RVA On Tap: Belgian Beer Festivals & Gingerbread Stouts

by | Oct 30, 2019 | RVA ON TAP

What’s happening, craft beer lovers of RVA?! Welcome to this week’s RVA On Tap, RVA Magazine’s weekly column for all your craft beer-related events, releases, festivals, and all the booze news your hearts desire.

If you missed the last column, you can check that out here. Our kegs are overflowing this week with beer releases and festivals, events, and other cool happenings around town, so hold on to your mugs.

Fall is in full swing with Fine Creek’s Belgian Beer Festival, and Halloween events with Stone Brewing Richmond and Intermission Beer Company. We’ve also got the return of the Gingerbread Stout to Hardywood this week, plus more great releases like Center of the Universe’s The Donny, Final Gravity’s Splashdown, Vasen Brewing Company’s Smoked Candy Cap Walrus, and more with The Veil Brewing Co. 

PHOTO: Fine Creek Brewing Company

Kicking off the week, Fine Creek Brewing Company is hosting their giant Belgian Beer Festival this Saturday with tons of our favorite brewers from all around the Richmond area, and plenty more from around the state.

You’ll catch live music from Darcy Down, a local Virginia country artist, along with a large array of guest beers from spots you already love and new favorites to try. Here’s a list of the participating breweries coming out for the first annual event at the beautiful Powhatan spot:

Ardent Craft Ales, Bingo Beer Co., Champion Brewing Company, Courthouse Creek Cider, Crooked Run Brewing (Sterling, VA), Elation Brewing (Norfolk, VA), Fullsteam Brewery (Durham, NC), Hardywood, O’Connor Brewing Co. (Norfolk, VA), Reason Beer (Charlottesville, VA), Smartmouth Beer (the Norfolk, VA creators of the famous Lucky Charms brew last year!), Strangeways Brewing, Tabol Brewing, and our pals at Väsen Brewing Company.

PHOTO: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

It’s that time we’ve all been waiting for: GBS releases at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery!

Hardywood’s Gingerbread Stout is the beer loved ‘round the city each year, and it also signals the start of colder days and the early times of the holiday season. We’re not quite to Halloween yet, and while I’m increasingly more annoyed with pre-Halloween Christmas shenanigans every year, Hardywood’s GBS coming at the top of November is a holiday treat I’ll welcome like no other.

This Saturday, get your first glass of the season along with the release of Christmas Pancakes (which, honestly, is probably going to top my list even above the classic GBS as a bigtime pancake enthusiast). GBS hits in at 9.2% ABV, and this award-winning brew isn’t one to sleep on: it’s been given a 100 Rating from BeerAdvocate, a Bronze Medal at the World Beer Cup, and named one of the top 25 Milk Stouts in the world from BeerAdvocate as well. With Virginia-grown Hawaiian white ginger and local wildflower honey, it’s almost impossible for it to disappoint.

Christmas Pancakes, on the other hand, is all your favorite GBS flavors wrapped up in one keg with maple syrup (!!) and it’s already been praised highly, too. If you’re a holiday-lover, it’s the perfect way to get into the spirit… and if you’re a holiday-hater, this sweet brew will take some of the edge off from all those uncomfortable family encounters and mobs of shoppers packing the city.

PHOTO: The Veil Brewing Co.

We’re getting excited for the new location of The Veil Brewing Co. as plans gear up for their 2020 opening. They released a few images of the building’s renderings, so there’s plenty of cause for celebration when this one is ready for the public.

In addition to plans for their new spot, The Veil dropped several new beers this week in an awesome Halloween theme.

Dull Fangs kicked off the spooky releases, an All Hallow’s Galaxy and Nelson IPA that The Veil made a bit softer with additions of grapefruit purée. This particularly special recipe is near and dear to its brewers, they say, as it was one of their very first beers in their 2016 grand opening mixed 4-pack. According to The Veil, it’s “something juicy to sink your teeth into while you’re out causing mischief this Halloween” — and if we’ve learned anything from Richmond’s questionable treatment of something as simple as electric scooters, causing mischief is in this city’s blood. That’s definitely fang-worthy.

