With the holidays just around the corner, Pleasure House Brewing in Virginia Beach plans to release several new brews that capture the flavor of the season, yet still encompass the brewery’s style.
Pleasure House values three things—good beer, great variety and excellent company. Located in Lynnhaven, at 3025 Shore Dr., the brewery features a casual space for visitors to sip on nearly 130 types of beer throughout the year. The newest brew is the Rum Barrel-aged Pumpkin Spice Saison, which was released this weekend in conjunction with the brewery’s two year-anniversary.
Co-owner Tim O’Brien explained what makes his beer stand out from the crowd.
“A lot of people make pumpkin ales that are a lot like drinking a piece of pumpkin pie. This beer actually has no pumpkin in it,” he said. “It’s just pumpkin spice and it’s on the subtle side, so even though it’s 8.4% ABV it drinks easy.”
In addition to its uncommon flavor, the beer is also notable for its ingredients.
“A lot of saisons use a Belgian strain of yeast, which tends to give it more of a bread characteristic, or a funky, barnyard taste. We use a French saison yeast which is a lot cleaner.”
Drew Stephenson, Pleasure House’s head brewer, explained his process for developing the new brew.
“To me one of the tricks about brewing is creating a flavor that reminds people about something,” he said. “The base is a beer I made while I was home brewing. It had such a broad appeal that people who don’t even enjoy beer liked it, so we decided it would be a good one to start with.”
“While pumpkin is not an ingredient, we create the idea of a pumpkin beer using rum barrels and a combination of malt, yeast, spices and maple syrup, which adds a little depth of flavor and sweetness,” he added.
The release of the the Pumpkin Spice Saison also marks a new milestone for the brewery.
“This is our first-ever bottle release, so its’s a big deal,” said O’Brien.
Though the new Saison is a limited edition, with only 432 bottles available this year, the brewery has several other beers set for release before the end of the year, including a Cognac Barrel Wattle Seed Export Stout, a Bourbon Barrel Export Stout, a Lynnhaven Coffee and Cream Stout and a Spice Christmas Quad.
“We’re calling the Christmas Quad Snatch You Baldheaded,” said O’Brien. “It’s a 12.5% ABV, and we got the name from a lady that regularly comes in here. When she and her sister used to misbehave their grandmother would say ‘I’m going to snatch you baldheaded.'”
Pohl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org