Tag Archives: hoppy beers

Virginia Craft Beer Month & IPA Day Collide Thursday

Credit: Center of the Universe Brewing

Credit: Center of the Universe Brewing

Let me tell you, Virginia loves itself some hops.  There will be plenty of hops to go around as tomorrow Thursday, August 7th is National IPA Day.  Here are a few Virginia beer events around town to get your hop on:

Pocahoptus Yeast Study at Center of the Universe — 4PM I really love what COTU is doing here just wish I didn’t already have a conflict.  That’s four different Pocahoptases (Pocahopti?) for you to try:

IPA fans rejoice!  It is an entire day we are dedicating to our favorite India Pale Ale, Pocahoptas.  Ever wonder how much influence a yeast strain has on a beer?  Let us school you.  We did 3 different batches of Pocahoptas using 3 different yeast strains; London Ale, Pacific, and a Belgian Golden yeast strain.  You will be able to try all 3 and compare them to the ever delicious original Pocahoptas.  Don’t drag your feet!  5.2 gallons each.  Once its gone, its history!  Oh yeah, we will have a pin of Pocahoptas as well.  What’s in it?  Come in to find out.  LONG LIVE THE IPA!

COTU will also be tapping a cask conditioned pin of Pocohoptas.

Yipee-Ki-IPA Day at Strangeways — 4PM Strangeways will have six different IPAs on tap for their IPA Day party. In addition, they are running their “Steal the Vessel” promotion from now until Labor Day; so get your growler, grunt, or blue Ball jar while you can.

Here are the IPAs they will be tapping:

  • Cranberry Disintegration Barrel Aged IPA
  • Phantasmic East Coast IPA
  • Cherry Phantasmic East Coast IPA
  • Lemon Berry Phantasmic East Coast IPA
  • Peach Phantasmic East Coast IPA
  • Raspberry Phantasmic East Coast IPA

Virginia IPA Innvasion at Joe’s Inn — 5PM

Joe’s Inn will be tapping a small but impressive selection of Virginia IPAs. Their $6 burger is one of my favorites in town.  Try one of these IPAs with yours:

  • Ardent IPA
  • Blue Mountain Prizefighter
  • Hardywood Bourbon DIPA
  • Hardywood Great Return
  • Lickinghole Creek Til Sunset Session IPA
  • Starr Hill King of Hop Imperial IPA
  • Triple Crossing IPA
  • Potters Hopped Cider

You can find more details including addresses in the calendar here.

Richmond, Let The Yearly Hopslam Hunt Begin

Bells Hopslam Label2Hopheads rejoice, Tuesday January 29th is your day.  Bell’s Hopslam goes on sale in the morning at a few place around town.  Here are the places you will be able to find it:


Whole Foods Short Pump — 25 cases available; ETA Tues morning 2pm 10am? Hearing truck was delayed. SOLD OUT 11:30am

Libbie Market (Libbie Ave)  — ETA midday Tues; check Libbie Market Beerpage for updates SOLD OUT 12:15pm

Total Wine (West Broad) — Watch @RVABeerMan for updates

Total Wine (Robious Rd) — Watch @RVABeerMan for updates

Once Upon A Vine North — ETA unknown In Stock as of 4:40pm

Ellwoods — ETA Wedsneday 1/30

Fine Foods in Oregon Hill — as of 3:15pm

On Tap

821 Cafe — On deck Friday Feb 1st 5pm

The Camel — Feb 3rd  6pm — As part of their Super Bowl of Beers.

Cary Street Cafe — On deck tap NOW 2:20pm

Others soon…

I will update with more places as well as keg tappings as I hear more.

Journey to Center of the Universe Brewing


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Center of the Universe Brewing in Ashland, VA.  Brothers Chris and Phil Ray along with head brewer Mike Killelea lead Edmond Medina (@va_beergeek; read his take here) and myself on a tour of the site with our first stop being the 60 seat tasting room with a freshly finished bar and one prototype tap handle. It’s a pretty awesome looking taphandle!

