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US. Six local breweries gather to begin second beer batch

Last week, six local beer brewers gathered at Devils Backbone Brewery near Roseland to begin a second batch of their popular collaborative beer, the Brew Ridge Trail Black IPA.
In July of last year, the first-ever collaborative effort from Jason Oliver and Aaron Reilly of Devils Backbone Brewery, Jacque Landry of South Street Brewery in Charlottesville, Matt Nucci of Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton and Mark Thompson of Starr Hill brewery in Charlottesville produced around 50 kegs of the hoppy brew.
The Brew Ridge Trail was created two years ago as a way to help promote local breweries, much like similar wine trails throughout Central Virginia.
Starr Hill Brewery played host to the first Brew Ridge Trail collabo-fest in 2010.
Jason Oliver said this time they’d bring the brew to Nelson.
“It’s a very dark, hoppy beer,” Oliver said. “It was very successful. I thought it would be fun to do it again, but over here. So we’re going to be brewing a smaller batch, exactly one third of the size as what was brewed at Starr Hill in the summertime.”
The Black IPA is made from five different types of hops and four different malts, Oliver said. It was debuted at the Brew Ridge Trail Music Festival in Roseland last August.
Each brewery received around three kegs of the beer and some went to local bars in Charlottesville.
“The first batch sold though in probably about a week or so,” Oliver said. “It went out really quick and created a lot of buzz. It was a great beer but it was here and then it was gone.”
This year, the brewers are adding a new member to the team: Danny Wolf, of Wild Wolf Brewing Company, the newest brewery in Nelson County.
So new, that the brewery itself hasn’t even been built yet. Wolf, along with his family, operates a home-brewing store in Nellysford that opened last October.
The shop has been doing great, Wolf said. And the other members of the Brew Ridge Trail have been very welcoming.
“The beer is selling incredibly well,” he said. “Five days into selling beer we decided to upgrade our system. We nearly sold out (of beer) in the first couple of weeks. We ordered something that was three times as big.”
Aaron Reilly said the comradery among the members of the Brew Ridge Trail is something most people don’t expect.
“When something happens, like somebody’s equipment goes down, everybody jumps up to lend a helping hand. Or borrow some ingredients here, borrow some yeast there,” he said. “It’s really just a collaborative effort. Everybody has that mindset that if there is a bigger pie, we’ll all get a bigger slice.”
Unfortunately, this time for the collaborative brew, the size will be smaller.
Oliver said since their brewing system is smaller than Starr Hill’s, there will be one-third the amount of beer produced from this brewing than was produced the first time and the beer will be ready for serving in about a month.
Smaller amounts don’t equal smaller taste, though.
“I think this is a great thing to do again not only to satisfy the thirst sales out there initially, but just to do it,” Oliver said. “It was such a good beer that I’m just looking forward to tasting it again.”

10 Feb. 2011

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