VIRGINIA BEACH — It’s not often a third birthday party features beer and pizza, but when the water dog celebrates three years, it’s time to party.
Wasserhund Brewing Company on Laskin Road was born from a love of the beach, dogs, and the rivers of German beer that flow in the beer tents during the Munich Oktoberfest – where owners Christine and Aaron Holley came to a realization in 2012.
“After spending just 10 days in the country, we realized we loved everything about German beer styles and the beer culture that went with it,” Christine said. “We began discussing opening a brewery when Aaron got out of the Navy, which would bring that German culture to Virginia Beach.”
Wasserhund is German for water dog.
In August 2015 the couple’s idea became reality and they opened the doors of Wasserhund. They started with a small two-barrel system that was operated right in the kitchen under the hood.
One year later they expanded and opened a 15-barrel brewhouse with 30-barrel fermenters. That expansion, Christine said, has allowed them to distribute their beer to restaurants and venues around Hampton Roads.
Anyone who has been to Wasserhund in search of beer knows it’s also a place where hungry people can find some delicious pizza as well.
So is it a brewery that serves pizza or a pizzeria that sells beer?
“I would say Wasserhund is a brewery that pairs their beer with amazing artisan pizza,” Christine said. “We have developed a menu that incorporates our beer into almost every aspect of our food. When you experience our food menu, you are also experiencing how important beer is to us.”
They use beer yeast in their pizza dough, beer in their beer mustard and beer cheese, beer in their Italian and sriracha sausage, everything possible is made from scratch daily to bring a freshness and uniqueness to their products.
Wasserhund will celebrate three years of brewing beer on Aug. 25. There’ll be some interesting new one-off beer selections that will be paired with never before seen pizza creations (for instance, you can try Maple Eisbock Style Ale and Chocolate Banana pizza, or perhaps an Apple Pie Lager paired with Philly Cheese Steak pizza sounds yummier).
“Our 12 longest tenured employees got to create either a beer or pizza recipe that will be released to the public just on that day,” Christine said. “One keg of each beer has been brewed and created and the pizzas have all been tested and tweaked to make each one delicious and different than anything we’ve ever had on our menu.”
Her favorite part of the whole event, she said, is that Wasserhund’s employees are the driving force behind each innovation. They’ll get to put their name on a product, call it their own, and even see the costumers enjoying it.
Aaron has put together a few beers that he began working on eight months ago in preparation for the anniversary. They’ll include three barrel-aged beers: a Helles Doppelbock, aged in Port Barrels for eight months; a never before released Triple, aged in red wine barrels for six months; and a surprise beer that he hasn’t announced yet.
The anniversary event will begin at noon, with live music from 3 p.m. to midnight.
“We’ve grown and transformed over the past three years into something that Aaron and I are so proud to call our own,” Christine said. “Wasserhund is a fully husband/wife, veteran, local, and woman owned business.”