The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Champion Brewing Company

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.

Five Finds on Friday: Zach Miller

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Zach Miller, co-owner of Timbercreek Market, set to re-open next month with the addition of a new onsite restaurant, Back Forty. While the market will still offer meat and produce from Timbercreek Farm and other local sources, Back Forty will be a full-service restaurant under the direction of chef Tucker Yoder. “Back 40 is his restaurant,” says Miller. “We simply are along for the ride.” For that ride, Chef Yoder says to expect “a more refined version of the things we are doing now.” There is even a bar with house cocktails, and Yoder has already begun jarring cherries in rye and sorghum for that very purpose. Miller’s picks:

1) Falconer Hoppy Wheat Ale from Champion Brewing Company. “You can always find a Champion at our house, but this beer is at the top of my list. Hunter’s beers are all great which is why we are collaborating on a special release with Champion for our new restaurant. We will grow the crops and Hunter will create a magic beer.”

2) The Steakhouse Burger at Citizen Burger Bar, served rare. “Shameless self promotion? Yes. But what is there not to like? So many great flavors in between the greatest bread in town – an Albemarle Baking Company brioche.”

3) F8 by Jake Busching Wines. “Jake’s wines are great! The F8 is not only great but the grapes are grown by my friend Carl Tinder, so knowing the farmer makes it a win and it’s really good to top it off!”

4) 434 Summer Pale Ale from Three Notch’d Brewery. “Another find in our kitchen. It is a delicious light drinking summer beer that our beer buyer, Maggie Slinkman, has made a staple at the market for the summer.”

5) Spicy Peanut Tofu at Revolutionary Soup. “This is my go-to spot for lunch when I am downtown. If I eat lunch it needs to be light and quick and Rev Soup delivers every time.”


Five Finds on Friday: Jon Bray


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jon Bray, who will run the brand new kitchen at Champion Brewing Company. Set to open June 19, Bray’s kitchen will serve beer-friendly foods like brats and sausage specials from JM Stock Provisions, paninis on Albemarle Baking Company bread, and spreads like pub cheese made with Missile IPA. Bray’s picks:

1) Karaage at TEN Sushi. “Japanese style fried chicken thigh nuggets. When Chef Pei first introduced this dish to me, it reminded me of an elevated version of the wings and nuoc cham sauce at the now defunct Saigon Cafe. It’s the kind of dish that’s so delicious, it’s stressful to be around if you’re the server who has to run it to tables all night. It’s only available as a special, though, so be on the look out.”

2) Grilled Shrimp with XO Sauce at Oakhart Social. “Chef Tristan Wraight is the most talented size medium chef in Charlottesville. There aren’t many places in town that are executing his level of flavor balance, and this dish nails it. Shrimp, salty Chinese sausage sauce, sweet Japanese mayo, fresh herbs and citrus zest. This, followed by a shot or six of Fernet Branca with Chef, which he describes as ‘Jaegermeister’s cooler, older, brother that rides motorcycles and respects women,’ makes for a classic night in Midtown.”

3) Bacon, Egg, and Cream Cheese on an Onion Bagel from Bodo’s. “It’s hard to single out my favorite combination, so I’m going with my childhood favorite. This, paired with Saturday morning cartoons was basically the ceiling of joy for me as a fourth grader.  Well, that and boobies.”

4) Sausages from JM Stock Provisions. “These meat scientists just love to play by their own rules, and fortunately, the result is a bunch of slam dunks. Recently, I had the Fiipino style Adobo sausage, and being half-Filipino I was thrilled to see it in the case.  The general rule of thumb as a Filipino is that nobody makes a better adobo than your mom, but my mom never made adobo sausage! Touche, dudes. Dunk=slammed.”

5) Panda Pineapple IPA from Champion Brewing Company. “This is the beer that Hunter and his team made for my wife and my wedding in 2014, and every year since for our anniversary. Some call it the greatest beer of all time, others call it the greatest beer of all time.”

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