Taste (and Toast) Craft Beer at Blacksburg’s 3rd Annual BrewDo This Saturday

Perhaps the biggest surprise to anyone new to craft beer is the beer itself.  What before seemed to only exist in a couple different “kinds”, now reveals itself as something that throughout its long history has been produced in dozens of different styles.  Here in the United States, so many of these styles gradually disappeared from the beer landscape as the surviving breweries, post Prohibition, began to focus on one, pretty narrow definition of beer – basically, a yellowish, pale lager so commonly found even today.  We owe so much then, to those early American craft brewers who were just getting started in the early eighties, because they were passionate about not only producing quality beer but wanted to resurrect many of the styles that had become lost in America over the years.  Today, we walk in craft beer stores, grocery stores, or sit down at our favorite pub, and due to the craft beer movement started by them, see so many styles represented once again, as today’s craft brewers continue to create their own interpretations.  Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and it’s also at the center of beer as well.  But back to our newcomer to craft beer, and their curiosity – with so many styles and kinds of beer to try, how does one begin to explore them?  How do we figure out what we like, what we might not, and what to try more of?

The easy answer is to taste them, of course.  The best way to do so, without a doubt, are those wonderful events called craft beer festivals – large collections of different styles of beer conveniently located all in one place for one price – and this weekend, for those of us in the Roanoke and New River Valley areas, we have one more chance to attend one of these before the festival season truly begins to wind down.  This Saturday, Bull & Bones Brewery will host the third annual Blacksburg BrewDo craft beer festival, and with roughly twenty five breweries represented, there will be plenty of chances to figure out what you might like, or in more technical terms, expand beer tasting horizons, or even find a new personal favorite.  Several of the breweries will be local or regional, which is always a welcome sight, as nearly half are from the state of Virginia.  Still others are from neighboring states, such as Foothills Brewing and Highland Brewing from North Carolina, and Heavy Seas and Flying Dog from Maryland.  There are a couple of perhaps more widely, nationally known breweries who will be represented, such as Southern Tier and Brooklyn, but one in particular stands out, and for more than one interesting reason.

As it turns out, on Friday night, a beer and food pairing dinner will be held at nearby Preston’s Restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech.  Tickets are still available, and a beer dinner to kick off the festival sounds like enough of a good idea.  Interestingly enough however, the brews being paired will be from California’s renowned Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and a brewery representative will be on hand at the dinner.  Now, never mind that Sierra Nevada was one of those very breweries to be at the forefront of the craft beer revival in the early eighties, therefore not only at least partially responsible for the craft beer movement going on today, but for the resurrection of some of those previously “lost” beer styles that attendees may be trying and tasting the next day at the festival.  Toasting a kickoff event the night before the festival with their beers seems perfectly fitting considering all this, right?  But should you find yourself at Friday’s event, consider lifting your glass of well crafted beer not only in gratitude, but perhaps with a bit of forward looking hopefulness.  This, of course, because neighboring Christiansburg, not even a hop, skip, and a jump from Blacksburg, is apparently still in the running for Sierra Nevada’s eastern United States expansion plans for a brewing production facility.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Toasts to the future aside, Saturday’s BrewDo will prove to be an excellent chance for anyone, wherever they find themselves on the craft beer learning curve, to expand their craft beer horizons for today.  Each brewery will likely be represented by at least a couple beers, from pale ales to wheat beers, stouts to India pale ales, and within each one is a chance to find out just how wonderfully and widely varied craft beer can be.  Craft beer festivals are a celebration of those kinds of moments, those “I had no idea beer could taste like this” moments, and the hard working, passionate folks at the breweries that bring them to us.  So on Saturday, get to BrewDo – and toast not only the brewers who throughout the years have brought us such good beer, but raise a glass to yourself, and your own curiosity.  Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite to do just that with.

Visit the Blacksburg BrewDo 2011 Website Here

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~ by thebeerroad on September 21, 2011.

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