Aug 18, 2014

Old Bust Head Brewing Taproom Grand Opening

This past weekend (Friday through Sunday) saw the grand opening of Old Bust Head Brewing’s freshly completed taproom. The company has actually been open to the public for several months now, bringing craft beer to Fauquier County. The event also served to announce the release of their Gold Cup Russian Imperial Stout. With the promise of locally brewed beer, good food and baby goats, I packed up the family this Sunday and headed on over to the brewery for a drink and bite to eat.

A short 15 minutes later, we pulled into a newly paved parking lot. The last time I was here was for the company’s official opening to the public and the lot was pretty beat up and mostly gravel. A brief line formed at the taproom’s entrance as the adults were carded and given wrist bands — excited kids of varying ages bounced in anticipation of petting goats, bunnies and other furry creatures. The exterior of the building looked good even under the pale gray sky, showcasing exposed beams and a large sign.

Old Bust Head Brewing Taproom photo

Upon entering, you’re greeted by an open space with polished concrete floors and more exposed beams. The interior is industrial, but still friendly as large boards behind the bar inform you of what’s on tap for today. My wife and daughter wandered around checking out the interior and merchandise while I hopped in line to order a flight. I can tell you this, the operation inside was well organized with plenty of folks on staff to direct you to the right location and take orders. I would presume that by the third day they would have ironed out the kinks and it appeared as though everything was flowing nicely.

Old Bust Head Brewing Taproom photo

Knowing what I was interested in and what my wife likes to drink, I set up our shared order and carried the flight to one of the many family style tables in the taproom. As comfortable as the interior of the place is, we found it a bit too loud — without much soft textures within the confines of the large room, voices carried and echoed easily throughout — so we opted to sit outside in the loading area which was also closer to the baby goats, making our daughter that much happier. Sitting outside also offered us a nice view of the brewing equipment.

Old Bust Head Brewing Taproom photo

While our daughter wondered off to pet the critters, the wife and I started sipping on the flight. The line-up consisted of the brewery’s Chukker Pilsner, Shorthorn Pale Ale, Chinquapin Chestnut Porter and the newly released Gold Cup Russian Imperial stout (served on nitro).

We both found the Chukker Pilsner (4.4% ABV) to be light and refreshing with a clean, slightly drying finish. The Shorthorn Pale Ale (5.8% ABV) was the hoppiest of the bunch with a good amount of citrusy/piney character and moderate bitterness. I’ve reviewed the company’s Wildcate IPA on this site in the past, but found the Shorthorn to carry a much more pronounced hop flavor.

Old Bust Head Brewing Taproom photo

Next up was my wife’s favorite of the bunch, the Chinqupin Chestnut Porter (5.1% ABV). It had good flavor with plenty of nuttiness and soft char. We both agreed that it would be great in a beef stew recipe. I found it a bit thin on the palate, presenting itself more like a brown ale than porter. Finally, we arrived at the 10% ABV Gold Cup Russian Imperial Stout. The nitro influence made for a beer that was deceptively smooth and even keeled. It also was a beer that really didn’t bring much to the table in terms of depth of flavor.

I made sure to purchase a growler of the stout which was not dispensed with nitro and sipped on a glass later in the evening. What I found was a more dynamic beer with depth and layers of flavor. Apparently, the nitro not only smoothed out the texture, but also appeared to deaden some of the flavors. I’ll have a full review on Gold Cup published at a later date.

We also enjoyed a plate of chicken nachos courtesy Chef Beckles (formerly of Capital Alehouse and Lost Rhino Brewing) that went nicely with the Shorthorn and Chukker. All in all, we had a good time enjoying some new brews and relaxing. There was a good sized crowd by the time we left. The taproom looks impressive and knowing that the company has put a solid chunk of money into the brewery in a rather short time, that’s no surprise. We’ll definitely be back in the future to enjoy a couple of brews. Luckily, the kid didn’t try to abscond with a baby goat as we made our exit.