It was a day of music, singing, and dancing; of froth and foam and cheers-ing; of sideways rain and tropical-storm winds gusting; of sunshine and warmth and rainbows shining; of laughter and smiles and happy loving; of food and friends and mud-stained frolicking… it was, quite simply, a perfect day. The most wonderful day of the year. The day of the Rocktown Beer and Music Festival.
Music is a big part of our family. I think one of the first conversations Tim and I had was about music, leaning against the host station waiting for the first table of the day at Calhoun’s. So around three years ago when we first started talking about opening Pale Fire, the conversation naturally drifted to what kind of music we would be playing. Right away, Tim wanted something that could be a collaborative effort with our community.
Confession: I’ve been on multiple tours of the new brewery at Pale Fire and I haven’t learned nit about brewing. Most likely because a toddler was wedging matchbox cars into my ear holes or needing a diaper change or having a meltdown or all three things at the same time. My long gone days at Calhoun’s Brewing, where I know I was taught about brewing, are now forgotten. But thanks to a day spent brewing with Mary Morgan (home brewer, science teacher, gardener, and most importantly, brewmaster) I finally think I know what’s going on! I won’t get into the details of brewing below; there are so many places you can learn about that. Susan Keeler of Pale Fire Brewing Co recommends The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune. I will however, be happy to tell you about a particularly awesome day spent with a group of craft beer pros who all happen to be women.
2014… you went by in a flash! Happy to have my 365 project done and to review the memories day by day. Mostly surprised to see how much my baby grew into a little boy and how much progress was made on Pale Fire Brewing Company. Ups and downs, lots of love, I’m sure 2015 will hold similar surprises.
Music in this order: Stars by Angel Olson, Turtles All the Way Down by Sturgill Simpson, My Silver Lining by First Aide Kit, and A Little Light by Sturgill Simpson.
“I mean, I’m a grown man, and I still cry at the end of Toy Story 3, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. And it ended just right. Why would they make a fourth? I don’t know if I can emotionally make it through that. ”
“The way they print the letter ‘D’ totally looks like a vagina. And then they printed it on pink paper. Come on.”
“He didn’t want that sippy cup, he wanted the other sippy cup that was downstairs in the kitchen, in dishwater… I”m like dude, drink your water. Go to sleep. We are not having a power struggle.”
“So we are in the middle of nowhere and the only place to eat is either Walmart or McDonald’s. We got her chicken nuggets. And she said it was the best thing she had ever eaten. Ever. Damn it.”
“So you made him trudge back across town, through the snow, with the bag of bagels and the receipt because they didn’t charge him the sales price?” “Absolutely. It was like $2 a bagel! He needed to learn an an important price tag lesson.”
“‘Cause, you know, it’ll go straight through your colon.”
These are the types of conversations you can expect to have when you get a group of parents and friends together around a kitchen table and ply them with craft beer. Three babysitters were managing eight kids under five years old corralled in two different houses and texting pictures of the chaos. We knew we were walking home and about to taste 7 amazing brews paired with gourmet courses, so this sentiment was completely appropriate: “Since we don’t have our kids here, let’s make a pact to swear as much as possible.”
We love going out to eat in Harrisonburg, there are so many excellent choices! But when Thanh and John concocted a plan to have our own five course craft beer dinner in their home, we were all game and everyone sitter-ed up! I’ll let Thanh explain it in the email she sent:
Hello Beer Dinner Guests! So glad you can join us!
Here’s how it works:
Each of you needs to pick a course. You are responsible for perfectly pairing a delicious beer with that course and bringing a 6-pk (or equivalent) of that awesome beverage to share with everyone on Saturday. Let us know which course you’ve chosen so we don’t end up with 6 beers all paired with dessert. As we hear from each of you we’ll let the group know that the course has been claimed.
Be ready to tell everyone a little about the beer you chose on the night of the dinner.
You’ll notice there are 7 of you and only 5 courses. Great news! Whoever doesn’t get a course is still responsible for bringing a beverage for all of us to share throughout the night. (As if 5 beers weren’t enough.)
Plan to spend 3ish hours eating, but hanging out could go longer.
Meals like this are a little pricey so we are asking everyone to throw in $5 to help us offset the costs.
Have the time of your life, like you’ve never felt that way before.
Below is the menu with a list of the major ingredients. No one mentioned any food allergies or preferences, but there is still time to make adjustments. If you need a better listing of ingredients let us know.
Creatively and lovingly crafted by Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance with Brandy Somers, Lynda Bostrom and Kirsten Palmer this book will contain all sorts of food articles about Harrisonburg, VA; including the stories about the people behind the great craft beer here in the friendly city. Continue reading Rocktown Food: Virginia’s First Culinary District→
“Last Thursday, Court Square Theater presented “From Grain to Growler,” a short documentary about craft beer in Virginia. Following the film, Lauren Berry of downtwon’s Midtowne Market & Bottle Shop interviewed Sean Pumphrey of Lickinghole Creek Brewery, Adam Shifflett of Three Brothers Brewing, Hunter Smith of Champion Brewing Company and Jamie Long and Tim Brady of Pale Fire Ale. The audience also had a chance to ask the panelists questions.”
A son of Yuengling, spooky caves, post Civil War boom, steam punks, fire devastation and craft beer…
You never know what you will dig up on Instagram… well you know you’ll get puppies, babies, selfies and what your friends are eating. But it has also become a really great way to network with craft beer people and hear about what is happening all over the state of Virginia.
vintage_rva has been a great follow, with beautiful photos of nature and city life in Richmond and other parts of the state. He also seems to be a craft beer lover and has posted several eerily cool and mysterious black and white photos of the ruins of the James River Steam Brewery caves.
He shared on Instagram that some of his photos were being used in this documentary created by Henrico County:
This documentary will be airing on local channels in Richmond next week or you can watch it at the link. It has a running time of just over 20 minutes and while it initially feels a little like the movies you had to watch on the 4th grade field trip to the local museum… BUT stick it out, it’s an interesting story with lots of great insight from historians, preservationists and architects. It’s crazy to hear about the scale of the place… 400 barrels a day, a huge capacity for production, even by today’s standards. Sounds like Henrico County has some plans for development opportunities that will bring the ruins back to life.
Check it out and follow vintage_rva on instagram! And more insider reporting here complete with spelunking :