Jan 5, 2015

Heritage Brewing Celebrates First Anniversary

This past Saturday I ventured out into the cold, drizzling day and pointed the truck toward Manassass and Heritage Brewing. The company was celebrating their first full year in business and I wanted to show my gratitude and appreciation by enjoying a pint and filling up my growler.

The place was already jumping with a decent crowd by the time I arrived. Sean (CEO and driving force behind the company) recommended that I go with a glass of Kings Mountain housed in a firkin with cocoa nibs, vanilla and coffee bean. I grabbed the snifter (that really shines once it’s had a chance to warm in the glass) and was allowed to join a tour of the complex already in progress. I’ve had the opportunity to wander around the brewery in past visits, but this was the first time that I’ve had the chance to check out the barrel and storage room — it would prove to be a treat of a visit.

Heritage Brewing Celebrates First Anniversary photo
Heritage Brewing Celebrates First Anniversary photo

Sean, tour guide Keith and head brewer Bo all took turns explaining what was going on with the cellaring program and answering visitor questions. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, this crew is some of the brightest and friendliest folks that I’ve had the opportunity to meet.

When all initial comments and inquiries were taken care of, Sean shared with the group of 15 or so folks a sample from a Catoctin Creek rye whiskey barrel that had been housing something special since January of 2014.

Heritage Brewing Celebrates First Anniversary photo

What started out as a base of Battle for White Marsh was then fermented five more (I believe that’s correct) times throughout the year. The result is an other-worldly beer that weighs in at roughly 22% ABV, but drank so much smoother than that with rich caramel, vanilla, woody notes, dark fruits and distant yeast — a beer that would easily rival some of the better barrel aged beers in the U.S., that is if the brewery ever decided to release it to the public.

Tour complete, every one headed back to the primary building and a crowd that seemed to have doubled in size during the short time we were away. Before leaving with a full growler, I enjoyed a flight of four experimental releases.

Heritage Brewing Celebrates First Anniversary photo

Moving from right to left in the photo above, the first was a brandy barrel aged brew (I can’t remember which beer served as the base) that was decadent and tasty. A wood-aged Revolution also produced a large grin on my face. The third sample was a honey and roasted red pepper product that was effervescent and mead-like in it’s presentation. I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed that one. The last was a brew dry-hopped with an experimental Virginia hop variety that showed some potential, but needed a bit more time to develop fully.

As usual, my visit with Heritage Brewing was a treat and only proved to reinforce what I already know about these guys. Their hard work and strong DIY work ethic are starting to show dividends. There’s a great deal of good news coming from the brewery and I expect even more great things from these guys in the years to come. Congrats again, gentlemen.