Overheard on the restaurant scene: This week’s food and drink news

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A popular southern beer is making its debut in Central Virginia. The notoriously hoppy beers produced by the Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing Company, which was ranked by the Brewer’s Association as one of the nation’s top 25 craft breweries, are now available at several locations around town. The 420 Extra Pale Ale, SweetWater’s flagship beer that has been in production for nearly 17 years, can be found on tap at area bars and restaurants, including Beer Run, Sedona Taphouse, Boylan Heights, and Mellow Mushroom. You can also stop by grocery and convenience stores for six-packs of the 420, as well as the subtle, crisp, blueberry-influenced SweetWater Blue, and the SweetWater IPA, an unfiltered brew that won first place in a blind taste test against 15 of the nation’s top IPAs. And if you can’t choose just one, try the SweetWater Tackle Box, a 12-piece variety pack that includes three year-round brews and a “catch and release seasonal specialty.”

Nothing says love quite like a bunch of sugar cookies covered in icing and sprinkles. On Sunday, February 9, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Mudhouse in Crozet is hosting a cookie-decorating workshop for lovers and aspiring pastry chefs of all ages. For $10 you get a tray of cookies, an assortment of decorating materials, and instructions from Chef Margot Diaz. The event begins at 2pm, and all ages are welcome. Visit www.VDayCookies.eventbrite.com to reserve your spot ahead of time. And while we’re on the topic of Mudhouse, it’s worth noting that it’s been nominated as one of the 10 best coffeehouses in America. To cast your vote, visit www.americasbestcoffeehouse.com/information.

Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar is hosting a two-fold Valentine’s Day celebration. For a romantic  dinner for two, the restaurant is taking reservations for a prix fixe meal with seatings at 5:30, 7:30, and 9:30pm. For those of you looking for a different scene on February 14, head on upstairs to Skybar for cocktails and dancing at a singles’ masquerade party, featuring DJ Stroud. The event begins at 9pm, and you must be of legal drinking age. No cover charge.

According to a sign posted on the front door and a new outgoing voicemail message, Two J’s Smokehouse in Palmyra closed its restaurant doors on Wednesday, January 8, and will focus exclusively on catering. The family-owned spot offers Texas-style barbecue, including full racks of ribs, pulled pork and chicken, apple-glazed ham, pork butt, and beef brisket. All catered dinners include baked beans, cole slaw, and dinner rolls. For more information about catering, e-mail catering@twojssmokehouse.com

Happy Birthday, Blenheim! Blenheim Vineyards is celebrating five years open to the public by hosting a five-course dinner at Old Metropolitan Hall on the Downtown Mall. Each course will be paired with a vintage of Blenheim’s Painted Red and Painted White wines, and the event will include live music and passed canapés. Guests can also purchase limited edition posters created from wine label designs by Dave Matthews. Visit www.blenheimvineyards.com to reserve your spots. Tickets are $100 per person.

We’re always keeping our eyes and ears out for the latest news on Charlottesville’s food and drink scene, so pick up a paper and check c-ville.com/living each week for the latest Small Bites. Have a scoop for Small Bites? E-mail us at bites@c-ville.com.

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