Monday, October 17, 2011

Drink Local?

I like to support local business. I like local beer, local wine, local cheeses, local cider, locally made bread, local meat. Supporting local food producers is a good thing in my book. Living in Central Virginia means there are lots of local food producers to support.

Friday was the 6th anniversary since that fateful night at Pivovarský klub when I met Mrs V for the very first time, and so we decided to go out for a nice meal. The meal was nice, if a touch on the skimpy side portion wise, you don't get to be velky by eating maly portions. The wine was pricey, the beer was not unduly. I left the restaurant with mixed feelings, basically if the portions had been about 35% bigger it would have been better, as would a warning about the presence of nuts in a starter. My overwhelming sense though was one of wondering what beer has to do to be taken seriously in the restaurant world?

The restaurant in question, trumpets its support for local farmers on its menu, has a couple of local wines on their list, and precisely zero local beer. Apparently the Octoberfest lager being made and sold by Blue Mountain isn't good enough for this place, but the Erdinger Oktoberfest is. While the Erdinger was decent enough, I'd happily paid the same amount of money for a bottle of something that hadn't come all the way from Germany. One of the reasons I was quite happy to go to this particular restaurant was that they had listed a couple of Blue Mountain beers on their website menu, including the 151 Kölsch which I very much enjoy, but the real menu didn't have anything local.

While I like my beers from around the world, I would like to see more support for our local beers in Charlottesville restaurants. Sure, places like Outback and Applebee's have stuff from Starr Hill, but you have ask what local brews they have. Thankfully, unlike a certain place in Florida, their staff also happen to know that Miller Lite is not a local beer. I can think of places here that have an, admittedly delicious, IPA from Eastern Virginia on tap, but nothing local other than in bottles.

It seems as though every year I have lived in Charlottesville multiple bits of bling have made their way from the Great American Beer Festival to this area. Yet getting a pint of draft local beer in many of the pubs here is a serious pain in the arse, unless of course you go to one of the brewpubs themselves. Perhaps too many places are trying to be sexy and trendy rather than supporting their excellent local brewers?


  1. I guess it helps that 90% of the time I eat out I'm at a brewpub.

  2. working to change that same problem here in RVA.

  3. Velky-Is it b/c few locals know what the "local brews are"? I have friends in Richmond who have never heard of Blue Mountain or Devil's Backbone, and have never tried Starr Hill. They claim to be "foody" people and like VA wine. Is this a marketing issue for the local breweries?-GeauxT


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