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, we’re gearing up for Thanksgiving and diving into events and beer releases from today through the holiday (so get your beer plans early, and make sure a few of these special brews make it on your calendar!) — plus plenty of celebrations and new beers all around town.
In our Booze News Holiday Edition, The Answer Brewpub kicks off Black Friday with re-releases of old favorites, plus Dark Daze beer releases with The Veil Brewing Co. and Center of the Universe’s SHUT UP beer for your holiday family woes. Hardywood drops their spicy-GBS Christmas Morning next week, and Steam Bell Beer Works has a Raspberry Tiramisu Stout up their sleeves. Don’t miss Rudolph The Red Ale Reinbeer from Isley Brewing Company, Thanksgiving Eve at Canon & Draw, Triple Crossing Beer’s Christmas market, and more with Stone Brewing Richmond, Lickinghole Creek, Final Gravity, and Three Notch’d RVA Collab House.
Kicking off our holiday events is the upcoming Black Friday at The Answer Brewpub. I don’t know about you, but Black Friday in my household is a time of avoiding the outdoors, staying in with the people I love, and waiting for Cyber Monday. But this year is different, because The Answer gave us something to have the best of both worlds.
Head over to the brewery next Friday (Nov 29) to kick it with your Answer family, enjoying all the excitement of Black Friday without all the stress. The Answer will have celebratory releases throughout the day, like bringing back some of their favorite stout recipes from their library and hosting two new glass releases. You’ll be able to grab the glass in the photo above, along with another special glass and a special beer release that you’ll find at the event.
Some of our favorite recipes will be back out for the event, with taps from The Answer like Bill Better Have My Money, Diablo Forever, At The Beginning Of The Day, Shrinkage, Jinxy Cat, and Fam Gotta Eat. See you there!
On the eve of Thanksgiving, something most delicious is returning to Steam Bell Beer Works: a Raspberry Tiramisu Stout. As far as raspberries and Thanksgiving go, I will never not associate this holiday with the fruit, thanks to years of my beautiful mother making her raspberry crumble each November.
The darker-tasting fruit is perfect for this time of year, with tangy, bold flavors that complement all the tastes of Thanksgiving. After all my dessert ramblings, if you think my dessert-crazed family should consult our dentists about our sweet tooth issues, you’re probably right. But if you want all the goodness of those treats without all the sugar, this brew is for you: Raspberry Tiramisu Stout brings the best of the chocolatey, raspberry-packed flavors together with beer. Grab your glass at the brewery on Thanksgiving Eve (Nov 27) and don’t miss music from the Pat Russell Band and eats with the Firesides Food Truck.
This week at Hardywood (Nov 23), the brewery is “recreating the best morning of the year” with Christmas Morning, a variation of their Gingerbread Stout with locally-roasted Mexican Chiapas Coffee. This brew, along with its many siblings, has been awarded time and time again for its exceptional tastes and named one of the Top 25 Milk Stouts in the world (BeerAdvocate).
All that’s to say: you need a taste of this beer. Christmas Morning is probably my favorite recipe along with Christmas Pancakes, and both of them bring out the best for sweet and spicy lovers. The same day, they’re hosting their GBS Fest (Nov 23) with all-things holiday and tastes from all their variations (tickets are here for the beer tasting panel). They’ll also have Christmas events like holiday carolers, Santa pictures, Santa’s Village activities (with gingerbread house decorating!) and many more — so if you’ve been looking for a place to get your holiday on while avoiding the mall, Hardywood’s got you covered.
Also coming up at Hardywood, Saturday (Nov 30) is the release of Kentucky Christmas Morning, a Mexican Chiapas Coffee-spiced GBS brew with an extra kick from Kentucky’s own Heaven Hills bourbon barrels (and it hits in at 11.5% ABV).
We’ve been waiting all year for it, and it’s finally here! Starr Hill has finally set an opening date (Dec 7) for their Scott’s Addition Rooftop location.
It’s still a ways away, but soon enough that you can start planning to include it on your calendar. December 7 is the official opening day, and for the occasion, they’ll have plenty of their best brews along with music from the NO BS! Brass Band, Erin Lunsford, The Northerners Duo, and Addison Liming Music. You’ll also get to catch great food from Taqueria Panchito (a bigtime local favorite this year) and Curry in a Hurry.
Jumping back to Black Friday, Center of the Universe Brewing has a beer release and party you won’t want to miss. The Shut Up Imperial Stout, aged in bourbon barrels, debuts on November 29 to put all those Thanksgiving family arguments to rest.
“It’s that time of year again,” Center of the Universe says. “The family is in town… Awkward conversations… Random tiffs… and lots, and lots of noise. Time to take a minute for yourself, and take down a tall glass of SHUT UP!”
If it ain’t true. As much as we all enjoy seeing our loved ones each holiday season, *good lord* it can be stressful. Nothing like a little reunion in your hometown to remind you why you moved away, right? But fortunately for me, the good usually outweighs the bad. Whether you enjoy spending time with your relatives or you want to whip out the roll of duct tape when they start preaching about Trump, the 11.5% ABV content of this brew is probably enough to ease your mind. Godspeed, y’all.
Rudolph The Red Ale Reinbeer is heading to Isley Brewing Company this Saturday (Nov 23) in all its Christmas-themed glory.
