By MOLLY MCCARTHY
Lee’s Retreat, the Blue and Gray Brewing Company’s brewpub, is a new restaurant in Fredericksburg that has gone relatively unnoticed since its opening in July 2010.
The B&G Brewery has been open for nearly nine years, but the increasing demand for pint sizes of B&G’s array of locally brewed beers inspired owners and operators Jeff and Lori Fitzpatrick to open Lee’s Retreat.
They opened the restaurant with Frederick Heller, who heads the kitchen and designed and built Lee’s.
The restaurant is located at 3300 Dill Smith Dr., down Rt. 2.
“Lee’s Retreat specializes in typical pub fare, but taken a step above with our own special flare” Fitzpatrick said. “Everything is fresh and hand made. We strive to use only local products.”
The food at Lee’s ranges from burgers with fries to unexpected appetizers, such as coconut calamari.
Each dish has a twist: many incorporate one of the beers into their main ingredients.
All of the salads, for example, use beer as a chief ingredient in the dressing. However, It is the specials and creative soups that particularly shine.
I recommend the coconut calamari, spicy blue buffalo wings, shepards pie and the burgers. On one occasion, I enjoyed sweet potato soup that was lighter and richer than expected.
Specials change daily and can be found on the restaurant’s website along with a full menu.
Prices are on par with those of many restaurants located downtown.
Sandwiches and salads range from $7-$10 and entrees are slightly more expensive, running between $13 and $20.
Pints start at $4.25 and the cost for a 60 oz. pitcher begins at $12.50.
“I think the main draw is that Lee’s Retreat brewpub is housing in the same building where we manufacture our beer,” Fitzpatrick said. “We have large windows where you can see the tanks and depending on when you come in, watch our brewer Madison Hill make a batch.”
Fitzpatrick recommends their Classic Lager, which is their lightest.
“I like to call it our ‘gateway’ beer,” she said.
Lee’s offers four-ounce sampler flights for those who would like a test drive before deciding which style suits them. B&G offers four year-round brews, as well several seasonal options.
Those of age can venture next door to the brewery section and purchase a “growler” of one of their beers.
These giant jugs come in screw top ($8) and flip-top ($29) styles. Filling one half gallon-sized container (the equivalent to about six beers) starts at $6.75.
Lee’s Retreat is off the beaten path, so it’s unlikely to become the new hip-hangout. It is, however, a great place to have dinner with a date, or a group of friends when you’re looking to try something new.
It would be a shame for anyone wanting to support and encourage local businesses, not to visit Lee’s Retreat and the Blue and Gray Brewing Company.