Where can you find Blues and Brews in Roanoke, Virginia? Why Blue 5, of course.

I often write about Blue 5, but there’s a good reason. They have the best beer AND the best music the close to me. Now, you may or may not agree with me on what the best beer or the best music is, but that’s ok. I’m writing this so I get to decide.¬† ūüôā


I was wondering if there they had a good band this weekend, so I looked on the old Internet and discovered that they had great blues bands for the next several weekends:

Biscuit Miller and the Mix 7/27

Zack Harman 8/2

Skinney Velvet 8/3

Little Ronnie and the Grand Dukes 8/4

Mac Arnold and the Plate Full o Blues 8/11

Then a little classic rock on 8/17 with Runaway Jones. Who doesn’t like a little classic rock?

Other music beer venues would be mentioned if they would just step up and provide this kind of entertainment and craft beer. How about it Blacksburg? Bring us the Blues and Brew!

What about the beer you ask? If you are a craft beer¬†aficionado¬†and I tell you that they have both Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA and Firestone Walker Double Jack IPA on tap right now, you would know what I mean. In fairness, they may run out tonight and be replaced before you get there, but let me assure you the replacements will be acceptable. They keep about 25 beers on tap all the time that are “regulars.” I would prefer that number to be somewhat lower and have new and unusual beers on most of their taps, but that might upset the less imaginative amongst us. Still¬†plenty¬†of good beer there.

Might see you there during one of the great bands coming up drinking one of these great beers.

Laissaz les bon temps rouler!

Report from the taps at Blue 5 – Roanoke’s now a real beer city!

Report from the taps at Blue 5 – Roanoke’s now a real beer city!

I received a FB message from Mrs. Fin that she wanted to ride the Smart Way¬† Bus from Blacksburg to Roanoke and have me pick her up so that we wouldn’t have to drive back and forth. That blended in well with my desire to check out the new taps at Blue 5 and hear some great blues.

Allie and the new taps! New beer, old bartender…oops, I mean “experienced”!

Blue 5 has been one of my favorite restaurants since they opened, and I’ve been hanging out with the owners since before it opened. I’d like to think I had some influence on the development, but the guys are blues lovers and craft beer lovers, so it was probably minor if any.

I arrived at eightish and was surprised at the huge crowd!

Not an empty seat in the house at Blue 5 with 46 taps and good blues playing!

I had two first-time beers, Lagunitas Pilsner and Gnomegang and then went to pick up Mrs. Fin at the bus stop. She had the whole bus to herself from Blacksburg to Roanoke. We came back to B5 and took a tour of the keg cooler.

Don't see any of the "usual suspects" in here! Definitely a high-falutin' crowd in Blue 5's keg cooler.

Chris from the restaurant told me he had heard other places were adding taps. Knowing the local beer scene, I can’t see anyone even coming close to competing with this quantity and quality of beer. The choices for these taps were obviously made after careful study and consideration of good craft beer. Most of the selections in Roanoke are made by a persistent salesperson or promoter who may or may not have the best interest of the craft beer public in mind.

The blues band was just starting up when we got back and they were really good.

Tom Principato and his band slayin’ ’em at Blue 5 in Roanoke.

That’s another thing that stands out about B5 – they are the best Blues music venue in the area. Other places have an occasional blues act or are too small to really bring in the good blues acts. B5 has consistently brought in great blues since the beginning. It was good to see at least 15 fellow members of the Blue Ridge Blues Society there last night. There’s another great band there tonight – JW-Jones.

We are going back soon. Perhaps we will see you there!

Laissaz les bon temps rouler!

Looked for beer at the New River Blues Festival found a King Bee!

Looked for beer at the New River Blues Festival found a King Bee!

Mrs. Fin and I ventured south to North Cackalacky to the little town of Grassy Creek for the New River Blues Festival on Sunday at the River House Inn. the festival was hosted by Peggy Zamagni, an accomplished bass player and founding member of the King Bees. The festival is in it’s ninth year and showcases some legendary artists they have worked with in the past.

New River Blues Festival site.

It’s a small festival but has a big heart. There was a little rain but most people put up an umbrella and hung in there. There’s a bed and breakfast on the site, but it was closed to visitors that day so no pictures of that. The folks on the porch said that it was always full for events. There were several cottages in view going up the hill from the house. Here’s a video tour of the site.





There was a food tent, fortunately we like Carolina style BBQ. You could have anything you want as long as you wanted BBQ. Actually they had some yummy cookies and I heard there was some salad, but didn’t pursue that avenue!

Mrs. Fin had some issues with the availability of the internet…

Sometimes there just isn't any internet, is there At&T?

I had some with the beer selection…

I still drank it...

I’m pretty sure they have some good beer in North Carolina but none of it made it to the hinterlands of Grassy Creek. We had a good time none the less! Not to give away the secrets or narc anyone out, but I did see some beverages in the crowd that weren’t for sale at the alcohol stand.¬† Wish I could have snagged one of those Fat Tires. They do have a no cooler rule and I saw no coolers. They also had a selection of wine and some premixed Bloody Mary’s, Margarita’s and Cosmo’s which were pretty tasty actually. For $5 they could have been a bit more generous with the portions.

We enjoyed the music, The King Bees played three sets with various artists sitting in throughout the afternoon. It’s always great to hear some originals mixed in with some old standards done well.

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins with The King Bees.

The festival is about 2 hours from Roanoke and worth a look on a holiday weekend. The Sunday date doesn’t conflict with many other events and the drive is pleasant both ways. We came in from Marion and went out through Hillsville. the Marion route is prettier but the Hillsville way is faster. you could combine the festival with the big Hillsville sale and make a weekend out of it!

Lassaz les bon temps roulez!