Do you remember the shows that your parents made you watch when you were growing up? If you’re as old as I am, you might remember The Waltons. What could embody the nostalgia of that beloved series more than Afton Mountain and Nelson County, Virginia?! I can hear the theme song playing in my head now. Hum along if you remember. So, why do I bring up The Waltons, or Afton Mountain, or Nelson County, you ask? Well, nestled in this picturesque area of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a place known as Nelson 151. As their website spouts, “Nelson 151 is the travel destination for Virginia wine, craft beer, hard cider and outdoor recreation.” Located off of I-64, Nelson 151 showcases some of the best Virginia has to offer. There are at least 6 wineries, 4 breweries, distilleries, and 2 cideries along this 15 mile stretch of highway. Wait?! What?! I kid you not! There’s Blue Mountain, Devil’s Backbone, Wild Wolf, Brewing Tree, and, of course, WildManDan’s! Then the wineries and distilleries and so on, and so on...What’s one to do if you don’t live close by? You stay the night. And where should you stay the night you might ask? Well, Beerdedbeerman is here to tell you. WildManDan’s Beer Centric B&B, that’s where. WildManDan’s is located conveniently within a stone’s throw of Route 151 and as you might have guessed, beer is the theme! Dan and Terri Tatarka have created an oasis right off the main drag. Dan is an award-winning craft brewer who brews beer on site and loves to teach and share his knowledge with others. Terri has 30 years of restaurant and hotel management under her belt and it shows.
The main house was constructed in 1870 and served as the Afton post office for many years. Dan and Terri have lovingly restored and modernized the home while keeping the home’s charm. Each of the five bedrooms in the main house are named after different brewing malts. How cool is that?! The barn, which served as the local feed and seed in Afton, now serves as Dan’s brewery/taproom. One side of the barn is for brewing and the other for tasting. The barn is a great place to hang out to listen to vintage vinyl, throw darts, or get in some foosball action and even giant Jinja. Dan and Terri have also restored a lovely little cottage that boasts two bedrooms, a full bath, living room and kitchen...conveniently located right next to the brew barn! There’s an amazing firepit with hammock chairs to sit in while enjoying a cozy fire, a gazebo that wears the Wildman Dan logo proudly, and a quaint little seating area right behind the “barn” to sit out in the sun or the night sky and enjoy Dan’s wonderful brews.
After a day of traveling up and down Route 151, the Mrs. and I checked in and got to spend the evening with Dan and Terri and talk about all of our beer experiences from the day. Dan and Terri welcomed us with two of Dan’s recent brews at the “welcome bar” in the front room and we all headed out to the barn for a chat and a tasting or two. The barn is rustic and charming and houses the brewery and taproom. Sitting behind the repurposed wagon bar is an old piano that Dan and Terri’s children practiced and played that Terri has turned into their taps. You have to see it to believe it! Four months of work has turned on unused piano into a work of art. Eclectic and fun, just like the owners. With the Eagles on the old turntable and beers in hand, the Mrs. and I ganged up on Dan and Terri in a friendly game of cricket.
The next morning dawns with freshly brewed coffee and one of the most amazing meals I’ve ever had. Terri is more than a hostess whose laugh will make you smile, she’s an amazing chef. The farm fresh eggs (lovingly provided by David Bowie, Axel Rose and Slash – Terri’s chickens), and locally sourced offerings are to die for! Terri prepares every morsel from scratch. Saturday morning’s offerings were chocolate coffee cake with lemon sorbet and fresh raspberries for starters and Eggs Vienna with Terri’s own marinara, eggs from “the girls,” local goat cheese, and capers baked to perfection. Bacon and fresh biscuits for sopping rounded out the morning’s offering. Oh my! I wish you could experience the flavor explosion for yourself. How could Terri possibly outdo herself after such a wonderful breakfast?! It’s not possible I tell you. Oh ye, of little faith! Sunday’s fare was even more incredible. Hot raspberry scones with raspberry sauce and Terri’s own Eggs Benny (one of Dan’s favorite dishes). Italian bread with avocados, poached eggs and siracha hollandaise paired with fresh Mexican sausage. I think the Mrs. and I gained 10 pounds in two and a half days! But you know, a hardy breakfast to fortify you for the day of wineries, breweries and distilleries is a must!
This is the part where I tell you about the beers. Well, as fate would have it, the Mrs. who so graciously served as the designated driver for the weekend, would drive us around to visit all the wonderful places that were more than happy to let me sample their fare, we (aka I) forgot to profile the beers at WildManDan’s. I didn’t say that I didn’t drink the beer, I just didn’t flavor profile them. Seriously. I write about beer, right? Well, what’s a beer geek to do? You drive back up a few weekends later, with a few members of the Brew Crew, and Dan so graciously lets you sample his wonderful concoctions. Porters and stouts and ryes, oh my!
WildManDan Beer Centric B&B
NorAbby – Belgium style “abbey”; NorAbby has a malt and floral nose with honey notes and traditional trappiest yeast flavors. It has a pleasant slight sweetness that finishes dry.
VanCiOrg Stout – Stout – Named for the vanilla, cinnamon and orange flavors in the beer, VanCiOrg is a spicy smooth, very drinkable stout. Not too heavy, just right!
Alpaca Kick Porter – Porter – Alpaca Kick has an appealing malt and peppery nose. The pepper is not overpowering and the malts and peppers play well together in this one.