Local breweries take on competition in Colorado

The team from Strangeways Brewing Company. From right, business developer Lars  Zachariasse, head brewer Mike Miller and founder Neil Burton. Far left, Chris Holder from  Capital Ale House in Richmond.

The team from Strangeways Brewing at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival. From left: Chris Holder of Capital Ale House, Strangeways founder Neil Burton, head brewer Mike Hiller and business developer Lars Zachariasse. Photos by Amy DiPierro, BusinessDen.

Two Richmond-­area breweries were pouring their finest at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado, this weekend.

Strangeways Brewing and Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery joined hundreds of other breweries to soak up the boozy atmosphere at the annual event, a national competition among some 750 breweries that also includes tastings and speakers.

“We just want to be with people who are super passionate – and there’s no better place than here,” Strangeways founder Neil Burton said. “We brew a lot of beer ‘off-­style’. We’re not the guys who will win a medal in any particular category, because we pick a direction and then we stray from it.”

David Achkio, head brewer, and Beth Turk, brand ambassador, of Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery.

Lickinghole Creek’s David Achkio, head brewer, and Beth Turk, brand ambassador, serve up some samples at GABF.

In just two years of brewing, Burton said, Strangeways has made more than 300 kinds of beer. The beers Strangeways brought to Denver were: Freeze Ray Eisbock, Guarded By Monkeys, Oscillate Wildly Blueberry Wild, Virginia Stingo ‘Red Wine’, and Wake Me Up Before You Gose Ghost Pepper Barrel Aged.

Lickinghole Creek, a farm brewery in Goochland, draws its name from a creek located near the property and the unusual practice of using untreated water in its beers.

“We’re pulling directly from two wells that are drilled on the property,” head brewer David Achkio said.

Lickinghole brought its Batchelors Delight, Bourbon Barrel Triple and Rosemary Saison to serve at the festival. And its Heir Apparent won a silver medal in the Chili Beer category.

The Great American Beer Festival ran Sept. 24-26. Twenty Virginia breweries were on-hand. See the full list of winners here.

Other Virginia breweries that are coming home with medals are:

  • Champion Brewing Co., Charlottesville, Shower Beer, gold medal, Bohemian-Style Pilsener category
  • Brothers Craft Brewing, Harrisonburg, Mild, gold medal, English-Style Mild Ale category
  • Fair Winds Brewing Co., Siren’s Lure, Lorton, gold medal, French and Belgian-Style Saison category
  • Devils Backbone Brewing Co., Lexington, Vienna Lager, gold medal, Vienna-Style Lager category
  • Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria, Monumental IPA, silver medal, English-Style IPA category
  • Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria, Porter, silver medal, Robust Porter category
  • Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria, Optimal Wit, bronze medal, Belgian-Style Witbier category
  • Pale Fire Brewing Co., Harrisonburg, Salad Days American Saison, bronze medal, American- Belgo-Style Ale category

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