RVA ON TAP: Star Wars Brews & Apple Brandy Beer

by | Dec 11, 2019 | BEER & SPIRITS

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.

This week, the brewers of RVA have an array of great new releases, and we can’t wait to try Final Gravity’s “Dwarf Star” and Isley’s Star Wars-themed “Mos Eisley.” 

Don’t miss a triple release at Triple Crossing Beer, great new DIPAs with Canon & Draw and The Veil Brewing Co., Campers and Cans at Hardywood, and sours with Steam Bell Beer Works and Ardent Craft Ales — plus more with Stone Brewing Richmond, Black Heath Meadery, Fine Creek Brewing Company, and Three Notch’d RVA’s apple-brandy Hot Toddy “Leftover Dessert” ale.

PHOTO: Triple Crossing Beer

Jumping into new beer releases, Triple Crossing Beer has a few kegs ready to be tapped this Friday in Fulton.

They’re kicking off their triple release with the return of Nectar and Knife, a honey-themed (and honey-colored) brew that also stands as their first-ever Double IPA that was crafted with only Simcoe and Mosaic hops. The hop process between “Simcoe and her daughter” was also dry-hopped extensively, according to the brewery, and brings out the fruity flavors and the expected softness from a classic DIPA. You’ll catch flavors of bright grapefruit with a pulpy, zesty softness in this 8% ABV recipe. Triple Crossing has two more brews on the way, so stay tuned with them online for more information leading up to Friday’s highlights.

PHOTO: Canon & Draw Brewing Company

Another great release is coming up on Friday with Canon & Draw Brewing Company, featuring their Sole Accomplice Double IPA. I’ve got to say I’m pleased to start a beer column with two great DIPAs, especially during this time of year filled with all the holiday spices of December, as a lighter, refreshing break here and there.

Canon & Draw is bringing back Sole Accomplice in all its Mosaic glory, with more reliable DIPA softness paired with the tropical fruits of summertime. This one is packed with flavors like papaya, melon, and citrus in addition to smaller notes of pineapple and heady, herbal undertones, according to its brewers. It also hits in at 8% ABV, so if you’re having trouble deciding which release party to make it out to, I’d go with your gut and pick the specific fruit flavors that stand out to you. Sole Accomplice pours with a golden yellow flavor and a juice-like quality to compliment hints of sweetness.

PHOTO: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Coming up next Tuesday, the folks at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery are hosting their 2nd Annual Campers and Cans event to support FeedMore here in town. They’re teaming up with Wicked Weed Brewing, Heavy Seas Beer, and Trapezium Brewery… not only to help nonprofits, but also for a Gingerbread Camper Building Contest between breweries!

During the event, each participating brewery will get their team together to build “their masterpiece.” As an attendee, you’ll get your chance to participate in voting on which one is the best — so bring your creative brain and get ready to play judge. There’s an extra bonus if you join the canned food drive, as well. Bring canned goods (non-perishables, please!) for the opportunity to get an extra voting ticket per item, and let your vote carry more weight.

Hardywood is also hosting a large raffle for brewery prizes, and if you jump in for the canned food drive with your own donations, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a big prize. For the more creative folks, if you’re looking to do some crafting yourself, you can decorate stockings on site; make sure to get there early, because there’s a limited number available for attendees. 

All night long, drink happy knowing part of your beer sales will also go directly to FeedMore and their mission. The event starts promptly at 5pm, with building and judging following until about 7:15pm. The raffle contest will come in just before Gingerbread Build winners are chosen, with the victors crowned at 7:45, according to Hardywood. It’s time to get in the holiday spirit! 

PHOTO: Isley Brewing Company

It’s Star Wars time at Isley Brewing Company! If you’re a fan of the series, we’ve got the brew for you. And let’s be honest, who isn’t a fan nowadays?

Mos Eisley is the latest Brown Ale out of the Scott’s Addition brewery, and it comes out next Tuesday at Isley. It was inspired by the barren expanses of Tatooine, crafted specifically to “quench the thirsts of those who live in the shadows.” Its brewers certainly got creative with this one, and we’re here for it. Mos Eisley was made with English yeast and hops with darker malt flavors slipping forward, and as it caters to the Galaxy’s dark underbelly, its brewers had this to say:

“’A wretched hive of scum and villainy’ is how Obi-Wan Kenobi describes Mos Eisley. A spaceport on Tatooine, Mos Eisley is the gathering point for many of the galaxies’ dregs. The Mos Eisley Cantina serves frothy libations to all manner of crooks, bounty hunters, Sith, and Jedi alike. Money is the only thing that matters here…”

If you’re excited for the Star Wars-themed brew, you’re not alone. For all our space enthusiasts, come out for the release on Tuesday and bring your knowledge: they’ll have Star Wars trivia that evening at 7pm for a full themed evening.

PHOTO: Steam Bell Beer Works

This Friday brings another great release this week with the Steam Bell Beer Works introduction of Pale Nimbus. This New England IPA is not your average IPA, as it focuses on the sweetness of its hop flavors and brings in a sour element to work alongside it. With passionfruit, pineapple, and sour candies, Pale Nimbus is reminiscent of Sour Patch Kids with a more residual sweetness and sour punch along with its strong hops. Citra and Azacca came together to bring this one to life, and you can grab a glass of your own over the weekend at the Midlothian brewery. 

If you’re in the holiday spirit this week, Steam Bell is also hosting a Christmas Movie Night tonight (and every Wednesday this month until Christmas Day) with Elf as the feature this week. 

