1st new microbrewery of the year

Unless some other contender steps up, Mark Shrader's and Peggy Coburn's new establishment in the college town of Blacksburg, VA, has the title of "First New Microbrewery of 2009."

The Bull & Bones Brewhaus and Grill opened New Year's Day, with Jim Strickland as brewmaster and bartender Jason McGraw drawing the first glasses.

The opening-day festivities, timed for when the local Virginia Tech football team played in the Orange Bowl (defeating Cincinnati, 20-7) , raised $3,200 in donations from 400 visitors to go to the ALS Association to help fight Lou Gehrig's Disease (amyotropic lateral sclerosis), which claimed Sharder's mother five years ago.

The 10,000 square foot Bull & Bones is located in Blacksburg's First & Main shopping center, and includes a meeting room, formal dining room and sports bar with pool tables and 20 high-definition televisions.

It does stock several commercial beers, but its main appeal is a half-dozen of its own -- All Nite Light, similar to a traditional light American lager, Lunch Pale Ale, Maroon Effect Ale, Sun Lit Wit, Strick's Dark Lager, St. Maeve's Stout -- plus a non-alcoholic brewed root beer. It also has a full spirits bar.

Brewmaster Strickland studied brewing at the American Brewer's Guild in California and worked as a professional microbrewer in California and Pennsylvania. His beers are all-malt, with no rice or corn fillers. They have not been pasteurized.

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