With the recently installed fermentors and bright tanks in place, the only thing that was missing from main brewhouse was their 15 barrel brew system. Although it was delivered the next morning, it will take some time to get it fully installed and tested.

Once COTU is up and running what type of beers can you expect to see from them.   I can’t tell you exactly but here are a few tidbits:

  • Hanover water quality perfect for delicate styles
  • German & English malts were have been received
  • Non filtered beers
  • Targeting four year round beers; pale ale & IPA (possibly West Coast style) vying for first two slots
  • Access to family farm to source hops, pumpkins, and maybe tomatoes. Yes, I’ve warmed to the idea of a tomato beer.
  • Homefront IPA for Chris Ray’s charity Hops for Heroes available Memorial Day 2013.  COTU joins Cigar City, Perennial Artisan Ales, Fremont, SlyFox, St. Arnold’s, and 21st Amendment breweries to make this a nationwide effort.  Proceeds from each beer goes to local Operation Homefront chapter.

At the end of the day, COTU has a lot going for them.  Chris and Phil have an endless amount of enthusiasm for taking their love of homebrewing to craft brewing.  Mike Killelea praised the brothers for their well developed homebrew recipes that we may see in some form. 

Center of the Universe Brewing will open their doors in November.  I encourage you to take a trip up and check them out.  For now, Like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter for announcements and pictures detailing their progress.

Oktoberfests In and Out of Richmond This Weekend

Summer has ended and the weather has started to cool off. You know what the means? It’s time for Oktoberfest.  But which fest should you go to? I have three that have peaked my interest for this weekend.

St Benedict’s Oktoberfest

Entering it’s eighth year, this festival came to my attention las year but I was unable to attend.  That will change tonight.  The festival runs all weekend.  I look forward to trying some of the following featured beers:


Legend Oktoberfest Firkin
Mad Fox Imperial Red IPA
O’Connor Punkelweisse
Starr Hill All Access Belgian Strong
Heavy Seas Plank 2
Victory Alt


Starr Hill Love Firkin with fresh orange peel
Legend Weizenbock
Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin
Hardywood Belgian  DIPA

See the complete beer list for the weekend here.

Top of the Hops Beer Fest

Starr Hill and Beer Run present the 3rd Annual Top of the Hops Beer Festival in Charlottesville, VA Saturday September 22nd.  $40 ($45 at the gate) gets you unlimited sampling of over 150 craft beers from breweries such as Devils Backbone, Hardywood, Ommegang, Goose Island to name a few.  Tak a look at the breweries and their beers here.  Go here to buy tickets.

Mad Fox Hoppy Oktoberfest

Mad Fox Brewing in Falls Church has taken a different spin on Oktoberfest by celebrating hops Sunday September 23rd starting at 11am in their Biergarten.  If you need one beer to make the trek up, Mad Fox’s Orange Whip IPA is that beer.  They will also have their own Oktoberfest beer on tap and cask; I had the pleasure of having the cask version last night at Station 2.  You can see all of the beers they will have here.

Hardywood Hop Harvest Festival Featuring No BS Brass Is Tomorrow

How often do you get the chance to say you had a hand in helping to make a beer at your local brewery?  That’s the idea behind Hardywood’s RVA IPA – The Community Hopped IPA.  More from Hardywood:

In the spring of 2012, Hardywood kicked off a “Community Hopping Project” by giving out 1,000 hop rhizomes to local gardeners interested in growing hops and contributing to a commercially brewed beer. The project will culminate in this annual Hop Harvest Festival, where freshly picked local hops will serve as 100% of the hop bill of Hardywood’s RVA IPA. Given that most first year hop plants do not produce cones, the majority of the 2012 hop harvest will come from some more experienced local growers and a few progressive farmers who are working to bring hop growing back to Virginia.

Head out tomorrow Saturday August 4th from 2 – 8pm to see the hop bines come down and learn more about how hops go into making beer.  No BS Brass, one of my favorite local bands, will knock the party into the stratosphere when they take the stage at 3:30.  This is an event you are not going to want to miss.  Learn more at the Facebook event here.

