Beer Snob: BadWolf Brewing
Our good friend, Amy, was scheduled to fly in on a Friday morning from Florida for a weekend visit. A fun gathering of friends was planned for Friday evening to welcome her back to the traffic filled hell hole that is Northern Virginia. It was going to be an intimate gathering to relax and enjoy the company of our most sophisticated friends.
That Friday morning she missed her flight. She, for some reason, thought that getting to the airport an hour before her flight allowed sufficient time to ride the shuttle from the parking area, check bags, go through security, and casually stroll through the luggage store (you know, to pick up that last minute piece of luggage you need after arriving at the airport) before grabbing an iced latte for the flight.
As you may have guessed, Amy did not make her flight. The result was her 8am flight turning into an 8pm flight. I know she had fun during her 12 hours in the airport based upon her Facebook posts. I personally love getting to the airport early and sitting around so being stranded for 12 hours (outside of ruining all my well laid plans) wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. It just goes to show you that you must get to the airport at least 2 hours before your flight. Needless to say, our gathering of friends was postponed.
My lovely, wonderful, amazing, beautiful, and talented sister Carrie had kindly offered to babysit so we could hang out with Amy. Not wanting to waste the opportunity to paint the town without Cece, Rizzo and I decided to keep our aunt-sitter and travel to the metropolis of Manassas, VA and BadWolf Brewing.
First, we will discuss the beer and brewery, second, we will discuss the lovely people watching available at BadWolf. BadWolf opened up in Manassas on or around August 2013. I know this because it was right after we found out Rizzo was pregnant. Rizzo talked constantly about wanting to go to BadWolf after Cece was born. At least once a month I would hear "I can't wait until this baby is born so we can go get a beer at BadWolf". 24 months later we finally made it.
When you enter BadWolf Brewing Company the first thing you have to do is stop yourself from ordering General Tso chicken. The tasting room looks like it was once a strip mail Chinese take-out complete with one of those sit-down Ms. PacMan machines. Make sure this doesn't turn you away from the beer. I kind of liked the very small and intimate atmosphere of the room. It allowed Rizzo and I talk about and ask questions about the beers with the servers and brewers. It also provided very easy access to the popcorn machine that is the only food available by BadWolf. Don't worry, if you get hungry they encourage you to order some food and have it delivered directly to the tasting room. They even have menus available if you need some assistance. (Ironically, Rizzo and I had Chinese before going to the brewery.)
On Wednesday nights BadWolf offers a $10 flight of six beers, what is essentially 6 tastings for the price of 4. We were lucky because, for some reason that I didn't catch, BadWolf was offering the deal all weekend long. These guys don't mess around with there flights. Each "tasting" is at least a 6 ounce pour, which is far superior to a typical tasting size. Here is a summary of what we were drinking on this particular night:
- Astarot: This is an American Brown Ale clocking in at 4.5% ABV and 35 IBUs. I'm a big fan of brown ales so I was really looking forward to this one. It wasn't a bad beer but from the flavor I think the estimated IBUs is probably a little low. It was a bit bitter for me but not terrible. 3.5 out of 5.
- Petite Saison: This is beer is exactly what it says, a saison. I really liked this beer. It was light and crisp. You could really taste the Brett (yep, I know what that means now). It is also a perfect summer beer for day drinking. At 3.9% this beer could last all day long. 4.25 out of 5.
- Sorachi Red: The beer is described as an Irish Red Ale but it is not nearly as bitter as other red ales I've had. Don't let the name confuse you. Sorachi is not related to sriracha but is a type of Japanese hops. It was smooth and would be a good transition if you are trying to move into tasting more hoppy beers. 3.5 out of 5.
- Smash of the Seven Seas: This beer was brewed with one type of malt and seven types of hops. All the names of the hops begin with the letter "C" hence the name. The beer is listed as an American Pale Ale but I'd identify it more as an English Pale Ale. The hop flavor is very evident but not overwhelming like most American or Indian Pale Ales tend to be, especially West Coast brewed pale ales. For a guy like me that hates hoppy pale ales I could drink one or two of these beers and at 6.1% it isn't overly alcoholic. 3.25 out of 5.
- Kafe Kreole Cream Ale: An interesting beer brewed with locally ground coffee and cocoa nubs. It was smooth but it seemed like something was missing. I don't think I got enough of the coffee flavor or the cocoa flavor. It was definitely creamy but the flavor was missing. It wasn't terrible but a rating of 3.25 out of 5 is low for me when it comes to beers brewed to have some coffee flavors.
- Oppenheimer: This was a black IPA offering. I am not an IPA fan, In fact, I hate IPAs. Most IPA seem to want to overwhelm the taste buds with the taste of hops. For me, this IPA was no exception. Darker, or black, IPAs seem to try and moderate the hoppy flavor with additional malt notes but this one didn't get the job done. If you are an IPA fan you will like this beer but I wasn't a fan. 2.25 out of 5.
