May 2013 Virginia Beer Fest

Last weekend was the 12th Annual Virginia Beer Festival in Norfolk. For anyone who appreciates good beer, attending festivals like these is a great way to discover both imported and local brews that are not quite mainstream.

Here are the new finds:

  • Ommegang’s Fleur De Houblon: Seasonal summer ale, 6.8%ABV. Whole-cone Bravo hops give it a more spring-like than summery aroma. Neither sweet nor tart, Belgian-style. Subtle complexity with a bit of spice. Very enjoyable. I wish it were an Ommegang staple but, sadly, it’s limited edition.
  • Finch’s Fascist Pig: American amber ale, 8%ABV. Very malty. Dry-hopped with Palisade and Zythos. It’s better as it warms up, although it sort of reminds me of really good canned beer like Brouwerij Het Anker’s Lucifer. It hides its alcohol well.
  • Beach Brewing’s SeaDevil: Imperial stout, 10%ABV. Chocolaty, roasted malts, tasted a little like coffee with a slightly bitter finish. I remember it being a little on the thin side for an imperial stout, but would definitely repeat.
  • Kronenbourg Blanc: Witbier, 5%ABV. A little cloudy, pale yellow, smells citrusy with a little zest, weird carbonation but, overall, pretty mild. This is a summer beer. Pool-side or on the patio, but not a standard bearer.
  • Sixpoint’s Apollo and Spice of Life: A summer ale, 5.2%ABV and a changing series of single-hop IPA’s. The Apollo poured like a standard wheat beer, but lighter in taste and clearer than most, very grainy despite being a Kristalweizen. The Spice of Life we had, presumably, had Cascade hops. It didn’t showcase much personality for an IPA, very mild hops, bready – I think it might have been a bad keg.

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