Most Recent Blog Posts:
March 05, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—(March 5th, 2014): Starr Hill Brewery has a lot to be grateful for in 2014, including the year-round launch of Grateful Pale Ale, their extremely sessionable pale ale that first debuted in April 2013 as the brewery’s summer seasonal.
“Starr Hill is excited to bring Grateful Pale Ale into our yearly lineup. Grateful was the most successful seasonal launch that our brewery has ever executed, and we look forward to big things from this beer,” said Mark Thompson, Starr Hill’s Founder and Master Brewer.
Grateful is a fresh spin on the American pale ale tradition. It is a light-bodied session pale ale brewed with two-row and caramel malt. The beer is also brewed and dry-hopped with a mix of Topaz, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops, which produces a huge citrusy, piney aroma and big hop flavor, but the beer is refreshing and easy to drink.
“Sessionable beers are at the forefront of craft beer trends, and Grateful does not disappoint,” said Robbie O’Cain, Starr Hill’s Quality Assurance Manager.
Grateful Pale Ale will return to retail in early March in six-packs (12-ounce bottles), kegs (1/6 and 1/2 barrels), and in Starr Hill’s summer variety 12-pack called The Life, which also contains three bottles each of Northern Lights India Pale Ale, Starr Pils Lager and The Love Wheat Beer.
Grateful Pale Ale will be supported with point-of-sale materials, glassware and an on-premise campaign called “Be Grateful.” As part of this campaign, consumers will be encouraged to share things for which they are grateful. Consumers can submit comments, photos or videos via Starr Hill’s Facebook or Twitter pages or write on the Grateful Board during promotions at bars and restaurants.
“The idea behind the ‘Be Grateful’ campaign is to connect with our loyal Starr Hill consumers and let them share what they’re grateful for,” said Thompson. “We are grateful to be able to brew great beer and share it with friends every day. We’re eager to hear from Starr Hill fans, get to know what makes them tick, and give them an opportunity to win Starr Hill merchandise while enjoying Grateful Pale Ale.”
Starr Hill Brewery was founded in 1999 by Mark Thompson and Kristin Dolan in Charlottesville, Virginia. Starr Hill is one of the most award-winning craft breweries on the East Coast, having won 20 Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup and Great British Beer Festival medals since its founding. The beer is distributed in ten states, including Virginia, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington D.C.
February 25, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—(February 25th, 2014): Starr Hill Brewery is all wired up to brew a collaboration beer with Athens-based brewery Terrapin Beer Company on Monday, March 3rd. The collaboration will be a Belgian-style espresso stout called “GAVA Joe.”
Pronounced “java,” this collaboration beer is inspired by the longtime friendship between the two brewmasters, Mark Thompson and Spike Buckowski. Long ago, both realized they had a lot in common, including a love for great beer and great music.
“Terrapin and Starr Hill started up around the same time, and Spike and I have been friends for years. When it came time to do a collaboration beer, it was a no-brainer to do one with Terrapin,” said Mark Thompson, Starr Hill’s Founder and Master Brewer. “I have always been very interested in doing something with rye, and I know that Spike has worked with that grain a bunch. We have included rye in the malt bill for this beer, which will give it a unique flavor.”
“Collaborating with other brewers is very rewarding for me,” says Brewmaster Spike Buckowski, who often travels to breweries across the country and abroad to work with other respected craft brewers. “Partnering with Starr Hill for this collaboration not only involves two great breweries, but two great coffee roasters as well.”
GAVA Joe will be a medium-bodied stout weighing in around 6.9% alcohol by volume. It will be fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, which lends underlying fruit notes to the mix and balances the slight roasted bitterness of the beer with a touch of richness. It will also feature espresso from two coffee roasters local to each brewery: Shenandoah Joe Coffee Roasters of Charlottesville, VA, and Jittery Joe’s Coffee of Athens, GA. “We’re planning to collaborate on a signature blend of espresso for this special beer,” says Dave Fafara, owner of Shenandoah Joe. “It’s an honor to collaborate with the folks from Jittery Joe’s—it’ll be a blast.” Christian Hampton, a roaster at Jittery Joe’s Coffee, says he’s “looking forward to trying the finished product.”
