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’ve got some great returns of old favorites, plus a brand-new festival: the Scott’s Addition Big Release. All the brewers in Richmond’s booziest neighborhood are coming together for the first annual collaboration release, so if you’re looking for some new flavors in your life, the beer family of Richmond has you covered.
Summer is slowly coming to an end (thank god for me, and maybe a bummer for some of you), and our pals at Hardywood are dropping one of their early-spring favorites in cans this Friday to bring the season of fruity beers full-circle. The Original Five Flavors came out at Hardywood back in May alongside Dreamlike — which sounded like an actual dream, and incredibly tasty — and it’s making its second debut in cans. Dreamlike made its debut again back on August 2, along with Kiwi Lime Berliner Weisse.
The Original Five Flavors is a candy lover’s delight. This one was made to match the early days of Lifesavers candy, and comes in the classic flavors of cherry, orange, lemon, lime, and pineapple. Dreamlike, on the other hand, is a pillowy-soft DIPA, with nice, fresh hops released with Kiwi Lime Berliner’s hot-day flavors.
“What’s that in the clouds over there?” says Hardywood, “A Dog? A Bunny?” Nah, booze. There’s no rush to wake up from this dream.
Also returning this Friday is Final Gravity Brewing Co.’s Absolute Magnitude Double IPA. This one was brewed with 100 percent Citra hops to really bring out the fresh hop flavor, and focus in on a widely-loved favorite in the brewing process. Citra brings out orange zest, grapefruit, and lemon tastes that bring this Double IPA up to 8% ABV — and according to the brewers, it “radiates” with its astronomical sum of citrus, magically brewed with a velvety finish.
I’m a big fan of a soft finish to an IPA, and the trend of these fruity IPAs with soft finishes is delicious. Final Gravity never disappoints, so this is definitely one on my list to try for the week!
Are you looking for a party where you can brewery hop around the neighborhood and try something brand-new at every single one? Yeah, these don’t come around too often. That’s why you’re going to want to head out to Scott’s Addition this Saturday for The Big Release, a massive collab between the booziest area in town with breweries all cooking up fresh recipes for a full day of new brews.
A few of the new releases I’m most excited about on this list start with Blue Bee Cider’s Hot Honey Gold Rush cider. This barrel-aged cider comes from an apple brandy barrel that started off with jalapeño-infused honey, so you’ll get an awesome kick of spice at the end to round out the brandy and honey flavors. Another I can’t wait to try is Three Notch’d RVA Collab House’s Lush-ious — this one looks SO good, y’all. This Maple Pecan Brown Ale (holy wow, I’m in heaven) was brewed in collaboration with Lush Cupcakes. If you haven’t heard yet, Lush makes alcohol-infused cupcakes, and just celebrated their opening in Scott’s Addition. Their Lush-ious collab with Three Notch’d set off to create something similar in beer form, and landed on maple and pecans added into a Three Notch’d brown ale that started off with biscuit and chocolate undertones to create the best dessert-brew flavors ever.
You’ll catch your favorites like Ardent Craft Ales and Strangeways, plus Starr Hill, Vasen, Three Notch’d RVA Collab House, Isley Brewing Company, Buskey Cider, Black Heath Meadery, Courthouse Creek Cider, Blue Bee Cider, Reservoir Distillery, and The Veil… who has an extra surprise up their sleeve this week as well.
Last night, The Veil Brewing Co. released four debuts and one return to fill glasses for every taste.
Kicking off the releases, Very Berry Tastee (pictured above) brings the sour and the smoothie to one perfect combination. This thick, fruity ale is the product of combining raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, and strawberries with milk sugar to pull the fruits together in a smoothie-style sour ale that hits in at 5.5% ABV.
Next up comes Steady Incline, a light-orange colored Double IPA with Citra, Galaxy, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops at 8% ABV. Strong Enough follows, and this brand-new IPA release combines some flare with flavors like El Dorado and Vic Secret in addition to its Galaxy, Mosaic, and Citra with a bright color in the glass. Strong Enough is a lighter 6.5% ABV beer, and it comes with Color of Blood’s high 11% ABV for the stronger drinkers out there. Color of Blood is a triple IPA that benefits from hops like Wakatu and BRU-1 to complement Galaxy, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Nelson, and although it pours with a crispy orange juice color, its heavier ABV and bold taste bring out its name.
Another featured release in the bunch is Brenner Pass: Grand Cru, which is returning to commemorate the second anniversary of the beloved local restaurant. This brew is unlike the rest, and drinks more like a fine table wine with textures like Chardonnay coming from its spelt, raw wheat, and floral American hops from the brewing process. The Mixed Fernie is funky and dry with a subtle acidity, and was stowed away and inoculated with The Veil’s house culture to prepare for the anniversary celebration.
