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 tastes of Thanksgiving are coming to the River City with Lickinghole Creek’s Carrot Cake beer, Three Notch’d RVA Collab House’s Apple Crumb Ale, and Hardywood’s Apple Brandy GBS. Don’t miss the Stony Point Beer Festival with all your favorite local brewers, plus new releases at The Answer Brewpub, Canon and Draw, Vasen, Triple Crossing Beer, and Ardent Craft Ales’s Dark Rye for these chilly nights.
We know Thanksgiving is upon us when carrot cake hits the table. After years and years growing up with my mom’s famous carrot cake recipe, there’s nothing like these classic fall spices to make the season’s best baked goods. We’re a family of dessert-lovers, and I encourage you to be, too. Pro tip: bake yours in cupcake pans instead of a full cake pan for maximum icing-indulging.
This week, my childhood dreams met my grown-up dreams, because the perfection of carrot cake is here in a beer. Thank you, Lickinghole Creek, for making this a reality: Rum Barrel Aged Carrot Cake Imperial Amber Ale is ready for your glass at the farm, and it’s full of all the cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, clove, and vanilla that bring out these dessert tastes in a big way.
The Amber Ale was brewed with hundreds of pounds of freshly-grated carrots, according to Lickinghole Creek, and aged in Nicaraguan Rum Barrels. With five specialty malts, fresh rum flavor, American-grown hops, and the brewery’s house American Ale Yeast, the 11% ABV beer is Thanksgiving in a glass.
If you weren’t ready for the holidays yet, you certainly will be now.
This Saturday, the Stony Point Beer Festival returns to town with tons of brewers from Richmond and beyond. Not only will attendees get to get unlimited samples of beer from more than 15 different breweries, they’ll get to try ciders, wines, and other distilled alcohol recipes.
Participating breweries include: Steam Bell Beer Works (Tiramisu Stout and Extra Plenty Hibiscus Cucumber), Legend Brewing Company (Brown Ale and Winter White), Castleburg Brewery and Taproom (Valiant Knight IPA and Dark Ages Imperial Maple Brown), Starr Hill Brewery Mariah Passion Fruit Gose and Little Red Roostarr Coffee Cream Stout), Kindred Spirit Brewing (Headspace IPA and Paradise Lager), Ardent Craft Ales (Helles Lager and IPA-X), Canon and Draw Brewing Company (HOP Pale Ale and Fruit n’ Cream IPA), Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery (9-Mile and Uptown), Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (Gingerbread Stout and Great Return IPA), Midnight Brewery (New Beginning and Rockville Red), Truly Hard Seltzer, Big Pippin Cider (White Cranberry and IPA), Bold Rock Hard Cider (White Cranberry and IPA), Vintner’s Cellar Winery and Restaurant of Yorktown, Chesapeake Bay Distillery, and KO Distilling.
With all those options, I’d say it’s a pretty safe guess that you’ll find more than one brew to love. My favorites on that list: Hardywood’s GBS, always, and Canon and Draw’s Fruit n’ Cream IPA. It’s hard to go wrong with Gingerbread Stout, one that the stoutest naysayers have found a place in their hearts for — but even if you’re not a drinker, there’s plenty at this festival for you. River City Sports and Social Club is heading out to keep the fun rolling all day, with Giant Beer Pong, Fowling, Cornhole, and more, plus live music through the event from Jack Ryan Sullivan.
Another note: if you’re planning on attending, I’d buy your tickets early. They’ll go up $10 the day of the event, so hustle, y’all.
Just when you thought Hardywood’s GBS couldn’t get any better, it did. I’m not sure how every new variation of this stout sounds more delicious than the last, but Hardywood’s always got something up their sleeves to keep us anticipating the next great brew.
Apple Brandy MEGA GBS is debuting this Saturday, and you can grab a taste of your own anytime during the day at the brewery. In true stout fashion, GBS keeps the alcohol levels high — and Apple Brandy hits in at 13.5% ABV to ensure that its drinkers will be satisfied after the first glass. The Double Imperial Milk Stout was aged for more than a year, with its barrels first starting the process 13 months ago. Of all the great GBS variations we got to try last holiday season, we still have yet to get our hands on this one.
