RVA Mag #22: Triple Crossing owners talk hoppy beers, fall releases, and vinyl flight night

by | Nov 17, 2015 | EAT DRINK

Triple Crossing is a brewery located on Foushee Street in the heart of downtown Richmond, VA.

Triple Crossing is a brewery located on Foushee Street in the heart of downtown Richmond, VA. This locally-owned establishment boasts a 7bbl brew sytem and a tasting room featurng a roating selection of their homemade craft brews. We caught up with co-owners Jeremy Wirtes and Adam Worcester to get the scoop on how Triple Crossing started and what they’ve been up to.

Adam Worcester (A), co-owner
Jeremy Wirtes (J), co-owner

This article was featured in RVAMag #22: Fall 2015. You can read all of issue #22 here or pick it up at local shops around RVA right now.

Q: How did the idea of Triple Crossing come about?

A: The name came from Triple Crossing down in Shockoe Bottom. We used to have a picture of it, now its on the wall of the three trains crossing back in the 20’s…I used to think that was pretty cool. It’s a unique thing, the only one in North America where that happens…Not a lot of people in Richmond know about it. People come in all the time wondering where does the name come from? We just thought it was pretty cool…it’s this Richmond landmark and not a lot of people know about it. We thought it’d be a neat idea to name a Richmond Brewery after that. Scott {Jones} and I are Richmond natives and Jeremy has lived in Richmond for several years
J: It also worked out that there are three of us. Someone else had to point that out to us…accidentally on purpose we did that. It’s just something unique to the area that spoke to us…

A: As I was saying, Jeremy and I have homebrewed together for a couple years now, we talked about starting a brewery, got some ideas from some other beer companies, places out west. Saw that a lot of places at the time we were thinking about opening weren’t brewing the styles of beers we were interested in doing so we felt like..we always knew the types of beers we like were AVAILABLE here, they just weren’t brewed here, so we were like, what can we do to differentiate ourselves a little bit as…
J: And it didn’t feel any different in the beer scene, anybody can make a hoppy beer, but if you go on the local side of things—here specifically, it wasn’t really happening so it was what we wanted to do.

Q: Of the different types of beer, what would you say is your focus?

J: Our focus is definitely hoppy beers, for sure, of all kinds
A: People come in and go, do you have anything that’s not an IPA…and we’re like, “What for?”
J: Everything from pale ales, which is what they were called in my day, not IPAs but everything from the whole hoppy gambit…from pale ales to IPA, double IPA, to blonde barley wine, we brewed on in here…we won a medal at the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest and its our worst selling beer of all time. People ask if we’ll do that beer again and we’re like, nope…it took forever to sell and we won the silver medal…it might have been like batch 23 and I don’t know if people were ready for what exactly it was cause a lot of the beer people in town, including other owners would tell us that this is really interesting and this is really cool, and then it’s not financially uh…it wouldn’t sell…but we did really well with it, we were happy with it…so that’s primarily our focus.

Q: Bottle it, age it, sell it for more…just saying…

A: That probably would have worked
J: For us, that’s kind of what the focus is, hoppy beer of all kinds…we’re gonna launch a hoppy red later this week. We really like those styles of beer too.

Q: Tell me a little bit more about your beers that are most popular, starting with Falcon Smash.

A: Yeah, Falcon Smash is…you could call it our flagship IPA…we do a lot of different IPAs but Falcon Smash is what we’re best known for, primarily because it’s the only one we distribute and we tend to brew it 2-3 times per month usually. So we usually have it on draft, we don’t right now because we sold out of it last weekend.
J: It’s really a foundation for what I believe is the way I like to make beer. It’s really basic and simple as far as the recipe design but it’s really process driven…just a 100% pale ale malt, some sugar, and expressive yeast strain, usually of English origin, which we’re constantly fooling around with.
A: Every week I’m like, which yeast did you use this time…and I have no idea.
J: We’re really hop and yeast driven in here…its kind of my…where I like to go with it. We make Saison too…really big fan of those beers too, more so than I guess the Belgian Abby styles, we don’t really do a whole lot of that here. Just a choice, I don’t really like drinking them all that much. There’s great ones made, but I really love a great Saison and all its iterations too. Kind of in the same vein as hoppy beer, so we play with a lot of yeast strains…other popular beers…Nectar Knife, one of our double IPAs…we’ve done 3 different double IPAs lately, but that’s our main one.

Q: I just had it, and it’s awesome

J: Mosaic and Semco, really heavy dry hop still really clean, basic malt, and expressive yeast strain, I really like that 8% double IPA thing, it’s kind of working out. Other beers, Element 79, which is our everyman’s beer, everybody’s beer…it’s a 4.5% summer ale
A: That was our entry-level beer, when we were new to the craft scene. We recently started using Clarityfirm—it’s a whitelapse product that we get and it removes gluten from the beer…
J: Gluten’s still there but it reduces it…it’s under the 30 parts per billion required to make something gluten free…that’s under the gluten free standards…we cannot call it that, nor are we, and nor will we…but its gluten reduced, lets call it that to be safe.
A: The beer is still brewed with the same ingredients but then you add this afterwards and it removes the gluten
J: It works really great so far, especially for that beer. We’d like to get that one nice and clear, just a 4.5% English summer ale, which is a vehicle for me to play with hops also, cause it just gets one hop addition to the whirlpool…so we play with that too but we sell a lot of that beer
A: That beer lasts a week and a half/two weeks on draft

Q: Do you dry hop?

