Back Bay Brewing Co. and the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum hosted the first ever Back Bay Heritage Festival at historic de Witt Cottage at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront on Saturday, Sept. 30. The community fundraising event featured tastings from seven local craft breweries, servings from food trucks The Lucky Peach and Cast Iron Catering Co., live music and a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum and the re-opening of the first freestanding Virginia Beach public library, located beside de Witt Cottage.
Listed on the City of Virginia Beach, Commonwealth of Virginia and National Register of Historic Places, de Witt Cottage is the oldest building at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, dating back to 1895. The Back Bay Wildlife Guild opened the Atlantic Wildlife Heritage Museum at the cottage a century later, with an assemblage of natural wildfowl art, artifacts and carving demonstrations cherishing the heritage of wildfowling and the migration of the Atlantic waterfowls. The first public library of Virginia Beach, which goes back to 1930, was relocated to its current site next to de Witt Cottage about 15 years ago.
Partnering with the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum for the event, Back Bay Brewing is largely inspired by the heritage and culture of wildfowling and it shows with its brewery and beer names taken after Back Bay and the National Wildlife Refuge, tasting room duck décor, its event space named “The Blind“ and its beer society, the “Hunt Club.” The brewery from the Shadowlawn neighborhood of Virginia Beach had six beers on tap, including the Heritage IPA, which was specially brewed for the event. Pumpkin ales and other fall favorites made a strong presence at the Back Bay Heritage Festival, as Bold Mariner, Gordon Biersch, O’Connor, Rip Rap, Smartmouth and Wasserhund proudly provided pours of their beers.