Wild Wolf Brewing Company
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Active Beers: 20
Beer Ratings: 246
Beer Avg: 3.64
Taps: 6 / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 13 | Reviews: 9 | Show All Ratings:
3.48/5 rDev -10.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Nearly a year ago I took a half-day off of work to head up to Charlottesville for a concert. But first, I had to stop at the recently named best small brewery in the country by the Great American Beer Festival. On my way to Devil’s Backbone, I suddenly passed a sign for another brewpub just a few miles away from my destination. I was new to Virginia, so I hadn’t heard of Wild Wolf before, and didn’t plan enough time to make a stop there as well.
Fast forward to this past weekend when my awesomely supportive wife agreed to make the drive for pretty much no other reason than to fix the oversight. So was it worth the hotel room in Lynchburg and the two-hour drive home on a Saturday afternoon? Just for the sake of having done it? Yes. For the amazing views while driving? Yes. For the experience at the brewpub? Meh.
We settled in around 2:00 pm on a November Saturday to watch a bit of football and enjoy some of the wares. It took a little while to get the server to talk to us, but once she did, we had a flight of 11 beers on the way to the table for a reasonable $10.
The experience went downhill from there.
The beers were so-so in my opinion. Everything tasted clean and very likely how the brewmaster intended, but the flavor profile of pretty much each style has one note – bitter. Instead of Wild Wolf, I think this spot should have something about “alpha” in its name, because it over-hops every single style it makes. Without enough malt or a complex enough grain bill, each beer features only hops, and only one aspect of them at that. It might be a great lesson in hop varieties and their flavors, but it severely limits my enjoyment.
A couple of hours later – more on that in a bit – my wife and I decided on two pints, both of which just happen to be their lowest hopped varieties available. I went with a Belgian honey blond (Blond Hunny) that was cloudly, unfiltered, and pretty refreshing on a unseasonable warm November day. She went with a peach-touched Belgian style by the name of Area 151. Cloyingly high in alcohol, this was probably the best option on the list.
Between the flight and the pints, we looked at a food menu. And then we waited. For probably an hour. Finally, a manager asked if we needed anything. We said yes, how about some food and some water (which hadn’t come with the sampler as we had asked)? Sure, he said, let me go find a waitress.
Say what? Are you too good to take our order and get it into the kitchen ASAP? The reason for the wait wasn’t so much that the waitresses were bad, it’s just that they were slammed. Between 20 people constantly begging for their attention at the bar, pouring drinks for the rest of the busy restaurant, and cleaning their own glassware, the two bartenders simply didn’t have a lot of time to devote to the tables around the edges of the barroom.
Not necessarily their fault, but extremely aggravating nonetheless. Maybe they could have done a better job, or maybe management could have had more than two bartenders on staff for a beautiful Saturday afternoon during football season. Or maybe they could have at least pitched in and helped the poor girls once they saw how frantic things were getting. But no, instead we waited another 10 minutes or so until a different bartender found time to take our order.
Basement marks for service.
Once we finally got our orders in, the food came out surprisingly fast. Apparently the kitchen wasn’t very busy at all. The barbecue and sandwich menu here contains a host of delicious-sounding options. We went with a pulled pork sandwich and a tri-tip steak sandwich, with sides of sweet potato fries and battered fries, respectively.
The fries were absolutely fantastic. Both varieties seem hand-cut, hand-battered, hand-seasoned, and perfectly-cooked. The sandwiches themselves were good, but not outstanding. The pork had a nice smoky flavor which says they know what they’re doing with their barbecue at least. The tri-tip was a little bland other than the sauce. Both could have used better bread.
The one point that Wild Wolf hit all the marks on is the location. You can’t pick a prettier setting for any type of business, and they’ve created a sort of mini-mall type area with a ton of stores. It’s pretty impressive.
In all, if you happen to find yourself in the area whether for skiing, hiking, camping, or just to have some brews, do yourself a favor and focus on Devil’s Backbone and Blue Mountain. Both are superior in every respect.
