Friday, June 21, 2019

Oh, You Put My Love on Tap

This Sunday, in collaboration with Virginia Pride, Hardywood celebrates beer and four years of marriage equality.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 21, 2019 at 7:11 PM

It started with a beer.

Then the beer became a celebration of marriage equality when four years ago, a casual conversation between Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and Virginia Pride cannonballed into branding a beer together: Tropic Like It’s Hot.

The sour ale, with a refreshing finish that makers describe as tart and dry, is served in a rainbow-colored tallboy can that’s now distributed across stores and bars in Richmond. It mixes tropical fruits in the name of Pride and Lyft, which provides a discount code for a safe drive home.

This collaboration also resulted in Love on Tap, a free, family-friendly event featuring food, booze and entertainment that commemorates the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision to nationally recognize and guarantee the right to same-sex marriage. But the festivities are about more than just that — its fourth anniversary at Hardywood this Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m., gives Richmond an opportunity to be a part of something that recognizes national LGBT month while waiting for PrideFest in September.

Last year, organizers added LGBT-owned and allied vendors to the event, allowing business owners to market their products completely free of cost — all they have to do is provide their own 10-by-10 tent. Lori News, director at large of Virginia Pride, takes care of the rest.

“We kind of just look for a balance of vendors that offer quality goods or services, are based in RVA or the surrounding communities and just want to give back to the LGBT community,” News says.

Finding these vendors is a combination of word-of-mouth, reaching out to the community and social media groups like RVA Makers, Boss Babes and RVA Queer Exchange. As a self-proclaimed jam fanatic, News looks forward to seeing “Dayum, This Is My Jam,” a local vendor that sells — you guessed it — jars of jam.

For shopping, goers have Jini & Tonic for custom-made pins, Little Nomad for stylish kids’ clothes and treats for the family dog at Cool Canines Pet Care Services, among other vendors. La Bête food truck offers a Carribean-Creole mix while Go Go Vegan Go offers a plant-based take on meaty favorites. And this can all be enjoyed with pop-funk bands or drag performances playing in the background.

While Virginia Pride may be most well known for its Pride Festival in September, News says the organization also gives back to the community with its donations. This includes supporting other groups, establishing outreach programs and building scholarships of up to $10,000. A percentage of Hardywood’s sales on Saturday go toward these initiatives.

“It’s just an energy that really can’t be contained into one performance, one event, one day,” Erin Brunner, event coordinator for Hardywood, says of Love on Tap. “It’s so fun feeling like everyone is bringing that energy from this event out into the rest of the world and into the community.”

While James Millner, president of Virginia Pride, says it’s “a real celebration,” he hopes people come away with this:

There’s still a lot of work to be done.

He references the reality of multiple states and communities in which LGBTQ people continue being physically, socially and legally vulnerable. In Virginia specifically, it’s currently legal to fire — or refuse to hire — someone on the basis of sexual orientation.

“I think it’s important to say ‘OK, we can absolutely take this moment to celebrate and we can absolutely take this moment to recognize those who’ve gotten us to this point,’” Millner says. “But I think we also need to look at ourselves and say ‘I need to pick the baton up from here and move it forward.’”

Millner’s favorite parts of Love on Tap? It’s not just for the LGBTQ community. He’s found it fosters understanding, compassion and awareness.

News echoes this statement, recalling a 10-to-12 year-old boy dancing with his friends at last year’s event.

“It was probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” News says. “You could feel that he was comfortable in the community and felt at home. That’s really what makes me want to keep doing this. Just seeing that.”

The collaboration with Hardywood allows Virginia Pride to reach beyond the LGBTQ community, Millner says. With this comes an opportunity to create a conversation about inclusivity and diversity, even if an individual originally came to Hardywood that day just for their favorite IPA.

“When you find common ground … you find yourselves standing next to people who are not like you in some ways,” Millner says. “But you realize you’re there because you came for the same reason, and sometimes, it’s as simple as the fact that you came to get a beer.”

Love on Tap

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

2408 Ownby Lane

Sunday, June 23

1 - 6 p.m.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Drinks for Donations

Negroni Week, a philanthropic movement at bars around the world, kicks off on Monday.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 5:09 PM

The exact origin of the Negroni is still a little fuzzy (much like your sensibilities after two or three of them), but the most widely accepted version of the story is that it was invented in 1919 at Café Cavalli, formerly known as Café Casoni, in Florence, Italy. So happy centennial, Negroni — let’s celebrate with a drink, shall we?

Negroni Week, celebrating the classic, simple cocktail of Campari, gin and vermouth, officially starts on Monday, June 24. Organized by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, this weeklong initiative invites bars across the globe to promote Negronis and support charitable causes. Since its 2013 inception, Negroni Week has grown to include nearly 10,000 venues and raised about $2 million for dozens of charities.

