by Renss Greene, Loudoun Now
A Loudoun brewery has earned the highest honor yet at the annual Virginia Craft Beer Cup, with Leesburg’s Black Hoof Brewing Company taking home Best in Show for its Muzzle Loader Munich Dunkel during last night’s awards ceremony.
It is the highest award given at the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild’s annual awards. The winner was selected from among 267 beers, which were judged Saturday, July 25, at Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn.
It is the largest state competition of its kind in the country. And Black Hoof is the first brewery in Northern Virginia to bring home the Best in Show trophy, said co-owner and founder Bill Haase.
“There’s a lot of good beer being brewed in Virginia, and all those breweries and brewers really make us better, because we have to keep pace with them,” Haase said. “It’s always a team effort. For me, it starts from the people behind the bar, to the cellarmen and my brewer, and even my wife, who’s been supporting us during these crazy times. It really is a huge team effort, and I’m just proud of everybody.”
Haase returned from the ceremony in Richmond on Tuesday. The trophy, which is around three feet tall, will be on display in the brewery starting Tuesday afternoon.
It is not the brewery’s first award—in fact, Black Hoof won a gold medal at the awards less than a year after opening for its Island Pond hefeweizen.
“This was a challenging year due to the pandemic,” said Head Judge Charlie Harr. “However, we made several adjustments to operate in a safe environment and follow established guidelines. In the end, we had a lot of fun, made new friends and tasted some great Virginia beers.”
Loudoun breweries make a strong showing at the craft beer awards every year, and this year was no different, even aside from Black Hoof’s victory.
In addition to winning Best in Show and first place among dark lagers for the Muzzleloader Munich Dunkel, Black Hoof won first place among bocks for their Broadside Maibock.
Judging hosts and perennial favorites OId Ox won first place in the brown ale category for its Black Ox Rye Porter and first place among saisons for its Sightseer Saison. Old Ox president and CEO Chris Burns is also the Brewers Guild Tourism & Marketing Committee co-chair.
Sterling’s Rocket Frog Brewing Company won third place in brown ale for its spaceflight-themed Wallops Island.
Another Sterling brewery, Beltway Brewing Company, won first place in pale ale for its Approachable Guise.
“The Virginia Craft Beer Cup is all about sharing what we have learned as craft brewers and small businesses, making memories, and best of all, celebrating the best of what Virginia Brewers have to offer,” said Beltway Brewing Company founder and president and Virginia Craft Brewers Guild Chairman Sten Sellier. “Besides, you never know who might win. Having brought a few medals back to our brewery in the past, I can say that bragging rights are always a big plus!”
Dynasty Brewing in Ashburn, the passion project of longtime Loudoun brewer Favio Garcia which recently expanded into Leesburg, won first place in stouts for its 838 Stout, and third place in pale lager for the Dynasty Lager.
And scenic destination Dirt Farm Brewing won third place in the specialty/alternative category for its Honey Helles.
“The annual VA Craft Beer Cup is such a fun event that brings our breweries together for some healthy competition and camaraderie,” said Dirt Farm Brewing co-owner and Brewers Guild Farm Brewery Committee co-chair Janell Zurschmeide. “It allows us to celebrate each other, especially the winners, and further promote our independent breweries.”