Young Veterans Brewing is the Bomb
A few months back I did a review of a few of Young Veterans Brewing Co. brews. Well, I’m back to sing their praises. As stated in the last review, they intended on opening in early June. However, they might have caught the same bug that delayed Smartmouth brewing from opening up last October. All is finally well and they are open! But I’m guessing that most local beer enthusiasts have heard! And most national beer nerds have been informed since they have been interviewed and published in everything from the Washington Post to Fox News. This is a new breweries dream. Free Press! It hasn’t been all flash and no cash. In August, two versions of a local beer contest were held entitled “Battle of the beers”. The Virginia Beach version was held at Tapped and the Norfolk version at 80/20 Burger Bar. Their Jet Noise Double IPA didn’t just win one of them but swept the competition at both judging. A well deserved victory for the new guys.
I swung down to talk to the co-owners Thomas Wilder (President) and Neil McCanon (Head Brewer) and ask them how it has been going since they opened. The two were sitting at a makeshift desk next to the brew house at the back of the facility. They honestly looked tired, but in a good way. A type of tired one gets after the end of a hard day of work. Their passion is written all over their faces and it is channeled into their brew. After a brief conversation, I ask each of them what the most hated/ challenging part of their job was.
“I hate paperwork, paying taxes and anything else that keeps me away from the brewing process,” stated Tom Wilder.
Neil McCannon continued, “In the military, I always had someone over me to take care of a problem that I couldn’t solve. Here, there is no one else. I’m the end of the line.”
I was also curious how they felt moments before opening their doors. People had been lining up four hours before the opening and the line stretched across the parking lot.
“All of our hard work and all of our waiting didn’t mean anything. The time was here,” Neil quickly responded.
“The moment was surreal. It was a moment that still hasn’t fully sunk in. The reception was overwhelming,” Tom added.
Well, enough with the gibber-gabber and onto the brew. We quickly migrated to the tasting room. They share the space with a cooper art studio. The art is tastefully displayed and other décor reminds me of cool coffee shop with plenty of seating, music and a T.V. The room is very casual, very relaxing and very inviting.
The first round was one of their new brews called New Recruit Honey Blond Ale. Every craft brewery usually has a brew that they consider a “gateway” or “ introduction” beer that they brew for people that are migrating into craft beer. New Recruit is YVBC’s version.
The pour is a cloudy orange color with lemony hues on the edges of the pint. The head is a pillowy white that slowly receded and leaves nice lacing on the inside of the pint. The nose is light with hints of honey, bread and citrus. As I bend an elbow, the taste is much more than I expected. The dominant taste of honey shines through on my taste buds from the clover honey and honey malts. It is a medium bodied brew with notes of bread, citrus and a slight of bitterness. New Recruit finishes with (you guessed it) a touch of honey. At 5.3% ABV and 28 IBU, this is a very quaffable brew that anyone can enjoy not just the newbies and perfect for tailgating!
Other notable local beers in the style: O’Connor’s Green Can and St. George Golden Ale.
Food Pairings: Spicy Buffalo wings, fried white fish or a veggie burrito.
The next round was up and for this one we went to the dark side. Night Vision Stout is an American interpretation of an English classic. As Neil placed the pint in front of me all I could think was “Damn, that dark.” It’s like turning off all the lights and closing your eyes sort of black. The head looked whipped cocoa butter and smelled of cocoa nibs, cold coffee and a slight hint of burnt molasses. The taste didn’t disappoint! The black patent and roasted malts were in charge of this brew. Lots of roasted coffee and chocolate swirled around in a medium bodied brew. A nice syrupy form of baker’s chocolate was all that lingered afterwards. Although the guys disagreed with me and assured me that this was truly American in nature, it reminded me of an English stout on steroids. Whatever you’d like to call it, Its a fine stout.
Other notable beers in the style: O’Connor’s Irish Stout, Alewerks Coffeehouse Stout and Founders Breakfast Stout.
Food Pairings: Irish stew, Chicken noodle soup or Ben and Jerry’s “Half Baked” ice cream!
Normally this would be the end but the guys twisted my arm to stick around for a quick sample of a brew that they have been working on for quite some time. Shortly afterwards a bottle of what they called Bravo Foxtrot sat before. A Belgian styled strong ale aged on French oak and comes in at a eyebrow raising 11% ABV. Wow! Without letting too much information out there, it’s delicious and will be available to the public by the end of the year in limited bottles.
Please give these guys a visit at their tasting room located at 2505 Horse Pasture Road, Virginia Beach, VA or visit their website, www.youngveteransbrewco.com. Also, all six of their brews will be available for pints or growler fill by mid-October and they will be hosting “Boo and Brew” on October 26 from 10am -11pm. Please check their website for more details.
As usual, fine me on FB “Virginia Beach Beer Page” for comments, requests or general hate mail. Cheers!!