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, love is alive in America before Valentine’s Day, but it’s the best kind of love — the love between a dog and her human mom. MotorWorks Brewing reunites a long-lost pup with her owner, and more great news comes with Garden Grove Brewing and Urban Winery’s release of EarthTone in honor of Mike Brandt.
Don’t miss Chocolate Fest at Center of the Universe Brewing, the annual Can Jam at Triple Crossing Beer, two fresh releases at Strangeways, a Black Currant Sour Ale with Isley, multi-releases at The Veil, and Wanderlust 13 at Väsen Brewing Company. A bonus read comes at the end from The Peedmont this week, so read through for the best of Richmond’s local satire news.
Here’s some adorable news to start off the week: thanks to MotorWorks Brewing, a woman from Minnesota found her long-lost dog all the way down in Florida.
The Bradenton, FL brewery began printing adoptable pets on their beer cans to raise awareness for local shelters and promote adoptions in their area. After her adventure far, far away from home, the pup pictured above was named “Day-Day” by the shelter she eventually landed at. Miles away in Minnesota, her owner recognized her face on a MotorWorks can and contacted the shelter. It’s a delightfully-happy ending for both Hazel (her real name) and her owner, Monica Mathis. While the craft brewing world has always been full of dog lovers, this story was especially-wholesome — and big ups to the folks at MotorWorks for making such a great idea a reality at their brewery.
This release might just be the most important one we’ve had all year. Garden Grove Brewing & Urban Winery is putting out their brew in honor of Michael Brandt, their Co-Owner, Brewer, and Winemaker, who passed away suddenly last year. More than 20 local breweries came together to create the EarthTone beer in his memory, and you can head out to support them at its release event on Monday.
EarthTone is an homage to Mike’s love for the earthy, natural colors of the world, and for balanced, complex malts in his beer. The 5.4% ABV recipe is a “straight-forward, unapologetic, bock-inspired Festbier” that came together at Hardywood West Creek with Garden Grove, along with 20 other local breweries: Hardywood, The Answer, Ardent, Bingo, Castleburg, Center of the Universe, Final Gravity, Fine Creek, Intermission, Isley, Legend, Lickinghole Creek, Midnight, Molly’s Bicycle Shop and Blind Dog Brewery, Steam Bell and Canon & Draw, Stone, Strangeways, Trapezium, Triple Crossing, and The Veil.
Proceeds from the beer go back to a college fund for Mike’s son, Miles, and to the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. For everyone wanting to support the Garden Grove family after such a heavy loss, this is a great way to do it — so we’ll see you on Monday for its release. Another special note for this one is that the artwork on its cans was done by one of our favorite longtime Richmond artists, Nils Westergard, who is behind many of the beautiful murals that paint the walls of our city.
Center of the Universe Brewing Co. is celebrating Valentine’s Day early this year with their 2nd Annual Chocolate Fest on Saturday. As Center of the Universe says, don’t wait too long to go shopping for your sweetheart — or better yet, celebrate the whole holiday early and beat the crowds with Richmond’s finest chocolates, handcrafted jewelry, artisan gifts, and live music.
The Chocolate Fest comes along with the release of The Box of Chocolates Stout, a fan favorite every year that’s dropping during the party with five different variants. There’ll be a taste to please everyone that day, so swing by and check out vendors like Pencraft & Post, Taylor Made Chocolate, Custom Candyy, Ko Designs, Bright Body, Donna’s Baking Creations, TM Designs Custom Gifts, Godiva Chocolatier, and food from the Freekin’ Rican food truck.
One of our favorite annual festivals at Triple Crossing Beer is back this Saturday, and it’s packed with tons of breweries we can’t wait to try.
The Can Jam returns at the Fulton location this weekend, bringing together “the best and brightest” from all around the country. Participating breweries will be featuring cans of their favorite recipes, and it’s a great time to get a taste of something new.
They’ll have breweries like 3 Sons Brewing Co., Alvarado Street Brewery, Brewery Bhavana, Burial Beer Co., Casita, Cellarmaker House of Pizza, Charles Towne Fermentory, Creature Comforts, Dancing Gnome Beer, Deciduous Brewing Company, Equilibrium Brewing Company, Foam Brewers, Great Notion Brewing, Grimm Artisanal Ales, HopFly Brewing Company, KCBC, Other Half Brewing Company, Resident Culture Brewing Company, Short Throw Brewing Co., and WeldWerks Brewing Company. The list is full of great visiting spots, old and new, and we’re stoked to revisit some of our favorites from past years and other festivals.
Two new brews hit the taps this week at Strangeways Brewing, and we’re especially-excited for the first: a Lemon Drop-inspired IPA.
Lemondrop New England IPA pours as a golden, hazy IPA at 6.6% ABV. This one has an IBU in the middle of the bitterness range at 45, and this double dry-hopped recipe comes with fruity notes, sweet citrus, and candied lemon peel from Lemondrop hops with a moderate sweetness.
Next up is Strangeways’ Turbogenerator Doppelbock, a higher-alcohol 8.5% ABV Lager that brings out its malt bomb with tastes like fresh-baked bread and toffee. At 18 IBU, it’s significantly lower in bitterness than its co-release recipe, and it came together with six different malts for a complex flavor.
