While Kim is off learning all things on weight management… I (Steve, Kim’s Husband) am frolicking around the Colonial Capital of America sampling all that it has to offer. I will skip expanding upon the stop at the outlet mall, the dodging of William & Mary students and colonial actors, and focus in on the event of the day, a tour of Williamsburg AleWerks.
I like all styles of beer, but I especially enjoy microbrews. When I decided to visit the only Microbrewery in Williamsburg, I tried to cast away any preconceived notions of mediocrity. It was hard, considering it could have prompted a lot of colonial clichés and only brew average beer, as does the brewing giant (Anheuser-Busch) just a stones throw away. I tried going in with an open mind, but the thought was there, lingering like the taste of a last sip of lukewarm mass produced light lager.
I drove up to the location in an industrial park, which began to sway my opinion. It did not have the overdone commercial appeal that I thought it might. I parked the car and checked in at the gift shop and tasting room. It had the standard array of craft brew merchandise and did not overplay the colonial aspect. So far it was status quo of being a small microbrewery with the prime focus on its product. One of the founders gave the tour, in which he balanced the aspects that all brewery tours hit upon (history, beer making process, and tasting notes) nicely. Fittingly, the tour was more weighted on the history of beer, craft brewing, and the individual history of the brewery. The guide explained the equipment and its origins in the relatively small 50’ x 50’ brewhouse. Every piece had a story and history, as did the employees working there. The knowledge was presented in a story-like fashion which was entertaining, informative, and made for a good tour. We ended in the tasting room, which would prove that this particular microbrewery was far from average.
Every beer was exceptional without trying too hard to be. Often I find beers that try to set themselves apart from the rest go a bit overboard on certain aspects. Overwhelming spices and unnatural flavors place a damper on the drinking experience. This was not the case here. Every beer exuberated the flavors of its type. From the Pale Ale to the Porter, the IPA to the White Ale, they were all excellent without really trying. Two beers stood out because of extraordinary ingredients. The first is the Bourbon Barrel Porter, made with cane sugar from Haiti and aged in local Bourbon barrels for two months. Both of these elements are of such outstanding quality, it makes for a delightful sipping experience. The other is the seasonal Pumpkin Ale, made with hand picked pumpkins. They are sent to a local restaurant to bake and caramelize before entering the brewing process. The care in the process makes the finished product stand apart from other pumpkin ales. It was one of the best Pumpkin Ales I have tried.
After the tour and tasting, I was sold. This is a microbrewery that embraces and not exploits it’s location while using quality ingredients to make exceptional beer. Be sure to check them out if you are in the area or this may be the result…
Til’ next guest post,