Virginia craft brewery

Photo: Colonial Beach Brewing

Colonial Beach Brewing has become Town of Colonial Beach, Virginia’s (CBVA) own version of Cheers, the bar featured in the popular television sitcom. Patrons include locals and visitors, alike, who swarm to the watering hole for its unique craft brews, cozy atmosphere and family-like camaraderie. The brewery is family-owned and operated by Ted and Mitzi Saffos and their son, Nick. Board games and coloring books are kept onsite so parents and children can visit together. 

At any given time, Colonial Beach Brewing has a rotating menu of around ten different craft beers on tap. Every beer, crafted by brewer Casey Blaylock, is given a maritime or sea-related name or has a connection to the brewery’s home in Colonial Beach: Beach Blonde; River Range Red, a nod to nearby Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division’s range testing on the Potomac River; and Malecha Pale Ale, named in memory of Town resident Chuck Malecha, for examples. 

Craft beers: 

  • One of Colonial Beach Brewing’s most popular flagship beers, the Beach Blonde, is also one of the brewery’s lightest, crisp, and most refreshing brews, and has been around almost since the beginning.
  • River Range Red, an Irish red ale, lightly malty with characteristics of roasted coffee, chocolate, and caramel.
  • Malecha Pale Ale is a gluten-free, light pale ale that is low carbs (9 grams) and light in calories (only 110). Lighter than the Beach Blonde, it is the brewery’s lightest pale ale yet.
  • Ironclad Irish Stout is a classic dry stout, with roasted notes of coffee and chocolate and an exceptionally dry finish. This beer uses the nitrogen tap, as opposed to the traditional carbon dioxide tap, thus giving it a creamier, smoother, Guinness-like quality.
  • Kraken Coconut Porter is another dark beer, with a creamy smooth and semi-sweet flavor that includes notes of coconut.
  • Town Pier Pilsner is a Czech-style lager with Pilsen salt and Saaz hops, making it a great balance for those who like hops, but want something refreshing. This beer is known for its complexity to brew but its simplicity with its ingredients.
  • Abandoned Ship Amber Ale is a slightly malty American amber, smooth and very clean tasting, making it the perfect compromise between light and dark.
  • Monroe Bay IPA is very down-to-earth West Coast-style IPA (India Pale Ale), for those who enjoy the hoppier side og things. Colonial Beach Brewing’s version is more mellow with a good hop flavor and bitter, piney and resiny notes.
  • Beach Haze IPA is a new Colonial Beach Brewing RE-release, a New England-style IPA that is lighter in flavor than West Coast IPAs. More of a summertime IPA, Beach Haze isn’t focused on a strong hop flavor; rather, it emphasizes citrus and a light fruit flavor.

Upcoming new releases: Sunken Sailboat Saison, and the return of one their first brews, the Krabby Kolsch. 

craft beerBeers are rotated at least twice a month and seasonally. Flagship Beach Blonde, River Range Red, and Monroe Bay IPA are generally consistent and there is always a porter or a stout on nitro, as well as a sour or fruit beer, which appeals to non-beer or wine drinkers. The brewery is also know for its Shandy for non-beer drinkers: Beach Blonde ale mixed with part ginger ale and part lemonade. 

But Casey Blaylock is a prolific brewer and likes to tempt palates with new styles and flavors. An authentic gose sour was released on St. Patrick’s Day (now tapped out); and the brewery has collaborated with nearby Ingleside Plantation Vineyard using one of the winery’s barrels to give its beer a red wine quality that almost tasted like a shandy. In the next few months, Colonial Beach Brewing will be tapping a Lambic beer (a traditional Belgian-style sour) from an Ingleside Barrel. 

Depending on the season, rotating sours and fruit beers have featured mango, blueberry, mixed berry, passion fruit, and raspberry, and the brewery continues to try new fruits and variations. On Wednesdays, the brewery features its Randall of the Week, which injects fun and unique flavors, including hops, fruit, coffee or coconut. (Randall of the Week not available during COVIN-19 pandemic.)