Hardywood Gingerbread Stout

If you are a craft beer fan living in the old dominion state, chances are you’ve heard of Hardywood’s Gingerbread Stout. What you may not know is that it was only the third beer the brewery ever made. In October 2011, the brewery’s owners were approached by a representative of the nearby Castlemonte Farms who had heard that Hardywood was interested in sourcing local ingredients to incorporate into their beer and brought them a sample of baby Hawaiian white ginger. After some research the owners discovered that no other brewery had yet produced a gingerbread cookie inspired holiday seasonal beer, and began creating test batches using an imperial porter base to which they added different ratios of vanilla bean, ginger, honey and lactose. Although only a handful of people showed up at the brewery for the first release event, the brewery received increasingly positive feedback on the beer and ultimately sent a bottle to the editors of BeerAdvocate magazine for review. The official review was published shortly after with a glowing 100/100 rating. In May 2012, GBS was entered into the herbed and spiced beer category at the World Beer cup and was awarded the bronze medal.

Needless to say, the 2012 release caught more traction with some 1,500 people attending the event. The beer sold out in a matter of hours. In fall 2013, Hardywood gave the green light to sell the GBS outside of the city of Richmond for the first time, while they also began releasing limited barrel-aged variants of the base beer. This year, the brewery is releasing a different variant of Gingerbread Stout every Saturday for seven consecutive Saturdays beginning November 4th. The full roster includes: Bourbon Barrel GBS, Rum Barrel GBS, Apple Brandy GBS, Rye Whiskey Barrel GBS, Christmas Morning (GBS w/ coffee), Kentucky Christmas Morning (Bourbon Barrel Christmas Morning), and Double Barrel GBS. These beers will be limited, so keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for availability and release information. The original Gingerbread Stout however is now in stock with no limit to consumers. Happy Holidays!  

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Founders Backwoods Bastard

Owners Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers of Founders Brewing Co. often cite their Dirty Bastard scotch ale as the beer that ‘saved’ their brewery. Founders opened in 1997 during the first wave of the U.S. microbrew explosion in the mid 90’s and started by producing the kind of beers they thought people wanted: Pale ales, amber ales, wheat beers, and porters. However, after a few years of producing good albeit unremarkable products under a failing business model the duo was threatened with imminent bankruptcy. With nothing left to lose, they decided to ignore their investors and created a beer that they knew would distinguish Founders from other breweries. This decision yielded a strong, immensely flavorful scotch ale they irreverently titled Dirty Bastard. In time, sales of Dirty Bastard eventually helped the brewery to turn a profit.

In 2005 Founders became one of the first American Craft Breweries to experiment with barrel-aging. A few years later, the brewery began aging Dirty Bastard ale in retired Bourbon barrels some 85 feet underground in the old gypsum mines beneath Grand Rapids. The low humidity and controlled climate of these caves proved to be a perfect environment for such an endeavor and the barrel aged Dirty Bastard, ‘Backwoods Bastard’ became an instant cult classic. This barrel aged ale is rich, creamy, and impressively smooth for such a high ABV beer. Despite its underlying malt sweetness showcasing notes of caramel, vanilla, toffee, and dried fig, the beer is kept in balance by overtones of bourbon, oaky tannins, smoke, and earthy spice. Backwoods Bastard is a self proclaimed kick back sipper and is sure to excite the palate, particularly for purveyors of fine scotch and whiskey. However, it is only available in limited quantities from October to November, so get it while you can!

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Perennial

Based in Saint Louis, Missouri, Perennial Artisan Ales is a rare bird in the American craft beer industry. The brewery’s philosophy is “To brew beer with the adventurous craft beer drinker in mind — focusing on hand-crafted, small batches of beer, using local, seasonal and organic ingredients as much as possible.” Their dedication to the hand-crafted nature of their brewing process is a point of pride: relative to other medium sized breweries which have heavily automated brewing systems that favor efficiency over ingenuity, Perennial’s approach is one of minimal automation with mostly manual dials. Similarly, the brewery uses new yeast for every batch of beer they make- a very uncommon practice in the industry since the cost savings of brewing with only one house yeast strain and reusing that strain batch-to-batch is considerable. This method, however, gives Perennial the advantage of producing a wider range of flavors from the yeast-driven esters.  

While these practices consistently make for a premium product, they usually also come at a premium price can be a challenge to business viability. Still, contrary to the standard business model of launching and growing a brewery in one state before expanding outward, Perennial began sending beer to cities such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Chicago early on. This strategy earned them exposure and fostered an interest in more eclectic, interesting flavors which allowed the brewery to surpass their initial five-year projections. We currently have two Perennial products in stock. Suburban Beverage is a Gose style ale brewed with salt, orange peel, lemon peel and key lime juice. Fantastic Voyage is built on the base of an imperial milk stout with a heap of dried coconut added in the whirlpool. The result is a luscious blend of baker’s chocolate, subtle roast, and sweet coconut. These ales are incredibly nuanced and are best enjoyed in a wine glass or brandy snifter.

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The Bruery

Today, The Bruery consistently produces some of the most sought after beers in the nation. However, this Orange County based brewery has a storied past. In 2008, Patrick Rue (owner and head brewer at the Bruery) had just completed law school but failed the California bar exam shortly after graduation. Despite this setback, Rue had picked up home brewing as a hobby in school and had already medaled in several homebrew competitions. So, opting to turn the proverbial lemons into lemonade, he made the decision to open a brewery. The Bruery opened in Placentia, California as a boutique craft brewery specializing in Belgian-style, barrel-aged and experimental beers. Since its inception, the Bruery has become one of the most elite experimental breweries in the nation and Patrick Rue has become one of only thirteen Master Cicerones in the world (the beer equivalent of a Master Sommelier). Although more than 75,000 individuals have obtained the entry level Cicerone certification of ‘Certified Beer Server,’ the top-most ‘Master’ level of certification requires rigorous written and oral examination regarding beer styles & evaluation, draft systems, brewing technology and food pairings.

