The Birch in Chelsea (West Ghent, Norfolk, VA) has been listed in the top 50 craft beer bars in the United States by RateBeer.com. The only one in Virginia on that list, we're pretty lucky to have it. The other week they hosted a Steal the Pint night featuring Left Hand Brewing.
Specialty Beverage of Virginia, who distribute Left Hand in our region, were there in a show of support for the event and The Birch. A representative from the brewery, “Left Hand” Dan Conway was available to talk to customers and help promote the brewery. He was moving about bar and tables talking about the available beers and/or just chatting with the visitors. Since it was Steal the Pint night, the first Left Hand beer ordered garnered the patron a nice Irish-style pint glass with the signature red, left hand emblazoned on the front. The back of the glass had “Sometimes you're not in the mood for what everyone else is having.” printed on it. Neat glass.
We talked to Dan a bit about his work and his beers being served at The Birch. Really nice guy, he travels a lot and has been with the company a while. He goes from state to state hosting events for Left Hand in the Atlantic region; he's based out of Philly. He said the two American ales on tap that night—Deep Cover (American Brown Ale) and Jackman's Pale Ale (American Pale Ale)—were discontinued because they competed with some of their other signature beers also on the market and breweries do rotations in general. I ordered both the Americans and shared them with Shelby and Chayce. They were good, easy to drink. Chayce liked the Milk Stout Nitro (Milk/Sweet Stout); Shelby had the St. Vrain Belgian Tripel.
While we were having our drinks I talked to the Specialty guys, Phil Shannon, Jeff Joyce, Scott Warden and Christain Maute. I tend to bump into these fellas at the beer centric events all around the area. One thing for sure, if you see one of them there will be beer nearby. This is a good thing.
The Birch's owner, Malia Bublick, was constantly moving around the pub, never standing still for too long making sure drinks were poured and the plates handled. In a little lull she did come over to our end of the bar and we talked about how things were going. It was a Thursday night and I asked her about the full house. She said the Thursday crowd is usually pretty good, but when you give away glassware you always get a few more people who show up.
After we finished our drinks and said our good-byes. It's always nice visiting The Birch and I really enjoyed meeting Dan from Left Hand. Hopefully we'll catch them again in the near future.
View the photos from the event here.