01-17-2014 19:36:18 | More by bigkingken
4.01/5 rDev +3.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75 | $$
Came into this with high hopes and I was not disappointed. Beautiful on the inside and out, with a nice seperate dining area from the bar. Good, but limited food options and a great selection of their beers available on tap as well as to go.
We sampled all 10 available beers. They offered 2 different sampler flights, 1 with their seasonal and limited choices and the other with the standards. Each flight was $5, and was enough for 2 people to share easily.
The food menu was diverse, we shared a starter of hummus with veggies and pita bread slices. My wife got a BBQ pulled pork sandwich that she loved. I got the BBQ platter that came with a decent sized helping of the pork and 6 smoked, very large, chicken wings. The others in my party got fish and chips which were delicious.
The prices on the food were more than reasonable, roughly $10-$15 per person. Pints of beer were between $4-$6 . Overall it was a great experience and we will definitely go back.
09-09-2013 00:44:27 | More by ZachKelly
3.99/5 rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.5 | $$
The place is an old building - converted from being the high school about 100 years ago and they have surrounded it with a little village including some play areas for children, a waterwheel, a home brew shop, and another shop in addition to the restaurant + bar. The inside was clean but had a rustic feel to it. There is seating in the bar, the dining room, the area that was formerly the porch but had been closed in, and outdoors. There are really nice shade trees outside around the seating area. I would say the place is family friendly, especially when we stopped by in the mid-afternoon.
The beers were served at a proper temperature, served promptly, and with a proper amount of head. The pours were full though I only got shaker pint glasses with the beers I ordered though those are appropriate for the style - not sure if they use any other glassware.
Service was very friendly and attentive and seemed to be quite knowledgeable about the beers. Our waitress made some recommendations on the food and the beer which I was happy with and was able to provide some additional information on the beers not contained on the menu.
As far as selection goes, they had 4 seasonals and 5 regulars on-tap that spanned a handful of styles (couple of lagers, mostly ales) as well as a couple of beers only available in bottle. The beers ranged from IPA to Belgians to Germans to Pumpkin. I tried only a full pour of two of the beers since I was driving and my brother-in-law tried both of the samplers (so all 9 of the draft beers). None of the beers were worse than average and most were above average.
The food was really nice at this place - I had a delicious spicy corn chowder followed by a smoked brisket sandwich and my brother-in-law had a salad with grilled chicken on it. Both of us really enjoyed our meals. All of the smoked meats are smoked onsite and were good - we could smell it smoking when we pulled up. Having been to the other 2 breweries on the road, I think this place was definitely my favorite from the food perspective and I would recommend trying the food while you are there.
Prices were reasonable, certainly much better than I was used to after living in the NYC area for a couple of years. I think they might have even been a bit better priced than the other breweries right down the road. For example, a tasting flight of the 4 seasonal beers was $4.
08-22-2013 17:03:50 | More by dbrauneis
4.65/5 rDev +19.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $
Love this place. Every time we go I find something else to love about it. Great service, great beers. The wee heavy and the hunny blonde are excellent. There are a few seasonal brews that I'm not into but overall love their selections.
Fun for kids, inside and outdoor seating, inexpensive and great food. They have homemade smoked bbq but also great vegetarian options.
Highly recommend it.
06-27-2013 15:20:16 | More by Jeannine
4.28/5 rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Had lunch in the new brewpub. Food was decent but inconsistent. For example, we had fish and chips and fried chicken sandwich at my table. Fish was excellent with a nice thin batter but the fries were mushy. Similarly, the chicken was tasty but in such large chunks the sandwich couldn't hold together so you couldn't really taste the integration of the arugula, onion jam and aioli.
The beers were all fine if a bit muted. My favorite was the autumn ale which was an American brown ale with a nice balance of roast, malt and hops. The porter and the pils were a bit thin but the the other beers in the sampler (Scotch wee heavy, blond ale, double saison and pumpkin ale) were all solid. The atmosphere is a bit bit bare bones were right now inside as they have only been up and running for a few months. Service was friendly and efficient, with a manager checking in with us to see how things were. Overall, a nice solid addition to the Brew Ridge Trail.
