Monthly Archives: December 2011

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Your Beer Geek

Here it is the day before Christmas Eve and you have yet to find that perfect gift for the beer geek in your life. Don’t worry I have a few suggestions from around town.

Hardywood Schwag

I don’t think anyone would disagree that Hardywood is the hottest thing to hit the Richmond beer scene in quite awhile.  There is virtually no way you could get it wrong by choosing something they have to offer in their tasting room. If you want them to love you forever, get them the ever sexy black stainless insulated growler.  Designed by Hydroflask, this growler boasts the claims of being able to keep beer carbonated for up to a week and cold for 24 hours.

These cedar coasters caught my attention at Hardywood’s last party. This would be a perfect gift for someone who has every beer glass in the world.

Hardywood’s tasting room is open 2-5pm Dec. 23rd. Take a look other gift options offered by Hardywood.

St Bernadus Giftset

Without a doubt, St Bernadus’ Abt 12 is one of my favorite Belgian beers that I have ever had.  If I don’t get this for Christmas, I may have to go get it for myself.  I have only seen this one at Ellwood Thompson and Wine & Beer Westpark but you can also check Once Upon A Vine South as well.


This is strictly for your homebrewer. Penzeys Spices in Carytown has a great collection of spices that any intrepid homebrewer would love to get their hands on.  A few spices that come to mind are coriander, cardamom, crystallized ginger, star anise, cinnamon and a variety of peppercorns.  The sky is limit here.

Beer Marinades

Does your beer geek love to cook? I just saw these marinades at Whole Foods Short Pump just the other day.  The stout marinade uses Heavy Seas Peg Leg.

Gift Cards

They may be cliche but it is a fact that they are an all around great option when the person you are buying for does not have a predictable palate.  I recommend starting at least $25.  This will allow them to get a variety of beers from Once Upon a Vine South or Wine & Beer Westpark.  If you are buying for a homebrewer, look for certificates from either The Weekend Brewer or Original Gravity.

I am going to take some time off to enjoy Christmas and New Years.  I hope everyone out there has a wonderful holiday season.  I will be back fresh in the new year.


My Vote for Hardywood’s Next Brew

This tweet from Capital Ale House just reminded me that attendees at the Hardywood cocoa/coffee stout tasting will get to choose their next brew.

This is just another classic example of Hardywood’s focus on local ingredients and the community.  I cannot attend so I will cast my vote right now. Drum roll please….Belgian Raspberry Stout! What?! What do you mean it’s not one of the choices?  Ok, fine. Here’s the full info out of Taste the Local:

To follow up Gingerbread Stout, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery will be doing a cocoa/coffee stout. Help them choose which locally roasted coffee will be used in the beer on Wednesday at Capital Ale House Richmond. 6:30pm. Three firkins will be available to sample and vote on your favorite. The winning roast goes in the next brew!

Coffee roasts are from Black Hand Coffee Company, Lamplighter, and Blanchard’s. I do not really have a preference over any of the coffee roasters except maybe Blanchards because I know some of the people that work there.  So head to Capital Ale House Downtown at 6:30  to cast your vote.

A Tale of Two Dogfish Tap Takeovers

Tonight is like something out of a Charles Dicken’s story.  Thankfully, it’s not the one this time of year is known for.  Richmond will have two Dogfish Head tap takeovers Monday night at Commercial Taphouse and The Blue Goat.  Commercial and Blue Goat will share three beers in common:

60 Minute IPA
Palo Santo Marron
My Antonia

In addition, Blue Goat will have:

Midas Touch

Similarly, Commercial Taphouse will boast three additional beers:

90 Minute IPA
Hellhound on My Ale
Immort Ale

Now the choice is yours.  Head over to either location for some great Dogfish Head beers.

Commercial Taphouse & Grill
111 N Robinson St
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 359-6544

The Blue Goat
5710 Grove Ave.
Richmond VA, 23226
(804) 288-8875

It’s International Growler Day!