Just 150 barrels of GAVA Joe will be brewed, and it will be available in draft only (1/6 and 1/2 barrel kegs) with a release date of April 1st. Once the beer hits the market, there will be release events in both Charlottesville and Athens. In the meantime, Mark and Spike will host several “Meet The Brewers” events in Charlottesville leading up to the collaboration brew day. On Saturday, March 1st at 5:00 PM, Starr Hill and Terrapin will take over the taps at Beer Run, with each brewery showcasing six beers. Sunday, March 2nd at 1:00 PM, the two brewers will host Beer School at Sedona Taphouse. Finally, the evening of Monday, March 3rd, Starr Hill and Terrapin will takeover the taps at Mellow Mushroom.
“GAVA Joe brings together two breweries from like-minded college towns known for great music, great coffee, and most importantly, great beer,” says Robbie O’Cain, Starr Hill’s Quality Assurance Manager.
Starr Hill Brewery was founded in 1999 by Mark Thompson and Kristin Dolan in Charlottesville, Virginia. Starr Hill is one of the most award-winning craft breweries on the East Coast, having won 19 Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup medals since its founding. The beer is distributed in ten states, including Virginia, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington D.C.
Terrapin Beer Company was founded in 2002 by John Cochran and Brian “Spike” Buckowski in Athens, Georgia. Since Terrapin’s launch in 2002, Spike has racked up numerous medals and awards for his outstanding brews. This includes gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival for his Rye Pale Ale and Tree Hugger, and a silver medal at the World Beer Cup for his Golden Ale. Terrapin is sold in ten states in the Southeast and East Coast areas of the US: Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.
January 14, 2014
Award-Winning Brewer Plans To Make Its Craft Beers Available Beginning in February 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Jan. 14, 2014): Starr Hill Brewery, Virginia’s largest craft brewery, is expanding into Atlanta and Athens, Ga. in February 2014.
Starr Hill will initially launch in both Georgia markets with a limited draft-only portfolio in early 2014, leading with their flagship Northern Lights IPA, the new and highly popular Grateful Pale Ale, and The Love, a classic Bavarian wheat beer. Starr Hill will also offer the Georgia market its high-end, limited All Access draft lineup, showcasing such brands as Whiter Shade of Pale Ale (White IPA) and Little Red Roostarr Coffee Cream Stout. Taco Mac Sports Grill restaurants will feature Starr Hill as its Beer of the Month for April.
After an initial 60-day draft-only launch, Starr Hill will offer the same products to the market in package along with its seasonal Variety Pack series.
“Atlanta and Athens are the leading craft beer markets in the Southeast, and our decision to enter these markets is another big step for Starr Hill,” said Mark Thompson, founder and master brewer of Starr Hill Brewery. “We recognize the strength of the local craft beer scene, and we are thrilled to introduce our robust portfolio of beer to these consumers. We believe Atlanta and Athens will respond well to our beers, which are brewed with the highest quality and freshness standards in the industry. We are confident that the live-music culture and outdoor lifestyle of the Starr Hill brand will translate well with the people of Atlanta and Athens.”
Starr Hill will be distributed in metro Atlanta by General Wholesale Beer Company and by Leon Farmer & Company in the greater Athens market.
“Starr Hill is one of the most successful regional craft breweries on the East Coast,” said Howard Young, president of General Wholesale Beer Company. “Starr Hill combines the innovation of a world-class craft brewery with the attention to quality and execution you would expect from a brewing team that has been thriving for 14 years and counting. Starr Hill has made the investments in their facility and their people, allowing them to bring consistently great beers to the Atlanta market.”
As one of the most award-winning craft breweries on the East Coast, Starr Hill has won 19 Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup medals since its founding in 1999. Starr Hill recently took the Gold Medal in the American Cask Ale category for its Bourbon Barrel Cryptical Imperial Stout at the 36th Annual Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Great British Beer Festival, beating out 196 other cask ales from the United States to claim first place.
