Back Bay Brewing Co. soft opening a few weeks back let everyone know—in a big way—they were setting up a permanent location in Virginia Beach. It was packed. There was a line out the door with people trickling in and out most of the night. Zeke's next door was open with a live art demonstration, good coffee and poke bowls, then there were several food trucks out back hooking up everyone with everything from fish tacos, BBQ, all the way to cupcakes.
I've been excited about the news coming from Back Bay ever since they chose Norfolk Ave. location for their operation and brought on local beer nerd Dan Yarnell as head brewer/COO. You can find Back Bay beer in the area restaurants and they have participated in both the Battle of the Beer events in Hampton Roads, but I realized I didn't know a whole lot about Back Bay Brewing Co. in general. I figured I'd send some questions to them, picking their brains for a little info.
I was answered by Josh Canada. He's a Beach local whose first job was at WRV back when it was on Norfolk Ave., right where Back Bay has settled-in. Only this was a few years back. He said building Back Bay in the same spot of where he first worked at 14 had historical significance. Not mentioning the location, sandwiched between a couple of popular eateries near the Beach. The popular Shadowlawn neighborhood will definitely have Back Bay on the radar as the local watering hole, they'll walk to the tasting room.
Back Bay Brewing Co. was founded in 2011 by a group of friends in Virginia Beach. Sitting in a duck blind, Josh Canada and Charlie Burroughs brainstormed ideas that might help them see their dreams of brewing beer a become a reality. They selected three more local friends—George Powell, Will Yearick, and Josh Malbon who all shared their love for the outdoors and beer. The five of them worked to put out their first beer, False Cape Ale.
In the early days they brewed where they could, eventually contracting with St. George Brewing Co. in Hampton. This is a common practice for small, start-up brewers; local, larger companies will share their facilities to help the little guy out. Back Bay's new facility will have their own tanks for brewing but the lagers will probably continue to be brewed in Hampton for now. Having the capability to brew on premises will allow them to experiment more with their recipes. They would like to poll Shadowlawn and the surrounding area to get a feel for the types of beers their neighbors would like to drink. Once they know what the people want, they plan to have it brewing within two weeks Josh said.
They want to keep things moving and be innovative with their product. Experimental brews like a Coffee Coconut Stout will be offered and most breweries offer seasonals that change with the weather. They currently offer their signature red ale, lager, pale ale, and a porter. Dan told me they're working on a German style beer that could be similar to a Helles. The facility has a gourmet beer permit which allows home brewers to brew small batches on-site. Back Bay can keg it for them too.
Back Bay Brewing Co.'s Grand Opening will be Saturday, April 26, 2014. The doors open at 1:00 and there will probably be a line to get into the tasting room. There is a 100 person capacity for the tasting room. From what I saw at the soft opening they'll have a good system in place to have the beer orders out of the tap and to the patron's hand in no time. Again, like the soft opening, there will be food trucks and even some live entertainment on site. There will be at least one new beer for everyone to try too. Don't miss it!