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 with news this week with beer releases and festivals, events, and other cool happenings around town — so hold on to your mugs!
Hope you’re not too beer-ed out from NYE, because we’ve got a lot of great new brews coming out this week and plenty of fresh recipes to bid the holidays adieu and start rolling towards spring.
Cheers to 2019! Fine Creek Brewing Company toasted the new year with their very own champagne of beers, Brut IPA. It’s extra carbonated to give that authentic champagne feel, and with its Lemondrop and Hallertau Blanc hops, it’s nice and fruity. With low bitterness and dry hops, this beer stays very crisp and dry according to its brewers, and has a sharp white wine flavor — perfect for the first moments of our next trip around the sun.
Congrats to Black Heath Meadery on finalizing their new production facility! The meadery is spreading its wings with the new space to bring their meads to new areas of Virginia, and expand their footprint here in town. As Central Virginia’s first and only meadery, Black Heath has always brought something special to the table in a crowded beer scene around Richmond, so I’m extra excited to see them do so well. The new beehive will grow the Scott’s Addition tasting room, and its fundraiser also helps them set up new beehives around Virginia. If you’re a big fan of meads, head over and donate. I hear they have a few perks up their sleeves, too!
Over the weekend, Triple Crossing dropped a surprise. 500 is their “cleverly-named 500th mash,” and it’s their first try at putting their purpose-built imperial stout into bourbon barrels. Through experimentation and evaluation, they came about two variants — one vanilla, one coconut — from the bourbon-aged brews, then blended each of those unique flavors with a brand-new, clean imperial stout. The candied, burnt vanilla bean flavor of 500 With Vanilla is laced with brown sugar ice cream, which gives off dark and cacao-like malt flavors. 500 With Coconut, on the other hand, comes across more as a dark chocolate-like devil’s food cake, with an unsweetened coconut, raw sugary bourbon finish. Both of these beers are complex (and look beautiful, to be honest), and the brewers put a lot of calculated effort into making them just right.
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery is stoked on their redneck name: With the release of Redneck High Society, they’re wearing it proudly. This Belgian-style Quad is French Cognac barrel-aged, and these barrels add a grape tannin flavor to the mix. Proceed with caution, Lickinghole Creek says, and “You’re welcome, RVA.”
The Answer Brewpub gained a brand-new beer this weekend, as well. Slice of Beer is “something crushable after all of those glasses of pizza” — and thankfully, there’s no pepperoni to be found. If you’re looking for a nice flow down the hatch, Slice of Beer is your go-to Mexican-style lager, unfiltered and crisp to drink nice and easy.
The Veil Brewing Co. whipped up something special for the new year, too. Yesterday, the Scott’s Addition sweethearts brought back Dirt Nap³, a triple dry-hopped DIPA packed with Mosaic, Citra, Nelson, and Galaxy hops. This 8.8% ABV was probably a fantastic hair-of-the-dog for its January 1st drinkers, and the new version of this classic Veil brew seems as rich as its predecessor. The OG Dirt Nap is praised for having an “insane” aroma and flavor profile, and as the brewery’s second go at DIPA’s (after Crucial Taunt), it’s got an original feel. I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.
Every week, Three Notch’d Brewing Company hosts Tap That Thursday, and everyone in the taproom gets a free taste of the newest recipe on deck. This week’s release was a special one, with Fantom of the Hopera, an Imperial Red IPA. I had the pleasure last week of joining Three Notch’d at their location in Roanoke for the occasion, and although they took over a beloved spot of my parents’ since I was a kid, I was pleasantly surprised by how well I dig having Three Notch’d in the location. In Charlottesville, Fantom of the Hopera was released last Thursday after our RVA On Tap post-Christmas, with Three Notch’d Brewmaster Dave Warwick and their special guest, David Hunter (founder of Fans of Virginia Craft Breweries). It’s available at their RVA Collab House, so give it a taste while it’s still out there.
Coming up this Friday, a smoooooooth and hazy DIPA is heading back towards Final Gravity. Vapour Trail is filled with grapefruit, floral, and tropcial flavors, brewed with Falconer’s Flight and Citra hops. It first showed up earlier this spring, and like its first release, it’ll only be here for a limited time. Vapour Trail will “soon fade away, like voices in a hurricane” its brewers say, so grab a crowler while it’s around.
Two new brews popped up over the weekend at Strangeways. Bohemian Grove and Geomancy are both fresh to the taproom — Bohemian Grove is their new Lactose New England IPA, which marries a citrusy, dank hop profile to a lightly-sweet, full body. With notes of tropical fruit, black currant, pie, and gooseberry, this recipe is named appropriately. Geomancy is Strangeways’ new boysenberry table beer, a “refreshing and fruity Belgian style, brewed with Virginia-grown barley.” Strangeways has a wonderful tradition of brewing with Virginia-grown resources, and these hail from Epiphany Craft Malt and Murphy & Rude Malting Co.
Fizz the season from Center of the Universe! Bottle Poppin’ Brut IPA is here, and this ultra-dry, champagne-like beer has a light body full of lingering vinous fruit and minerality — but still full of hops. They made it with Simcoe and Mosaic hops, and get ready to pop bottles, they say. This one’s a celebration.
Midnight Granite is back at Midnight Brewery, and this rich oatmeal stout sounds like a dream. It’s a medium-bodied brew, and it comes alongside 623, Midnight’s mix of half-stout, half-Not My Job Brown Ale. With subtle roast and smooth chocolate notes, Midnight Granite will carry you through the coldest weeks coming up. Even though 623 isn’t listed on the board, its brewers say it should be easy to remember…..it’s the route number you’ll take to get there.
For the love of beer, Castleburg Brewery is bringing back a favorite. For the Love & Intrigue returns this Friday, and the cranberry and star-anise Saison will make you fall in love, they say. The 6.8% ABV recipe is also gluten-reduced, so if you’re trying to purge a few inches this month like everyone else, now’s your time to shine: For the Love & Intrigue should fit great in your diet.
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!