Dec 30, 2013

Heritage Brewing New Years Eve Grand Opening

Manassas’ Heritage Brewing officially opens its doors this Tuesday, December 31st, with a grand opening party from 5PM to 1AM. I unfortunately will not be able to make it — I have a previously scheduled lego building engagement — but I was able to stop by this past weekend and sample some of the treats that Sean, Julian and Ryan (who I finally had an opportunity to meet) have prepared for those that can make the opening.

I arrived as the guys (with help from some friends) were just putting the finishing touches on the last of the many empty kegs that will be filled over the next couple of days.

There have been a few changes since my last visit prior to Thanksgiving. The bar has been refitted with a new home-built — these guys are the very definition of do-it-yourself — concrete top. And, aside from a few bugs with the installment, the company’s brewing system is cranking away with some pretty darn good beers.

Amongst the samples I tried on this latest visit, a few I’ve had previously (The Teddy, Revolution and Kings Mountain), I was able to check out a few more that may or may not be ready for New Year’s Eve.

The first two will be part of Heritage’s year round offerings. Ironsides is a 4.8% ABV IPA that has a decent hop profile, but won’t overwhelm the palate or your skull after a couple of pints. And the one that I am most looking forward in future visits is Sovereign, a 4% ABV stout that, despite the absence of any coffee in the recipe, is packed full of roasty goodness. It felt a little thin coming right out of the tank, but should be quite excellent when pulled off of a nitro tap at the bar.

The third brew that I was able to sample right from the tank was the company’s Fall seasonal. Bradford is fermented with organic pumpkin, assorted spices and bourbon infused cinnamon sticks. The result is a beer with seasonally appropriate flavors and excellent drinkability. I’d love to see two versions of this beer — an imperial version that I can enjoy as a digestif after eating too much Thanksgiving turkey and a barrel aged version. As it stood there wasn’t much of a bourbon character to Bradfor, but I think a little more oomph in this area would make for one of the better seasonal brews in the area.

While the year-round brews will drive the majority of the company’s business, the guys also have a small pilot system for experimental and one-off batches. A flight of four tasters was more than enough to know that these guys are going to have some serious fun with this end of the business. First up was a smooth drinking witbier with a touch of honey. Second was a hop-forward saison-style brew that had good citrus notes. Third was a late hop pale ale brewed with whole-cone Citra hops that, despite being a few weeks old, was excellent — it had a solid hop character and excellent balance.

The final experimental brew I sampled can only be described as a salsa verde beer. It had a great green chili aroma, drank easy and had just a tingle of chili heat late in the finish. I actually liked this one a good deal and wished I had a taco or two to accompany it.

As usual, it was great to visit with the Heritage guys, but they had a ton of work to get done for the coming week so I was sure not to overstay my welcome. I’m bummed that I won’t be able to make the grand opening, but look forward to the many visits and pints in the future.