Keeping the love


OK, I’m officially the Beer Guy again.

Writing for, appearing every other Friday.

Actually, that identity stuck long after the initial column rode off into the sunset. Just this week, I went to a tasting at Once Upon a Vine in Stratford Hills, and a woman came up to me out of the blue and said how much she had enjoyed my column “when we were all just starting out” with beer explorations. She didn’t know of my new incarnation, and I hope she continues to be a fellow explorer.

Much has changed about the beer scene, but one thing has remained steadfast. Every brewer I talk to speaks of the camaraderie in the trade, of brewers helping brewers make new, different and exciting beers.

Case in point–a conversation I had recently with Brian Spak, assistant brewer at Corcoran Brewing Co. in Loudoun County. Spak has been learning by doing on the Corcoran family farm, which boasts a vineyard as well as a brewery.

“I’m loving every minute of it,” he says. “What I really like about the beer business is that people are not doing it to cut each other out.” Cutthroat is not his style, he adds. “I’m pretty laid back.”

Granted, there certainly must be exceptions. And we’re talking about relations among brewers, not between business executives (or politicians). But you often see collaborative batches involving different breweries, for example the Lloyd’s Revenge stout put together by Devils Backbone in Nelson County and fledgling Champion Brewing Co. in Charlottesville.

Spak’s attitude reflects the mainstream, at least in my experience as Beer Guy. And his philosophy of brewing — small batches made with care — sounds like a marketer’s slogan. But it is genuine, and holds true for facets of life extending far beyond ales and lagers.

“We want to keep a lot of love in our beer.”

I’d like to hear more about collaborative batches in the brewing scene. Drop me a line in the comment section if the spirit moves you.

About admin

I am a writer. And a musician/songwriter. And a husband/father. I love good beer, the outdoors, the embrace of family, the company of true friends, the telling of a good story and the inner peace derived from quiet reflection in solitude. Recently I have specialized in beer writing. My most recent adventure is "Virginia Beer: A Guide from Colonial Days to Craft's Golden Age" published fall 2018 by University of Virginia Press. In October 2014, "Richmond Beer: A History of Brewing in the River City" was published by History Press. "Charlottesville Beer: Brewing in Jefferson's Shadow," followed in January 2017. Send me an email at As you can see from this site, however, my interests are broader than beer. Spend time, leave a comment or just enjoy. Lee
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