11.22: Champion to Open Brasserie Saison, First Downtown Mall Brewery-Restaurant
Charlottesville’s historic downtown mall will soon have its first combination brewery and restaurant. The venture, called Brasserie Saison, is a partnership between Hunter Smith, owner of Champion Brewing, a 15,000-barrel craft brewery headquartered in Charlottesville, and Wilson Richey, whose parent company, Ten Course Hospitality, has brought such culinary successes as Revolutionary Soup, The Whiskey Jar, The Pie Chest, The Alley Light, and The Bebedero to the downtown area.
The restaurant will be at 111 E. Main Street, the space most recently occupied by Jean Theory, two doors down from event space Old Metropolitan Hall. Brasserie Saison will serve as the catering partner to Old Metropolitan Hall, with an underground kitchen and passageway connecting the two locations.
“Tyler Teass (executive sous chef at Rose’s Luxury in D.C.) has joined as head chef and has taken our Brasserie concept and added a modern approach to the menu that combines the ‘old world’ style of Benelux Brasserie food with the bounty of Charlottesville area farms. The menu will be simultaneously light and decadent, focusing on strong, consistent flavors that will hold up to Hunter’s well-celebrated beers. While local farms will constantly be featured on the menu, we will be drawing inspiration from all over the world for menu items and techniques. The vegetable-heavy menu will be designed as dishes that can be shared or enjoyed individually, but meats will be featured as large shared family-style platters for the table. Desserts will be fun yet interesting, combining American favorites with more savory flavors. Put simply, the food will be fun, exciting, and comforting,” said Richey.
Benelux Brasserie food is inspired by traditional European beer cultures including regional Dutch and Belgian with occasional German, Austrian, Polish, Alsatian, Czech, and British influences. “The premise is that these old guard beer cultures have cultivated great beer foods and environments that are tasty and interesting and are not yet represented in our area,” said Richey.
Brasserie will offer classic small batch Saison, Farmhouse, and Bier du Garde style beers. Beers will be brewed by Champion using seasonal ingredients and will be inspired by the same countries that inspire the menu, leaning more heavily on Belgian and French influence. “Multiple styles of saison will be stable beers, including a wild and funky traditional saison as house beer, a fruity French-style saison, and some easy-drinking wheat beers,” said Smith.
“In addition to these beers, the draft list will have the stalwarts of Champion Brewery’s lineup so that we can provide a style for every palette and frame of mind. We will also feature local ciders and keep a guest tap for our friends in the community and beyond whose beers we love. We will also have a bottle selection of beers from the countries that inspire our food. Beyond beer, we will have a full bar with inspired modern cocktails and a small wine selection,” said Smith.
Leah Peeks, bar and event manager at the Whiskey Jar and events coordinator and beverage director for Ten Course Hospitality will drive the bar program and be the point of contact for all catering and events at Brasserie Saison.
Brasserie Saison will have 45 seats inside and 30 on the patio. Hours for lunch will be 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner will be served from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 7 days a week. The restaurant will be open all day with limited menus midday and late night on the weekends.