Since the craft beer scene has exploded throughout the United States, perhaps no state has seen such substantial growth in the field than Virginia. With over 300 craft breweries open throughout the commonwealth, Virginia has provided its residents, and the East Coast, with delicious, original, local craft beer. Here in Fredericksburg, and within the Fredericksburg region, we are fortunate to be home to ten of these amazing breweries. These breweries make up the Fredericksburg Area Beer Trail, more commonly known as the FAB Trail.
The FAB Trail breweries include 6 Bears & a Goat Brewing, 1781 Brewing, Adventure Brewing (North and Eagle Village), Barley Naked Brewing, Highmark Brewery, Maltese Brewing, Red Dragon Brewery, Strangeways Brewing-Fredericksburg, Water’s End Brewery at Fredericksburg Square, and, the most recent addition, Log Home Brewing. These ten craft breweries are revered and beloved, and are a staple of how to experience the Fredericksburg region. And as a craft beer lover myself, I felt there was no better way to spend a Saturday than to enjoy some of these extraordinary brews.
Since it would be impractical (and irresponsible) of me to sample all ten breweries in one day, I landed on three to check out: Adventure Brewing-Eagle Village, Red Dragon Brewery, and Water’s End Brewery. This past Saturday, I set out with my girlfriend, Marissa, and good friend, Dan, to enjoy some of the best craft beer in Virginia.
When it comes to craft beer, I stick to what I know and love; and I love me a good IPA. When I took a look at the Adventure taplist, I was curious and, I must admit, skeptical of the Apocalypse IPA. An IPA dry hopped with Apocalypse peppers? It was an unusual concept, yet seemed spicy enough to work. I am thrilled to say that I immensely enjoyed the Apocalypse IPA, particularly because of the hops and spice combination. It very much reminded me of the Habanero Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing, which is quite the compliment.
Marissa, Dan and I made our way over to Red Dragon, who in addition to serving beer on tap, was celebrating Sprellyfest. Sprellyfest, hosted by Red Dragon and their neighbor, Sprelly (a gourmet peanut butter shop), had some wonderful theme nights, including a five-course food and beer pairing on Thursday, a Peanut Butter and Bacon Party on Friday, and a block party on Saturday, which we were fortunate enough to attend. We sampled some Sprelly peanut butters and delighted in some Sweet Reasons cupcakes, all while savoring the delicious beer from Red Dragon. I greatly enjoyed the Miscommunication Imperial IPA, but I must admit, I was even more impressed by the Blanched Blueberry Fruited Gose. Gose is not my preferred style of beer, but I unregrettably snuck some sips of Marissa’s Blanched Blueberry when her head was turned. It was delicious.
Finally we made it to Fredericksburg Square, home of Water’s End. I’m nothing if not predictable, and ordered my Water’s End usual, the Don’t Haze Me Bro IPA. This IPA is the perfect combination of hops and malt, with a perfect color that signifies its deliciousness. As I enjoyed the beer, I also marveled at the immaculate job that Water’s End has provided to such a classic, gorgeous building. Fredericksburg Square is also home to Hot Chikn Kitchn, the food of which I have found to pair perfectly with the beer of Water’s End. In the midst of so many exciting spots, Fredericksburg Square, and Water’s End Brewery, have put themselves on the map as one of the most special locations in Fredericksburg.
I fully intend to check out the other amazing breweries on the FAB Trail, but I of course want to drink responsibly as well. Nevertheless, these ten breweries remind us all of why craft beer has made such an impact in Fredericksburg, and in Virginia. This is an impactful business that has stimulated Virginia’s economy, and has provided this commonwealth with a new, unique avenue for tourism. Plus, and I cannot emphasize this enough: it’s great, GREAT beer. Especially in Fredericksburg.