Back by popular demand, a fan favorite has returned to Isley Brewing Company with their Black Currant Sour Ale that released over the weekend.
This has got to be my favorite of the beers coming this week. Even for someone like myself who leans more toward the earthy and sweet tastes in craft brewing, the black currant flavors of this Sour Ale sound irresistible. At 5.4% ABV, this golden soured ale pulls together dark berries, sweet fruits, and mild floral notes that come from its “heaps of fresh black currant” puree. It’s packed with earthy flavors that only hit 14.5 on the IBU scale, and its clean, tart finish rounds it all out.
The latest in the Wanderlust series is here at Väsen Brewing Company, and this lucky number 13 brings something new to the table.
Wanderlust 13 is a crisp Saison, and the floral brew is a fruity one that you can “drink all day long.” The recipe in this one is just begging for springtime to get here, and on these occasional warm February days (again… thanks, but no thanks, global warming), there’s nothing like a fresh Saison to enjoy the tastes of a new season. It was brewed with flavors like honey and wildflowers from the local Rostov’s Coffee & Tea Jasmine Tea, plus dried chrysanthemum petals from Fairfax’s High Side craft beer bar and hangout.
The Veil Brewing Co. kicked things off last night again with another Tuesday release, this time featuring five beers coming out in bottles and cans.
AMUN RA (pictured above) is first on our list, and this collaboration with Omnipollo comes to us after more than three years in its brewing process. The dense Imperial Stout was double barrel-aged, with two variations in its aging process for different outcomes of flavors.
First is the Bourbon/Maple AMUN RA, which started with 18 months in bourbon barrels before moving to maple bourbon barrels for another 18 months. It was conditioned on toasted and fresh coconut for a “rich chocolate coconut pie” taste, and comes in at 13% ABV.
The next variation is their Bourbon/Apple Brandy AMUN RA, which, like its predecessor, started in 18 months of bourbon barrels before its flavored aging process. This one spent the next year and a half in Apple Brandy barrels, and came out with french toast, vanilla bean maple syrup, and fresh-ground cinnamon flavors at 13% ABV.
Space Toof comes as a collaboration with Other Half Brewing out of New York City, and it’s a brand-new recipe to add to The Veil’s extensive list. This Double IPA brings out flavors like pineapple, geranium, and bonus tropical fruits at a middle-range 8% ABV for DIPAs. Its brewers report that it’s super soft going down the hatch, and it tastes like an “amped-up Toof Ache with the Other Half treatment.”
Caskets is another brand new beer from The Veil this week. Like Space Toof, it’s an 8% ABV Double IPA — but unlike that recipe, this one has fruits like orange pith and papaya, along with freshly-opened hops to burst out new flavors. It was brewed with raw wheat, oats, Idaho7, and Citra for a great combination in a classic DIPA brew.
Stay Hydrate comes in at a lower 6% ABV, so this easy-drinking beer is perfect for the forthcoming warm weather in the River City a few short weeks away. With Citra, Galaxy, Wakatu, and Motueka hops, Stay Hydrate is “soft and juicy” and packed with tastes like tropical must, orange blossom, and honey.
Window closes out our releases from The Veil this week — and while it’s last today, it’s definitely not least. This beautiful black-pouring porter was just introduced at the brewery, made perfect for the last cold days of winter as we roll into the final chills of the season this February. At 6% ABV like Stay Hydrate, this recipe is the polar opposite, with darker notes like cocoa, hazelnut, and tobacco. Tobacco is a rare find for craft beer flavors, and if it tastes anything like it smells in earthy candle scents, we’re all here for it. It was made with a complex malt bill, according to The Veil, and while it’s heavy on taste, it’s nice and drinkable in character.
In an extra-fun one to close out the week, The Peedmont — Richmond’s resident satire news publication — highlighted The Veil in one of their latest pieces. “Sheetz and The Veil Brewing Team up to Make Regular Unleaded IPA” brings us some hilarious (and cringeworthy) mental images this week, and their writing was too good not to share:
“Hoping to capture the suburban dad market, The Veil Brewing Co. and Sheetz, Inc. have announced a joint partnership to develop Regular Unleaded IPA,” The Peedmont reported. “… the company was looking for a beer with a ‘little more nuts to it’ for the type of discerning man who changes his own oil and orders buffalo wings from a gas station.”
And it gets even better, folks. In our favorite section of all, The Peedmont writes:
“‘The market for hipster beers is pretty well saturated right now,’ said Jacques Freeman, chief creative brewmaster at The Veil. ‘We thought we’d try to make something for the anti-hipster.’
“The beer is rumored to be a heady mixture of roasted hops, hot dog water, and the sweet, sweet smell of 87 octane on a hot summer day. Tripleton said he hopes it will corner the market of middle-aged men who like a pair of pristine white New Balance shoes and Columbia fishing shirts who need a beer to connect with their stepsons. They are really aiming for the niche market that is currently dominated by Coors Light.”
Cheers to all the Coors Light drinkers out there. I know this type of dad personally, as it’s like pulling teeth to get my own dad to drink anything outside of Miller (and he’s seriously missing out on better brews, but he doesn’t care). While our readers may have a more-refined taste than your typical New Balance dad, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t all break out a Coors Light now and then — and we won’t ever judge you for it here at RVA Magazine.
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!