Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The best beer you will never have

Unless you are lucky enough to visit, or better yet live in, the Commonwealth of Virginia, you will probably never have this beer. Which is really sad, because it is incredible. It has suddenly vaulted into my top five or so favorite beers.

The brewery, which sits in a little regarded corner of the little regarded county of Nelson, has only been open for a few weeks. It released it's first beer in August and opened the restaurant and tasting room in late October.

It does excellent work on several beers, including the Blue Mountain Lager, which is nearly as good as Victory's Prima Pils and Troegs' Sunshine Pils, both of which are hard to beat.

It does a number of other beers, including a nice wheat beer, a tasty Kolsch, and a rich Imperial Porter. Two other beers are in the works, both Belgians (which are not my favorites, but I am sure they will be great, for those that like that kind of thing).

But the shining star of the line is the Full Nelson Pale Ale, which is rich and smooth, with an warm and enveloping hop aroma and the lovely bite of the Cascade hop, the signature of the seminal Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, on the finish. What's cool is that some of the hops were grown right there on the property.

And the restaurant is cute too. It sits on the edge of the Blue Ridge on a wooded lot. The inside is built like a warm mountain lodge and there is a large outdoor porch where you can sit and enjoy a beer while watching the beauty of the Virgina foothills.

The main downside is that the beer is so good that the restaurant is always packed and the brewmaster can't pump out enough beer to meet demand. His wife tells me they have no plans to distribute beyond Virginia because demand is so huge locally.

So if you're anywhere in spitting distance of Charlottesville anytime soon, and you enjoy a good American beer, make an effort to stop by this place - it's about 20 minutes west of Charlottesville, just at the foot of Afton Mountain, which is where I-64 crosses the first ridge of the Blue Ridge mountains.

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