RVA Here We Are!

What a long drive! Did not arrive until close to midnight so we slept in this morning…  This was easy to do even in a second floor room – we were amazed just how quiet the city streets were on a Friday. After leaving the hotel, we quickly realized we were in a bit of a dead zone – no government building, no office building, only one other hotel, and very few buildings that contained some sort of business.  It was impossible to find a cup of coffee and a bakery item.  There are so many neat neighborhoods that I learned about from a cousin who lives in the area… but the hotel is not in one of them!  We stopped at my usual first and favorite stop – The Visitors Center – for a map.  Amazing help in planning out our short time.  We decided to follow the Liberty Trail – something they are just starting and it is really neat.  Check it out here: http://www.visitrichmondva.com/things-to-do/local-tours/liberty-trail/

We diverted off the trail to go up to the Observation Deck in City Hall (thanks to the tip from our helpful Visitor Center guide)!  It was really neat to get a bird’s eye view of the city. (Picture is taken from up there.)

One of our historical stops was a visit to the Museum and White House of the Confederacy.  This included a guided tour of the house by a great tour guide.  He really knew his stuff!  Museum had a lot of neat stuff – we liked the downstairs full of oddities – like this doll that

was use2014-08-15 13.50.42d to smuggle medicine.   We then followed the trail to the Virginia State Capital and Executive Mansion.  We were amazed to be the only people wandering around!

After a day of history, we decided to finish by wandering down the huge hill all the way to the Canal.  Shockhoe Slip neighborhood is super neat with lots of shops, people, and places to eat, and try out the local beer.    Southern Railway Taphouse was the just the right spot — Relaxed environment – not yet crowded so we were able to sit at a high top with our daughter.  Great deals on lunch and beer for it was happy hour! (Service not so great but that did not matter for did not mind the wait)

Not much to do around the hotel so we enjoyed an evening swim. There was one neat spot – Pasture – had some good local beers and food (boiled peanut hummus – yum!) to eat!

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BobCate Cafe: The Perfect Ending to our Brew Adventure

We drove up to Bristol Vt for one last place to check out for we had read on Beer Advocate that it had great beer. We had no idea just how good the food was and that to get a table was reservation only! What a great little mountain town! I felt like I was back out West. This would be a great base camp for a future trip to explore North Vermont Breweries. I even had the chance to meet a nice couple who were originally from my hometown state who owned a campground in the area.

I started with Saison De Cassis – mixed into this great beer is Vermont Blackcurrants! It was delicious! And then finished my evening with a Unrepentant Stout. The chocolate and dark coffee definitely come out in this beer and it was perfect ending to a great day!

Next Stop on Route 7: Otter Creek!

Otter Creek BrewingI’ve been a long time fan of Wolaver’s Wildflower Wheat – for me the perfect summer session beer in the middle of a humid afternoon – and so seeing where it is produced was a must stop on our Brewery tour. The Otter Creek Brewing Company is a great brew pub serving all three of their beers with big windows where you can look out at all the shiny tanks producing beer. Although we are familiar with both Otter Creek and Wolaver’s we had not had The Shed, a small Vermont Brewery acquired by Otter Creek. The Shed Mountain Ale was good. Also tried the Wolaver’s Brown Ale and jumped ahead to the fall season and had a Wolaver’s Pumpkin.
Sometime they even offer special test batch one day of the week (not the day we were there). Regardless – this is a great stop to enjoy a few beers low in ABV, have a nice chat with bartenders who know beer, and enjoy some good local food — but get there early. They shut down in the early evening so that the local bars get the spotlight and can make the money selling their beers.

Continue North on Route 7 to Drop-In Brewery

Deliciousness!!  Award for our most favorite beer on today’s brewery tour. And most unobtainable… they do not bottle and so the only option to take with you is to get a growler to go.  The Head Brewer’s main focus is teaching the craft of making beer. This would be a wonderful place to go if interested in learning to make your own beer – both beginner and advanced classes.  You would certainly be learning from someone who really knows how to make good beer!

What we tasted: Sunshine and Hoppiness / Red Dwarf/ Heart of Lothian / Hazard Belgian  / Honey Carry My Bag  (love the names)

What we brought to enjoy by the campfire later that evening: Hazard Belgian

Great Vase!

Foley Brothers

This great new brewery (two years) is just off Route 7 in Brandon VT and was a perfect place to begin our Central Vermont Brew Tour.

Award for the best welcoming party at any brewery… Riley how did I miss getting a picture of you? Wonderful dog who greets you with hugs and kisses.

Award for the most scenic and relaxing brewery location.. enjoyed sipping our pint of Old Hob (an AltBier) outside on the property.

What we tried – a tasting of four beers (which comes with a beautiful beer glass):  Ginger Wheat / Native Brown / Old Hob / Fair Maiden

They sell either large bottles or growlers. We chose a large bottle of Native Brown (made with Maple Syrup) to bring home and enjoy at a later time.

First Brewery… Madison

Good local brewery serving decent beer and ok food. Buck’s Honey Wheat beer could have had a little more honey taste for my liking. My husband enjoyed the Witte. However favorite was another Vermont Brewer named Trapp. They had the Dunkel… Deliciousness. Wish I was visiting that brewery this trip…but not this journey…oh so many miles still to go..1406132633313