“Mark Thompson, Brian McNelis, Duke Fox and their team are well known and well respected throughout the craft beer community for the wide array of high quality and creative beers that they brew,” said Leon Farmer III, President of Leon Farmer & Company. “We are eager to partner with an extraordinary craft brewery and to bring their superb beers to the greater Athens market.”
Starr Hill Brewery was founded in 1999 in Charlottesville, Virginia, by Mark Thompson and Kristin Dolan. The company brews more than 15 brands of beer representing a variety of beer styles. Starr Hill is distributed in nine states, including Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Tennessee, Washington D.C. and South Carolina.
November 22, 2013
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and all of us over at Starr Hill are getting super pumped! Since this time of year is all about giving and sharing, we thought we would share some of our favorite Thanksgiving food and beer pairings, with a couple recipes thrown in for good measure. Head on over to the kitchen, it’s time to get crafty!
Northern Lights IPA pairs with…
... Mac & Cheese. The sharp grapefruit-like bitterness of Northern Lights works well with the sharp acidity of traditional aged cheddars, while the biscuity malt backbone of the beer brings out the nuttiness of the cheese.
Jomo Vienna Lager pairs with…
...Sausage & Apple Cornbread Stuffing. The malt flavors in Jomo love everything about grilled sausage, which is the star of this dish. The firm bitterness provides a great counterpoint to the sweet crispness of the apple, while the toasty notes in the beer are harmonious with the cornbread.
The Love pairs with…
...Sweet Potatoes. This recipe incorporates maple smoked bacon, whose caramelized flavors meld well with the malt of the beer. The spicy clove notes from the yeast make a nice match for the sweetness of the potatoes. Get this hearty recipe here!
Starr Pils pairs with…
... Beer Bread Rolls. Need a little bread to sop up all that delicious gravy? Beer Bread Rolls made with our German PIlsner will do the trick. Check out the recipe here!
Dark Starr Stout pairs with…
...Malt-Glazed, Beer-Brined Roast Turkey. The roasted malt in Dark Starr works well with the roasted, caramelized skin of the turkey, while the malt glaze plays off the dark chocolate flavors in the beer. Get the recipe here!
And of course, Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter pairs with…
...with Pumpkin Pie. Pumpkins and spice are two flavors that make up the essence of Thanksgiving. What better way to watch the game after dinner than with a cold Boxcarr and a big slice of homemade pumpkin pie? In Step 3 of this recipe, simply whisk 3/4 cup of Boxcarr in with the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, cloves and salt until smooth.
Have a Hoppy Thanksgiving! Cheers!
November 08, 2013
Starr Hill is making a conversion from twist-off crowns to pry-off crowns on our 12oz. bottles, and we want you to know why.
Thanks to our loyal customers, Starr Hill continues to grow. This steady growth has made it more challenging to integrate our twist-off glass supply with the brewery schedule, as our glass vendor only runs the current twist finish bottle every 6-8 weeks. While both styles of crown are equally capable of assuring quality, the conversion to pry-off allows Starr Hill increased flexibility with glass supply and enables us to more easily produce to order. This helps us continue to keep our beer as fresh as possible in the marketplace.
Starr Hill is passionate about quality and freshness. We always strive to bring you the variety of Starr Hill aromas and flavors you’ve come to expect in every beer we brew. We have one of the tightest freshness policies in the brewing industry because we believe craft beer is best appreciated fresh. The conversion to pry-off bottle caps further enhances Starr Hill’s ability to fulfill that mission.
You will begin to see the first Starr Hill pry-off caps starting November 2013, but the full conversion on all brands will take place over the next six months. During this time, you will find Starr Hill 12 oz. bottles with both twist-off and pry-off bottle caps in the market. Our new caps will be bright red and labeled “PRY OFF” on the cap edge. You can’t miss it, even if you’ve had a few. Starr Hill 22 oz. and 750 mL bottles have always been produced with pry-off caps and will continue as pry-off with the new red bottle cap.
