Blue Mountain Brewery – Outstanding Beer, And No Trap Doors!

Unless you live in a large metropolitan city, finding craft beer on tap can sometimes feel like you’re on a treasure hunt on par with any Indiana Jones adventure.  Thankfully, things are beginning to change, even here in Roanoke.  But for the most part, especially if you’re looking for a particular brewery’s beer, or just a selection of more than one or two, you often feel as if you might as well be Indy himself – following a dusty, folded up old treasure map, which leads you to find a hidden door behind a waterfall, and only if you speak the right combination of words to the right person will you find the beer you’re looking for.  (By the way, that’s your bartender, and it helps to tip well too.)  Some will say that it’s all part of the fun, and honestly, it is.  But while craft beer is growing in popularity overall, many bars and restaurants are not yet sold on the idea.  Besides, the breweries often keep things fresh by choosing to distribute on a regional basis.  Still, sometimes it’s as if you have to travel to the ends of the earth, risking life and limb to find the forbidden drink you seek.  Or maybe it’s just that delicious Belgian IPA that you keep hearing about, but whatever.

Ok, no, I’ve never had to dodge poison tipped darts to order a beer, but any small adventure to find good beer is worth it.  And as said before, things do seem to be getting a bit easier.  Which brings me to last week – there were still no poison darts, but there was a discovery along the lines of any of the famed Dr. Jones’.    Driven not by any tattered treasure map but from a message from Local Roots Restaurant about a couple new beers on tap, I read the message with the same joy as if I had just found a map with a dotted line and an X at the end.  A title for the evening’s journey to the restaurant even jumped into my head, worthy of any movie blockbuster – I gathered myself for the trip over there, sans fedora – because what I was about to come across was….The Discovery Of Blue Mountain.  (That is, of finding nearby Blue Mountain Brewery beer, on tap, no less, right here in Roanoke.)

While all this might sound overly dramatic, I don’t think it’s any less deserving as a set up to this particular brewery.  As craft beer continues to grow in popularity nationwide, here in the state of Virginia good breweries continue to pop up here and there, sometimes seemingly just around the corner.  But in nearby Afton, Blue Mountain is slowly developing a true legacy of quality beer.  You can pay attention to the awards, such as the bronze medal their Kolsch ale just brought home from the Great American Beer Festival , or the gold medal their brand new American Wheat beer, Sandy Bottom, won at the same event.  But word of mouth recommendations from folks just like you and I often go a lot farther in the beer world.  A quick look at the comments and reviews left on and finds the brewery’s beers consistently appreciated and loved, up and down the line.  Their “Classic Lager”, classified on as a Euro Pale Lager, is well received as a tasty, somewhat malty, easy to drink, not too terribly hoppy lager.  Their Full Nelson is arguably one of the most delicious craft brewed Pale Ales in this area of the country.  Another example commonly found is the brewery’s Rockfish Wheat, an unfiltered wheat beer (Kristalweizen) that once again, is highly thought of.

Sure, the positive comments are easy to find on Blue Mountain’s beers.  Among craft beer lovers in this part of the country – particularly, in this part of the state – who are familiar with the brewery, the overall sentiment is that we’re happy we have such a standout brewery so close by.  But with any beer, the proof is in the…tasting.  Add in that the brewery is easily reached from I64, and is located in beautiful Nelson County with the gorgeous scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains right across the road from their outdoor brewery seating, and tasting the good beer the brewery puts out becomes an excellent idea for a road trip if you are anywhere within easy reach and haven’t tried their beers.  (Fall is coming, so as the leaves change, even better.)

But for those living in and around Roanoke, do as I did, whether you have a whip attached to your belt and Sean Connery as your father or not.  Get down to Local Roots Restaurant on Grandin Road, because currently Blue Mountain’s “Humpback” Oktoberfest is on tap – yes, on tap – at the restaurant.  This is what set me out on my adventure in the first place, after all.  This particular Oktoberfest may not hit you over the head with a deeply malt character, as some might, but is malty enough – traditionally so, with tastes of toasted bread or a light caramel flavor, before exposing a herbal-spicy flavor that runs through to the end of each taste.  In beer, this kind of spicy like flavor is meant to describe a somewhat sublime and leafy taste.  I have run across more than one review that describes this flavor as simply tasting a bit like fall.

However you’re able to taste the brewery’s beers though, make sure to put them on your short list, on tap or otherwise.  No need to wait for any more accolades from beer festivals, the voices and reviews of many a happy beer drinker should tell you something.  Established in just 2007, and happily well into growing their own hops, the brewery continues to produce one good brew after another.  Theirs are very deserving of any adventure to find them, although I hope they keep getting easier and easier to find.  You even may be able to find Blue Mountain in bottles at your grocery or craft beer store.  Just in case they don’t, set out on a journey to find some any way you can – I’ll give you the antidote for the poison darts later.

Blue Mountain Brewery Website


~ by thebeerroad on September 23, 2010.

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