Shenandoah Valley Beer Trail: Siblings’ Rivalry– Cry Baby Belgian Pale Ale, Strasburg, Va.
Date: April 30, 2019
The Story— Strasburg is a lovely old townlette in the Shenandoah Valley dating from 1761. It boasts the largest population in the county — a bit under seven thousand. The museum is highly regarded for, among other things, a model railroad and an historic caboose. There are the expected small shops and Civil War sites abound in the area. Strasburg has a turn of the century hospital-turned hotel and we’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the planned brewery — but before we were able to get there, there were two!
Siblings’ Rivalry (yes, that’s where thy put the apostrophe) is an “enthusiast*” brewery that draws a good local crowd of admirers. Some of the townspeople we talked to much preferred them to the glitzier and better funded Box Office down the street. Good for them. Even in a town of less than seven thousand people, there seems to be room for two very distinct breweries. Bring in food or ordered it from a delivery service; lots of games, but not lots of room.
A Belgian IPA is a modern invention – and it was invented in the US, not in Belgium. The Belgians have embraced the style, but we’ve found the Americans manage the hop component better. This 7% is big enough to not require subtlety and its one of the more interesting beers from these rivals.
The Beer— Fruity with dried flowers. Chalky and slightly funky with a yeast that echoes Duvel and some of the Abbey Belgian breweries. A yeast and hop bitter settles in at the back of the palate, but it fades soon enough.
Value —Good. Standard small brewery taphouse prices.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.
*Our terminology of an “enthusiast” brewery is one that may not have the most sophisticated brewing equipment and the brewer isn’t a graduate of Weihenstephan or UC Davis brewing schools, but they pursue their passions and turn out beers that make their customers as enthusiastic as they are. Hats off to ’em.