Runneth over dept.
Virginia winemakers have the Governor’s Cup competition, but until last week, Virginia beer brewers were left thirsting for a contest of their own.
No longer. Thanks to Starr Hill Brewery and its brewmaster, Mark Thompson, the first Virginia Beer Cup has quenched that thirst. On June 6 and 7, Thompson brought together seven breweries and 17 beers to Starr Hill for the competition.
Both Starr Hill and South Street breweries participated, of course, along with the Coors Brewing Company from Elkton, Calhoun’s brewery from Harrisonburg, the Main Street and Richbrau brewing companies from Richmond, and the Blue and Gray Brewing Company from Fredericksburg.
Thompson says things went so well at this year’s event, organized by Shannon Mallory, former director of the Great American Beer Festival, that he hopes to make it annual.
And the results? Best of Show went to South Street Brewery’s Pilsner; first runner-up was Richbrau’s Silverman IPA, and the second runner up was Coors’ Killian’s Irish Red.
The public had a chance to swig the Virginia beers at Fridays After Five on June 7, as well as at Starr Hill later that night.
And as for Starr Hill not garnering honors, brewer Mark Thompson takes it in stride, perhaps because he’s looking forward to the roll-out of Starr Hill in bottles on July 4.
“We’ve spent three years doing draft only,” Thompson says, “and that built the brand.”
Now, with Starr Hill served at major concert venues including NoVa’s Nissan Pavilion and Maryland's Meriweather Post, the GTE Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, and Walnut Creek in Raleigh, N.C., Thompson says Starr Hill is poised to be a well-known regional beer.
“I want us to be like Starbucks is to coffee,” he says. It might be “a lofty, crack-smoking goal,” Thompson laughs, but it’s one he hopes to achieve nevertheless.
And, he points out, with Starr Hill as a finalist in the World Beer Cup, being judged in Aspen, Colorado on June 12, after this paper's presstime, it’s a goal that may be closer than it appears.
Look for six packs and more of Starr Hill’s brews to hit stores around the area when the fireworks start cracking.
Anyone who’s dared pass through the hallowed gates of Fashion Square Mall knows that some serious renovations are going on. Well, Dish loves good shopping as much as anyone, so we’re happy to see the improvements. But what we really want to know is: will there be any more food?
The answer: maybe, says Misty Parsons, spokesperson for Fashion Square Mall, which is run by Simon Mall Management.
“They’re trying to lease a space out in the parking lot to a sit-down restaurant,” Parsons explains, “but nothing’s been signed yet.”
The space would fill an area between Sears and the Wachovia Building on the Rio Road side of the Mall, would require new construction, and would provide some mall competition for burger joint Red Robin.
As for a food court, which had been part of the Mall’s original renovation/expansion plan, Parsons says we shouldn't expect to be downing General Tso’s chicken, hot dogs, or Philly cheese steaks anytime soon. Those plans, though still possible down the road, have been put on hold indefinitely.