CREEP followed up with an All Hallow’s Pumpkin Pie Double IPA (holy yum!) with even more pumpkin pies than last year. This brew came together with the harvest of the season along with “piles” of oats, and big hop flavors from Citra and Enigma additions. It’s got all the pumpkin and buttery crust flavors you could want, rounding out at a solid 8% ABV.

Never Never Dead Dead closed out last night’s releases, an All Hallow’s Gose that was brewed with double Sour Gummy Worms and double Sour Patch Kids. It’s a brand-new recipe of the beloved original sour, made for the first time with double the ingredients to make sure this Halloween brings the most sugary blessings you’ve ever had.

PHOTO: Stone Brewing Richmond

If you didn’t get enough Halloween excitement in over the weekend, never fear — there are plenty of holiday events still going throughout the week, like Halloween with Stone going down at Stone Brewing Richmond tomorrow night.

As Stone says, “The gargoyle will be in full effect this Halloween at Jacktown,” and their stoic mascot is the perfect one to kick off the best night of the year. They’ll be hosting a tap takeover with all of their best devilish brews, and the ghouls at Stone invite you to come in costume and celebrate along with them.

PHOTO: Center of the Universe

Local coffee meets local beer. Center of the Universe is releasing The Donny on Saturday, and this Southern English-style Brown Ale is combined perfectly with Lamplighter’s cold brew coffee — a reference to the coffee can where Donny’s ashes ended up at the end of The Big Lebowski (spoiler alert).

The smooth, velvety flavors with notes of caramelized sugars and strong coffee were created by COTU “to bring to mind carefree coffee dates with your closest nihilist buddies.” Who in Richmond doesn’t have a few of those? I think, in spirit, we’re probably all that nihilist buddy to someone. You’ll also taste caramel and toffee to add in more dessert, all coming together from Maris Otter, Crystal 120, Crystal 77, and Perle hops in addition to Flaked Barley and Flaked Oats.

PHOTO: Intermission Beer Company

In more Halloween events, head over to Intermission Beer Company tomorrow night for a spooky round of Tim Burton movie trivia. It’s likely to fill up, so make sure to get your tickets here today while you still can!

Intermission will have their Pumpkin Spiced All Hallows Ale and Jack O’ Lantern Hard Seltzer Floats on deck, and they’ll even have non-alcohol versions of the seltzer floats for your DD! This week, the DD is probably going to be me, because pre-Halloween weekend already did your girl in. Trivia starts at 7, and you’ll want to make sure you’ve registered for your trivia seat ticket before it starts and get there early to grab a table. Tim Burton movies are a binge-worthy Halloween favorite, so it’s the perfect time to bring your knowledge to the table (literally) and see what you’ve got!

PHOTO: Final Gravity Brewing Co.

Splashdown Double IPA is making its way back to the taps this Friday at Final Gravity Brewing Co., and this juicy 8% ABV New England-style brew is packed with flavor.

With grapefruit and citrus, Splashdown’s tastes were created with Citra and Apollo hops. It drinks smooth, according to the brewers, with “billowing waves of melon and lime.” In events, you’ll also want to catch up with Final Gravity this week for their taco party hosting the Taqueria Panchito food truck, and their Bluegrass Jam on Tuesday. The Bluegrass Jam even invites guests to bring their own acoustic instruments to join in on the jam — plus, you’ll get 20 percent off beer all night if you play with the group!

PHOTO: Väsen Brewing Company

On Sunday, Väsen Brewing Company released their Smoked Candy Cap Walrus, which is made for sitting out on fall nights.

From the sweet to the smokey, this brew was made with German Applewood and Cherrywood smoked malts, and has flavors of dried candy cap mushrooms to complement its earthy maple tastes. Coming up this Saturday, Väsen is hosting the Kathmandu Momo & Spice food truck to pair their beers with authentic Nepali and Indian food. They’ll be there throughout the afternoon and evening, so head over to their tasting room for the occasion.

That’s it for this week’s RVA On Tap! As your weekly columnist, I’m here to take all your beer releases, event info, ideas and questions. If you’re a brewer, send me your release info at [email protected], and if you’re a beer enthusiast, drop me a line anytime to talk booze. Catch y’all next week!

Caley Sturgill

Caley Sturgill

Caley Sturgill is the Director of Media at RVA Magazine. Email her at [email protected] for inquiries and RVA On Tap releases.

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