Loudoun breweries are perennially well-represented in the annual Virginia Craft Beer Cup competition, and this year Leesburg’s Black Hoof Brewing Company, less than a year after opening, has won a gold medal for its Island Pond hefeweizen.
Black Hoof’s award was announced only a few days before its first anniversary party Saturday, June 9—a chance to celebrate with the hefeweizen. Owner and head brewer Haase said the day will have a cake cutting ceremony and food.
“That’s really it, just kind of enjoy that first year with our customers,” Haase said.
Although Black Hoof may be new to brewing, neither Haase nor assistant head brewer Brandon Flanigin are new to it. Haase has won awards for his home brewing, and Flanigin previously brewed at Quattro Goombas Brewery in Aldie. And one of their Leesburg neighbors, Crooked Run Brewing, won third place in the same category for its Best Days hefeweizen.
“It’s just fun that we wash kegs with Crooked Run every week, so we get to see them all the time, we enter the same category, we both get a medal—it’s nice how this community works,” Flanigin said. “It kind of shows that when you’re making great quality beer, we’re talking about marginal differences between what everybody’s putting out.”
Loudoun breweries can always be found on the list of statewide winners. Old Ox Brewery this year took home medals for the third year running, Belly Love in Purcellville took first place for its 50 Shades of Gold Belgian pale ale, and newcomer Farm Brewery at Broad Run won third place for its Wes’ Maul Belgian Tripel.
Old Ox won second place among American porters and stouts for its Black Ox porter and third among spiced beers for its Kristin’s Passion Mexican hot chocolate porter. Old Ox co-founder Chris Burns said Black Ox has won four out of the five times it has been entered in the contest, and three times consecutively.
“We are just stoked about the consistency of that particular beer, and we’re really proud of it,” Burns said. The other, Kristin’s Passion, is named after Burns’ wife, and the brewers have been tweaking the beer for the past four years.
Old Ox’s winning streak also extends over a change in head brewer. Allison Lange joined the brewery two years ago.
“We’re really excited with the beers that are coming out under her leadership, and we’ve just got an amazing production crew that’s really passionate about the beers,” Burns said.
This year, 375 beers in 27 categories competed for awards in the 2018 Virginia Craft Beer Cup. The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild announced the winners Monday, June 4 in Richmond in front of nearly 300 brewers and supporters. It is the largest state competition of its kind in the country.
“Contributing to the development of outstanding independent craft beer is central to our mission,” said Brett Vassey, President & CEO of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild. “The Cup is an important part of helping to expand public recognition and peer appreciation for great craft beer.”
The Virginia Craft Beer Cup competition was managed by Master Beer Judge Certification Program Judge Tom Cannon, 38 judges and 15 stewards. Bill Butcher, Port City Brewing Co.; Bill Madden, Mad Fox Brewing Co.; and Duke Fox, Starr Hill Brewery, served as advisors. Entries were judged at Fair Winds Brewing Company in Lorton.