B Chord Brewing Sings a Happy Song in Northern VA
B Chord Brewing has been open nearly a year in Round Hill, VA.
By Phil Galewitz
Pulling up to B Chord Brewing in bucolic Round Hill, VA, I could feel the stress leaving my body as I turned my car off the short dirt road and saw the large barn-type building sitting in middle lush green field. B Chord is one of the newest farm breweries to open in Northern Virginia – and it’s one of the most inviting to beer fans and their dogs. Our dog, Leo, had a blast frolicking on the giant, hilly lawn that sits outside the brewery and taproom. B Chord even invites well-behaved pups into the open-air building that holds the 10-bbl brewing system and several picnic style tables.
B Chord opened last November in western Loudon County just off Route 7. After a cold and snowy winter, it’s just been able to show off its gorgeous surroundings since spring. But B Chord is more than just a place with nice scenery. It has serious beer chops, too. Chord merged with Corcoran Brewing, acquiring the Purcellville, VA brewery that’s been since been closed. It has hired Favio Garcia, formerly of Lost Rhino Brewing in Ashburn as its head brewer. B Chord offers a wide range of beers from its Honey Wheat, a 4.5% brew made with local honey to its Coffee Stout, a 6.5% brew with made with locally brewed coffee that has a creamy mouthfeel. The brewery also offers three types of IPAs, ranging from 5.1% to 7.5% and with a variety of different hops.
Co-Owners Rose and Marty Dougherty used to help provide a high-speed Wi-Fi service in rural parts of Loudoun County before they embarked with friends on building and operating a brewery. They spent nearly two years trying to develop a brewery in nearby Bluemont but Virginia brewery regulators denied a license after objections from nearby homeowners. Their current 64-acre farm site was supposed to be carved up into a new subdivision of houses before it was purchased to make room for a brewery.
The name B-Chord is a slang term from the bluegrass music world and signals that you’re having a good day. As its name implies, music is a big part of the brewery – they have a professional stage set up with large speakers and even a video taping system. B Chord wants to make the live music as big an attraction as the beer and it’s off to a good start. Sunday evenings are Irish music. Neighborhood Nights begin Tues. evenings at 5:30 featuring a weekly celebration of local music and culture with discounted pints and an open jam session. It’s also just launched the Dynamic Duo Series each Thursday night bringing two members of different local bands together for a collaborative, improvisational musical experience.
The brewery has food service out of a small tent off the back of the brewery called R Hoppy Eatery, which offers burritos, quesadillas and nachos. Because it’s a farm brewery, B Chord has a small hop farm out front that just in beginning stages. Eventually, the owners plan to move the brewery operations into a separate building onsite but for now it makes a nice view for patrons to see where their beer is made. Co-owner Scott Raughton said the long road to opening B Chord has been worth it despite the early setbacks. “It was a cold winter but its been a warm spring and we’re pleased to sell some good beer offer a great music venue,” he said.
More Mid-Atlantic News
Just across Route 7 from B Chord Brewing in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is idyllic Dirt Farm Brewing in Bluemont, VA. It’s a steep climb up a narrow hill to get to the brewery but the views and the beers at the top are more than worth it. Janell Zurschmeide established the brewery in 2014 on her family’s 400-acre farm. In this ever more crowded craft beer business in Loudoun County, they have a home-field advantage, growing their own grain, hops and produce as well as having one of the top hilltop views of any brewery in the region. They’ve recently opened an outdoor taproom where visitors can grab beers and their wonderful flatbreads. With shaded picnic tables out front and trees in back providing shade, Dirt Farm is perfect place to spend any afternoon. Among their amazing plow-to-pint beers like Tart 31 Cherry Ale, Som Peach Ale, and Fluster Cluck (a seasonal beer mixing apricots, peaches, strawberries, and nectarines).
The 13th annual Brew at the Zoo will be held at the National Zoo on July 19 from 6-9 pm. It’s one of the top beer events in Washington DC where you get a chance to taste beers from nearly 100 craft breweries and see animals large and small at the same time. Lions, Tigers and Beers is a popular Facebook post caption for most attendees and the Drink Beer\ Save Wildlife T-shirts are always a top hit at the souvenir stand. The event is hosted by Friends of the National Zoo. Among local breweries this year will be Port City of Alexandria, Right Proper Brewing in Washington and Denizens Brewing in Silver Spring. In addition to sampling great hops, food will be available for purchase from popular food trucks. Proceeds from the event support the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s work to save endangered wildlife around the globe.