Re-review on 5/18/13. Wow, much improved across the board. Beers are distinctive and clean, re-vamped menu includes a house smoker, and they have a lovely biergarten right in front. No longer a step-child to Devil's Backbone and Blue Mountain, WIld Wolf can now holds its own with both.
05-18-2013 18:09:13 | More by seanchai
4.14/5 rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stop 2 on the BRT.
Atmosphere: It's probably better to refer to this as the Wild Wolf campus. The new facility (just a mile from the old one) has a homebrew store, a bar, a restaurant, a water wheel and an awesome feel. Almost like the old Weeping Radish or Stoudts. We settled on the spacious bar, plenty of windows to allow the light in.
Quality: Easily the most adventurous of the three breweries, WW brought it's A game. Because it was still early, we got personalized attention from the bartender too.
Service: We chatted for a few minutes with our bartender, making the experience all the better.
Selection: They had nine beers on: 4 seasonals and 5 regulars. We worked our way through each in oder to determine which ones to take in a growler. The highlights were the seasonal Tom Tom Founders (a witbier IPA hybrid) and the ale brewed for Brew Ridge Trail week (the week before our visit), an imperial wit with honey, pears, and Nelson Sauvin hops. We had a follow up pint on Tom Tom and took the BRT collaboration in a growler.
Food: A full menu but we didn't eat here.
Another beautiful facility. This one takes the cake for best beer.
05-29-2012 01:09:12 | More by akorsak
4.45/5 rDev +14.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Took the family for lunch on a rainy Saturday. Pretty neat setup with the restaurant in the middle of the site surrounded by tons of outdoor tables, gazebo and koi pond. The right hand of the site has a few other buildings, one was a really cool bar/homebrew store with super nice people. They were actually doing a home brew out back.
Restaurant was very clean and if it wasn't raining, I would imagine you might need reservations to get a table. Menu was decent as far as selections go for both adults and kids. Beer menu was also good, they had about four regulars on draft and another three/four seasonals. Wife ordered the fish taco special since it was cinco de mayo, I rolled with the wild dog and old bay fries, both were very good and without a doubt the service was outstanding. I highly recommend stopping in for beer and food, I know we will be going back when we head up that way.
05-06-2012 15:45:22 | More by csbinva
4.61/5 rDev +18.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Wild Wolf Brewing Company is a nano brewery and home brew shop right in the heart of Nellysford on Route 151 South. At this point in their short history, they are not serving food (but that will apparently be changing this November). With that being said, their atmosphere is very modest. Ranking solely based on beers and the quality of the brew shop, there is a lot to like. The brew shop is essentially a home brewer's wildest dream. WW has equipment and ingredients that are very rare to find almost anywhere. They allow you to sample all the beers they have available on tap, which consists of a few staples and a few seasonal varieties. This is where the most impressive element lies in WW. Their beers are hands down the best on the "Brew Ridge Trail." Even the brews with over 7% ABV were incredibly smooth and did not have that "bite". All the beers fit their billing. Favorites are the Fresh-Hopped Alpha Ale, the Belgian Quad, Blonde Honey, and of course, the Root Beer. It looks like they are moving to a new location (also in Nellysford) in a few months to open a "Beer Village" complete with a brewpub. This is sure to be an exciting addition to the "Brew Ridge Trail."
10-06-2011 21:09:49 | More by drewsil111
4.08/5 rDev +5.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Stopped by here on my way down the 'Brew Ridge Trail'. They are building a fairly large brewery/restaurant and shopping center not far from their current location and it is slated to be open in November of this year. Looks like a nice place on the drive by.
As for their current location it is in a shopping center and seems mainly focused on selling homebrew items and has a great selection, probably the best around. They have a nice little tap area with quite a few brews on tap. I sampled a few and bought a few growlers. They have a nice selection of sizes including a 'howler' (32 oz if i remember correctly). As for the beers they are well done and very drinkable. They also have brewing demo's every Saturday and you can tell they are very inspired about not just their beer but craft beer in general. A great stop. I can't wait to see what they do with more space and brewing!
08-24-2011 13:20:59 | More by hmph
Wild Wolf Brewing Company in Nellysford, VA
89 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.