J: No, not that one, everything else we do, but not that one. Apart from that, those are our more popular beers.

Q: Any special releases going on in October?

A: All of our design is done by the same person…this beer we’ve only done it once so far, it’s got some brain on it…we teamed up with the Poe Museum and got a local artist, Abigail Larson to do a design for us, so she did that and she’s done another one, Black Cat IPA…we love her stuff, its awesome
J: It’s perfect cause its with the Poe Museum, so its got that feel to it
A: Its an imperial red
J: Yeah, it’s a big double red, its like 9%, is where we took it to last time…really heavy, we just love that style because when its fresh, they’re bitingly hoppy, but when they have age to them…and even if the hops drop it becomes more of a malt basted beer for people so its not necessarily a bad thing when that happens.
A: That beer and Demon Days…that’s the one we’re launching this week…it’s a hoppy red ale, sort of a smaller counterpart to that other beer. Jeremy ad I both love…that’s one of my favorite beers we’ve done, Demon Days. It sells relatively well, but compared to some of our other hoppy beers, its no done great
J: Yeah hoppy beers aren’t really “in” right now
A: People don’t usually go for those even though…

Q: One of the biggest hoppy reds I can think of is Nugget Vector and that’s…I don’t even think some people understand that’s a red, they just think its an IPA

J: Yeah, beers like that aren’t really “in” right now, but we love them. They’re kind of everything craft beer can be.
A: That’s something nice about our size…we can brew beers that we want…its only seven barrels, so nothing sits around too long…its just not that much beer

Q: You mentioned events…what sort of things do you guys regularly have going on?

A: We do bands every Friday and most Saturdays…local groups mostly, we get some, like cover groups.I’m a big music guy for the most part, I don’t really like people who do unoriginal music, and I figure we’re so close to VCU, it should be a huge musician base of young bands trying out, so we’re trying to get more of those.

A: The thing is, you see how small it is, it’s gotta be…it can’t be very loud…heavy drumming
J: That’s hard to get in here.
A: When we get loud music in here, it’s not a good experience for people. I always tell bands you gotta mute the drums or play with brushes. We like having music here, its mostly acoustic stuff. Wednesday nights are slow, so I’m working with Reggie Chapman from NO BS! Brass Band. His girlfriend works here and trying to get him to help get a locally curated jazz on night on Wednesdays…it’d be really cool, just to get local jazz musicians doing weird cool stuff, that’d be fun down here.

Q: They used to have a thing at Mojos where they had these guys who would come out and get up record players and they would have some of their old records to play , but then they’d have a record night and people could bring their own records and it became a listening night.

A: We have something like that. I’m a big vinyl guy. I got a nice collection. Deep Groove is one of my favorite places on the planet. We do this thing called vinyl flight night once a month and its after we close on Sundays…so its 6:00 on a Sunday. People can come in, and set up in here, and we do a focused listening session. So we’ll have a guest host…we had Andrew Cothern from RVA Playlist, we had Chris from Deep Groove come last time. Basically the host will pick out a record, they’ll talk about it briefly for 5-10 minutes about why they picked it, the influence that record had on them, whether its musically or artistically or whatever. Talk about it and then play it for the group.

I’m super pumped about the one we’re doing November 1st, right after Halloween, we’re gonna do the Dark Side of Oz…so we’re gonna have a projector, the whole thing…Everybody’s done it a million times, but its fun, and I think we’ll get a pretty good crowd for it. And we wanna grow vinyl flight night because we did it a few weeks ago and had like 10 people, but for us it was cool, we were like yeah, 10 people on a Sunday night! That’s pretty cool. It’s such a neat thing…I get a bunch of my friends to come and they love it, and they’re not even music guys and they come…we did a Miles Davis jazz record—a Tribute to Jack Johnson last time and mostly people had no idea about this electric rock jazz side of Miles Davis. Everyone knows Some Kind of Blue, but not this other one. That was really awesome and Chris from Deep Groove introduced that he was a great host.

A: And these types of things, we’re gonna keep doing because we think they’re awesome, and we think eventually people will catch on once people get into it. It’s not like your regular trivia night or something you expect to see, its kind of a cool, different thing…We do board game night on Tuesdays…that was my brother’s idea when we first started to open, we were like, “we’re not doing board games”
J: Yeah, we thought it would just be so chichi and shitty
A: But its been…I mean, Tuesdays are packed. They bring all kinds of games. Those are games we either had donated or we bought at One Eyed Jaques.
J: It gets hardcore in here…given the feel they have about it, it doesn’t feel chichi or like we’re begging people to come in, it feels like this is their house to do that. You’re like, “its alright, Welcome.” They take over the place…they’re into it, it’s been really great.

Triple Crossing is located at 113 S. Foushee St. The brewery’s tasting room hours are Tuesday – Friday, 4PM – 10PM, Saturday, 12PM – 10PM, and Sunday – 1PM – 8PM. This Sat., Nov. 21, Triple Crossing is releasing Black Dolphin, a Russian Imperial Stout. Go get some!

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for RVAMag.com from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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