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

Josh Hunt (right) with step-brother and Beer Run co-owner, John Woodriff.  Photo courtesy of The Charlottesville 29. Josh Hunt (right) with step-brother and Beer Run co-owner, John Woodriff. Photo courtesy of The Charlottesville 29.

We’re always keeping our eyes and ears out for the latest news in 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.

Some restaurants hold a party to commemorate its first year in business. Champion Brewing Company, after 12 months of operation in Charlottesville, is celebrating with a tenfold expansion. Owner Hunter Smith announced last week that the brewery’s flagship beers will soon be produced and distributed statewide, and a brand-new 930-gallon brewhouse makes Champion home to the largest brewhouse in Charlottesville, and one of the top five largest in Virginia. The three-barrel brewhouse and popular tap room in Belmont will continue to operate, brewing and serving a rotation of experimental beers.

Where can you sit back and enjoy a plate of nachos and a beer, while also feeling confident that you’re doing something good for the environment? Charlottesville foodies say the answer is simple: Beer Run. Local foodies and greenies alike have spoken, and after two rounds of online and mobile voting, named the popular Belmont spot the Nature Conservancy’s 2013 People’s choice Nature’s Plate Award. Owned by step-brothers Josh Hunt and John Woodriff, the restaurant/bar/beer shop beat out four other local eateries with its commitment to sustainable green practices by using local, all-natural, organic ingredients. Beer Run’s popular bratwurst served in a pretzel roll, for example, comes from The Rock Barn, an Arrington-based butcher that processes and distributes locally raised meats.

The Great American Beer Festival has been bringing U.S. brewers and beer connoisseurs together in Denver, Colorado for more than 30 years. This year, our own Devils Backbone Brewing Company was named the Small Brewing company of the Year. The brewing team also brought home five medals for individual beers, including first-place prizes for the Azrael in the Belgian- and French-style ale category, and Old Virginia Dark in the American-style dark lager category.