Ramble On

Monday, September 19, 2016

Visiting @sevenarrowsbrew in Waynesboro

It's been a year or two since I was down in Waynesboro, a town I enjoy visiting because that is where the southern entry to Shenandoah National Park is, and there are some really good hikes there in the Park's Southern District.  On Saturday I was running Virginia Craft Brewing errands run, so I passed through on my way back to Luray.  While some of my Waynesboro favorites are Rockfish Gap Outfitter and Scotto's Pizzeria, I've been tracking the opening of Seven Arrows Brewing, and made sure I had the chance to stop in for a visit.

Now, I mentioned the day was spent out on Virginia Craft Brewing errands.  I started out with a drive to Richmond, because Hawksbill Hop Yards had been invited to participate in an all-Virginia beer planned by Stone Brewing's outpost there.  I delivered 15 pounds of our dried Cascade hops to David at Piedmont Hops, who was organizing the hops bill for Stone.  After delivering the hops, I set course for Waynesboro.

A check of Seven Arrows' web site shows that they opened in 2014 - the founders are Melissa and Aaron, who pursued this dream after he achieved a diploma in brewing at Miller-Coors' Shenandoah  Valley operation and she completed an MBA at James Madison.    They’ve written a compelling mission statement:  To uphold superb quality at all levels of production and satisfying all our customers.  Stay aware of the impact of taste, look, and feel of a good beer as well as its cost impact to the market.  Provide value to our customers who are concerned about a quality product that is offered at a reasonable price.

So, after having learned about them during my own market research for Hawksbill Hops, I thought I would stop by on my way through town.  They're in a little office park on the west side, so I pulled in to get a flight after a quick lunch at Scotto's.

They had a generous tap list, covering several styles, and organized around four standards, a seasonal, and seven rotating beers.  I chose a custom flight, and five beers were offered to me based on their IBU ratings:
  • Harvested Apple Lager
  • Caretaker Kolsch
  • Fallen Timbers Oktoberfest
  • Ashen White IPA
  • Eventide IPA

These days, I do spend a little bit of time savoring a flight, and as I was taking notes about these, the bartender came by to chat about the beers.  I was particularly interested in knowing about their use of local ingredients, and he told me that local hops had been part of the lager I tried.  We also talked about how Seven Arrows is part of the Shenandoah Beer Works Trail, which has a farm to tap promotion this fall.

The beers I tried lived up to the brewery's mission statement - "taste, look, and feel" were solid on these offerings, and from the first presentation I could tell I was looking at good quality.  To my palate, two of the beers really stood out, so I'll highlight them specifically:

Harvested Apple Lager – they make this with cider from the Pacific Northwest.  As I tasted this dry lager, I could detect the apple aromas and a slight flavor of them in the beer.  The IBUs were only 12, so they underscored everything else going on in the beer rather than driving the flavor. 

Ashen White IPA – this beer was hopped less than the standard IPA they have on tap.  The malt bill for this includes wheat, a style that has been growing on me since I visited Boulevard in Kansas City a few years ago.  Overall, my favorite beer of the day.

I was really glad to have made the stop.  These were good beers and it seems like trying a flight there from time to time would introduce new ideas and flavors.  I'll look forward to a future trip!

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