Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bluegrass Music, Floyd General Store, Dog Town Roadhouse and Bourbon Barrel Stout: Day Two in Southwest Virginia

Half the time I can't think of anything to blog about. I mean, do you really care what I had for lunch? I don't even care about what I had for lunch. But today is different. I have a couple of topics I need to cover.

In my continuing southwest Virginia saga, our merry band of journalists visited the metropolis of Floyd last night.

Floyd is Mayberry without the big-city feel. In fact, Mayberry looks like Manhattan next to Floyd. Located about 40 miles southwest of Roanoke, it is the county seat of sprawling Floyd County -- about 380 square miles of pure, unadulterated nothing. No freeway, no train tracks, no Starbucks, no nothing. Floyd County is about 15,000 people longing for something to do.

 About 500 of those folks live within the city limits of Floyd. See what I mean about making Mayberry appear big? Despite there being a Floyd's Barber Shop on
Locust Street
-- Floyd's main artery -- I doubt the city was named for Floyd the barber.

A lot of Floydians are artsy-fartsy, free-spirit, hug-a-tree folks who like to make crafts or music and basically be left alone. Mostly they are, except for Friday and Saturday nights when Floyd erupts in music and the population swells to a few thousand.

Center stage in the music being performed is Blue Grass and the Floyd General Store -- believe it or not -- is ground zero for Floyd's music movement. A large stage and dance floor dominate the rear of the store. There are also roughly 100 folding chairs set up in front of the dance floor.

The music begins at . We arrived at and already every seat was occupied.

Woody Crenshaw owns the general store and is also the president of The Crooked Road, a loose confederation of live-music venues strewn across Virginia. He herded our little group into an upstairs room and provided a introduction to what we would experience.

He explained that the music played in the general store isn't Blue Grass, rather it's something called Old-Time that is a dance version and the precursor to Blue Grass. The music, though, isn't reserved to the general store. The barbershop next door also features a band.

Other musicians gather in groups on street corners, in shops and in storefront doorways. It is a real spectacle.

A couple of us migrated to Dog Town Roadhouse a block away from the general store. This is basically a wood-oven pizza joint; but it's one of the better pizza joints I've been to, no matter the size of the city. Its beer selection is craft beers. The pizzas are outstanding. One of the owners makes the sausage used on the pizzas -- some of it from lamb. And, of course, Dog Town provides live music.

This brings me to the second topic of this posting: Bourbon Barrel Stout.

Among the craft draft beers Dog Town offers is a stout aged in Four Roses Bourbon barrels. Brewed at the Bluegrass Brewing Company in Louisville, Kentucky, Bourbon Barrel Stout is by far one of the better beers I've had. What a surprise!

The bourbon flavor really pops.

Part of the surprise is that this magical elixir is made in Louisville. I visit Louisville once or twice a year and I've never heard of the Bluegrass Brewing Company, let alone Bourbon Barrel Stout.

Its Web site claims BBC has been in business since the 1990s; why have I never heard of it?

My trips to Louisville are characterized by my friends and I trying to decide where to go and what to do. BBC has never come up in the discussions.

I will fix this shortcoming on my next visit, which may be for Thanksgiving.

As Andy would say, "Bourbon Barrel Stout: mmmmm…goooood!"

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