Several ticket types are available for purchase. General admission tickets are $50 for FONZ mmbers and $65 for non-members. www.fonz.org/brew VIP tickets are $95 for FONZ members and $110 for nonmembers. VIP ticket holders will be granted early admission to the general event area at 5 p.m. before the general public. Beginning at 6 p.m. VIP ticket holders will be given access to the VIP area at Great Cats Circle featuring exclusive animal experiences, generous pours from breweries only found in the VIP area, and unlimited food selections from top DC restaurants.
Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington announced its 2018 RAMMY Award Winners in June at a gala bash at the Washington DC Convention Center. In the beer related categories, Owen’s Ordinary in Rockville, MD won for Best Beer Program of the Year. Owen’s Ordinary opened in 2016 and is part of Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which also owns Blue Jacket Brewing and Church Key/Birch and Barley in DC. NRG Beer Director Greg Engert picked up the award. Also, Right Proper Brewing won for Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year. Right Proper runs a craft brewery and restaurant in the Shaw neighborhood of DC and has its larger production brewery in nearby Brookland neighborhood.
Just in time for summer, Port City Brewing in Alexandria is bringing back its Derecho Common, a 4.8% California Common that’s a lager with biscuity malt flavors and a citrusy spicy finish. The beer was born during a severe thunderstorm called a Derecho that knocked out power to over a million people in the DC area in summer of 2012.
Devils Backbone Brewing in Roseland, VA has opened its own year round campground with a bathhouse. Campsites start at $20 a night. The brewery used to just allow camping for special events and Appalachian Trail Thru Hikers. All of the campsites are within walking distance of the Basecamp Brewpub, Devils Backbone Distilling Co., The Summit (coffee, breakfast, and special events site), stage and concert area, hoop houses, and 5K trail. The online reservation site has a wealth of information about all of the Devils Backbone Camp features.
DuClaw Brewing in Rosedale, MD is getting into sours this summer with its Sour Me This, a dry, hopped pucker punch that’s being sold in cans. The 5.8% light bodied beer boasts flavors of tangerine, orange and melon with a tartness that lingers. DuClaw will also be offering variants of the sour beer flavors like Raspberry, Cherry Blossom, Blueberry, Ginger & Asian Pear, and more that will be available as part of its Can Release Series this summer.
In Salisbury, MD, Evolution Brewing has released its Session sour called Day Crush. At 4.7%, Day Crush is the perfect beer for day at the beach particularly since available in cans. Day Crush is a refreshing kettle sour with a mash bill of over 50% wheat for a silky mouthfeel.
Heavy Seas Beer in Baltimore is collaborating with NoDa Brewing Co. of Charlotte on a 5% Hoppy Wheat Ale. “When deciding on what style to brew for this collaboration, there were a few core ideas: Hops. Summer. Fruit. This led us towards a hybrid style. Not quite IPA, not quite summer wheat, a Hoppy Wheat with Citrus Peel. We have a nice hybrid that is an extremely flavorful beer that will refresh both the hop lover and sunshine lover in general,” says Heavy Seas Brewmaster Christopher Leonard. Heavy Seas’ Uncharted Waters Series this summer will soon welcomes Grand Crew, a red wine barrel-aged Belgian Amber. Grand Crew is an 8.5%, amber colored Belgian-style “Grand Cru,” with aromas of toast, biscuit, stone fruit, and spice. Eight months of Pinot Noir wine barrel aging expands the depth of flavor, with subtle hints of dark fruit and oak entwined with the toasty, biscuity, spicy Belgian character, while also providing vinous, grape, and earthy aromas.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has added Liquid Truth Serum, a popular IPA to its year-round brands and will be available in cans. Clocking in at 7% and 65 IBUs, the unfiltered brew is immensely and approachably hoppy. Golden-orange in color, this IPA fills the palate with citrusy notes of mandarin orange, tangerine, tropical mango and hints of juicy stone fruits. Dogfish Head has also just released Fruit-Full Fort. Brewed with raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries and elderberries, this Belgian ale has a depth and complexity reminiscent of a jammy red wine. Clocking in at 15-18%, Fruit-Full Fort is opaque with a dark maroon color, has notes of velvety cherry and berry sweetness, and sweetness of raspberry and blackberry. “At Dogfish, we create food-centric beers that allow us to examine the entire culinary landscape for ingredient choices and flavors to enhance the aroma and taste of the beer,” said Dogfish Founder and Owner Sam Calagione. “With Fruit-Full Fort, we went overboard in adding ridiculous amounts of flavorful berries which makes this beer a perfect complement for desserts like a decadent chocolatey cake or a rich velvety torte.”