Tag Archives: tasting

American Craft Beer Week RVA 2015: Festivals & Parties

Credit: Brewers Association

Credit: Brewers Association

American Craft Beer Week officially runs from May 11th to 17th but as in years past Richmond will start the party early.  Here are some details on festivals and parties happening during the week.  Bookmark this page and check back for updates.

Saturday May 9th

Virginia Hops and Barley Fest — Noon – 6PM

The fifth annual Virginia Hops & Barley Festival will feature over 30 Virginia craft beers.  Tickets are $20/person in advance or $25/person at door if available and include unlimited sampling of all the beers. VIP tickets are $50/person and include:

Parking
Food
Specialty Collectable Glass
Tented Area
Complimentary Beverages
Private Restrooms

Order tickets here.

Take a look at the beer list:

Apocalyspe — Forest Adventure — Fredericksburg
Heavy Red Horsemen Backpack Wheat
Devil’s Secret Expedition IPA
Ardent — Richmond Bold Rock Cider — Nellysford
IPA VA Draft Apple
Saison Pear
Brothers Craft (3 Bros) — Harrisonburg Center of the Universe — Ashland
Great Outdoors Ray Ray’s Pale Ale
Hoptimization Monkey’s Uncle Tripel
Chaos Mountain — Callaway Devils Backbone — Lexington
Agents of Chaos Vienna Lager
Cocoborealis Trail Angel Weiss
Isley Brewing — Richmond Hardywood — Richmond
Choosy Mother Peanut Butter Porter Pils
Blueberry Plain Jane Hoplar
Lickinghole Creek — Goochland Legend — Richmond
Nuclear Nugget Oak Aged Brown
Til Sunset Utebier
O’Connor — Norfolk Midnight — Goochland
El Guapo New Beginning Kolsch
Great Dismal Black IPA Not My Job Brown
Starr Hill — Crozet Rusty Beaver — Ruther Glen
Soul Shine Roy’s Brown
King of Hop Bucktooth IPA
Sunken City — Hardy Strangeways — Richmond
Damn Lager Albino Monkey
Crooked Tree Cream Ale Uberlin
Extra Billy’s — Midlothian Triple Crossing — Richmond
Citra Ass Down Falcon Smash IPA

Check out the Facebook event here.

Historic Malvern Farm
288 Hugenot Trail
Midlothian, VA 23113

Science On Tap — 2 – 6PM

This should be interesting.

They will be featuring craft beers from your favorite breweries including:

Ardent Craft Ales
Bold Rock Hard Cider
Center of the Universe Brewing Company
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Midnight Brewery
Strangeways Brewing
Triple Crossing Brewing Company

Richmond Beer Lovers 5th Anniversary at Hurley’s Tavern — 5PM

Richmond Beer Lovers will celebrate five years of good times with a nice lineup of beers over at Hurley’s Tavern:

Hardywood- Apple Brandy Milk Stout
Hardywood – Bourbon Cru
Hardywood – Walpurgisnacht
Ardent – Defenestrator
O’Connor – Lil SIPA
Kronenbourg – 1664 Blanc
Blue Mountain – Summer Haze
Brooklyn – Summer Ale
Devils Backbone – Trail Blazer
Sunken City – Crooked Road Cream Ale
Tripel Crossing – Black IPA
Three Brothers – Hoptimization
Alewerks – Drake Tail IPA
Stone – Imperial Russian Stout
Founders – Rubaeus
Lost Rhino – New River Pale Ale
DC Brau – Brau Pilsner
Midnight – Rockville Red

Hurley’s Tavern
4028-J Cox Rd
Glen Allen, VA 23060

Saturday May 16th

Copper Fox Brewfest & Mesquite Challenge at Capital Ale Midlothian — Noon – 5PM

I will get more information on the beers but so far I’m excited by O’Connor’s “South by SouthWit” and Hardywood’s Mesquite Scotch Ale.

Join us on Saturday, May 16 as we host the Copper Fox Brewfest & Mesquite Challenge!

