Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Wine, Beer, & Cider Near Great Country Farms - Bluemont Virginia

Have you ever been dragged to a pumpkin patch or fall festival?  Pretty often right?  Well check out Great Country Farms in Bluemont Virginia. You may have heard about the farm's relationship to Bluemont Vineyard and have already seen the spectacular view from that mountain top winery.  Yet there is more. A furlong down the rode lies the newly opened Dirt Farm Brewing with similar views and plenty of craft beer. They need the volume based on the crowd I joined. In downtown Bluemont, Wild Hare Cider offers unique hard ciders from apples grown throughout the Winchester area. And across Route 7, Twin Oaks Tavern Winery has a cozy setting.

Last weekend I dropped the family off at the farm and ventured straight to Wild Hare. The small tasting room was filled, but turnover moved quickly; Blu and I were at the tasting bar in short time. Yes, dogs are allowed inside. There were six ciders available for tasting and I chose a flight of 3 for $12. I started with the Hatch ($15.50), their classic dry cider that is light and clean with a slightly tart and acidic finish. The Hopscotch ($16) is a dry cider fermented with ale yeast and then dry hopped with Citra hops. You can image the aroma that greeted me. This is a very nice cider. Love the style. The final cider was the Windrush ($16), another dry cider - this time aged with wood staves. The treatment is minimalist -yes it's there but not overwhelming.  And I brought home a bottle of their Coppertail ($21.75), an heirloom cider aged in used Kentucky bourbon barrels. Looking forward to sharing this one and will update this post at that time. In the meantime, this cider house is highly recommenced.

We then drove closer to the farm and up the steep mountain road to the farm brewery -  Dirt Farm Brewing.  Parking was somewhat difficult as I had to navigate through three parking assistants but somehow was directed back to a spot next to the brewery. The grounds are spacious, which are needed, as I suspect there were close to 500 people mingling on the grounds. I parked Blu at a picnic bench close to the entrance and stood in line to grab a pint. Not flights today, just straight ordering.  I chose the Beeracrat Election Golden Ale, their lowest abv offering at 4.3%.  It was light but surprisingly flavorful with a slightly sweet tail. Refreshing in the unseasonably hot day.  My companions at the communal table were content with the Boots Off IPA - a rather low abv option at 6.5%. I lingered longer than expected because their musical playlist and mountain views were outstanding. Did I mention that an eagle soared over the valley. Yea. Great company too.

After collecting the family we headed straight out the farm exit and up to Bluemont Vineyard.  As expected, the winery was crowded but we found a table quickly and order our favorite from this facility, their Viognier The Goat ($30) and Tasters Platter. I also noticed that they now offer wine flights, three reds or whites and a five glass Farmhand flight. Great idea, don't waste time sampling, just grab the flight and enjoy the live music and view. In hindsight I should have ordered the white flight of Albarino, Petit Manseng, and Vidal Blanc. Next time. And remember, theCompass Winery, Brewery, Distillery Locator Mobile App can guide to all these locations. Cheers.

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