We appreciate your continued support and understand that the quality and freshness of a great beer cannot be compromised. Keep those bottle openers ready for action!
Thank you for helping Starr Hill in its mission to share the gift of great beer.
November 04, 2013
Strong, Dark Lager is Craft Brewer’s New Winter Seasonal Beer.
Crozet, Virginia (November 4, 2013) – Starr Hill Brewery, Virginia’s largest craft brewery, is taking the colder months by storm with the introduction of its new winter seasonal beer, Snow Blind Doppelbock Lager.
Snow Blind is a full-bodied German-style doppelbock lager at 7.4% alcohol by volume and is brewed with Pilsner, Munich and Carafa malts. Weighing in at 13 IBUs, the low bitterness is attributed to the Perle hops. The flavor showcases massive amounts of caramel and toffee. Sweetness dominates the front of the pallet, while the beer finishes with a neutral lager taste that is clean and crisp.
“Snow Blind was created with the cold winter months in mind,” said Mark Thompson, Starr Hill’s Founder and Master Brewer. “Like so many craft beer drinkers, we love a heavy, malty brew to keep us warm all winter long. No winter is complete unless you’ve enjoyed a well-made doppelbock by the fireplace. We hope our consumers will enjoy this brand new product from Starr Hill.”
Snow Blind is forecasted to hit retail across Starr Hill’s entire distribution footprint in early November in six-packs (12-ounce bottles) and kegs (1/6 and 1/2 barrels). Snow Blind Doppelbock will be available through January.
“Doppelbock is one of those traditions that requires no tinkering—superior ingredients and a careful process are the keys to success,” said John Bryce, Starr Hill’s Brewery Operations Manager. “Brewing Snow Blind properly tested our skills and patience; the gigantic grist pushed our brewhouse to its limits. Long, cold fermentation and maturation were critical to its flavor development and smoothness. A little more than a month passed before we were able to enjoy all of our hard work, but it was certainly worth the wait.”
Starr Hill is the largest craft brewery in Virginia and is one of the most award-winning craft breweries on the East Coast, having won 19 Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup medals since its founding in 1999. Starr Hill recently took the Gold Medal in the American Cask Ale category for its Bourbon Barrel Cryptical Imperial Stout at the 36th Annual Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Great British Beer Festival, beating out 196 other cask ales from the United States to claim first place.
Starr Hill Brewery was founded in 1999 in Charlottesville, Virginia, by Mark Thompson and Kristin Dolan. The company brews more than 15 brands of beer representing a variety of beer styles. Starr Hill is distributed in nine states, including Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington D.C.
October 16, 2013
After several lengthy jam sessions, our production crew has finally determined the six beer styles for the All Access series that Starr Hill will release in 2014. To our fans: we’ve heard your thoughts, and you’ll see some familiar brews below that we’ve decided are just too tasty to not bring back on tour.
Jan/Feb: Belgian Dubbel brewed with honey
Mar/Apr: Little Red RooStarr Coffee Cream Stout
May/Jun: Whiter Shade of Pale White IPA
Jul/Aug: Dry-Hopped Imperial Lager
Sep/Oct: Black IPA
Nov/Dec: Dark Chocolate Cherry Stout
Details on each release are coming soon, but in the meantime, check out our remaining 2013 All Access brews, including Cryptical Imperial Stout and Bandstand Barleywine.
October 08, 2013
Today, our Founder Mark Thompson and Brewer Levi Duncan take off for the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO.
More than 3,000 beers will be available to sample at this year’s festival—the biggest selection of American beers ever served. Check out below what we’ll be pouring:
Grateful Pale Ale
The Love Wheat Beer
Snow Blind Doppelbock
Dark Starr Stout
Hope to see you at the fest!
For more info, visit the Great American Beer Festival’s website.
September 30, 2013
Purchase The Love in October and make a difference.
Crozet, Virginia (September 30, 2013) – For the second time in a year, Starr Hill Brewery, Virginia’s largest craft brewery, will conduct a program designed to raise funds for local breast cancer awareness foundations throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, and in Nashville, TN. With the help of local distributing partners, dedicated local retailers and devoted Starr Hill consumers, the brewery raised in excess of $5,000 during its February campaign. The program has now raised over $13,000 since its inception in February 2012.
