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Posts Tagged ‘blue mountain brewery’

label for "the gift" by Starr Hill

Image from Starr Hill

Over the long weekend my boyfriend Jay and I decided to take a cue from last year’s Washington Post article, Virginia is Also For Beer Lovers and hit the Central Va Beer Trail.  We headed out from northern VA this past Saturday morning and went straight to Beer Run in Charlottesville.  Or at least we tried to go straight there… BeerRun is a bit hard to find the first time and google maps only confused us more.  We called the place, but they were trying to give directions relative to “that gas station with the really large American flag”, which was not precise enough.  Finally, I did what I probably should have first off and called my mom for directions.  (My mom is the quick reference guide for everything and anything but in particular she specializes in Contacts, Directions, Traffic Conditions and Weather).

Anyways, by the time we got there we were starving, but I hope you won’t think that that is the sole reason that I am raving about the food at BeerRun.  I had a meatball sub on a homemade pretzel bun and Jay had a turkey and bacon sandwich.  Both were fabulous.  We also sampled the draft beer, of which they had a great selection of craft brews.  I also liked the fact that they had an option of a 10 oz glass!

Next, we drove through Charlottesville to the western outskirts to tour Starr Hill Brewery.  If we had had more time we would have stopped at South Street Brewery in downtown Charlottesville, but we’ll have to save that for next time.  Starr Hill had a great vibe.  It was just warm enough to be pleasant as we gathered round the bar for a tasting.  They offered us 6 tastes, from the Jomo Lager to the Dark Starr Stout.  We both agreed that our favorite was their winter seasonal, “the Gift”.  After the taste, while we sobered up we took a tour of the brewery.  We tasted the barley (which tastes just like Grape Nuts) and smelled the hops (which reinforced my distaste towards hops).  They noted that half of brewing is cleaning and I was quite impressed with how clean the whole plant seemed.  This was my first ever brewery tour and I look forward to doing others now that I know a bit more about the process and have something to compare it to.

Leaving Starr Hill, we headed further west about 20 minutes to the Blue Mountain Brewery for dinner.  This weekend was artic in nature, with winds that mocked us as we tried to carefully open and close car doors.  So, Blue Mountain Brewery was a perfect haven, with a big fireplace (which we had the table next to) and a warm ambiance.  We started off sharing a sampler of their brews.  It was really helpful to try the sampler right after having the tasting at Starr Hill, because they were similar enough that we could do a nice comparison and have a better appreciation of each style.  Again we agreed on our favorite, which was an old English style ale that is not one of their regular beers.  For dinner we shared a Brat Pizza, which was absolutely amazing.  It was thin style with caramelized onions and apples, locally made brats, and a balsamic reduction.  Taking half of it home, it also seemed like a ridiculously good deal.

Finally, fully satiated we drove another 20 minutes west to stay in a Marriott in Waynesboro for the night.  There were many good B&B type options, but we had settled on the Marriott for its location and indoor pool.

The next morning, we headed into Staunton, VA around 11 am.  Staunton is a cute little historic town off I-81 which is a great place for a weekend visit, except for the fact that on a Sunday morning the entire town was practically abandoned.  Even with all my planning I had not anticipated this and we were left walking around in the freezing cold trying to find some place warm and inviting.  We finally did find that, in the form of Mug Shots Coffeehouse.  Mug Shots served up excellent coffee, had plenty of nice seating and free wifi.

When we had gained enough appetite for lunch, we walked the one block to Mill Street Grill.  I had read about this lunch spot on Urban Spoon and was excited to try it.  Reviewers had raved about freshly baked bread and the best Ribs in all of Virginia.  Of course, with that bold claim in question, we had to share a rack of ribs.  The fresh baked bread came first, with a combined loaf of white, wheat and pumpernickel accompained by a sweet walnut butter.  Scrumptious.

Next came the ribs, which, were the type of food that you spend the whole rest of the day talking about.  and of course again we had a plate of delicious leftovers to take with us.  After your meal they automatically bring you a small serving of peppermint ice cream (blue bunny).  It was a nice touch.

To round out our trip we attended the matinee performance of Twelfth Night at the Blackfriars Playhouse, which was brilliantly acted.  If you have never been to the playhouse, you need to check it out.  They make Shakespeare accessible, and the playhouse itself is a replica of the original indoor theater in London.

I guess before I end this post I should explain the title.  All along our route the one thing that kept popping up was Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  Although this is a favorite burger place of ours, we managed to avoid the temptation of it with all of the other great local food we discovered.  We also mused that you really couldn’t have a Five Guys trail because it is not advisable to have Five Guys more than once in a week (if that!).

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