Nine Virgina breweries teamed up with Copper Fox Distillery to create nine new beers EXCLUSIVELY for the event. This beer isn’t just any beer, though. Each brewery created their beer using a special ingredient: Copper Fox’s Mesquite Smoked barley malt. The exciting new brews range in styles from Wit to Doppelbock, to Pale, Brown, and Porter and can’t be found anywhere else!

The event will be held from 12 pm – 5 pm in the spacious parking lot at Capital Ale House Midlothian. Live music will be provided by Notch 9, a Richmond based bluegrass and folk band. There will also be homemade BBQ and other fare to pair with the smoky ales.

For guests 21 and over, tickets are $20 and include the following:

– Entrance into the event
– A commemorative Copper Fox glass
– 9 taster tickets to sample every brew
– Opportunity to try some of Copper Fox’s whiskies and gins
– Live entertainment
– Opportunity to vote for your favorite brew with the chance to win a Barrel Kit from Copper Fox that you can use to age your own whisky

For guests under 21, non-taster tickets will be available for $5 and include entrance and live entertainment. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult and entrance is free.

The Brewfest celebrates Virginia agriculture, Virginia brewers, and Virginia ingenuity, and highlights Copper Fox Distillery as one of America’s original modern-day craft maltsters. Come on out and support our local breweries!

Participating breweries include:
Adroit Theory Brewing Company
AleWerks Brewing Company
Center of the Universe Brewing
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Isley Brewing Company
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Midnight Brewery
O’Connor Brewing Co.
StGeorge BrewingCo
Three Notch’d Brewing Company

Midnight Brewery 3rd Anniversary — Noon – 10PM

Midnight will celebrate their anniversary by releasing Man Overboard! Belgian Tripel.

Midnight 3rd Anniv

Growlers To Go Getting A Little Strange Tonight

Head over to Growlers To Go as they host a Strangeways tap takeover and beer tasting tonight Tuesday January 20th. There will be twelve strange brews on draft available for growler fills as well as a unique selection of bottles.

Here are the beers that will be available starting at 4pm:

Draft
Freeze Ray
Virginia Stingo
That’s My Jam!
Room 237
Delightful Immoral
Vatos Muertos
Uberlin
Southern Heirloom
Still Life With Peaches
Albino Monkey
Woodbooger
Placebo Pils

Bottles
Southern Heirloom
Placebo Pils
Portia
Olivia
Beatrice
Wake Me Up Before You Gose (Possibly the last case available in RVA)

The first twenty people to buy a growler and fill it with Strangeways will receive a free 13oz glass. Fill your growler before 7pm and Growlers To Go will give you 25% off. Yeah, you better get strange!

Growlers To Go
1017 N Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23230

PHOTOS: National Beer Expo: Collabeerate, CRAFT, Taco Throwdown, & Grand Tasting

Last week’s Capital Ale House National Beer Expo events were a lot of fun albeit with a few first year hiccups.  All in all it was a great start to what I hope will come back bigger and better next year.  Take a look at my photos for the various events I was able to attend.

Collabeerate at The Jefferson

CRAFT at Virginia War Memorial

Taco Throwdown

Grand Tasting Walk Around

Adroit Theory Hits Richmond With Beer School and Tap Takeover Tomorrow

Purcellville’s Adroit Theory will be available in two spots in the Richmond area tomorrow Saturday May 3rd.  This nanobrewery has been making a big name for itself. Get out and try some because who  knows when your next chance will come.

Beer School at Brew — 4PM

Owner Mark Osborne will be leading Brew’s FREE beer school.

Brew
6525 Centralia Rd
Chesterfield, VA 23832

B/A/Y/S of Pigs at Bucket Trade — 5PM

Bucket Trade will be bringing Adroit to Chester for probably the hottest tap takeover to hit south of the river.  They will also be pairing the delectable beers with local barbecue smoked on B/A/Y/S hazelnut staves.