Fresh at The Answer Brewpub last week, Button Masher DIPA came to us in cans… and this double-dry-hopped El Dorado, Citra, and Simcoe brew is one you won’t want to miss.
The Answer is famous for their beers, from sours to fruit beers, IPAs, stouts and more, but this Double IPA is one I’m extra-excited for. The Button Masher DIPA cans were released on Election Day, and whether you saw the results you wanted or not, it’s a great way to settle into November (and celebrate if your candidate won their race).
Sunlight is becoming limited this time of year; the weather’s bringing us more and more dark hours of the day — and if you’re anything like me, that means you’re waking up even earlier now that daylight savings time has passed. That darkness doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, though, and it’s definitely not at Ardent Craft Ales: they’re celebrating the beginning of winter with their Dark Rye American Imperial Stout.
Stout season is the best time of the year in my humble opinion, bringing longer nights, chilly air, and signaling tons of good holiday food in our future. It’s perfectly-celebrated with Dark Rye, which brings out a rye spiciness and roasted notes into its long-lasting tan head, according to its brewers. This stout is full-bodied, dry, and chocolatey, and it’ll be open for tasting starting tomorrow night at Ardent. The 9.8% ABV stout is at a solid medium on alcohol content as far as these variations go, so if you’re really wanting a heavy drinker after the rainy weather set the mood yesterday, you’ll probably be able to swing a few of them in one evening.
Coming up this Friday at Canon and Draw Brewing Company, another great release is on its way. Canon and Draw has been on a great kick of dropping brand-new brews just about every week this season, and we’re here for it.
Next up on the list is their Hop Pale Ale, this time brewed with Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc hops. Norwegian Kviek yeast is the special ingredient in this variation of the rotating Pale Ale series, and with its hot fermentation process, it yields fruity flavors that open the doors for their various hop combinations to shine.
Väsen Brewing Company noted the rise of New England IPAs this week, and they’re not wrong — while they seem to be slipping into the taps at every local brewery, you can rest assured that this beer columnist has no complaints about it. The fruity, smooth flavors of an NEIPA (and especially the Double IPAs) just has something unlike any other beer. But the popularity of NEIPAs also brought the slowing-down of the West Coast’s strong and hop-forward tastes of the earlier craft beer days.
Väsen’s taking us back, and we’re stoked about it. This Saturday, Windhook debuts at the Scott’s Addition spot in all its spicy and floral glory. According to its brewers, this classic American trio brings together Centennial, Chinook, and Amarillo hops to honor the brews “that built the craft beer industry.” You’ll find pine notes in this one, along with lemon and orange to complement the more bitter tastes of the classic IPA at their brew release this weekend.
Väsen also released Hane this week, in a collaboration with Benchtop Brewing Company. Hane came together as the product of two farmhouse ales, which were combined with the house mixed Brett culture of Benchtop before bottling after their white wine barrel aging. It’s been described as funky by Vasen, with dried fig, fruity, and earthy flavors, available now at the brewery.
Thirsty Thursdays are alive at Three Notch’d RVA Collab House. The latest edition is their Apple Crumb Amber Ale, which is an extremely close second on the dessert-love scale to our introductory carrot cake beer. This recipe came together with cinnamon, vanilla, and Virginia-grown apples to bring us all the best fall flavors in a special local way.
Also over at Three Notch’d, make sure to give Thackery’s ESB a taste. Its brewers say this one is the perfect combination for early-afternoon Premier League games, so if you’re a soccer fan stuck in a sea of American football enthusiasts, it should be a refreshing companion to your games. This beer was made as an adaptation of the English Extra Special Bitters, and it’s an in-house favorite of the Three Notch’d Head Brewer Willey Broaddus, according to the brewery team.
Who remembers Clever Girl?! I definitely do, because this beer shares a name with an old Richmond band that one of my lifelong best friends fronted during his time in the River City. The long-loved brew is returning to Triple Crossing Beer this Friday at their Fulton spot, and it’s a great reason to make a drive out. If you haven’t ever visited Triple Crossing — and like many folks I’ve known in the area, don’t like to venture too far from the city center — you’re missing out. Triple Crossing not only brews some of the best damned beer in the Richmond region, they’ve got a beautiful location in the East End that makes for a nice drive and a beautiful afternoon (especially with the crisp air and changing leaves of these late fall days).
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!