Monday, April 20, 2015

#VABreweryChallenge - Purcellville's Beer Triangle

This Saturday we continued the #VABreweryChallenge with a visit to Purcellville in DC's Wine Country - Loudon County. Known mostly to Northern Virginia's as the terminus of the W&OD Bike Trail, Purcellville has a growing beer and spirits community in addition to the area wineries. The new tasting room and cocktail center at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company is a must visit, but for our purposes, we spent time at the three local breweries: Corcoran Brewing Company (#10), Adroit Theory Brewing Company (#11), and Belly Love Brewing Company (#12). And all three are very accessible to the bike trail and easy to navigate to using theCompass Winery, Brewery, Distillery Locator app.

Corcoran Brewing Company is a vertex of the Corcoran wine, beer, and cider triangle. Once housed in a renovated barn at the winery location, the brewery moved to a more spacious site off Hirst Road. the brewery focuses on solid, easy drinking beers that seemed to have captivated a market as two full buses rolled in during our visit. The beer names commemorate the LoCo area and Corky's family history, and I've always found the beers clean and representative to the style. Today's samples were The Commonwealth Kolcsh and Dutchman's Creek Hefeweisen, both low ABVs and refreshing - a perfect suit for a warmer than usual spring day.

Adroit Theory Brewing Company is located a very short distance down Hirst from Corcoran. Besides proximity to each, any similarities with the two brewers end as this brewery specializes and high alcohol, funky, wood aged beers.  The lowest abv beer weighed in at 7.8% with several over 10%.  The most interesting beer this visit was the Trendy Triple IPA aged in used Tequila barrels. The barrels actually mellow the beer and provide a soft agave finish. The Chocolate Rye Farmhouse Ale was also tasty with its spicy chocolate character. But, my favorite was the Tart Rambuten Saison - hits the sweet spot in both dryness and tartness - and one I could drink all day, 8.8% abv permitting.

Our final stop was the newly opened Belly Love Brewing Company, located in a pedestrian area of a strip mall off Main Street.  The first thing we noticed was a food menu and the soft pretzel and scotch eggs helped ease hunger pains. As for the beer, I stayed on the lighter side with the Narcissist Helles which I found to be bright, rich in flavor, and refreshing. We also had to try the Shut the Fook Up Pale Ale - with a nice balance between the malt and hops. And for a gluten free alternative try the Insatiable Bread Substitute (IBS) Cream Ale; I preferred the Narcissist but not too bad. Altogether, this is a relaxing environment and filled quickly as the dinner and nighttime crowd starting moving in.

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