The wife and I spent a week recently in the Falls Church, Virginia area enjoying lots of beers; only some of these were from Virginia so I put “Virginia” in double quotes. We went for a memorial service for my niece who recently passed and with so much family together again we also celebrated Thanksgiving and my brother-in-law’s birthday on Dec. 1st. With so many relatives in one house, along with the stress of saying goodbye to a loved one, and multiple receptions, and … a lot of beer (and wine) was consumed.
My daughter and son-in-law picked us up at the airport Wednesday evening. We stopped at Dominion Wine & Beer @DominionWB in Falls Church, VA on the way to my sister’s house. Great selection and friendly people. They told us about a free tasting of big beers on Black Friday for the Bourbon County Brand Stout release and even had the bottles on the counter.
We made sure to add it to our calendars. The real beauty: it is about a 5-minute walk away from my sister’s place. We will definitely be visiting them whenever we make it back there. In fact, we visited 3 or 4 times in the week we were there.
Before we left Bend, Sara discovered that there is a Dogfish Head Alehouse in Falls Church so that was high on our list and we made it there Sun evening (30th). We also wanted to get to Spacebar, a specialty grilled cheese and tater tots craft beer bar, which we did Monday night.
I failed to checkin every beer in Untappd. I even failed to record/list every (unique) beer and also to take a picture of every one. Of course, some were duplicates and I didn’t want to check them in. Some I just missed.
This post is in 3 parts: commentary on the tasting at Dominion Wine & Beer; our 1st visit to a Dogfish Head Alehouse; and a list of the beers that I know I had, by day, as best as possible.
Dominion Wine & Beer BCBS Release Tasting
On Friday, my kids, their spouses, and Sara and I attended a tasting in conjunction with the Goose Island BCBS release at Dominion Wine & Beer. We got there a few minutes early and the place was packed and the tasting had already started. The gentleman pouring made sure to get us started at the beginning though. It was packed to the gills but everyone jostled along good-naturedly. I overheard the guy at the checkout telling someone that this is their biggest tasting by far; that most are far more manageable. Good to know. 😉
Let me just say that any tasting that begins with Epic’s Big Bad Baptist is something to not only behold but to be at. Seeing as we were going so big I only tried to grab an overall impression and didn’t write any tasting notes. These are the beers in the order we had them.
- Epic Big Bad Baptist (Batch 40) [no checkin]
- North Coast bbl-aged Old Rasputin 4.5
- Stone Southern Charred 4.5
- 3 Brothers Resolute 4.0
- Avery Tweak 4.5
- Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2014 4.5
As you can see I liked most of them well enough. 😉
Dogfish Head Alehouse, Falls Church, VA
Sunday evening found 9 of us heading to the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Falls Church (Mom, kids and spouses, sister and spouse, Sara and me). Sara and I were practically giddy. Overall our visit was excellent.
There were some issues with getting the correct beers in both of the premium flights ordered (Max and Sara) and the onion rings on two orders were cold. Our waitress, Marian, was most excellent. She got fresh hot onion rings for both and she tried to get the beer issues straightened out. Whoever was pouring was not on their game, that’s for sure. Possibly the wrong beer was on the wrong tap. Sara & Max both got 4-beer flights with one beer overlapping. That beer was different in both cases and was not the beer asked for. They were both replaced but the beers were still different (color, taste). Then Sara discovered her Palo Santo Marron was Chicory Stout. She doesn’t care for it and it is a standard beer compared to the premiumly-priced Palo Santo. Marian was horrified and was going to replace it but since I had a snifter of the Palo Santo we decided to just share that. We certainly had enough beer between us.
I did pull Marian aside and tell her that she was awesome as far as were were concerned. In the end, I also talked to the manager. I started by telling him Marian was “grace under pressure” and that we appreciated her. I also calmly let him know we had been having beer issues and that he might want to keep an eye on the bar tending. He was already on it since Marian had alerted him. He was grateful for the information and apologetic. My son grabbed the entire bill so I have no idea if either did anything with the bill. Nonetheless, everyone got at least as much (or more) beer as they ordered and everyone had plenty of tasty food.
I would be happy to go back as everyone we interacted with acted professionally and sometimes stuff just happens.
[Note: except for 1-2 already at the house and those at Dogfish Head and at Spacebar, all beers were acquired from Dominion Wine & Beer. The ones already at the house may also have come from Dominion.]
- Yuengling Traditional Lager 4.0
- Dark Horse Too Cream Stout 4.0
- Dark Horse One Oatmeal Stout Unrated [late checkin]
The Yuengling surprised me with how good it was. I would gladly drink several in the proper setting. The two Dark Horse stouts were fairly tasty.