And if you’re a hop grower yourself, read this.

Happy National IPA Day Richmond!

Credit: Dušan Gavenda

If hops are your thing, you’ll be happy to know today Thursday, August 2nd is National IPA Day.  I don’t know when we started dedicating certain days to a particular style of beer; last year is the first mention of it I can remember.  Here are a few places around town you can go to get your hop on:

821 Cafe
Anderson Valley Hop Ottin
Terrapin Hop Karma
Weyerbacher Double Simcoe
Dogfish Head Burton Baton
Bells Two Hearted
After killing those, they have Troegs Perpetual IPA, Smuttynose Homunculus and Hardywood Belgian DIPA.

The Camel All Virginia
Alewerks Caledonia
Hardywood Belgian DIPA
O’Connor Great Dismal Black IPA
Roanoke Railhouse IPA
Blue Mountain Full Nelson

Station 2 All Virginia
Alewerks Caledonia
Wolf Hills Troopers Alley IPA 135 IBUs!
Blue Mountain Full Nelson
Olde Richmond Batch #11

Mekong All Hardywood
Belgian DIPA
IPA aged on peaches
Serrano Pepper IPA (by Rachael & Friends)
Super Dank West Coast Extra Pale IPA (by Nick Danger & Friends)

Old Dominion Hop Mountain
Dogfish 90 Minute IPA
Avery IPA

Capital Ale House Midlothian
Wolf Hills Wolf Den
Wolf Hills Troopers Alley
Port City Monumental IPA
O’Connor El Guapo
O’Connor Great Dismal Black IPA
Starr Hill Double Platinum
St George English IPA
Olde Richmond Batch #11
Legend Golden IPA
Blue Mountain Full Nelson

Whole Foods Short Pump
Founders Devil Dancer
Troegs Perpetual IPA

Legend Brewing
Golden IPA
Imperial IPA — Small Batch

I’ll try and add more places as I hear about them today.

Thank Goodness It’s Firkin Friday

Have you been in a funk all week and don’t know why?  Well, today is the perfect day to shake it off because there be firkins afoot. (Last part said in my best pirate voice.)

First off, today marks the start of a series of Firkin Fridays at TJ’s at the Jefferson.  They will have Highland Brewing’s cask-conditioned Kashmir IPA dry-hopped in the cask with Calypso hops, which add notes of apple, pear or lemon, depending on the beer. Have fun discovering the flavors that develop with Highland’s IPA.  Also being tapped tonight is Highland’s Cold Mountain Winter Ale, an amber ale spiced with cranberry, raspberry, and hazelnuts extracts.  This spice level in this beer is raised further with cinnamon and vanilla beans.

TJs will feature several appetizer specials throughout the evening as wells as charcuterie from Olli Salumeria in Manakin Sabot. Read more over at the Facebook event here.

The other firkin of the night will be at Capital Ale House Downtown.  They will have a firkin of Starr Hill’s  dry hopped Northern Lights filled with toasted oak chips.

Enjoying great food and beer should be just what you need to get out of that funk, plus you can fill your growler while you are at either location. Both firkins are supposed to be tapped at 5pm but I wouldn’t be surprised if they started a little early due to wonderful warm weather we have been enjoying.

Whole Foods Short Pump Had Hopslam

Update: Well, that was quick! As of 10:30am, Whole Foods Short Pump was SOLD OUT of Hopslam!  In what must be a record, they sold 16 cases in 90 minutes.  To those of you that got some, congrats! To those that didn’t, better luck next time or find someone who did and see if they’ll share.

Debated as the king of all hoppy beers, Bell’s Hopslam is now available at Whole Foods Short Pump.  Even though blurry, you can tell by the picture that they have a lot of it. However, there’s no telling how long it will last.  So if you want some, you better stop your squinting and go get some.

Stay up to date with beer at Whole Foods Short Pump on their Facebook page here.