“The ‘Share the Love’ program continues to be an important opportunity for Starr Hill to give back to our local communities. We are thrilled with the response from our wholesale partners, retailers and consumers,” said Starr Hill Founder Mark Thompson. “I think almost everyone has been touched by cancer, so we felt it was important to do what we could to contribute to local breast cancer foundations. The support continues to be phenomenal and we look forward to continuing this program in October.”
This program, entitled ‘Share the Love,’ was originally developed by Thompson and Scott Heinz, COO of Virginia Eagle Distributing. The two believed that the connection between Starr Hill’s wheat beer known as The Love, February’s Valentine’s Day holiday, and the fight against breast cancer was something that needed to be explored. The plan was simply to offer a donation to the local breast cancer foundations per case sold.
Virginia Eagle Distributing is Starr Hill’s largest distributor partner and continues to be Virginia’s leader in the execution of this program. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the response we received,” said Scott Heinz. “From our employees to our retailers, everyone really wanted to help. These types of programs truly bring everyone together, and Virginia Eagle will continue to look for ways to support projects like this throughout our footprint.”
Meg Shrader, Board President of the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, said “Starr Hill is a company committed to helping local communities where they do business, and we are very happy to see the ‘Share the Love’ program branch out to the surrounding areas. In the past few years, so much progress has been made in breast cancer research and treatment, but we still have a long way to go. Programs like this raise money and just as importantly, raise awareness which is critical for early detection.” All proceeds in Virginia are still going to the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation. As this program will be implemented across Starr Hill’s entire distribution footprint, several local breast cancer organizations will benefit from the proceeds, including Fight for 1 in 9 in North Carolina, The Red Devils in Maryland, Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition in Tennessee, and South Jersey Breast Cancer Coalition and Gilda’s Club South Jersey in New Jersey.
The Love is an award-winning German-style hefeweizen with hints of banana and clove. Its hazy golden color and light body make The Love very refreshing. The Love was awarded a silver medal in the German Hefeweizen category at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival.
Starr Hill Brewery was founded in 1999 in Charlottesville, Virginia by Mark Thompson and Kristin Dolan. The company brews more than 20 brands of beer representing a variety of beer styles. Starr Hill brands are distributed in Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
Visit the Share The Love Event Page for information on upcoming events.
NOTE TO MEDIA:
• For more information from Starr Hill, contact Allie Hochman at 434-823-5671, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.starrhill.com.
August 22, 2013
STARR HILL BREWERY TAKES THE GOLD AT GREAT BRITISH BEER FESTIVAL
Starr Hill’s Bourbon Barrel Cryptical Imperial Stout Wins Michael Jackson Award at Great British Beer Festival
August 22, 2013: Starr Hill Brewery, Virginia’s largest and most award-winning craft brewery, won first place in the American cask real ale category at the 36th Annual Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Great British Beer Festival.
Taking place from August 13th – 17th, 2013, in London, England, the Great British Beer Festival is Britain’s biggest beer festival, and the amount of cask ale entries from American brewers increases each year. Bourbon Barrel Cryptical beat out 196 other cask ales from the United States to claim the Michael Jackson Award, named for the influential beer writer who passed away in 2007.
“This was a real shot in the arm for our creative brewing team. Starr Hill has been honored with many medals in the USA, but to send one of our creations over to a major festival in the UK and to win a gold… it’s just incredible. The passion to create great beers is strong at Starr Hill. I’m very proud of our Starr Hill team,” said Master Brewer and Founder Mark Thompson.
Bourbon Barrel Cryptical is an American Imperial Stout that has been aged in bourbon barrels, allowing it to pick up notes of bourbon and vanilla. The beer weighs in at 10% alcohol by volume and has dark malty and fruity flavors, like raspberry, plum and star anise. Cryptical is dry-hopped with American hops to balance its full body with a floral aroma.
