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The Amber Ox Public House


Article by Doc Ashby

Photography by Lindsey Lyons

From the moment you walk in the door, at Amber Ox Public House, you know you are at the right place. Whether you are looking for a familiar face to share a flight of delicious beers over appetizers with, or to make new friends at one of the community tables, Amber Ox checks a LOT of boxes. Owner, Andrew Voss, has only been a native to Williamsburg since 2016, hailing from Gran Haven, Michigan. Voss has gathered influences from the hospitality industry in Boston, and as far south as Florida. Williamsburg, while rich in history, is NOT Boston… and a far cry from sunny Florida. Amber Ox enjoys a rare fortune to have birthed a brand of small batch beers, known as the Precarious Beer Project, which it proudly serves at the tap. While the tasty brews have quickly gathered a local following, even demanding its own “barcade” location just a few blocks away, Andrew Voss reminds that food comes first.

“We’re a food company that happens to own and operate a brewery, not a brewery that serves food.” 

For a number of years Voss worked as the director of food and  beverage, and a Chef, in the major metro food market of Boston. Steeped in the high standards of being an executive sous chef with JW Marriott, in Orlando, Voss knows quality and what makes a top- ten food city in the United States. Andrew’s partner, Chris Cook, has been a native to Williamsburg for nearly eight years and courted Voss with the concept for more than a year before he finally agreed to the venture. Both Chefs, and homebrewers by trade, concurred that they would create a food centered model celebrating the region, utilizing local farms, and would not conform to arbitrary rules of cookie cutter dining.

“If tomatoes aren’t in season, they won’t be on the menu. Period."
—Andrew Voss

The duo considered the Williamsburg market might be more risky to penetrate, compared to neighboring Richmond or Norfolk, but have thoroughly enjoyed being embraced by the community. One key element to a dynamic dining experience is a menu that remains as fluid as the imagination of a head Chef with complete autonomy. “Chef Brock is working on three new dishes that will drop tonight!” I’m told by an emphatic Voss, who goes on to explain how up to twenty percent of the menu can change, at any given time, based on availability and freshness of ingredients.

“Trust the process. If you trust us, and your favorite dish moves off of the menu, your new favorite is being prepped right now.”
—Andrew Voss

Amber Ox is easily described as “reserved, rustic, and refined.” Greg Fleehart has been brought in from Seattle as the Brewmaster for Precarious Beer Project and The Precarious Beer Hall, which has been described as “the wild younger brother.” Fleehart is responsible for ensuring consistency in each flavor that is introduced, and managing the growth of a brand that has only gotten better with time. If you categorize yourself as a foodie or a connoisseur of brewed hops and barley, you can count on an intentionally unorthodox experience worth sharing with your friends and family. The amber ox is a particular breed of oxen known for their exceptional capacity for hard work, utilized heavily in the development of Colonial Williamsburg. This team exemplifies that analogy perfectly, as they endeavor to out work themselves in an effort to satisfy their Williamsburg faithful.

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