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Buzz Bites: Check out creative responses to pandemic, plus honors and more

Buzz Bites: Check out creative responses to pandemic, plus honors and more


Central Virginia’s food community is endlessly creative, and this week’s Buzz Bites includes all kinds of examples. Check out the following tasty responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pop-up brunch

Bluegrass Grill & Bakery is serving brunch these days from 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Sundays at The Summit at Devils Backbone Basecamp in Roseland.

The restaurant, formerly in Charlottesville, offers all-outdoor seating, and no reservations are required. Takeout is available. Brunch will be served in the Roseland space for at least three months.

Expect all the pandemic safety precautions needed to keep the dining experience safe and enjoyable for patrons and staff members alike.

It’s a success story for two businesses that were looking for solutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic’s toll on small businesses. Devils Backbone had a breakfast space on its property that wasn’t being used, and the staff members in The Summit had been reassigned to other jobs across the property. Devils Backbone will not charge rent, but it is paying the Bluegrass Grill & Bakery employees. Learn more online at

Live virtual tasting

Virginia Distillery Company’s latest Cider Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky is available at Virginia ABC stores — just in time for Virginia Spirits Month.

A live virtual tasting is set for 3 p.m. Thursday on Instagram, and if you’d like to sneak a taste ahead of time, you can buy it online at

Fans can try it in a new cocktail kit, which is available to Virginia residents for $69.99 on the website. Virginia Distillery Company teamed up with Pratt Standard Cocktail Co. to develop two recipes for the Sweater Weather cocktail — one hot, one cold — because we all know how September’s temperatures can go up and down the thermometer.

The kit comes with a 750ml bottle of Cider Cask Virginia-Highland Whisky, a 16-ounce bottle of Pratt Standard Cocktail Co. True Kola Syrup and a recipe card for both hot and cold versions.

Barbecue fundraiser

While the popular Tacos on Tuesday fundraiser at Sarisand Tile is on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, its co-founder has found another way to help the community through good food. That’s because Bill Norton, owner of Rockpile Construction, is a popular pitmaster.

He will be joining forces with Walter Slawski and the team at The Catering Outfit to cook up specialties for carnivores and vegetarians alike in a special fundraiser, so order your favorites online at by 3 p.m. Thursday. Your order can be picked up at The Catering Outfit at 221 Carlton Road, Suite 8, starting at 4 p.m. Saturday; be sure to select the pick-up time you want during the checkout phase when you place your order.

There’s a vegetarian food box option that’s packed with house-smoked spaghetti squash, macaroni and cheese, vegetarian collard greens, slaw, yeast rolls and chocolate pot de creme for dessert.

The barbecue food box choice includes house-smoked beef brisket and pulled pork with macaroni and cheese, collard green with bacon, bacon baked beans, slaw, North Carolina sauce, Texas mop sauce, yeast rolls and chocolate pot de creme.

Everything’s fully cooked, so all you have to do is heat it up. Each choice is $40.

Expanded pub hours

Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery has added a farm brewery and pub to its Madison County offerings. Tap 29 Brewery and Pub has begun serving appetizers, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Live music is presented four days a week.

Here’s your chance to get the homemade charcuterie pretzel appetizer, hand-tossed pizzas and moonshine barbecue — and to pair them with Are We There Yet IPA, Pit Stop Pilsner, Big Wheels Wheat and other craft brews that take their clever names from the traveling history of U.S. 29.

Speaking of daily treats, Prince Michel’s popular wine slushies are a year-round option, regardless of the temperature outside. Don’t forget that a gift shop and overnight accommodations also are available.

Find out more at or

Honoring a game changer

Pro Re Nata is saluting one of its own with a special new draft brew.

Game Changer Gold, described as “a light straw-hued Belgian wit beer with subtle additions of toasted coconut and juicy pineapple,” honors Shannon Flanagan, who has been a Special Olympics competitor since she was 8. The swimmer, volleyball player and basketball star also competed last year with the Colorado Special Olympics Ski Team.

Beer award winners

Several local breweries were honored during the 2020 Virginia Craft Beer Cup awards, which were presented Aug. 31 at Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond.

Random Row Brewing Co. took second place in the amber ale category for its Scouser Red Ale, honorable mention for Windswell DIPA in the IPA category and honorable mention in the pale ale category for Mosaic Pale Ale.

Tasting Room at Mount Ida Reserve took second place in the amber lager category for its First Edition and honorable mention in the strong ale category for Murcielago Madison Stout.

Blue Mountain Barrel House took first place in the specialty other category for Raspberries on Acid and third place in the specialty wood category for Dark Hollow.

Reason Beer took first place in the sour category for Griffin’s Red.

Be part of book project

Wine & Country Life is crowdfunding to bring its new cookbook, “Wine & Country Table,” to kitchens everywhere. All proceeds from book sales will benefit Fresh Match, a Virginia Farmers Market Association program that helps local Virginia farmers, small businesses and low-income families.

The cookbook features award-winning chefs, including Patrick O’Connell from Inn at Little Washington and Jose Andres of World Central Kitchen. Vineyards in the spotlight include Barboursville Vineyards, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards and Veritas Vineyard & Winery. Get all the details at

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