Wasserhund Brewery: A Local's Review
Have you ever thought about how much German-style beer and the beach go together? No? Me neither. But, I'll tell you what—they do. Wasserhund (pronounced vasser-hunt for those of you not fluent in German) has quickly become a local favorite in Virginia Beach. The name literally means "water dog." And everything on the menu is themed as such. The vast majority of the beers on the menu have either a beach-themed name or are named after dogs.
Finding the place can be a little difficult, as it is off a service road in a busy part of Hilltop. When you walk in you will notice the simple set up. The tables are all wood planks on metal stands. There is a long bench along the back wall. Over the bar, there are German-to-English translations of things you might say at a restaurant.
The main thing that you will notice is how relaxed everyone is. The staff are very relaxed and knowledgeable about the menu. If you have any questions about a particular beer or are unsure which would be the best for you, they are all there to help guide you to a choice that you will enjoy.
Wasserhund typically has a wide variety of beers on tap, and they vary with the season. They have light beers, dark beers, wheats, and many seasonal selections. To get the most out of your visit, I recommend trying a full flight. This comes with a 2 oz sample of each beer. What is even better is they bring it out on a tray that is shaped like their emblem: a German shepherd dog's head. Nowadays, they have more beers on tap than can fit in their original tray, so you may have to pick and choose. If you don't want to try all of the beers on tap, you can do a smaller fight or just ask your server for a sample of a beer or two.
Each time they change the beers on tap, I do a full flight so that I know what to order on my next visit. Every few weeks, they release a new beer. In the winter, they have heavier beers—their seasonal bacon stout is quite good. In the summer, they feature lighter beers. In the middle of March 2016, they came out with a coffee beer (the Haywire Husky), and it was fantastic. In fact, it was so popular that they added to it to their year-round beer list. What is really fantastic about it is that they partnered with a local coffee company to supply them with freshly roasted coffee beans.
One of the things I really like about Wasserhund is how community-focused it is. The Haywire Husky is brewed with coffee beans that have been locally roasted. There is usually at least one beer on tap that was made in collaboration with one—or sometimes even two—other microbreweries in the area.
Unlike a lot of the other microbreweries in the area, Wasserhund has a kitchen. This means that they don't have to rely on food trucks to feed their patrons. This also allows for a more consistent visit each time since the menu doesn't really change.
The menu is perfectly designed to pair with the beers on tap. They offer typical German food like bratwurst and soft pretzels. They also have a pretty good selection of salads. The Sea Coaster is a personal favorite of mine. While a salad really isn't enough to help combat the buzz of the beer, it is a nice way to start the night. They are portioned so that they are easily split between two to become a side salad.
I've tried many of the pizzas on the menu and none have disappointed. They have recently started showcasing a pizza of the month. It isn't on the menu, but if you look at the giant board above the benches, you'll see it in the bottom right corner.
I have never been disappointed with any of the pizzas I have tried. I did try one of the desserts once, and I didn't think it was anything too special. It wasn't bad, but I wouldn't order it again. They used to have about four different dessert options, but currently, they only have one. Perhaps they are working on redoing that part of the menu. To be honest, I don't really think of sweets as going well with beer. I would much rather enjoy my beer with a pizza, and if I was craving something sweet after my meal, I would head over to the frozen yogurt bar down the street.
Find yourself as the designated driver for the night? Wasserhund has you covered. They provide free non-alcoholic drinks to all DDs and children.
Each month a different charity organization is chosen and 5% of the profits are donated to the charity at the end of the month. Who chooses the charities? The customers. To see the charity of the month, or if you want to see how much has been donated, just head to the Wasserhund homepage.
Currently since Wasserhund has opened they have donated over $100,000. That's pretty fantastic!
Where Else Can You Try The Beer?
If you live in the Hampton Roads area you can actually try different Wasserhund beers at local restaurants. I've been to many different restaurants where I have been able to get a Wasserhund beer on tap. You can also find Wasserhund beer at local grocery stores. Wasserhund does not bottle their beer, but they are able to can it. Many of the local grocery stores offer six-packs of Wasserhund beers.
I, personally, don't like the taste of beer from a can so I hope that one day they are able to continue to expand and are able to bottle their beers. Maybe, at that point they will also be able to ship their beers around the nation or even world wide.
You read that right. Wasserhund delivers. What is better after a long day at work than beer and pizza? Not too much. However, right now they are only able to deliver to a small radius around the Hilltop area. While I'm still in the Virginia Beach area I no longer live close enough for delivery.
Where Is It?
If you find yourself in the Hilltop area of Virginia Beach and are a fan of craft beers, I highly recommend Wasserhund. The food is great, the beers are fantastic, and supporting a local business is always amazing. If you want to go where the locals go, this is the place. Hilltop is just a short drive away from the busy oceanfront and is well worth the trip.