“A great deal of thought and care went into its creation. We drove to West Virginia to visit Smooth Ambler Spirits, met their team, and sampled some of their awesome products. We ended up with 20 oak barrels in the back of a trailer in the middle of a snowstorm,” says Robbie O’Cain, Starr Hill’s Quality Manager. “The Smooth Ambler team ended up bringing us another truckload of barrels for our bottle release party in April. It’s always fun to share in these creative collaborations with other passionate small businesses.”
Bourbon Barrel Cryptical Imperial Stout will be available on tap and in 750 ml bottles in the Starr Hill Tasting Room for a limited time. There will also be a limited amount of casks and kegs available this fall.
Starr Hill Brewery was founded in 1999 in Charlottesville, Virginia, by Mark Thompson and Kristin Dolan. The company brews more than 20 brands of beer representing a variety of beer styles and has won 17 GABF medals and two World Beer Cup medals since its founding. Starr Hill brands are distributed in Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, South Carolina, New Jersey and Delaware.
July 22, 2013
July 08, 2013
by Rebecca Cooper, Washington Business Journal
All it took to get the deal done between Starr Hill Brewery and Hard Times Cafe was a brewery tour and a couple of beers, according to Starr Hill founder Mark Thompson.
I talked with Hard Times partner Doug Welsh last week about the soon-to-be-released Hard Times Craft Lager, but I didn’t get a chance to catch up with Thompson on the partnership until today.
Starr Hill’s collaborations have been minimal up to this point, and the brewery doesn’t do any contract brewing, meaning they don’t label their own beers for an individual restaurant or bar under contract. But the folks at Starr Hill just kind of clicked with the Hard Times team, said Thompson.
“It really started on a person-to-person level,” Thompson said. “They came down here to tour the brewery, we had a couple of beers, and felt that the Hard Times as a group is a great group.”
There’s particular synergy in the fact that Starr Hill brews mainly lagers, and Hard Times was looking to do a craft lager to replace the “Hard Times Select Lager” it used to have on tap.
“It’s one of the things that separates Starr Hill. You could argue that lagers are a little harder to produce, because they sit in the tanks for 4 weeks,” Thompson said. “We feel we do lagers as well as anyone out there.”
The Hard Times Craft Lager will be a “classic German-style lager,” made using a Pilsener malt for a “clean, crisp taste,” Thompson said.
As far as what’s next, Starr Hill doesn’t have any other collaborations planned. They’re shipping the Hard Times beer starting tomorrow, and it will start appearing on tap at Hard Times locations during the next few weeks. As for whether the brewery plans to bottle the beer and begin distributing it to resale locations, Thompson said they’ll have to wait and see.
“We’ll wait and see how the draft does,” he said. “When you go into packaging, there’s a whole other set of challenges and costs associated with it.”
July 05, 2013
by Rebecca Cooper, Washington Business Journal
Coming soon to a Hard Times Cafe near you: Starr Hill’s Hard Times Craft Lager. The beer is the first collaboration between the Arlington-based bar and restaurant chain and the brewery, which is outside of Charlottesville in Crozet, Va.
Hard Times, which has 17 locations in the D.C. region and is known for its chili and wings, used to have a Hard Times Select Lager from the Old Dominion brewery. When Old Dominion, which was bought in 2007 by a joint venture including Anheuser-Busch Inc., stopped making it, Hard Times found another supplier. But the beer was discontinued again in early 2012 and hasn’t been on the menu since.
“Now that we’re in the midst of this craft beer explosion, we figured now’s a good time to resurrect it,” said Doug Welsh, one of the partners who own Hard Times.
Unlike with some other restaurants’ specialty beers, which are made by a brewery but branded solely with the restaurant’s name, Starr Hill Brewery and Hard Times will share space on the label.
And while the craft lager will initially be sold on tap at Hard Times Cafe restaurants — as well as at Verizon Center and Nationals Park— the brewery eventually hopes to bottle the beer and sell it in grocery stores and other places, Welsh said.
I’ve reached out to Starr Hill to hear more on the partnership from the brewery’s end, and I’ll provide an update once I talk to the people there.
