Colonial Williamsburg is raising a glass to our forefathers every Friday during its boisterous pub crawls with specialty drinks, socializing and history lessons given from an experienced interpreter.
The pub crawl begins at Shields Tavern Garden with a tasting of a Shields Tavern colonial-era punch bowl, which is an exceptionally sweet libation meant to be uniquely paired with one of the tavern’s globally-inspired dishes. Shields Tavern offers the Spring Punch Bowl with pineapple-infused rum and flavored brandy with orange and ginger as well as its Wine Punch Bowl with white wine mixed with mango, lemon, sugar and lemongrass. During the 18th century, taverns such as Shields were communal gathering places for townspeople who shared these punch bowls. Alcoholic beverages proved to be popular since they could be stored for long periods of time and wouldn’t spoil from exposure to bacteria.
Continuing out on DoG Street, the crawl provides further insight into Colonial Williamsburg’s historic pubs such as King’s Arms Tavern and Wetherburn’s Tavern. King’s Arms, a tavern that was originally established in 1772, provides for a fine dining experience to enjoy with more fortified drinks, including: the Peach Brandied Punch, with peach brandy, rum, orange and peach; King’s Arms Punch with rum, lime, ginger bitters, simple syrup and soda water; and Sangaree Punch with Madeira wine, red wine, citrus and simple syrup. Meanwhile, at Wetherburn’s Tavern, travelers would enjoy libations over games. The Wetherburn family operated the tavern out of their own home, which was the common practice of the day. The building dates to the 1750s and has a dairy out back.
The crawl concludes at Josiah Chowning’s Tavern, offering new world fare with its dining menu and specialty beers such as Old Stitch and Dear Old Mum, both brewed by Williamsburg’s Alewerks as historic ales best enjoyed in Colonial Williamsburg. Old Stitch, a brown ale, is a toasty and nutty beer, while Dear Old Mum is a spiced ale that is lighter and herbal. Alewerks also offers the Wetherburn’s Bristol Ale, a beer named for the tavern and English town of Bristol, which shipped its beer to the colonies with additional hops for the long journey overseas. Chowning’s Tavern offers Alewerk’s specialty beers, indoor dining and a garden snack bar grill, while the pub crawl at the tavern provides beer tastings and a commemorative glass for a memorable experience.
Colonial Williamsburg Pub Crawls take place on Fridays from 7–8:30 p.m. beginning at Shields Tavern Garden. For more info, visit here.