Friday, January 6, 2012

Vintage 50 in Leesburg, VA

While our New Year's trip was specifically a trip to visit Monticello and Montpelier, I just happened to be the one that planned our meals and, surprise surprise, a bunch of them were at brewpubs. The first stop on the trip was at Vintage 50 in Leesburg, VA. This was sort of on our way down to VA and it worked really well as a pit stop as it was a little more than halfway from Philly to Montpelier.
Pulled up to a nice brick front in what looked like an office building. As you walk in, their brewing tanks are right in the main entryway. Seemed like there were tables off to the right with a few more on the left in the bar area. We took a seat at the bar in the far corner of the room and I ordered a flight. They had, I think, six or eight beers and the flight allowed 4.

The four samples were their ESB, their ESB on cask, the Longest Night Solstice Ale, a holiday porter, and 50 Cat, an IPA.

I started with a comparison between the ESB and the ESB on cask and actually they were quite different. The normal ESB had a malty, bready nose. The flavor was similar with some grainy, cereal notes and a tiny bit of bitterness. Not too bad actually. Jo liked this version and we ended up getting a growler of it. The cask version, though, had a milder, sweeter nose. Much sweeter flavor followed, almost tasting of butterscotch. The other main difference was the cask was a bit more watery probably because of the difference in carbonation. While I liked the sweetness in the cask version, the body on the draft was way better. Jo thought the cask version tasted a little like pond water so take that as you will.
The Longest Night Solstice Ale was obviously way different. Cinnamon and ginger dominated the nose with the ginger following through in the body. Some vanilla came through but the major point was ginger. To me, this needed two things. The porter base needed to be a bit stronger to shine through the spices plus toning down the ginger a little. However, the latter can't really be done without the former since there wouldn't be enough flavor otherwise.

The last was their 50 Cat IPA. Mild citrus nose. Nice orange citrus body with a bitter finish but still a bit more mild than I'm looking for in an IPA. Pretty easy drinking though.

The food was pretty good here too. Jo and I both got sandwiches that were both quite tasty so it has that going for it. Not bad for our first stop on the trip as none of the beers were bad, just too mild for my tastes. They apparently just got a new brewer so hopefully she can bring a bit more flavor to their beers.

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