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

Starr Hill Brewery opens its newly renovated tasting room on Friday, April 18. Rammelkamp Foto Starr Hill Brewery opens its newly renovated tasting room on Friday, April 18. Rammelkamp Foto

Starr Hill unveils new tasting room 

For weeks beer lovers have been peering into the windows of Starr Hill Brewery’s Crozet tasting room, anxiously awaiting its reopening. It’s been nearly two months since the doors closed to make way for a substantial facelift, but the newly renovated tasting room is finally up and running, and will reopen to the public on Friday, April 18. Richmond-based band Red Light Rodeo performs on Saturday, and local food trucks like Morsel Compass and Big Easy Metro Market will be parked out front. On Saturday only, Starr Hill will pour a firkin, a small keg of beer served at room temperature, topped with yeast and mixed with different flavors like vanilla beans or orange peels—whatever inspires the brewmasters between now and then.

The room now features a large bar with a tap system that accommodates up to 16 different beers, including Starr Hill’s eight year-round brews—like the Grateful Pale Ale, last year’s summer seasonal that’s been added to the permanent collection—and a rotating selection of seasonals and beers from the All Access series. A brick wall was knocked out to make space for a stage where local bands will perform on weekends, and outdoor patio seating is available.

The tasting room will be open Wednesday-Sunday, and keep an eye out next month for Sunday afternoon happy hours.

Dinner garden series returns to Clifton Inn

The 2014 installment of Chefs in the Garden, Clifton Inn’s annual dinner series featuring visiting chefs, is just around the corner. Hosted by Clifton Inn’s Tucker Yoder, the series kicks off on Monday, April 28, with Palladio Restaurant’s Melissa Close-Hart and Hamiltons’ Curtis Shaver. The visiting chefs will work with Yoder in both the garden and the kitchen to present seasonal, locally sourced meals served al fresco. Hors d’oeuvres will be available starting at 6pm, followed by an eight-course dinner beginning at 7pm. Reservations are $88 per person, or $150 with beverage pairings. For reservations call 971-1800.

Trump Winery takes the cup at local wine competition

Local wineries entered more than 60 wines into the Monticello Cup competition for a chance in the spotlight on Thursday, April 11. Each wine was made with at least 75 percent fruit from the Monticello American Viticultural Area, which includes Albemarle, Greene, Orange, and Nelson counties. At last week’s Monticello Cup Gala, the top prize was presented to Trump Winery for its 2009 sparkling rosé. Other gold medals went to Flying Fox Vineyards for its Cabernet Franc 2012, and Pollak Vineyards for its 2011 Meritage. Jefferson Vineyards also received special mention for its Estate Reserve 2010. Rio Hill Wine & Gourmet’s Doug Hotz coordinated the judging, and the panel consisted of local wine and food experts, like C&O’s Elaine Futhey and Wine Guild’s Chad Zakaib.

Starting Friday, April 18, Starr Hill Brewery’s newly expanded and renovated tasting room, featuring year-round and seasonal brews, will be open to the public.

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.