Happy Thanksgivings Richmond: Beer Edition

Richmond, it’s that time of year that we count our blessings for everything good in our lives.  There are so many things we have to be thankful for this year in Richmond beer.  Here’s just a few.

Local Beer on the Rise

When Richbrau closed, the future of local craft beer was very uncertain.  Hardywood increased number of Richmond based micro breweries back to two with rousing success.  A lot of people, myself included, were skeptical when the brewery was first announced.  Richmond showed up in droves to support hardywood at their launch party. 

Hardywood is not the only new thing happening in Richmond.  There has been an influx of Virginia beer to the city.  We have the craft section of Brown distriuting to thank for the unique beers from Bull & Bones in Blackburg, Wolf Hills in Abingdon, and Roanoke Railhouse in Roanoke. 

We also have breweries in planning. While they are still just homebrewing, Ardent Craft Ales has some exciting beers planned.  Their tasting during beer week probably holds the record for number of people packed in a gargage to watch beer being made.  Haxall Brewing Company has received a 7.5 barrel system for their future pub.  They even have pictures to prove it.  Oh, there’s even a nanobrewery in Goochland. Trae Cairns’ Midnight Brewery is expected to start producing batches from his 41 gallon system in 2012.

Richmond Beer Week 

The variety of events for this year’s beer week had something for everyone.  Probably the standout event was the Autumn Bottom Brews Festival at the 17th St Farmer’s market.  I have never seen the market that packed. I’ll be first to admit that more work needs to be done.  Some people I talked to had no idea it was beer week.  I hope to contribute in some way to get more of the word out.  I am not sure what form that will take but I look forward to figuring it out.


None of the things above mean anything without you supporting them.  You are the reason for Richmond’s current craft beer boom.  So, keep it up and ask for it whereever you go.  Thanks for reading.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  Cheers!

Happy Stout Day!


Tomorrow may be the start of Richmond Beer Week but today is International Stout Day. Here are seven of my favorite stouts.

Weyerbacher Fifteen

It’s too bad this was only one of Weyerbacher’s anniversary beers. Smoked Imperial Stout! What is not to love? I think it’s time they bring this beer back full time.

Blue & Gray’s Stonewall Stout

I had this stout on my first James River Homebrewers Brews Cruise.  The stout from thisFredericksburg,VAbrewery was the first stout to make it into my stout pound cake.  

Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout

The vanilla and oak aging of this stout made it the perfect choice as an ingredient in my first attempt at a stout ice cream.  

Bell’s Cherry Stout

How do you top making a stout pound cake?  You make a stout pound cake with Bell’s Cherry Stout and coat it with a cherry preserve glaze.  

Lagunitas Imperial Stout

When I saw Tyler Florence’s Lamb Shank with Stout Gravy recipe, I knew I had to make it.  The recipe called for Guiness, which I’m not really a fan of, so I turned to Lagunitas.  

 Allagash Black

Maybe one of two Belgian style stouts I have ever tasted.  I’ve wanted to have more ever since the Mega Tasting at Once Upon a Vine South during last year’s Richmond Beer Week.

For all of you Untappd users, make sure you check in to get your special badge. Hope you’ve had a great Stout Day!

Richmond Beer Week Turns Two

Going into its second year, Richmond Beer Week shows no sign of slowing down.  Great Brewers.com, Specialty Beverage, Brown Distributing, and Taste the Local have teamed up to create some great events that have me trying to figure out a way of being in multiple places at once.  Here are a few events I am looking forward to but know I will not be able to make them all.

Ardent Craft Ales Courtyard Party — Nov 5th from 12 – 5pm

Tom Sullivan, Paul Karns and Kevin O’Leary of Ardent Craft Ales will be hosting a party at their Brew Gargage.  Come out sample some of their amazing beers before they start full scale production.

Brickman’s Garage – between 24th and 25th on Jefferson

Terrapin Tap Takeover at The Roosevelt — Nov 5th at 5pm

After Ardent’s party ends, The Roosevelt’s party begins with all Terrapin taps. Just hop over from the courtyard on Jefferson to the Roosevelt with a DJ spinning starting at 11 pm.

The Roosevelt
623 N. 25th Street
Richmond, VA 23223

Once Upon A Vine South Mega Tasting — Nov 7th from 4 – 7pm

It made my list last year and for very good reason.  With 30+ beers to sample, how could you go wrong?

Once Upon a Vine South
2817 Hathaway Road
Richmond, VA 23225

Allagash Beer DinnerEurasia Cafe & Wine Bar – Nov 8th at 6:30pm

This is probably the most intriguing beer dinner menu I have seen in a while.  Rather than simply pairing the dishes with beer, dishes will also be cooked with beer.  Les Addis from Allagash Brewing will be your host for the evening.


