Craft Beer Evangelist
"I was selling wine to restaurants, and several accounts encouraged me to try these interesting, complex brews created by talented artisans. Knowing that I was a coffee freak, a local beer buyer recommended I try Péché Mortel by Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel. In that moment my world changed. I could see how certain beers would appeal to New World, flavor-bomb wine-lovers, while others display subtle intricacies relative to Old World European wines. I found the craft beer culture to be provocative and alluring in ways that I didn't see in the wine scene. In fact, I used to collect wine and now I like to seek out rare, limited-release beers that can be aged and enjoyed many years later."
Favorite beer: "Silva Stout by Green Flash Brewing Co. What's not to love about a liquid bittersweet espresso, bourbon brownie with a dollop of silky vanilla cream?"
Growler King, Whole Foods
"The moment was about 18 years ago. I picked up a six-pack of Pete's Wicked Lager and watched the movie "The Hustler." From then on, I was hooked on the flavor and courage of craft beer. It was fresh, and the aftertaste was new and satisfying. As far as courage is concerned, that's the feeling I get from the small brewery's determination to do what they want."
Favorite beer: "Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin'. It's made for my lifestyle, which is fast-paced and demands a quick citrus fix. New beers are hitting the market every day, but Lagunitas knows what I require, taste-wise."
Sterling M. Stokes Jr.
"I started homebrewing with a friend in 2009 and was fascinated by the idea [that] I could create almost any kind of beer I could imagine. The first beer we brewed was a mango hefeweizen. I joined the James River Homebrewers and had the opportunity to try beers from some of the best homebrewers in the city and Virginia. The club has exploded over the past few years, necessitating a move from a room at Legend Brewing to Mekong. For a while, friends came to know me as the guy bringing homebrew to a party. Writing about beer did not happen until my good friend Kevin Clay asked me if I'd like to cover Richmond's first World Beer Festival for GayRVA.com. It wasn't until April 2010 that RVABeermeister.com was born. Six months later, Hardywood came to Richmond. Probably coincidental, but I haven't had as much time for homebrewing since then, though I'm trying to get back into more."
Favorite beer: "No fair making me pick one. If I have to choose, I'll pick the beer that I would most like to create as a homebrewed version, Allagash Smoke and Beards. This collaboration with Brouwerij de Molen is a triple with a nice light smokiness that is not overpowering, allowing you to enjoy more than a single glass. I'd love to try it with an apple or cherry wood smoked malt."