Have you hugged your growler today? Maybe, it’s time you should.  The Wikipedia entry for growler lists it as a type of beer bottle among other possibilities, which is partly true but mostly inaccurate. Wikipedia gives more insight into the history behind the name:

The term likely dates back to the late 19th century when fresh beer was carried from the local pub to one’s home by means of a small galvanized pail. Often the inside of the pail would be coated with lard to decrease foam and allow for slightly more beer to be in the pail. It is claimed the sound that the CO2 made when it escaped from the lid as the beer sloshed around sounded like a growl.

A growler is not simply a bottle you chose to fill with beer. Deciding which beer to fill your growler with can be an intimate affair.  Maybe you’re going to a party. Do you bring the new exotic brew you just tasted for the first time?  Or do you go with an old favorite you hadn’t seen in awhile?  What if you go somewhere that has 50 taps to choose from? It may take you a few hours just to fill the one growler you brought with you?  If you find trying to pick out beer to put in your growler to be a chore then you’re doing it wrong.  Simply put filling your growler should be fun.  Here are a few places that you can go have your fun today.

Tarrant’s Cafe 11am — 12am

Capital Ale House 11am — 1:30am

Whole Foods Short Pump 8am — 10pm

Hardywood Park 2pm — 5pm

Lips of Faith Tour de RVA Stop #2

It seems the first stop on Lips of Faith Tour of Richmond slipped by me.  No matter, tonight is your chance to get in on Stop # 2.

Head down to Sine Irish Pub in Shockoe Slip for the chance to have all 4 Virginia Lips of Faith beers side-by-side. Sine will be featuring Kick, Fresh Hop IPA, Prickly Passion Saison, and Clutch..

It all starts tonight at 6 PM!

Sine Irish Pub
1327 East Cary St.
Richmond, VA 23219-4117
(804) 649-7767

Advanced Tastematics at Wine & Beer Westpark

Saturday after Thanksgiving I was able to make it back into town to experience Stout Fest at Wine & Beer Westpark. Now I have been to Westpark’s Beer Theater but never a tasting combined with a general store queue.  So imagine my excitement when I come across Westpark’s monthly tasting scheduled for tonight starting at 5:30.  Tonight Westpark presents Advanced Tastematics with exhilarating beers from Cigar City, 21st Amendment, DuClaw, Dogfish Head, The Bruery, Stone, Schneider and BFM.  Here’s the list of brews to be sampled:

To read more on each beer head over to Westpark’s Facebook event page here.  And for all of you Foursquare users, don’t forget to check in to unlock American Express’ $10 small business deal.

Wine & Beer Westpark
9631 West Broad Street
Glen Allen, VA 23060
(804) 965-9100
5:30 — 7pm

Hardywood Rings in the Holidays

Hardywood Park has a couple things planned to get you into the holiday spirit.  First up is the release of their Gingerbread Imperial Stout.  Based on their highly successful milk stout recipe, they have amped up the beer for the holidays  by adding local baby ginger from Casselmonte Farm and wildflower honey from Bearer Farm to create this special beer.  You can get a growler full from the brewery later today from 4 – 7pm in the Tasting Room

Next is Hardywood Park Illumination on December 10th.  This will be a festive party sure to be as big as their launch party back in October. Come out and help them light the tree.  Gingerbread Stout as well as 12 small batch varieties will be on hand. Last night I learned, one of those varieties will be a Belgian style stout with raspberries and cocoa nibs. Due to my lactose intolerance, I had not been able to try Hardywood’s milk stouts.  So I am very excited to try my first Hardywood stout.  Beers from Legend, Starr Hill, and Devils Backbone will also be on hand.

The Illumination goes from 4 – 8pm, Saturday Dec 10th.  Come on out and join in the festivities.  While you’re at it, wish my friend RVA Playlist a Happy Birthday!

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
2408 Ownby Lane
Richmond, VA, 23220