Duck Confit Rolls/ Allagash Braised Greens/ Blackberry Pinot Noir Sauce with Allagash White

Cinnamon Dusted Scallops/ Caramelized Local Apples/Smoked Bacon/ Sherry Gastrique with Allagash Tripel

Dubbel Bathed Angus Brisket/ Dave and Dee’s Oyster Mushroom Ragout/ Smoked Gratin with Allagash Dubbel

Allagash Drunken Chicken/ Crispy Tortilla/ Avocado Aioli with Allagash Four

Bailey’s Mocha Bread Pudding/ House made Chocolate Stout Ice Cream with Allagash Black

Eurasia Cafe & Wine Bar

1308 Gaskins Road
Richmond, VA 23238
(804) 740-2525

$60/person tax and tip excluded

Cheers to Beer!  Dinner — Amuse — Nov 8th 6:30pm

So some how I need to be at two beer dinners at once on Tuesday.  Amuse’s dinner intrigues me for two reasons: 1) what is seafood sausage? 2) The Bruery’s Autumn Maple.  There be yams in this beer; 17pounds per barrel to be exact.

Cheers to Beers! Menu

Rappahannock Fried Oysters / Meyer Lemon Aioli
Saison Dupont, Farmhouse Belgian Ale

Honey and Sesame “Granola Bar” Parfait / Local Bleu Cheese Mousse
Thornbridge Kipling, South Pacific Pale Ale

House-Made Seafood Sausage / Roasted Beets and Fennel / Orange Gremolata
Ommegang Aphrodite

Pan Roasted Duck Breast / Turnips / Brussel Sprouts / Kobacha Squash Puree
The Breuery Autumn Maple Ale  

Apple and Medjool Date Tart Tatin / Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Schlenkerla Ur-bock Rauchbier (Smoked Beer) 

$80 (VMFA members $75), includes tax and gratuity. Cash bar before dinner (beginning at 6 pm). Reserve online.

Amuse Restaurant at VMFA
200 N Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 340-1580

A Night of Geeky Beers — Capital Ale House (all locations) — Nov 11th at 5pm

This event is a complete mystery but that’s half the fun so on the list it goes.

The Eleven — Mekong — Nov 11th at 4pm

With Lincoln filming in the city, a lot of events are starting to sounds like movie titles.  The stars of this Mekong event are eleven beers of crazy quality tapped throughout the night.

6004 West Broad Street
Henrico, VA 23230
(804) 288-8929

Beer-istoric Tour — Nov 13

It turns out that this event sold out weeks ago.  Tickets went on sale some time ago at Mekong and Capital Ale Downtown. Tickets at Mekong were sold out in the first couple of days.  Don’t worry if you couldn’t grab a ticket; I will be there tweeting as much of the tour as possible.

To see more events head over to VACraftbeer.com and use the drop down menu to see events by day.

Pumpkin Beer Waffles


Friday night, I attended the Heavy Seas tasting at Once Upon A Vine South. Heavy Seas founder, Hugh Sission was even in attendance had brought a special firkin of Winter Storm filled with Maryland grown Chinook hops. Both Storms were delicious and I even got a signed poster!  A bonus at the tasting were the snacks made using Heavy Seas different beers; you can find a few of those recipes here. It’s only fitting that when I had my first taste of Great Pumpkin, I knew it was destined for the beer waffles I was planning for a scary movie party. Of course, feel free to use your favorite pumpkin beer. Don’t have a favorite yet then there’s still time to get some pumpkin beer at The Camel. In the meantime, here is my recipe for Pumpkin Beer Waffles. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Beer Waffles


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups  pumpkin beer — (12 fluid ounce)
3/4 cup  unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons  honey
1 tablespoon  vanilla extract
1/4 cup  dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons  cornstarch
4 teaspoons  baking powder
1 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon  baking soda
1/4 teaspoon  cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon  ginger
1/8 teaspoon  cloves
1/4 teaspoon  freshly grated nutmeg*
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin


Lightly oil the waffle iron with vegetable oil, and set it to the desired temperature.

Sift dry ingredients except for brown sugar into large bowl.  Add brown sugar and whisk to combine.

Separate eggs: yolks go in a medium sized bowl and whites get set aside in a smaller bowl.

Add pumpkin, beer, honey, vanilla, and milk to the egg yolks. Whisk to blend and set aside.

Whip egg whites with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form – about 1 – 2 minutes. Set aside.

Pour melted butter into the pumpkin beer mixture. As you pour, whisk to combine.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix them together until just combined. A little lumpiness is fine. That will smooth out when the egg whites are added.

Slide the whipped egg whites out of the bowl and onto the mixture you just prepared. Gently fold them in until no white bits are obvious.

Once the waffle iron is heated, you’re ready to pour the batter. Cook waffles according to iron instruction.

