Sunday, December 3, 2023

New year brings new releases from local craft brewers and distillers

_DSC9643 (1)
Copper Fox Distillery Manager Karen Gattuso has added two new cocktails to the distillery’s tasting bar for the new year. (Steve Roberts, Jr./WYDaily)


From corn and cocoa to raspberries and vanilla, local craft beverage makers have been busy concocting new ways to keep you feeling warm this winter.

On the sunny side, there’s “I’m Yours,” a limited-edition offering from Williamsburg’s Silver Hand Meadery, 224 Monticello Avenue. Like Silver Hand’s previous meads, which blend ingredients such as honey, water and yeast, the title is inspired by a popular song. In this case, it’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder.

As for the mead itself, “I’m Yours” features raspberry-blossom honey, vanilla bean and roasted fair-trade organic cocoa nibs, giving it a coffee note, according to founder Glenn Lavender.

“It’s kind of like a berry-chocolate mead,” he said in a phone interview.

For tastings, Silver Hand is pairing “I’m Yours” with a square of dark chocolate.

“It’s really nice,” Lavender said.

Silver Hand is open Monday through Friday from 12:30-5:30 p.m., Saturdays from 12-6 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.

Lavender hearts mead
A Valentine-inspired mead owes its name to a 70s Motown hit by Stevie Wonder. (Courtesy Silver Hand Meadery)

If you’re on the rebound, look no further than Alewerks Brewing Co., 197B Ewell Road.

One of its February craft brews is “Bitter Valentine,” a double IPA that combines citrus, stone fruit and a dry, cleansing finish, according to an email from Marketing Director Jeff Phillips.

“A bitter valentine for you to love, however unrequited,” he wrote.

In a similar vein, Alewerks will unveil “Bitterest Valentine” on Feb. 11. It’s also a double IPA with a boost of aged orange and grapefruit peels, as well as a custom dry-hop blend.

For Europhiles, Alwerks released “Alewerks White Ale,” a Belgian-style witbeir on Saturday, Feb. 4. It’s made in the Belgian tradition and brewed with coriander and orange peel, according to Phillips.

Alewerks is open Mondays through Saturdays from 12-9 p.m. and Sundays from 12-6 p.m.

Valentine contrarians may find a lot to like at Alewerks this month. (Courtesy Alewerks)
Valentine contrarians may find a lot to like at Alewerks this month. (Courtesy Alewerks)

If full-flavored is more your thing, there’s “The Savory Brown,” a brown ale with mushrooms at Brass Cannon Brewing, 5476 Mooretown Road. 

But you’ll need to hurry; it’s from a line of rotating brews made in batches of five to 15 gallons and it won’t last much longer, according to Scott Kennedy, head brewer and co-founder.

“It is definitely probably the strangest thing we’ve had on,” he said.

Next up for Brass Cannon is to start work on a blonde ale, with pilsner malt, hops and yeast. They hope to have it ready this spring, if all goes well.

“It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while,” Kennedy said. “It’ll be out when we decide we like it.”

Brass Cannon is open Sundays through Tuesdays from 12-7 p.m. and Thursdays through Saturdays from 12-9 p.m.

At Williamsburg’s Virginia Beer Co., 401 Second Street., winter is still very much on tap.

One of its current small-batch offerings, known as “workshop” beers, is an Imperial Oatmeal Porter with vanilla. It came out last month, according to Tap Room Manager Luci Legaspi, and it’s a milestone in its own right: the brewery’s one-hundredth batch.

Another workshop brew on tap now is “Mosaic Pale Ale,” which is herbal, tropical and piney, Legaspi said.

Later this month, Virginia Beer Co. will unveil a bourbon barrel-aged “Imperial Brown Ale.”

“Its gonna be boozy,” Legaspi said. “It’ll be rich in flavor.”

On the rocks or on tap, local brewers and distillers are getting creative with winter ingredients, like these pear- and grapefruit-infused cocktails at Copper Fox Distillery. (Steve Roberts/WYDaily)
On the rocks or on tap, local brewers and distillers are getting creative with winter ingredients, like these pear- and grapefruit-infused cocktails at Copper Fox Distillery. (Steve Roberts, Jr./WYDaily)

Virginia Beer Co. is open Fridays and Saturdays from 12-9:30 p.m., Sundays from 12-7 p.m. and Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4-9 p.m.

If February leaves you inclined to reach for the hard stuff, take note.

Copper Fox Distillery, 901 Capitol Landing Road, has two new cocktails on its tasting bar, according to its manager, Karen Gattuso.

One is called “Original Sin,” and it’s a blend of pear, smoked black tea syrup and whisky; the other is “Winter’s Blush,” and it’s a mix of gin, raspberry syrup and freshly squeezed grapefruit, Gattuso said.

Copper Fox is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1-6 p.m.

Williamsburg Distillery, 7218 Merrimack Trail, is hosting a tasting of its first eighteenth century-style bourbon on Feb. 23 from 6:30-9 p.m.

The bourbon is colonial-style, because it’s made from a multi-colored, locally grown Indian corn with a high sugar content and carbohydrate yield, according to Dr. Bill Dodson, the owner. Farmers had to specially order the seed, he said.

“It’s nowhere near the corn you eat now,” he added.

The bourbon has been aging for about a year, according to Dodson. It won’t be ready for roughly another two years, so the event is like a teaching seminar.

Admission costs $45 and comes with a bourbon tasting, three cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a 20 percent discount on merchandise. More information is available here.

“It’s for the person that’s really interested in whiskey,” Dodson said.

Previous article
Next article
Joan Quigley
Joan Quigley
Joan Quigley is a former Miami Herald business reporter, a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and an attorney. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post,, and Talking Points Memo. Her recent book, Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation’s Capital, was shortlisted for the 2017 Mark Lynton History Prize. Her first book, The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy, won the 2005 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.

Related Articles