- Saison Dupont 5.0
- The Duck Rabbit Milk Stout 4.5
- Great Lakes Blackout Stout 4.0
- Bells Two Hearted Ale 4.5
- Brasserie d’Achouffe McChouffe 4.5
- Dogfish Head Beer Thousand 4.5
- Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail 4.0
- Brouwerij Huyghe La Guillotine 4.0
- Tröegs Troegenator 4.0 [late checkin]
Had a classic, Saison Dupont, as an opener and during my stint as a sous chef for others. Ended up drinking most of the bottle myself. I tried to share. Their loss.
- Tröegs Troegenator [probably]
- Epic Big Bad Baptist Batch 40 – seems no checkin [DominionWB tasting – see section above]
- North Coast bbl-aged Old Rasputin 4.5 [DominionWB]
- Stone Southern Charred 4.5 [DominionWB]
- 3 Brothers Resolute 4.0 [DominionWB]
- Avery Tweak 4.5 [DominionWB]
- Goose Island Bourbon County 2014 4.5 [DominionWB]
- Hardywood Virginia Blackberry 4.0
- Sam Adams Cherry Chocolate Bock 2.5
- Schlafly Imp Stout, bourbon barrel-aged 4.5
- Southern Tier Choklat – no checkin
Personally, I do not care for Choklat. At all. The wife does and bought this one. I think maybe she’s outgrowing her fondness for it. I hope.
Dogfish Head Alehouse
I had a small taste of both Firefly and American Beauty but wasn’t impressed enough to want a whole glass. So many other good choices. Went with the Palo Santo Marron, my first on draft. It was exquisite, of course.
FYI: The Core Beer Sampler is 6 4-oz pours of 60 Minute through Chicory Stout; the Premium Sampler is 4 4-oz pours of any four premium beers. The pours are quite generous and easily 5-oz each. I went for the snifter as I am a bit unhappy at the 50% increase in price along with a decrease of 33% in the amount of beer. That is quite significant and way beyond “premium.”
- Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout – Tad thin but OK 3.0
- Lost Rhino Face Plant IPA 4.5 [late checkin]
- Peak Organic Winter Session Ale ME 5% 4.5 [Spacebar]
- Terrapin Wake n Bake [Spacebar -Sara]
- Blue Mountain Long Winters Nap Maibock VA 10% 4.0 [Spacebar -Sara]
- Smuttynose Smuttonator Doppelbock NH 9.5% 4.0 [Spacebar -Sara]
I wish I had recognized that the KBBS was the one Brian Yaeger wrote about in Red, White, and Brew. Neither Sara or I were fans either way; it was pretty meh. I enjoyed the Face Plant.
It was too dark at Spacebar for photos. My Peak Organics Winter Session was quite tasty. I also enjoyed trying Sara’s Blue Mountain and Smuttynose. My son and his wife both got Deschutes Black Butte Porter.
None – travel day
Actually, I tried to get a beer in the Portland (OR) airport before our flight home to Redmond. Our little terminal even had a Laurelwood pub. But since the waitress could not answer what I considered a most basic question about a beer I left. I wanted to know whether the stout had coffee in it. She was apologetic that she didn’t know but that is irrelevant; it is polite but of no actual informational value. She also didn’t volunteer to check with anyone else.
I don’t know if those folks are airport concessionaires or actual Laurelwood employees but they were wearing Laurelwood attire. Protip: Educate your employees or people acting as employees. She lost you the sale of a pint and food. She also lost you the good will of a tired, pissed off traveler who came to you for respite and replenishment.
A lot of good beer was drunk, along with a bit of mediocre stuff. That’s the deal when being adventurous though.
We sent my daughter and son-in-law back home (they drove) with a 2013 The Abyss and a Black Butte Porter Reserve XXVI which I had checked on the way. They also took the small bottle of BCBS we bought at the tasting and a couple other things. We also left a few tasties for my sister and brother-in-law.
Thanks, northern Virginia (especially Dominion Wine & Beer) and thanks to the Virginia brewers/breweries for the actual VA beers we did have.
Upon arriving home just before midnight on Tuesday, we found a very wet box on the front doorstep. Pulling it inside and unwrapping it found–bedraggled but not frozen– two Lompoc Pamplemousse Citrus IPA bombers, a grapefruit, USB key and pint glass. It must have been delivered late in the day and, for once, everyone’s timing was good (except for the beautiful presentation which was a bit disturbed).