Checked out Elation before heading home, capping off my day in Norfolk. They haven’t officially opened yet and can’t serve their own beer (thanks VA laws) but they are serving other beers brewed in the area. Beautiful space, probably going to be visiting this more often.
Wasserhund Brewing Company! What does that mean exactly? I spent a few years in Germany while I was in the army and the first thing I think of is Pudelhund or Poodle in English - but the dog in the logo is a German Shepherd (Alsatian as my Scottish mother-in-law likes to say.) The first question I had for the brewery was, "What's the meaning of Wasserhund?"
I was able to talk to Craig Lubinski and he said their dogs loved the water. The idea behind Wasserhund Brewing is summed up in the company statement:
Wasserhund Brewing Company, meaning "water dog" in German, was born from a love of the beach, dogs, and German beer. We aspire to bring the German beer culture to Virginia Beach in the best way... by brewing the highest quality ales, lagers, and meads and providing the environment to enjoy them with family, friends, and strangers.
We also match our beer with artisan pizza made to order in our brick oven. Or you can order Richmond made sausages on pretzel rolls and add some sourkraut for a real German experience.
Call it whatever you want... we call it German style brewing with a Beach kick. Really, it's great beer and great times.
When you visit Wasserhund, Craig will be manning the stone-brick oven the brewery owns slinging pizza. That's right, in-house pizza at Wasserhund in addition to local brews. The former owner of the space left the oven and the brewery is going to make use of it.
Fresh pizza and local beer, on-site, this is going to be good!
I didn't get a chance to talk to Aaron and Christine Holley (owners) but hope to do so at the brewery's soft opening. I did get to meet Aaron's father who is a retired Naval Chaplain. Craig, Aaron's father and myself talked a little bit, throwing out old war stories since the three of us are veterans. That's what usually happens when you get former service people together. The new place looks great and has some nice people associated with it. Keep an eye out for good things to come.
Wasserhund Brewing officially opens August 6, but if you want a sneak peek they're having an soft opening tomorrow, 1 August. Stop by.
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!
Norfolk's O'Connor Brewing Company turned 4 years old today -- St. Patrick's Day! I remember hearing about the brewery first coming around through rumor and then opening. It's come a long way since then and it's only getting better: it'll be moving to a new location soon, they've been putting out great seasonals, and the crew is getting bigger.
Shelby and I didn't go out tonight but I did get a early St. Patrick's Day pull this past Saturday when the brewery celebrated its anniversary and three wins from the Dublin Craft Beer Cup. Turn-out was great and delicious food was being served by one of the newer food trucks in the area -- Karnage Asada. I'll write a little more about them in a separate post but I will say they're worth stopping for if you see them parked somewhere. I had a "full rack" of tacos and Kapow Kimchos, kimchi nachos. Seriously, it was good!
The weather was perfect. They had a couple of pouring station working on the inside and did a good job at keeping the glasses filled, growlers topped-off, and flights flying. Live music was being played by a three piece outfit and there was even some dancing going on. People were playing cornhole outside next to picnic tables occupied by merry-makers.
Happy Birthday O'Connor Brewing Co. and congratulations on the awards.
P.S. - You probably know this already, but in case you don't...the oak tree you see on the sign is part of the ancient, Irish crest of the O'Connor clan.