Here are the beers making their first appearance in the area:

  • GIAA – Double IPA brewed exclusively with Citra, Belgian Candied Sugar, and aged on Ash
  • BAYS – Imperial Stout brewed with Hazelnuts, Cherries and aged on Ash Wood
  • BAYS – Tawny Port Barrel Aged Version- Regular version of BAYS aged in Tawny Port Barrel
  • Scorpion – Black IPA brewed with Galena, Columbus, Citra, and Summit Hops
  • Fear Is Your Only God – A brand new Saison
  • Pigs Get What Pigs Deserve – Imperial Brown Ale with Smoked Bacon regular

Head over to the Facebook event for more information and updates.

The Bucket Trade
13131 Rivers Bend Boulevard
Chester, VA 23836

A Totally Different Kind of Beer: It’s Crabbie’s Ginger Beer Week Richmond

Crabbies logoHere’s the thing, I have never tried ginger beer. I’d never really given it much thought.  Imagine my surprise when some of the toughest craft beer enthusiasts I know responded with more zeal than a hophead hunting down a 1000 IBU IPA.

What is ginger beer?  According to Wikipedia, ginger beer is brewed by leaving water, sugar, ginger, and ginger beer plant (composite organism of fungus and yeast) to ferment.

Produced in the UK, Crabbie’s is the most popular of alcoholic ginger beers. All this week Crabbie’s is introducing their newest flavor, Spiced Orange.  They have scheduled a week full of tastings around town as well as a special night at Burger Bach.  See all the details in the full press release below:

RICHMOND, VA – From Monday, March 24 through Saturday, March 29Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer, a 4.8% ABV, refreshing ginger beer – only for grown-ups, will host, “It’s Time for a Crabbie’s Week” including complimentary tastings and a special event to showcase the already popular Original and introduce the newest flavor, Spiced Orange.  Crabbie’s, which Bon Appetit hailed “a ginger beer that lives up to its name,” is ideal served chilled over ice with a slice of citrus.

“The people of Richmond have been incredible supporters of Crabbie’s since it first became available so we are really excited to launch Spiced Orange in the area,” says Phil Clarke, general manager of St. Killian, the exclusive US importer of Crabbie’s.  “We look forward to the week and hope to meet new friends and fans and enjoy these delicious drinks together.”

Crabbie’s is the United Kingdom’s number one selling bottled beer and has established, and is leading, the alcoholic ginger beer category in the United States.  Crabbie’s Original is carefully crafted from a recipe that combines ginger shipped from the Far East with four secret ingredients that are cold steeped for up to six weeks.  The result is a refreshing, light bodied ginger beer with a spicy fresh ginger flavor, notes of citrus and a warming finish.  The newest addition to the Crabbie’s portfolio is Spiced Orange which offers the same refreshing taste as the Original but with a lighter ginger profile and a zesty orange flavor.

The line-up for “It’s Time for a Crabbie’s Week” includes:

  • Monday March 24
    • Kroger – 3507 West Cary Street, Richmond – complimentary tasting from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
    • Kroger – 1601 Willow Lawn Drive, Richmond – complimentary tasting from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday March 25
    • Fresh Market – 1527 N Parham Rd, Richmond – complimentary tasting from 4 to 7 p.m.
    • Fresh Market – 1200 Huguenot Road, Midlothian – complimentary tasting from 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday March 26
    • Whole Foods – 11173 West Broad Street, Glen Allen – complimentary tasting from 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Thursday March 27
    • Burger Bach Carytown – #Crabbiestime party at 10 South Thompson Street 4 to 8 p.m.  (see below for more details)
  • Friday March 28:
    • Total Wine – 10036 Robious Road, Richmond – complimentary tasting from 12 noon to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday March 29:
    • Total Wine – 8809 West Broad St, Richmond – complimentary tasting from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.

On Thursday, March 27, Burger Bach will feature both Crabbie’s Original and Spiced Orange as it is meant to be served, over ice with a slice of citrus, for just $4.  For guests who’d like a bite with their Crabbie’s, the kitchen will prepare a special “Crabbie’s Burger” for the evening:  New Zealand Grass-Fed Beef Burger topped with roasted jalapeno remoulade, NZ organic cheddar cheese, onions caramelized in Crabbie’s Original, chipotle Crabbie’s Spiced Orange bbq sauce and uncured bacon.  Burger Bash was voted “Best Burger” by Style Weekly in its annual “Best of Richmond” issue.