“It’s a definite collaborative effort, co-branded and co-marketed between the two of us,” Welsh said.
Starr Hill fronted the cost of the beer’s development, and Hard Times will be “shouldering the expense of the product,” according to Welsh, although he declined to say how much Hard Times was investing.
The beer will be released at the end of July.
May 22, 2013
By Jeff Maisey, VEER Magazine
Starr Hill Brewing Company was already the largest craft beer enterprise in Virginia before a recent addition to its production line. Now its capacity is enormous.
Each of the breweries along the Blue Ridge Trail offers a unique experience. When you enter Starr Hill’s Crozet headquarters you feel like you are in a production brewery, and for good reason – you are!
Enter through a hallway lined with award medals on the wall, walk past pallets of packaged beer bottles and into a spacious room with a colorful tasting area featuring a bar and tons of Starr Hill merchandise. A few feet away bottles are being capped and boxed as they hurry down an automated production line like a scene out of Lavern & Shirley. Empty 16-oz aluminum cans are in position to be filled and capped. The sensory experience is visually dazzling. Room after room features an actively working brewery staffed with proud employees. One-ton bags of Bamburg malts, hops, gigantic stainless steel fermenting tanks, copper mashing kettles and even a Champagne-style bottling station for high-end specialty beers. It’s quite a sight.
Among Starr Hill’s popular beers: Jomo Lager, The Love (wheat), Northern Lights IPA, Grateful Pale Ale, Starr Saison, Starr Pils and Psycho Kilter.
Founder/brewmaster Mark Thompson was kind enough to give me a personal tour of the brewery. Following is an excerpt from our conversation.
Tell us about your new fermenting tanks and how they will dramatically increase your production?
We had eight 100-barrel fermentors come in over the last six months that brought our capacity to 26,000 barrels of beer. We will add another 15 to 20 100-barrel tanks in that room that will bring our capacity to 55,000 barrels of beer. We just finished raising roof and doing all of the floors. We started building-out our expansion fermenting cellar.
When people enter the tasting room of the brewery there is a tremendous amount to see. What experience do you want visitors to have when they come to Starr Hill?
The Starr Hill experience is that you are literally immersed into the action, the middle of the brewery. You get a factory feel. It’s the only brewery on the Brew Ridge Trail where when you walk in you know you’re in a brewery.
We are a production brewery. We are Virginia’s largest and most award-winning brewery. When you come to Starr Hill the experience is one of which the staff is highly educated about beer. They know beer as well as anyone out there. They tell you about all the beers we make. There are five or six on tap you’ve probably never heard of from us. We have a White Shade of Pale Belgian IPA on right now. We have a coffee stout called Little Red Roof Starr.
You started canning about a year and a half ago. Can you explain how canning is becoming the choice of packaged beer for craft breweries?
We’re canning now for several reasons. It used to be that the technology of can making was not advanced so all of your cheap beer went into cans and made the beer taste metallic. The technology has evolved so rapidly with cans that you can’t tell the difference between a can and bottled beer. Cans have qualities a bottle doesn’t. For instance, light never penetrates a can. The seal on the top of a can is air-tight verses a bottle cap that allows some air in. And especially for Starr Hill’s music lifestyle culture and the drinking opportunities, glass is not as favorable. If you go to concerts or biking, hiking or camping cans make a lot of sense. And specifically, if you go to the Virginia Beach Amphitheater this summer you’ll see Starr Hill’s Northern Lights cans in the concessions area.
Starr Hill is well established, but as a culture Virginia craft beer is finally just now emerging as an important industry. Where do you see the growth in the industry heading?
I have always said one of the biggest assets in Virginia is the wine industry. The wine industry has done a lot of heavy lifting for what we are doing in the craft beer industry. If there can be over 200 wineries in Virginia the logic in my mind is that there could be 200 breweries in Virginia.
I also credit Governor Bob McDonnell and the legislature for recognizing what is, in many ways, a growing industry in the worst economic times of our life. You have a growing manufacturing industry with a tourism component. In many ways we are a poster child for all things good. We’re small business owners with jobs that can’t be outsourced that pay higher than minimum wage. We’re creating jobs.