The 5% ABV brew is nice and low, so it’s drinkable throughout the day (what else are holidays for?) and it’s packed with some great flavors. The cranberry-cinnamon Irish Red Ale brings the traditional Red Ale in, then balances it perfectly with warm cinnamon, fresh cranberry puree, and winter spices along with caramel. It sits right in the middle between sweet and hoppy, and with its deep, red copper color, it’s “the perfect treat for your winter woes!” according to Isley.
You’ll be able to grab this beer on draft at Isley this month, but if you want to take a pack home with you for the family gatherings, they’ve got to-go bottles available as well.
The Veil Brewing Co. has a long-awaited special event coming back for the holiday week. Dark Daze hits The Veil on (Nov 29) with more than 15 beer releases to get you through the holiday without getting stuck in any of the crowds.
First up on my list is Rye Whangdoodle (pictured above), an Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout that was aged in Buffalo Trace Rye Barrels for more than a year. Along with plenty of others, you’ll catch Rye Whangdoodle at the event in all its toffee, root beer float, chocolate-covered waffles, and sundae chocolate syrup glory… and you’ll probably only need one, because this guy hits in at 11.5% ABV. Around the holidays, it’s a good problem to have when you only need one craft beer — we’re all going easy on our wallets this month, anyway.
Other delicious brews releasing this Dark Daze include Bourbon Misery Wizard (an 18th Street Brewery Imperial Porter collab), Apple Brandy Stout (with vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon in Laird’s Apple Brandy Barrels), Ded Mon³ (the Citra triple-dry hopped 11% ABV Triple IPA), Bourbon Sleeping Forever (the 13% ABV Anniversary Imperial Stout), Bourbon White Russian Horns (a coffee and vanilla Bourbon Chocolate Milk Stout), Maple Apple Brandy Whangdoodle (the Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout with two rounds of Michigan maple syrup), and plenty more to fill all your holiday taste desires.
It’s Thanksgiving Eve at Canon & Draw Brewing Company! These guys have been consistently releasing some of the most delicious-sounding beers each week the past few months, and I’m more than impressed with them. In that spirit, I know their Thanksgiving bash will be one worth attending.
The event is going down next Wednesday (Nov 27) and they’ll have one of my personal local favorites out for music: Justin Golden. If you haven’t listened to his stuff, I can tell you that it’s extra-good in person. He played the first-ever River City Revue a few weeks back, and I saw him again opening for Tim Barry over last weekend (always a great time). Along with great tunes, Canon & Draw will be bringing back their original-recipe Milk Stout from their Just A Small Piece series, the Sweet Potato Pie recipe.
Out at Stone Brewing Richmond, Enjoy By 01.01.20 Unfiltered IPA is debuting this Friday (Nov 22) to pack in all the end-of-year tastes you’ll need this season with the most extreme freshness.
Unlike most beers, Stone’s Enjoy By series are unfiltered, meaning they have to be opened by a certain date to boost their freshness and bursting hop flavors. I’ve tried a similar brew at The Answer before, and it came with a warning from the waitstaff not to let it get too shaken up or too hot in my car on the way home (if that doesn’t say fresh, I don’t know what is).
Stone’s brew comes to us as a “golden beauty,” according to its brewers, with the intense Double IPA coming from more than 10 different hops. They’ve got the ultimate level of freshness nailed down, and this beer is packed with peach and tropical fruit flavors to make one of the best brews of the season… just make sure you drink it before it ends.
Winter is Coming: and that means awesome holiday festivities out at the farm at Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery. If you’re in the market for seeing Santa without going to the mall, this might just be perfect for you. The event is happening next Saturday (Nov 30), with Christmas tree vendors and awesome stout beers to keep you warm all winter.
Before you get in the Christmas spirit too much, though, don’t forget Brews-Giving. Lickinghole Creek is hosting it this Saturday (Nov 23), as a day to give thanks — especially to local first responders and charities. They’ll have plenty of good eats, plus a toy and clothing drive to help local organizations.
In the spirit of Christmas, if I could have anything I asked for, I think Final Gravity Brewing Co.’s ‘69 Plymouth Superbird could definitely make the list [even though the Superbird didn’t actually come out til 1970 -car nerd ed]. But for those of us who have antique muscle car dreams on a 2001 Ford budget, the brewery’s beer commemorating this vintage beauty will certainly do.
‘69 Superbird debuts at Final Gravity this Friday (Nov 22), and it came together with Azacca, El Dorado, and Citra hops to make the 8% ABV brew. You’ll taste tropical flavors with citrus and stone fruit in this one, and this hazy Double IPA is right up my alley with all the flavor of the hops, higher alcohol content, and minimal bitterness.
It’s (unfortunately) time to start shopping for the holiday season, which means busy malls and long lines for many of us. I’m hard-avoiding all that, as I do every year, but for those of you who can’t — here’s an idea you might like.
Get your shopping in with a beer at Triple Crossing next Saturday (Nov 30), and visit their Fulton Christmas Market. They’ll have tons of great local vendors out for the occasion, and everyone will be set up in a one-stop shop fashion in Triple Crossing’s indoor event space. They’ll be announcing their full list of vendors soon, so make sure to check back at their event page in a week or so and see who’s going to be in attendance.
Thanksgiving season also means football season, and Three Notch’d RVA Collab House is here for it! For all of the football fans out there, we know that the beer budget this time of year often grows exponentially for all those Sunday get-togethers among friends. If you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy a good beer and ditch the Miller Lite during the game without breaking the bank, head over to Three Notch’d for discounted brews. They’ve got deals running on all their drafts to celebrate America’s favorite sport, so drink happy (and we hope your team wins).
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!