Big Lick Brewtopia – Good Beer, a Baseball Field and a Summer Afternoon. Some Things Natually Go Together.

Easing back into my chair after a trip to the concession stand, I looked out across the left field wall at the green southwestern Virginia mountains, took a deep, satisfying breath, and then a sip of my beer.  The game just below me moved for a moment like it was orchestrated, as players moved into position to turn a double play, ending the inning.  Another sip of my beer, another glance at the mountains, and a sense of comfort washed over me.  Most memories of being at a minor league baseball field on a calm, sunny afternoon go exactly like this one – they are relaxing and somehow deeply satisfying.  Indeed, are there many other combinations that go together as well as a summer afternoon, being at a baseball stadium, and sipping a good beer?

I am positive there aren’t many, as those three things seem to make a natural combination that results in an instantly pleasurable time.  On June 18th, for Roanoke area craft beer fans and the beer curious, this combination gets even better as the game steps aside and beer takes the field – literally – as Lewis Gale Field in Salem (home of the Salem Red Sox) will be the site for the first ever “Big Lick Brewtopia” craft beer festival, presented by the Roanoke Jaycees.  For anyone who’s read this blog at all before, you know my mantra for the craft beer curious: any chance to get out and taste various craft beers and beer styles in one place should be taken advantage of.  More than two years into craft beer, I am only scratching the surface myself when it comes to all the styles and interpretations out there.  An event like this gives anyone who’s been wondering about well made craft beer a chance to find something that might become a personal favorite, or at least, a “jumping off point” to further investigate other craft beers.  After all, one brewery’s pale ale won’t be like the last.  Ask any craft beer fan – it is perhaps the most exciting feature of craft beer:  variations are endless, and right around the corner might be the next beer that is going to absolutely blow your mind, and make you say once again, “Wow.  I had no idea beer could taste like this.”

Of course, the variety of beer available at these kinds of events then becomes important, and from the looks of things on the Brewtopia website, neither those who are new to craft beer nor those already on their journey should be disappointed.  Breweries which will be represented include both local and regional favorites like Richmond’s Legend Brewery, Winston Salem’s Foothills Brewery, Charlottesville’s Starr Hill, and Radford’s River Company, as well as Bull & Bones from Blacksburg, and Roanoke’s own Big Daddy and Roanoke Railhouse.  Nationally known names include such heavy hitters (pun definitely intended) as Dogfish Head, Victory Brewing, Bell’s, Rogue, Brooklyn, and Baltimore’s Heavy Seas.  Petaluma California’s Lagunitas Brewing will also be represented – the first time in memory their beer will make an appearance at an event in this area.

So perhaps there isn’t a game to watch, or a key infield play to pencil in on your scorecard.  Not to worry.  For one afternoon, the beer in your (tasting) cup and the baseball diamond presents maybe an even more interesting and pleasurable few hours – the chance to try delicious, well made craft beer.  As you move from one delicious brew to another, make sure you follow a sip or two with a glance over the outfield wall.  Savor the beer that one of these fine breweries has worked so hard to create, along with those gorgeous, green Virginia mountains off in the distance.  Chances are, the scenery not only will enhance your tasting experience and afternoon, but I can promise you, will feel like a perfectly natural way to spend a summer afternoon.

(Keep in mind as well, that not only is this a chance to taste good beer and enjoy an afternoon at the ballpark, attending Brewtopia also means you’re helping out a good cause.  Organized and put on by the Roanoke Jaycees, proceeds will benefit the group heavily involved in various community service projects in our area.)  Thank you ahead of time, and Cheers!

Big Lick Brewtopia – A Celebration of Craft Beer:  June 18th 12pm to 6 pm Lewis Gale Field, Home of the Salem Red Sox.  Tickets are available before the event as well as at the door, and food will be available for purchase as well.  See the event website for more details.


~ by thebeerroad on June 1, 2011.

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