All in all, The Veil has a beer for just about every preference out right now, and all of them bring something unique to the table for every kind of drinker. If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to bring your wine friend or your daiquiri friend to a brewery, now’s your chance!
Summer may be slowly making its way out the door, but the brutal August heat of the River City is still to come before we can lay this hell season to rest and get back to the good stuff: pumpkin picking, hay rides, getting lost in corn mazes, haunted houses, chilly mornings, hot chai, sweaters, bonfires (!!), weekend trips to the mountains, colorful leaves falling on Monument Avenue, SNOW, the good food and fam time of the holidays, and pretty much everything else that makes cold weather good and summer awful. Halle-fucking-lujah.
Anyway, we’re not there just yet, and it’s going to be a rough one for these next few weeks. Thankfully, Väsen Brewing Company is here to take the heat off.
The Watermelon Puffin is on its way to Väsen this Saturday, and this crisp, refreshing American-style Berliner Weisse is the perfect beer for the end-of-summer hear, according to its brewers. The Watermelon Puffin brings out some slight sour flavors in addition to its watermelon puree to give you all the fruity twists you’ll need when the temp gets above 100° — and you know it’s coming, whether we like it or not. Cool down with these blueberry and lychee notes in a watermelon brew, and try to stay out of the heat (lord knows I will).
Out at The Answer Brewpub, a fresh beer made its way in cans right after we got together for RVA On Tap last week. Corporate Headquarters is a Double IPA brewed with Citra, Mosaic, and a touch of Columbus to come together in a nice, pale-orange pour that looks as crisp as it is creamy. Is there any better combination in a beer? I haven’t found one yet, and I don’t plan to as long as these awesome Double IPAs are around.
The Answer also dropped FRESH AF, which is as green as it gets:
This Session IPA was double-dry hopped with Ella, Amarillo, and Simcoe hops, and according to our buds at The Answer, this crusher “bursts with aromas” of mellow mango before its grapefruit finish. If you’re in the mood for one, go grab one while you can, and don’t forget to give The War on Glycol a taste while you’re out there.
This week, we also saw an awesome beer feature in a collaboration between Fine Creek Brewing and Väsen Brewing Company. The International dropped as a mixed-fermentation Bière de Garde to celebrate the international collaboration with the Farmhouse Ale Appreciation Society, and it came as part of the International Craft Beer Weekend Red Paint hosted in Richmond last week.
This brew came together with Murphy & Rude Pils malt and raw wheat, and was hopped with Saaz and Strisselspalt — but the real kicker on this one is its unique, prolonged 5-hour boil in addition to primary lager fermentation and secondary wooden barrel fermentation that brings out its funky Brett tones and citrus and grape skins. It’s got a mouth-puckering acidity with a dry finish, so if you’re into the sour and the sweet, these breweries have plenty of options to get your week rolling.
For National IPA Day, Richmond’s oldest craft brewery dropped an awesome new Citra-hopped beer. Richbrau released Psychic Horse with the tale of its origin:
“Born in 1924, Lady Wonder was a prophetic horse that lived on the southside of Richmond. Taught to communicate on blocks with letters of the alphabet, Lady Wonder answered questions daily from noon to three, 3 questions for $1, and was visited by more than 150,000 people over 30 years. Her prognostications included Truman’s presidential defeat of Dewey, 28 of 28 winning horses at a Baltimore race track, and she garnered national recognition in 1952 for helping police locate the body of a missing Massachusetts boy. Lady Wonder died in 1957 at the age of 33, three years later than she predicted.”
And the horse girls of the world rejoice. Lady Wonder sounds like she really was a wonder to the residents of Richmond in the last century, and I’m not gonna lie, I’m bummed she’s not around in our time. Thankfully, her legend lives on, and like the horse that came from historic Richmond, the brewers who keep her name alive are a big part of our history as well. Richbrau has been a staple of the River City for decades, and now that it’s back, you can get a taste of history at their brewery (and learn something about Richmond’s legends, too).
Coming up this Saturday at Black Heath Meadery, an awesome new collab with Buskey Cider is making its way to the taps for the Scott’s Addition Big Release.
Buskey Orange Ginger Cyser was crafted between the brewers with local ingredients like Virginia apples and Virginia wildflower honey, plus baby yellow ginger from Casselmonte Farm and orange peels.
According to the brewers, this one’s getting drier by the day, and it’s fermenting in the tank ready to make its way into your glass this weekend.
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!