Thursday, June 23, 2016

Four Virginia Summer Brews Worth Trying

When the weather heats up, cool down with these frosty, frothy friends.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Nothing pairs better with warmer temperatures and longer days than a cold beer. The River City is busting at the seams with suds and there are plenty of thirsty folks to consume all of the offerings. With the shelves and taps filling up with a load of crisp seasonal ales and hop bombs, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. We’re here to help. Whether you’re a fan of an easy drinker down by the river or seeking out the next hoppy assault on your palate, Virginia breweries new and old are serving up something sure to please and occasionally surprise.

  • Starr Hill Brewery

The Hook by Starr Hill Brewery
4.9 percent
Grapefruit session IPA

For a session beer, there’s a lot going on with the Hook. Deep gold and tasty, this American IPA balances a fresh bouquet of Apollo, Citra and Mosaic hops with the bite of grapefruit, courtesy of real zest added to the brew. The up-front tanginess mellows out as this medium-bodied brew swirls on the palate and finishes semi-dry and surprisingly earthy. It has nice lacing in a glass, but doesn’t suffer if consumed straight from the bottle down by the water. As it’s aptly named, you’ll be back for more than one of these.

  • Scott Elmquist

Crucial Taunt by the Veil
8 percent alcohol
Double IPA

Holy dankity deliciousness! Since its opening, this beer has been adored by those who stand in lines wrapped around the Scott’s Addition brewery to get their hands on it. The cans sell out as soon as they’re available, and this Northeastern-style concoction has already been called “liquid perfection” by some fans. So what’s the deal? It’s a double-IPA-lovers’ dream that pours hazy gold with a creamy head and delivers a citrus smack followed by a piney punch with unparalleled freshness. Seriously, it’s like eating a salad. For all of its hop forwardness, it’s easy on the palate with medium body and carbonation. The Veil gets major bonus points for the “Wayne’s World” reference. Party on, y’all.

  • Scott Elmquist

Little Flowers by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
5.4 percent alcohol

Some of the best things are the simple ones done just right. It’s fitting that Hardywood’s latest release in the Brewer and Artist series pairs Justin Anderson’s bottle-conditioned saison with the label work of Lakeside Tattoo’s traditional design master, Rempe. Both are unfussy and straightforward in their craft. Anderson’s creation pours straw gold with a beautiful pillowy head. It’s crisp and semi-dry with a lean mouth feel, making it ideal for the dog days of summer porch sitting. Spicy and earthy tones are prominent, though the discerning drinker likely will detect a smidge of tartness characteristic of this style. The finish is pure, soft maltiness and absolutely delightful.

  • Scott Elmquist

Black Knight IPA by Castleburg Brewery and Taproom
6.7 percent alcohol
Cascadian dark ale

New kid on the local block Castleburg is coming out of the gate strong with this flagship beer. Some call it Cascadian dark ale, others call it black IPA, but everyone likely will agree that it’s distinctive and a welcome sight this time of year, when light-bodied and über-hoppy dominates. A Warrior, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook hops combo yields an organic and piney profile with floral notes. There’s a hint of citrus, but the take-away here is the earthy goodness that pours opaque and lands silky on the palate. According to owner and brewer Karl Homburg, the combination of dark malts from England and Germany give this beer its dark roasted chocolate and coffee notes that balance it all out.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Five Don’t-Miss Events for Richmond Beer Lovers

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 11:00 AM

June 19
Center of the Universe is ready to fill your dad up with beer and barbecue on Father’s Day, and you can impress him with your thoughtfulness by grabbing him the Ultimate Dad Ticket for the second annual Dad’s Day Pig Out. It includes a limited edition Universe’s Greatest Dad mug, which can be filled with a free beer, plus a plate of food from Firehouse Bar-B-Que — whole pigs will be roasting on-site Sunday, June 19, from noon-6 p.m. $20. Center of the Universe Brewing Co. 11293 Air Park Road, Ashland. Call 368-0299 or visit cotubrewing.com.

June 19
If your father would rather have a taste of the sea, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery is holding its annual Father’s Day Keg ’n’ Oyster Fest with raw and fried oysters from Rappahannock Oyster Co. and a specially brewed Hardywood Oyster Stout on Sunday, June 19, from noon to 6. Proceeds will benefit oyster replenishment and the James River Association. Free. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, 2408 Ownby Lane. Call 420-2420 or visit hardywood.com.

June 20
The best way to try four-time James Beard Award nominee Dale Reitzer’s food is when he goes off menu to create a five-course pairing. The Acacia Mid-Town chef will match food with Garden Grove Brewing Co.’s best in its Carytown taproom on Monday, June 20, from 7-10 p.m. Reservations are required. $38, plus tax and tip. Garden Grove Brewing Co. 3445 W. Cary St. Call 918-6158 or visit gardengrovebrewing.com.

June 26
The Savory Grain and Isley Brewing Co. will join for their Southern Seafood Boil on Sunday, June 26, from 7-9 p.m. You’ll find two community tables — one in the tasting room and the other outside, “piled high with crawfish that will be purchased fresh June 26, shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn,” event coordinator Jaymie Mitchell says. $35. Isley Brewing Co., 1715 Summit Ave. Visit isleybrewingcompany.com or thesavorygrain.com.

July 13-16
The Capital Ale House National Beer Expo comes along only once a year, so mark your calendars. It all starts with the Craft Brewers’ Locavore Dinner at Quirk Hotel’s Maple & Pine on Wednesday, July 13, at 6 p.m. There will be brewery parties the next night, and on Friday, July 15, you can head down to the Greater Richmond Convention Center to visit Style Weekly’s Taco Throwdown at 6 p.m. On Saturday, July 16, you can sip your way through the big convention hall at the Grand Tasting. And new this year, the Farm Country Feast on Saturday night will feature Southern, soul and Cajun food. $45-$85. Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 N. Third St. Call 349-6909 or visit nationalbeerexpo.com.

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