Since Crabbie’s entered the U.S. market, it has received high praise from Huffington Post and The Dallas Morning News.  Huffington Post’s “Taste Test” concluded that “the UK’s best-selling ginger beer is finally available in the U.S., and we are quite pleased about it.”  The Morning News called Crabbie’s “moderately gingered and not too sweet…a smooth, refreshing drink,” and Crabbie’s was named “Best in Show” by greater San Francisco’s Fairfax Beer Festival, where it stacked up against some of the nation’s top domestic craft breweries.

The Crabbie’s adventure dates back to 1801 in Edinburgh, Scotland and the shipping port of Leith.  Pioneering drink merchant John Crabbie began creating new offerings to sell in his shop at 99 Giles Street.  He looked to the Far East to source the best ingredients including the finest ginger and exotic spices;  elephants were traditionally used to transport these goods to ships to import to Scotland.  More than 200 years later, Crabbie’s elephant logo symbolizes its heritage and search for ingredients which are still used today to develop the one-of-a-kind flavor of its alcoholic ginger beer.

Crabbie’s is available for purchase in two formats:  a four-pack of 11 ounce bottles and a larger 16.9 ounce bottle.  Ideal for sipping, it can also be blended into a variety of ginger beer cocktails, such as a Dark and Crabbie and the Moscow Mule.

Crabbie’s is currently available throughout Virginia where it is distributed by Specialty Beverage.  For more information on Crabbie’s, please visit them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram(@CrabbiesUSA) #icewithaslice.

Breaking Down The Virginia Craft Brewers Fest

VA Craft Beer Fest 2013 034Last Saturday’s Virginia Craft  Brewers Fest at Devils Backbone could not have been on nicer day.  Following the rain soaked but fun first year  with a day of gorgeous weather was a stroke of genius.  Am I saying Virginia brewers have learned how to control the weather? Of course, not, that’d be crazy talk but it would be funny if they had.

By now you’ve probably heard about the winners in the 2013 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup.  If not here are the winners:

Best of Show Winners 2013 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup
Gold: Devils Backbone Brewing Company – Smokehaus Lager
Silver: River Company Brewing – Wood Dog Porter
Bronze: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – Gingerbread Stout

Light & Amber Hybrid
Gold: Blue Mountain Brewery – Kolsch 151
Silver: Center of the Universe – Main Street Virginia Ale
Bronze: Mad Fox Brewing Company – Mad Fox Kolsch

European Malty Lagers
Gold: Devils Backbone Brewing Company – Schwartzbier
Silver: Starr Hill Brewery – Jomo Lager
Bronze: Mad Fox Brewing Company – Elixer Maibock

Pilsner & Light Lager
Gold: Blue Mountain Brewery – Classic Lager
Silver: Lost Rhino Brewing Company – Rhino Chasers Pilsner
Bronze: Legend Brewing Company – Pilsner

British Session Ale
Gold: Devils Backbone Brewing Company – Ale of Fergus
Silver: River Company Brewing – Timber Brown Ale
Bronze: Blue & Grey Brewing Company – Fred Red

American Ale
Gold: Wolf Hill Brewing – Creeper Trail Amber Ale
Silver: Extra Billy’s Smokehouse and Brewing – Midlo
Bronze: Wolf Hill Brewing – Fightin’ Parsons Pale Ale

Porter & Stout
Gold: Apocalypse Ale Works – 6th Seal
Silver: Port City Brewing – Porter
Bronze: Wild Wolf Brewing Company – Dry Stout

English & American IPA
Gold: Extra Billy’s Smokehouse & Brewery – Citra Ass Down
Silver: Center of the Universe – Pocahoptus IPA
Bronze: Legend Brewing Company – Hopfest