From your perspective, what does it say about Virginia that major West Coast craft breweries like Green Flash and Stone Brewing have sought to locate their East Coast breweries here?
I really see this as a rising tide lifting all boats. If you look at craft beer as an industry we continue to grow by 15 percent while beer as a category in the major domestics are losing market share. I think there are two or three generations of growth within the craft beer industry. If we as craft brewers ban together we are much stronger as a united force than if we start fighting amongst ourselves.
Tell us how the Brew Ridge Trail got started?
Prior to the Virginia Brewers Guild, brewers in the Albemarle and Nelson counties form an alliance called the Brew Ridge Trail. Every year we brew a collaborative beer. It started in 2009 here at Starr Hill. We then brewed at Devils Backbone, Wild Wolf and Blue Mountain. The 5th anniversary is here and we just finished a Triple IPA. It’ll be available in draft in limited amounts on May 15. Each brewer brought a box of their own hops and we sketched out a recipe. That beer will be available at each brewery’s tasting room in late May and early June.
April 25, 2013
Sessionable, Hoppy Ale is Craft Brewer’s New Summer Seasonal Beer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (April 25, 2013): Starr Hill Brewery, Virginia’s largest and most award-winning craft brewery, is kicking off the summer with the introduction of its new summer seasonal beer, Grateful Pale Ale.
Grateful is a medium-bodied session pale ale brewed with two-row and caramel malt. The beer is also brewed and dry hopped with a mix of Topaz, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops which produces a huge citrusy, piney hop aroma and flavor, but the beer is refreshing and easy to drink.
“Creating and brewing Grateful Pale Ale has truly been a labor of love,” said Mark Thompson, founder and master brewer of Starr Hill. “Like so many craft beer drinkers, we love hops. But sometimes on hot summer days, a big, hoppy beer is just too much. Grateful Pale Ale is a perfectly balanced beer that’s very hop forward, but it’s also a bit lighter and easier to drink than traditional pale ales which we think make it an ideal choice for summer.”
Grateful Pale Ale will be available at retail beginning May 1 in six-packs (12-ounce bottles) and kegs (1/6 and ½ barrels). The beer is 4.7 percent alcohol by volume, 26 IBUs and will be priced at parity to other Starr Hill brands. Grateful Pale Ale is currently available in Starr Hill’s summer variety pack (12-pack) called The Life. The Life contains three bottles each of Grateful Pale Ale, Northern Lights India Pale Ale, Starr Pils Lager and The Love (wheat beer).
Grateful Pale Ale will be supported with point-of-sale materials, glassware and a new on-premise campaign called “Be Grateful.” As part of the sampling campaign consumers will be prompted to share what they are grateful for. Consumers can submit videos or posts via Starr Hill’s facebook or twitter pages or write in on the Grateful Board during promotions at bars and restaurants.
“The idea behind the ‘Be Grateful’ campaign is to connect with our loyal Starr Hill consumers and let them share what they’re grateful for,” said Thompson. “We are grateful to be able to brew great beer and share it with friends every day. We’re excited to hear from Starr Hill fans, get to know what makes them tick and give them an opportunity win Starr Hill merchandise while sampling Grateful Pale Ale.”
Grateful Pale Ale will be available through July. It will then be replaced by Boxcar Pumpkin Porter, Starr Hill’s fall seasonal beer.
At the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in 2011, Starr Hill was awarded a gold medal in the Vienna lager category for Jomo Lager, a light-bodied amber lager. The company also won silver medals for two of its specialty beers, Monticello Reserve Ale (indigenous beer category) and Smoke Out (smoke beer category). The company has won 17 GABF medals and two World Beer Cup medals since its founding.
Starr Hill Brewery was founded in 1999 in Charlottesville, Virginia by Mark Thompson and Kristin Dolan. The company brews more than 20 brands of beer representing a variety of beer styles. Starr Hill brands are distributed in Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, South Carolina, New Jersey and Delaware.