Picture yourself sitting at a table, relaxing in the cool evening air, looking at the Blue Ridge Mountains, and sipping a great beer. No, you aren’t in a hops scented dream; you are having an evening at Blue Mountain Brewery.
Blue Mountain Brewery is one of several microbreweries in the Shenandoah Valley, and the strands of cascade hops they grow on premises are a testament to how seriously they take their product. With both indoor and outdoor seating, it is a place where twenty and thirty-somethings converse over pints, where families with young children can feel welcome, and all relax with good food and great beer.
To start, you should orient yourself with the beer sampler (only $5 to try all six beers) and the meat and cheese plate ($13). The beer sampler is a great way of taking a flavor journey through the fruitier wheat beers to the fuller, hoppier IPAs, and then end with the bold, rich stout. While the beers stimulate your thirst, the meat and cheese plate acquaints your belly with the finest meats, cheeses, and fruits from Goodwin Creek, a local farm. Our cheese plate featured smoky pepperoni and salami, coupled with jalapeno cheddar, mustard seed cheese, and gruyere, brightened with fresh oranges, pears, apples, blueberries, and blackberries. You won’t be sorry for having ordered it.
For the main course, I got the Nitro Chili Dog ($9) and Dennis got the Beer-Boiled Local Bratwurst ($9.50). The beer bratwurst is from Double H Farm, a Nelson County Farm, and is boiled in Blue Mountain’s Lager. It was plump, juicy, and heaping with sauerkraut that gave it a pungent and vinegary balance. It also had a drizzle of their homemade beer mustard that has a great grainy texture without being too spicy. The Nitro Chili dog combines a juicy all-beef hot dog with a bold and zesty chili that is spiked with their Nitro Ale. I loved the chili dog and got a big kick out of revisiting a grandstand favorite, but I do have to admit that the beer bratwurst stole the show. But, I don’t think you can go wrong either way.
Although the sausage and hot dog were satisfying, the star dish of Blue Mountain is their Bratwurst Pizza. A homemade thin crust dough cooked crisp pairs with toppings that are an unexpected combination for a pizza. It has the standard pizza components of marinara and mozzarella, but the addition of brauts, apples, caramelized onions, and finished with a balsamic reduction, make this a one of kind flavor experience. It is complex, smoky, sweet, and savory.
As well as the unforgettable food, there was also the beer. For the beer, I’m not going to say more, I’m just going to let your curiosity make you try for yourself. The only thing I’ll say is IPA lovers, get the Full Nelson. If you want to experiment, try their Dark IPA which was a beer that four local breweries, Wild Wolf, Devil’s Backbone, Star Hill, and Blue Mountain, came together to create. It is not a traditional IPA, but almost brown ale meets IPA--a combination I whole-heartedly support.
If you live in the Staunton, Waynesboro, Charlottesville, and Nelson County area and have not been to Blue Mountain, drop what you are doing and put it on the schedule. But, for everyone who loves beer, good food, and a restaurant committed to local farms, all combined with a great mountain escape, than get to Blue Mountain Brewery.