Yield: 6 Belgian waffles

Six To Try at The Camel’s Pumpkin Tap Takeover

The Camel is putting their newly expanded beer taps to good use by having a Pumpkin Tap Takeover starting Saturday and GayRVA has the scoop:

In the Spirit of Halloween…

The Camel presents a “Pumpkin Tap Takeover”

From Oct. 22 through Oct. 31, check out live music nightly and drink up.  Several pumpkin and OctoberFest brews will be featured on one of The Camel’s 28 beers on tap.

Here are the six Halloween brews I am looking forward to trying and think you should be too.

Punkin Ale

Probably Dogfish’s most popular seasonal beer. Dogfish employees are allowed to take home on e case of beer per month but the demand for Punkin is so high that employees are almost never allowed to take any of it home.


Out of Southern Tier’s extensive selection of beers, Pumking is the only one brewed using pagan spirits.

Farmhouse Pumpkin

Hardywood uses locally sourced pumpkins that are grilled before being added to the boil.    Watch the video of as they brew the beer for the first time here.  Come out to Hardywood’s launch party this Saturday and drink some more pumpkin as well as their other beers.


Heavy Seas has to be one of my favorite breweries around so of course I look forward to trying their Oktoberfest.


Sixpoint’s wet-hopped pumpkin beer using Citra hops in conjunction with ginger and white pepper.  Using freshly harvested hops in beer has become very popular but this is the first pumpkin beer that I’ve heard to use wet-hopping.

Great Pumpkin

Yes, Heavy Seas made the list twice. Well, I did say they are one of my favorites.  Maybe this is The Great Pumpkin Linus was waiting for in that Peanuts special.  Hopefully, Linus found time to enjoy it once he was old enough to drink.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Fantoberfest: A Microbrew and Music Festival

If you can’t find a festival in Richmond this weekend, you’re not trying hard enough. Not only is the Richmond Folk Festival happening this weekend, it’s got a bit of competition.  Fantoberfest is a ten hour microbrew and music festival happening in the Fan, if that wasn’t plainly obvious in the name.  Local bands featured include  Kings of Belmont, The Big Payback (a James Brown cover band), Peoples Blues of Richmond, and No BS Brass Band (last year’s folk festival stand out). Headliners, Less Than Jake, inclusion on the neighborhood fetival ticket had one local music blogger doing a double take; I take this to mean who ever put these acts together did something right. 

Fantoberfest will boast 10 -12 microbrews with $5 pints & $3 half pint tasting portions.  If that wasn’t enough, your first pint is free with the price of admission ($12 in advance/$15 at door).  Virginia breweries featured include two 2011 Great American Beer Festival medal winners, Starr Hill and Devil’s Backbone, and the new guys in town, Hardywood.  Here is the current list of breweries:

Starr Hill Brewery

Legend Brewery

Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company

Southern Tier Brewing Company

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Food will be available for purchase from Star-Lite, Lady Nawlins, FW Sullivans, and Delux. Whether you go for the music or the beer, expect to have a great time.

Buy your tickets here. 

Empress Teases Fall Menu with Beer Tasting

The Empress will be holding a seasonal beer pairing as they unveil their new Fall/Winter menus.  They will be pairing the beers below with five items from the new dinner menu.  Unlike previous Tuesday Tasting, they are keeping the food pairings a secret.  Normally, I would be concerned not knowing the menu but this is Empress we are talking about.  Anyone who has eaten there knows that anything that comes out of that kitchen will be nothing short of spectacular.

Breckenridge Avalanche Amber Ale
Aromas of pale grains, a semi-sweet middle & clean as Colorado-snow finish with flavors of pale & caramel malts with a touch of bitter hops. ABV 5.41%

Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen
Aclassic German Oktoberfest with sweet malt throughout, a touch of hops at the finish and some hints of orange & spice. ABV 5.8%

Buffalo Bill’s American Pumpkin Ale
George Washington may have made the first American pumpkin beer.  This beer uses with real baked & roasted pumpkins, cinnamon, clove & nutmeg , this microbrew delivers “pumpkin pie in a bottle.” ABV 5.2%

Crispin English Dry Cider (Empress Style)
Traditional farmhouse cider bouquet with soft subtle natural apple sweetness up front & a slightly woody dry lingering finish. Spiked with Empress Apple Cider to create the most wonderful cold seasonal cider experience in RVA. ABV 5.8%

Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout
Beer with a kick. a dark ale & espresso bean brew with elements of chocolate, malt, cocoa and vanilla with a balanced sweet bitterness. ABV 7.5%

Head over to the event page to read more about the tasting.  Call to reserve your spot.  Tasting starts at 7pm for $25.  I hope to see you there and be surprised right along with you as we taste our way into Fall.

The Empress
2043 West Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220
(804) 592-4000

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