Several Richmond establishments, including Perch and Saison, have chosen to support Children of Restaurant Employees, an organization that supports families of food and beverage service employees during times of extreme financial strain and life-altering circumstances. Weezie’s Kitchen, which will offer variations with rum, mezcal and the Peruvian brandy known as pisco, plans to donate $1 per drink sold. The Jasper, known for its creative takes on classic cocktails, will feature a drink menu of about a dozen variations on the Negroni, including one on draft, in support of the group.

Aloi, supporting No Kid Hungry, will offer seven variations. At Greenleaf’s Pool Room you can look forward to a cold-brew coffee version and the increasingly popular white Negroni, a twist on the original featuring Lillet Blanc and Suze liqueur. Greenleaf’s charity of choice is Muttville, a senior dog rescue.

Other participating restaurants and bars include Secco Wine Bar, the Scott’s Addition location of Tazza Kitchen, TJ’s in the Jefferson Hotel, Laura Lee’s, Lemaire, Adarra, Alewife, Metzger Bar and Butchery, Metro Bar and Grill, Fat Dragon Chinese Kitchen and Bar, Southbound and Can Can Brasserie. And if you want to get in on the festivities without the booze, sidle on up to the bar at Heritage, where you can get a zero-proof Negroni-inspired mocktail with a vermouth tea blend from Roundtree Trading Co.

Information about Negroni Week is available here, and be sure to include the hashtag #NegroniWeek when you post those pictures on social media.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Clean Drinkin'

Charlottesville-based Juice Laundry is bringing its vegan, organic concept to Richmond.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 4:41 PM

The Juice Laundry has been pressing and blending entirely organic, vegan and gluten-free products since its humble 2013 beginnings as a juice delivery service in a corner of a Charlottesville doughnut shop. Owners Mike and Sarah Keenan expanded the concept into a brick-and-mortar storefront in 2015, serving an extensive menu of juices, nut milks, smoothies and breakfast bowls. They have since opened a second Charlottesville location and another in Washington.

Last week, the owners announced that Richmond will soon get its own Juice Laundry. The Richmond menu and overall concept will be identical to the others, but it’ll be owned and operated by Richmonder Billy Salter in a licensee arrangement.

“We’re always just spread a little thin,” Mike Keenan says. “So when Billy brought this idea to our attention, and knowing his background and expertise in running food establishments, we were like ‘Oh, this is perfect.’ It’s a great way for us to expand into Richmond, which is something we’ve been wanting to do for years.”

Juices, served in 17-ounce glass bottles, include veggie-heavy concoctions like the Clean Green, featuring kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, apple, parsley, ginger and lemon. The Rinse and Re-Beet is a blend of beet, carrot, cucumber, celery and lemon, and the Turmeric Tonic is just turmeric, lime and maple syrup with water. Dairy-free milks include cashew, chocolate-almond, Brazilian mint and chai hemp, and bottled cold brew lattes are available with cashew or almond milk.

One of the most popular smoothies on the menu is the vibrant pink Bradley’s CB&J, which is made with cashew butter, strawberries, dragon fruit, banana, dates and cashew milk. For something a little different, try the Waterboy, a bright turquoise tropical-tasting smoothie made with pineapple, mango, coconut water and Blue Majik, a proprietary extract of the blue-green algae spirulina. For every Waterboy smoothie or bowl sold, $2 goes to former NFL player Chris Long’s Waterboys, an organization that provides clean drinking water to communities in need.

Other menu items include gluten-free, dairy-free mac and “cheez,” a kale Caesar salad, vegan chili, cauliflower rice salad, a cashew-based Greek yogurt and granola parfait and chocolate chia pudding. You can also choose from a lengthy menu of bases, fruits and toppings to make your own smoothie or bowl.

The Juice Laundry also offers one-, two- and three-day juice cleanses, which consist of five bottled juices and your choice of nut milk each day.

The new shop will be in the River Road Shopping Center, next to Scout and Molly’s Boutique. And according to Salter, it will be more than just a juice bar.

“We want this to be a community gathering place,” he says. “We’ll have comfortable seating and the tables will have USB ports and electrical outlets so you can sit and stay a while. We really want it to be a place where people don’t just grab a smoothie for lunch and go.”

Along with co-working-friendly seating and WiFi, there will also be an enclosed Plexiglas room where guests can watch the behind-the-scenes juicing and bottling process.

Construction on the space is set to begin on July 1, and Salter is aiming for a September opening. In the meantime, mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 19 — Salter will be at Scout and Molly’s Boutique offering Juice Laundry samples from 4 to 8 p.m. Keep an eye on the shop’s new Instagram account, @thejuicelaundryrva, for updates.

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