair his cuisine style with this award winning local brewery. $85 all inclusive – 6 courses. Visit the following link to get the menu: http://www.tuskies.com/SpecialEvents.php

Magnolia’s at the Mill: Thursday, March 15, 2012 @ 7:00 PM – Maggie’s takes the Oyster pairing challenge. It’s Flying Dog and Oyster Beer Dinner night and Chef Mark shows the oyster in every different way possible and pairing with Flying Dog’s famous beers. $80 all inclusive – 5 courses with 8 great Flying Dog beers.

Lost Rhino – Wednesday, March 7, 2012 – don’t forget the First Wednesday festivities at Lost Rhino in Ashburn. We’ll post the details once we see them. We received confirmation from their twitter feed that they WILL have the festivities!

Also, be on the lookout for any local St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Can’t have the corned beef without a great brew!!! Stay tuned for local celebrations!! (We’re betting we’ll be seeing announcements from at least Fireworks Pizza and MacDowell Brew Kitchen).  Vintage 50 will be tapping a dry Irish Stout during the week of St. Patricks Day!

As always, feel free to post on our wall or in the comments below about anything craft beer related local to Leesburg, Purcellville, or LoCo in general! We’re not always out and about as much as we like to be (and it’s only 2 of us); so, let us know if any goings on in and around town.

CHEERS folks!

(Edited to add: Next month we’ll get this out early enough to include the Homebrewers Of Western Loudoun meeting!)

The Story So Far…

I figure we should open the doors on this blog with a brief explanation of why we’re here and what this is about.

A few years back I lamented to my partner in crime that most food blogs, dining guides, and general “look at this cool place I found!” articles were centered around the DC metro area and, while that’s neat and everything, we don’t actually go into DC all that frequently. Chalk it up to a character flaw if you will, but we’re generally more content to stay a little closer to home, and that typically means a little bubble centered on the city of Leesburg, VA.

This isn’t such a bad deal, since there really are a large number of awesome things to do in Leesburg.  Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a bit of a pain to find them, since when the guides do get out this far, they seem to miss our favorites (so what else haven’t they found!?)

In particular we were concerned with local craft beer destinations – we’re beer snobs up in here and we wanted to know where to go to get proper libations to go with the excellent food selection here in the area.

A few weeks later we were sitting in one such establishment and I decided to do something about this state of affairs.  Thus the @LeesburgBeer twitter feed created.

Shortly thereafter, we started up the Leesburg Beer Facebook page for people who aren’t on twitter, as well as slightly longer form postings. It was at about that time that I was joined by my awesome and enthusiastic wife, who took the reins of the Facebook page and ran with it, beyond my rather humble beginnings.

So now we’re starting to feel a little wordier, and frankly not everyone is or wants to be on Facebook or Twitter. Keep your eyes on this space for beer reviews, restaurant reviews (and tap lineup rundowns!), hopefully some guest posting from beer experts in the area, both on the selling and the creating side, and much more!