In general, the beers offered were good with the my obvious winner being the Petite Saison. I'll certainly be visiting BadWolf again to check out some of the other offerings. I really liked the laid back atmosphere of the tasting room, the amble pours in the flights, and the wide selection of beers on tap. Make sure you pay a visit to BadWolf Brewing. You won't be dissappointed.
Still with me? Now we are past the stuff associated with all the beers we can get to what you really are here to read about; me making smart ass comments about the people Rizzo and I observed while on our beer tasting adventure in Manassas.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, Urban Dictionary has the following definition of Manassas:
Manassas is a city 30 minutes outside of Washington D.C. Its main income is from the countless number of auto-dealerships. When asked, people like to think of Manassas as a shit-hole. There are some nice areas. Areas such as Georgetown South. There seems to be somewhat of a drug problem in Manassas. So many coke-heads and smoking pot is an everyday occurrence. You remember the guy that got his penis cut off? Yeah he was from Manassas. I believe it was Lorena Bobbit that cut her husbands penis off and threw it in the street.
That should give you a general idea of the folks coming and going during our brewery visit. Let us begin easily with the woman in the t-shirt. Not so odd, you might say, but you don't know what was on her t-shirt. It was a plain, dark blue t-shirt, with the phrase "Suck My Glock" in big bold white letters across the front. That's right, "Suck My Glock". Now, based upon my farmer's market, local purchasing, craft beer loving lifestyle you would probably infer that I'm a tree-hugging, gun hating liberal. Well that certainly isn't the case. I don't have a problem with gun ownership, per se. My Dad owns multiple guns that he uses for hunting which has resulted in many a delicious deer steak sliding down my ample gullet. I do take issue with crazy, gunning loving psychos who think they need an AK-47 assault rifle for duck hunting. This woman was wearing a shirt that said "Suck My Glock". Maybe it's just me but that shirt implies murder. If you try to take her gun away she will put the barrel in your mouth. Guys, if you are looking to pick up a sexy woman, make sure that her shirt threatens you with murder before you approach her. What a turn on!
The next contestants in our award for awesomeness is the couple that (I really, really hope) were on their first date. BadWolf Brewering is a great place to go on a first date. I just think these two should have discussed their plans further before heading out on the town. The young gentleman (?) was dressed as one does when going out in Manassas; dark t-shirt, cargo shorts, and camo baseball cap with a fishing hook on the brim. She, however, didn't dress for the location. She was wearing the tightest, shortest black dress available at your local Forever 21. She also wanted to make sure to be noticed, so she upgraded that plain black dress with her handy bedazzler, covering the front to look like that dude's face in 007's Die Another Day. I like to think that the girl said "hey, lets go grab a drink" and he said "great, I know just the place." She was thinking 'da club. He clearly wasn't.
Lucky for her, she wasn't the only one dressed like she was trying to pick up the sexiest of guys at the under 21 club on the Myrtle Beach strip in 1998. A group of four (three girls, one guy) also patronized the bar. The gentleman (?) was again dressed as one does when grabbing a beer at a strip mall in Manassas, VA. The girls, however, were thinking they were going to be taking off there shoes and dancing in a circle around their purses while a 37 minute techno version of Justin Timberlake's SexyBack. blasted at a volume sufficient to burst an eardrum. In my imagination, two of the girls had come into town to visit the third and they said, "hey, let's go out tonight, get some drinks, and go crazy like we used to do". They felt bad leaving the husband at home, since they are crashing on the couch at the palatial Manassas estate of girl #1, so they invited him along. He said, "Don't worry ladies, I know just the place, and you are all dressed perfectly!" Ahhh, what a night.
Finally, we come to my favorite couple of the night. the helmet mullets. A couple of women came into the brewery and all I can say is that their hair was pure brilliance. Both of these women were clearly fans of John Stamos during the early Full House days or AC Slater in aved by the Bell. You could drop a bowling ball on these two head of either of these women with no effect at all. These women could safely ride their motorcycles with out any fear of head injury. These two women are keeping Aqua Net in business. It was gorgeous. Not only that, one of the women was wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt that proudly displayed the beeriodic table of elements. That is not a typo, it really was a table of all the different kinds of beer in the shape of the periodic table of elements. It was so amazing that I couldn't stop staring. I hope I didn't embarrass myself but I just wanted to read every beer on her shirt.
All in all, I can say there is nothing more fun than trying a 1/2 a dozen new beers from a local brewery and at the same time getting some of the best people watching around. It was a great night. Rizzo and I plan on visiting again. Maybe next time I can convince Rizzo to wear a tight black dress while I wear cargo shorts so we can fit right in.
P.S. BadWolf Brewing has opened a second location in Manassas that is referred to as Big BadWolf. It is a much bigger location and offers a different beer selection than the original location that we visited. If you aren't into the whole strip mall atmosphere make try out BadWolf Brewing at the bigger location.