Ups and downs with Starr Hill. I loved them when they were in Charlottesville - beers were solid, things were good. Then they moved to Crozet and quality went down the tubes. One of my old favorites (which I will not mention here because itís no longer the same beer that they brewed while in Charlottesville) went from a 9 on a 10-pt scale to a 5, if that. I began to neglect their beers as it appeared they decided to scrap quality and go quantity. Now, Iíve noticed over that past year or two that the quality is starting to build back up. Some of the beer available only at the tap room is outstanding - reminding me of the good olí days on West Main. They even brought back of of the most drinkable pale ales Iíd had (formerly called Starr Hill Pale, now Throwback Pale - though I havenít sampled it since itís been brought back). Iíve gotta say theyíre climbing out of the hole they got themselves into, and I hope they continue to strive for quality over quantity. Service, in the three times I have gone in the past year, was minimal. No chit-chat, no acknowledgement after picking my flights. But not rude. This place could get a bump up if service was a little more attentive.
It was jammed packed here on a Friday early evening however was easy ordering a tasting flight and finding a spot along the window leaner. The large brewery space can be seen through the large glass panels. Friendly folk here enjoying the beers. Thereís a food truck parked outside the front lot if hungry. The beers were a little hit or miss but generally OK. Efficient staff on a busy night.
Two different tasting samplers available, plus pints and growlers. Some food available, though I am told that has varied with different suppliers. Short tour of the facility is offered. Logo merchandise is also there. A nice stop.
Sprawling production facility with a taproom at one end. Tiny parking lot in front of the taproom, but thereís a larger one across the street. Taproom has a large square bar in the center. Two different types of pre-arranged fights are available, but you can also order individual samplers or full pours. Service was quick and efficient. Canning line visible from the taproom. Food truck out front on a Friday afternoon. Beers were just OK. Decent enough stop.
I had a somewhat mixed experience here. On the plus side, the tap roomís very well appointed. Clearly Starr Hill put some money into it. Thereís great central air conditioning (pretty necessary in VA for 5 months a year), plenty of TVs and projector screens showing the NFL games. The back wall has a glass window that allows you to observe the canning operation. The staff were all very friendly. Prices were decent for the 12 beers on tap. I had a set flight of 5 for $5. Unfortunately Starr Hill comes up short in the most important area. Their beerís just not very good. Thereís so many other superior alternatives in the region that I simply canít recommend a visit unless youíre just interested in ticks. Overall, itís taken me over a year to visit this place despite the fact that I live within 10 miles. I donít see myself returning any time soon unless the beer improves.
Went in to see the newly revamped tasting room. Itís actually very nice looking, with central air conditioning to boot. A large bar with many stools. There are several tables surrounding the bar, and thereís a smaller outside seating area as well. We were served right away by the kinder bartender. The other guy seemed like he had seen less pissed off days. I had a bourbon barrel aged barleywine which was very impressive.
Lots of visits and re-rates of this place.
The score history is 42... 52... 24... 50, and now currently 66.
I have had a long tumultuous history with this brewery. Bad beer, horrible customer service and even a boycott over the way they treated a friend of mine who worked for them. I visited today to see the new tap room, and as Iím updating my notes, I figure I will start new and delete all my previous notes.
Over the past year or so, the beer quality has improved, though they do still have a couple of abominations they canít seem to get away from, most notably the Monticello Reserve. But, the last few released have been solid. Still in the same building, so plenty of parking. Employees Iíve dealt with have been friendly, with the exception of that asshole Velkyal (hehe, just kidding). The new tasting room is attached to the brewery, with a good view of the brewing and packaging operations in the brewery itself. Several tables and a long two sided bar. Large patio outside. There is a small stage and they anticipate live music soon. 12 or so taps, with some packaged items to go, and lots of swag, just like the old place. They are just getting going, and the tap room still has that "new" smell, but it seems like it will be a much more inviting space in the future, and actually being able to drink out of real glass is nice.
An old warehouse that looks like it has been very well used, and is currently being used for beer production, complete with a new canning line. The beer samples are free, and there are growlers, bottles, cans, and kegs to go. A small chili pepper garden, indoors, near the taps, will soon go into a porter. The staff is helpful and knowledgeable.