PHOTO: Ardent Craft Ales

Fresh at Ardent Craft Ales, the Winter American Sour Ale made its way to the taps this week in another sour beer release. At 7% ABV, Ardent’s American Sour is an easy drinker in the nice center of the alcohol content range, and it was created inside a variety of red and white wine barrels for strong cultured tastes. It’s a new variation of last year’s brew, with restrained acidity after its nine-month aging process to bring this funky farmhouse Saison together. You can catch a taste of it while they last, so if it sounds like it’s up your alley, we’d suggest heading over to the Scott’s Addition spot this week.

Ardent also has their Amarillo Pale Ale dropping tomorrow night, and the American Pale Ale was made with the classic floral hops to bring out strong flavors of its Amarillo additions. It comes in at a lower 5% ABV, and its brewers added an English yeast strain, oats, and wheat to its process for a soft body and mild bitterness. 

PHOTO: Fine Creek Brewing Company

Another new beer is out this week with Fine Creek Brewing Company’s Graff, a Belgian-style Cider/Ale hybrid that’s perfect for the cider lovers in your life. 

As much as I love the taste, my acid reflux does a great job at preventing me from ever fully enjoying a cider, but this one might just be perfect. Graff comes together with a base of Fine Creek’s Belgian ale from the Murphy & Rude Malting Co.’s Brasetto Rye, then combined with fresh apple cider from Rinker Orchard from Virginia’s Frederick County. At a medium 7% ABV, Graff is great either as a slow sipper or faster drinker, and it’s packed with ripe red apple, spicy yeast, and floral flavors with rye spice.

PHOTO: Final Gravity Brewing Co.

Over the weekend, the folks at Final Gravity Brewing Co. released their Dwarf Star into the wild. As their latest delicious space-themed brew, Dwarf Star has all the perks of a Double IPA without the sometimes-too-high alcohol content. This 4.5% ABV recipe is perfect for any day of the week, and with tons of fruit flavors and a nice full body, it’ll make you feel like you went big without having to worry about the hangover. Final Gravity used Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo hops to make this perfect hazy session IPA a reality, and I am dying for a taste of it over here. If you’re looking for a reason to head to Lakeside for a glass, join Final Gravity tonight for their weekly Wednesday Dart Night (and let me know how much you love it). I can’t wait to try this one! 

PHOTO: Three Notch’d RVA Collab House

New at Three Notch’d RVA Collab House this week, Leftover Dessert is ready for pours. This beer truly does sound like a dessert, as a Salted Caramel Amber Ale created as the next in their series with the University of Richmond beer brewing program. Not only does the program teach students the ins and outs of the modern brewing process with hands-on experience, it brings out beers like this one: a mouth-watering combination of flavors from Laird’s Applejack Apple Brandy Barrels to caramel to make the apple brandy Hot Toddy-inspired brew. Personally, I cannot *wait* to get a taste of this one, and along with Final Gravity’s Dwarf Star, I think I’ve got my top two for this week. 

Three Notch’d is hosting December First Tap Fridays all month long, so be sure to check them out and keep up with their new releases each week here in town. 

PHOTOS: Black Heath Meadery

We’re excited to hear of a new recipe over at Black Heath Meadery this week, and as an added bonus, it’s a collab brew. The team at Black Heath came together with Rowley’s Farmhouse Ales from Santa Fe, New Mexico and Virago Spirits from right here in the River City to make this one happen, and it’s full of some delicious Midwest flavors. John from Rowley’s and Barry from Virago did an awesome job with Black Heath’s brewers in making this 50 gallon mead batch with Arizona prickly pear. It was fermented in port rum barrels as well, and if you’re looking for a taste of Arizona in Richmond, swing by Black Heath in Scott’s Addition for a glass while they last. 

PHOTO: The Veil Brewing Co.

The Veil Brewing Co. hosted another multi-release last night, bringing back an old favorite and introducing two brand-new brews.

Crucial Taunt made its way back to the taps as a perfectly Citra-forward Double IPA, and loved among its drinkers during its first go-around. The 8% ABV DIPA is here for a limited time again, so go grab a can if you didn’t get to try it when it first came out. Lost Connection followed in a debut brewed with Citra, Idaho 7, and Galaxy hops to combine three of the best hop tastes around. It comes in at 6% ABV, and it’s available both in cans and on draft. Hide Your Heart was the final new feature of the evening, and this brand-new Double IPA is a Valentine’s dream in December. Another 8% ABV beer, Hide Your Heart was created with raw wheat and malted oats before its hop process with Citra and Sabro to finish off its flavor. It’s also available in both cans and drafts, and all three of their latest releases from last night can be found in both their Richmond and Norfolk locations starting today.

PHOTO: Stone Brewing Richmond

If you’re searching for some events this week, Stone Brewing Richmond has you covered. Head out to the Fulton brewery this Sunday from 1-5pm for their Modern Market RVA to get some holiday shopping done without having to make it to the mall. Stone is bringing together all vendors considered “modern,” which doesn’t necessarily have to mean goods that reflect 2019 — even the choices behind the business, be it environmentalism or otherwise, can make them contenders to participate. 

The Modern Market is the fourth in Stone’s annual series of holiday markets, and it’ll be full of makers, designers, and artists with purpose and intentional goods, according to Stone. If you’re a vendor interested in participating, head over to their application page here and come on out! 

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 caley@rvamag.com, 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 caley@rvamag.com for inquiries and RVA On Tap releases.




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