The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Tag: Champion Brewing Company

Five Pillars Ale Creates More than 63,000 Meals for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank


Logo donated by Watermark Design.

In the 2019 Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions, four friends pooled funds to win Beer Run’s offering — the chance to brew a collaboration beer with Champion Brewing Company. They called their beer Five Pillars Ale, a Virginia pale ale brewed in celebration of the five life principles upon which Tony Bennett built the UVa men’s basketball program: humility, passion, unity, servanthood and thankfulness. The full story is here,

When COVID-19 prevented plans for the beer’s public release, the auction winners decided to put it to a use true to its name: serve others. With the help of Champion Brewing Company, they placed the beer up for auction, in a package that included Five Pillars Ale memorabilia signed by Tony Bennett. All proceeds would go directly to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank — aid which comes at a critical time. The number of people in Charlottesville who seek the food bank’s help has tripled during the COVID-19 crisis.

What happened next is yet another instance of the theme of the auctions: kindness is contagious.

The original Beer Run auction item allowed the four winners to invite eight friends to join them for brewing day: an entire day of beer, food, and brewing.


In the Five Pillars Ale auction, after much back-and-forth bidding, the winners were the eight friends who were invited to be part of brewing day. They combined funds for a joint bid and won the very beer they had been invited to help make. “I was familiar with the Five Pillars story and had no trouble pulling together a group of friends eager to support this great cause during a very challenging time,” said Mike Egidi, who spearheaded the group bid.

Their winning bid? $2,900.

Thanks to the efficiency of the food bank, this is enough to create more than 11,000 meals for the area’s hungry.

But, the kindness did not stop there. Three generous souls were so inspired by the Five Pillars Ale auction that they each made donations to the food bank in its honor, totaling another $9,000. With these contributions and the proceeds from the two auctions, Five Pillars Ale yielded a total of $15,900 for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, enough to create more than 63,000 meals for the area’s hungry.

If you would like to donate to the food bank in honor of Five Pillars Ale, you may do so here.

Thank you, Five Pillars. Thank you, Charlottesville.


Beer Run Auction: Brew Your Own Charlottesville Beer

Beer Run pic

Here is your chance to experience Beer Run like you never have before, while helping to feed the area’s hungry: The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions. Along with all of the other restaurants in The Charlottesville 29, Beer Run has created a once-in-a-lifetime experience for whoever pledges the highest donation to The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Thanks to the generosity of Beer Run and Champion Brewing Company, the entire winning bid goes directly to the food bank. And, thanks to the efficiency of the food bank, each dollar donated creates four meals for the area’s hungry.

The Beer Run signature experience for The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions:

Brew Your Own Charlottesville Beer

Now open for more than a decade, Beer Run has fueled Charlottesville’s love of good beer — both drinking it and brewing it. The winner of the Beer Run auction will have the chance to enjoy our area’s beer scene in a whole new way: create their own beer for a local brewery, a collaboration with Champion Brewing Company.

In advance of brewing day, the auction winner will discuss ideas with the Champion brewing team, who will help to design and name the beer based on input from the auction winner. When brewing day comes, the auction winner and nine guests will begin their day with breakfast and beer at Beer Run. From there, they will be off to Champion, where they will make the beer with Champion’s brewers. When the work is done, the group will return to Beer Run for a celebratory dinner and beer.

Finally, a few weeks later when the beer is ready, Beer Run will host a happy hour event, open to the public, celebrating Champion’s release of the auction winner’s collaboration. At the release event, the auction winner’s group may enjoy the beer they created, on the house.

Note: The winning bidder will schedule their experience at a time that is mutually convenient for Beer Run and Champion.


Bidding for Beer Run’s experience has ended. Winning bid: $4,000.

Fruitbasket Arrives at Champion on January 23


Big hype beers are dying.

With so much good beer available these days, rare is the occasion when special releases  generate the mania they once did. Some consumers even suspect breweries of artificially suppressing supply of some beers to manufacture scarcity and the hype it can yield.

In many cases, though, there are good reasons for supply of a great beer to be so limited. Like hard work. Take Fruitbasket, by Champion Brewing Company. First released in 2014, Fruitbasket is an IPA with extravagant amounts of Mosaic hops, and, to complement the hops’ natural fruitiness, actual fruit. That fruit is what creates the hard work: zesting and juicing by hand 4,000 pounds of blood orange and grapefruit, and then adding the zest and juice to the beer as it nears the end of fermentation. With all that work, Champion has limited Fruitbasket to a once-a-year release, each January.

For this year’s iteration, though, the team took a slightly different approach. “We are always searching for ways to innovate and streamline our process while improving the quality of our beer,” says Josh Skinner, Champion’s Lead Brewer. That led them to aseptic fruit puree. “We have been playing around with adding purees to beers at the taproom for a couple of years now,” says Skinner, “and have been really impressed with their consistency and the quality of the beers made with them.”

So, for Fruitbasket this year, instead of all that zesting and juicing by hand, the Champion team added aseptic puree of blood orange and red grapefruit. The result: “the best Fruitbasket yet,” says Skinner. That’s high praise for a beer once called the best beer made in Virginia.

A 70 IBU, 8 % ABV Double IPA, 2019’s Fruitbasket will be released at the Champion tap room in Charlottesville on Wednesday, January 23 at 4 pm.

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