German Wheat and Rye Beer
Gold: Strangeways Brewing – Mixolydian Rag Rye Bock
Silver: Devils Backbone Brewing Company – Berliner Metro Weiss
Bronze: Lost Rhino Brewing Company – Final Glide Hefe

Belgian Sour Strong Ales
Gold: Wolf Hill Brewing – Tripel
Silver: Apocalypse Ale Works – The Lustful Maiden
Bronze: Wild Wolf Brewing Company – Blonde Hunny

Belgian & French Ale
Gold: Port City Brewing – Optimal Wit
Silver: Blue Mountain Barrel House – American Hopped Blonde Ale
Bronze: Smartmouth Brewing Company – Alter Ego

Strong Ales
Gold: Three Brothers Brewing – The Admiral
Silver: Smartmouth Brewing Company – Notch 9
Bronze: Devils Backbone Brewing Outpost – Kilt Flasher

Smoked Flavored & Wood Aged
Gold: Devils Backbone Brewing Company – Smokehaus Lager
Silver: Blue Mountain Barrel House – Barrel Aged Big Blue
Bronze: Three Brothers Brewing – Bourbon Barrell Russian Imperial

Fruit/Spice/Herb/Vegetable
Gold: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – Gingerbread Stout
Silver: Devils Backbone Brewing Company – Pear Lager
Bronze: Blue Mountain Barrel House – Spooky

Specialty
Gold: River Company Brewing – Wood Dog Porter
Silver: Blue Mountain Brewery – Rye Barchetta
Bronze: Strangeways Brewing – Wallonian Dawn Honey Saison

Devils Backbone stole the show with seven total medals including four gold, two silver and one bronze.  Some might think that DB had the home field advantage but if you take a closer look at the results you’ll realize that is not the case.  For instance, DB did not even place in English & American IPA category; top honors went to Extra Billy’s Citra Ass Down.  This and the silver for Midlo Pale Ale is a major accomplishment for Brandon Tolbert with only having taken the head brewer position a few months ago.  Keep an eye on this guy because I predict a bright future for this young man.

Or how about Strangeways’ gold in German Wheat & Rye Beers? Open for three months, and their Mixolydian Rag Rye Bock beats out DB’s Berliner Metro Weiss.

Let’s not forget  Three Brothers Admiral and Smartmouth Notch 9 both placing over DB Kilt Flasher.  Both of these breweries opened toward the end of 2012.

Now it sounds like I’m picking on Devils Backbone but nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is that Virginia brewers are a strong, passionate, and talented group of individuals.  You can find many of the winning breweries on tap in the Richmond area.  Meanwhile, breweries waiting to come online are eager to get their chance to wow the public with their offerings.

I was able to spend some time in the room as beers were being judged so here are a few background points:

  • Beers were entered and judged based on BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) style guidelines. This means even though a beer may be great it may not fit the style it was entered under.  This goes beyond whether you personally like the beer.
  • Judges have no idea who makes the beers they are judging; samples are poured away from the tables and delivered by stewards
  • There were about 20 judges in the room with varying levels of experience including two non-BJCP and two grandmaster judges; there are 4 grandmaster/master  judges in Virginia.

Overall, the festival was a great time with 32 breweries in attendance over 27 from last year. Ticket sales were doubled from 2012 with over 2200 people in attendance.  The one improvement I could see for next year would be increased number of food providers.  The  four food trucks this year could not handle the high attendance; increasing this number would help decrease the wait time for food.  

Finally here are a few of my favorite beers I tasted at the festival:

  • Alewerks Jubilee — 6th Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale aged 1 year in bourbon barrels; possibly best beer I tasted that day.
  • Champion Face Eater Gose – a really well done salted wheat beer; I’m glad this was the first beer I tried from Champion.  I need to get by Charlottesville and check them out more.
  • Beer Hound Fang Oatmeal Stout – great oatmeal stout from a young brewery
  • Sunken City Dam Lager – very solid offering from Smith Mountain Lake’s only brewery

Congrats to everyone involved in putting on a successful festival.  I can’t wait to see what happens next year.  Here is to an amazing Virginia Craft Beer Month!

Cheers!

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