If you are a regular follower of this website then you will of course know that Mrs Velkyal and I got out of town this weekend and headed up the I-64 to Williamsburg, oh and thank you for being a regular reader, it is much appreciated. We had in mind a few things to do over the weekend, admittedly mostly beer related though not exclusively. I am fairly sure that you are not here for the delights of Colonial Williamsburg, and delightful it is, but rather for the beer stuff, so to the beer stuff we go. Also if you read this site often, you will know that I planned to mark the 5th anniversary of meeting Mrs Velkyal with a bottle of J.W. Lees 2005 Harvest Ale, here's a picture, it was very nice!
The first order of business over the weekend was a trip to Williamsburg Alewerks, a brewery that could very easily become a favourite of mine. At the Connoisseur session of the River Bend Beer Festival last month, I tried their Cafe Royale, a barrel aged imperial stout aged that is obscenely smooth and drinkable for such a potent brew, so I knew I wanted to get down to the brewery do a tasting, pick up some more beer and perhaps get some merchandise.
Down a winding lane in an industrial estate, the brewery has a shop right next door and it has to have been one of the best tasting/merchandising setups I have seen in a brewery. Everything was nicely laid out and it felt clean and welcoming. We did our tasting, including their porter from a wooden cask, though not primed I believe as it was flat, but it made an interesting counterpoint to their standard porter, with which I filled one of my growlers. I also bought a boxed set of their Brewmaster Reserve series, which includes the aforementioned Cafe Royale, an American Barleywine and a Farmhouse Ale.
As I have written about before, I have a soft spot for glassware. That doesn't necessarily mean that I am convinced by the whole glass shapes for certain beers thing, but I like to have branded glassware floating about. The hand-blown goblet I got on Saturday then has instantly become one of my favourites, not quite in the same league as my Lovibonds glasses, but still, very, very nice. I am sure you'll see it around on Fuggled when I post tasting notes, but you can also see the type of glass here.
While at the Alewerks, we were talking with the girls in the shop about a pub that had been recommended independently to both Mrs Velkyal and myself, a place called Green Leafe. Having been assured that it was worth going to, we went to. One quick aside, parking in Williamsburg can be a pain in the backside at times, especially when you don't look a little bit into the distance and so circle the parking garage a couple of times before realising that's what it was.
Green Leafe is quite simply a pub, as a pub should be. Not too bright, bare wooden floor and an atmosphere suggesting that serious drinking gets done in this place, oh and they had a hand pump! Unfortunately though they had nothing on cask on Saturday, but they had some very good beers including the 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing. The only bum note beer wise was having Old Speckled Hen from a nitro tap. We ended up sat at the bar for a few hours, chatting with the excellent bar staff and enjoying some of the best fish and chips I have had in a very long time, and discovering the joys of soft pretzels with mustard just in case the fish and chips hadn't quite only filled my left leg. In the world of Mrs Velkyal and I, we can only give Green Leafe the highest praise possible, if we lived in Williamsburg, it would be our local.
All in all then we had a good weekend, with plenty of good beer, decent food and walking for hours on end with our dog, rounded off with a stop in Richmond for lunch at Legend Brewery with Eric of Relentless Thirst fame.
Is it possible to have a better weekend?