 

Although several of the limited release and one-off beers the Bruery produces annually are only available to California residents through a paid subscription service, one particular world-class beer does get sent to retailers in limited quantities every year: the barrel-aged anniversary ale. Originally released as Papier in 2009, each annual release of the anniversary ale is brewed to roughly the same recipe but is released under a different name corresponding to the list of traditional anniversary gifts. The production of each anniversary beer also relies on the Solera method- a brewing technique in which a portion of every anniversary ale is stored in oak barrels to be blended in with the next year’s production. This process makes for a unique, yet highly nuanced ale with every release featuring a robust flavor profile with notes of bourbon, vanilla, oak tannin, date, fig, raisin, chocolate, pipe tobacco, caramel and toffee. These ales are also built to last- when properly cellared, these ales will develop favorably for 5-10 years as the alcohol heat subsides and the oxidation of the beer brings forth sherry and port wine characteristics.  The most recent release of this ale is Saule, and commemorates the Bruery’s ninth anniversary. Whether you’re looking for a special drink to celebrate with or a holiday sipper to share with friends and family, this one should definitely be on your radar.

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Jackie O's!

We are proud to introduce to the valley one of the most iconic craft breweries in the state of Ohio.  Jackie O’s initially opened as O’Hooley’s brewpub in 1996. Situated just north of the Ohio University campus in Athens, this tiny space filled a niche in the community at a time when local, independent brewing operations were few & far between. When Art Oestrike purchased the original brewpub in 2005, he named the new brewery after his late mother, Jackie. This new brewery soon expanded into the building adjacent to the original pub. Although the proprietors admit to having had minimal professional experience in the industry at the upstart, Jackie O’s grew as a labor of love. Their motto, “sustainably crafted with purpose,” is evident in the brewery’s commitment to process, ingredients, and a hands-on entrepreneurial approach to business. In 2009, the brewery added a bakery as part of their operations, which to this day utilizes the spent grain from their beer production to make the buns and pizza dough that is served in the pub. Shortly after, the staff began growing their own produce on a 20 some acre farm just outside of Athens- the bounty of which is also integrated into the pub fare.

 

In 2012, Jackie O’s purchased a building a few miles from the original pub location which allowed them to greatly expand their production capacity. Although the brewery’s five core beers still drive most of their sales, the brew master has amassed a collection of several hundred wine & spirit barrels which he uses to produce some truly unique, limited release offerings. Two such beers to come out of their barrel aging program are Elle and Scrip. Elle is a farmhouse saison that is fermented with wild yeasts & bacteria before aging for 6 months in a giant oak vessel called a foudre, where it picks up tannic woody notes and an acidic profile. Scrip is a grisette-style ale that is fermented with wild yeast and aged for 9 months in oak wine barrels which impart tart citrus and pineapple notes into the beer. Other beers in Jackie O’s experimental portfolio include a traditional German style Gose, a Berliner Weisse, and a rotating release saison ale entitled “Off the Beaten Path.” These special ales are all currently in stock, but in limited supply, so don’t sleep on trying some of the buckeye state’s finest!

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Out With the Old, In With the New (IPA)

For the past few years, one beer style has remained the fan favorite of craft beer drinkers in the United States: The Illustrious American India Pale Ale. These hop intensive ales represent nearly one quarter of domestic craft beer volume- more than any other individual beer style. Hopping techniques and hop oil extraction methods are on the cutting edge; several breweries even tout their proprietary hopping equipment directly on the labels of their six packs. Also, the number of commercially available hop varietals is at an all time high, with each varietal allowing for distinctly unique flavor profiles. The downturn is that the newest experimental hop varietals are, by nature, limited in supply and therefore difficult for breweries to formulate recipes around and put into production when their access to these hops is tentative. On the consumer side, one driving force among craft beer fans that is promulgated by social media and mobile device apps is the desire to continually seek out new and different beers. So in regard to the best-selling India Pale Ale, how does a brewery reconcile the consumer demand for uniquely fresh and interesting beer with the objective of consistency in flavor and quality when access to the latest and greatest hop varieties is uncertain?

 

Enter Firestone Walker. The California-based brewery discontinued their cult classic double IPA, ‘Double Jack’ and their award winning black IPA, ‘Wookey Jack’ in 2016 to open up a brand new canvas for their hop-forward line of beers. One such beer that was born out of this decision is their ever-evolving Luponic Distortion India Pale Ale. This rotating release IPA features the same malt base and bittering hops in every iteration, yet is dry hopped with a different set of experimental hops every 90 days. The result is a screamingly fresh IPA in which every new version has a familiar taste albeit distinctly different aromatics. Past versions of Luponic Distortion have featured experimental hops from Michigan, Washington’s Yakima Valley, South Africa, and Germany. The current iteration of this beer is #007 and is dry hopped with a blend of 3 Australian hops that showcase a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc character in addition to the juicy, fruit-forward aromas of similar hops grown in the Southern Hemisphere. So sit back and embrace the change- your taste buds are in for a treat.

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Welcome to Reason

Meet the new kid on the block, Reason Beer. After graduating from UVA, lead brewer Mark Fulton went on to complete the American Brewers Guild Craftbrewer’s Apprenticeship Program and worked as the Director of Brewing Operations at Maine Beer Company- a brewery with a cult-status fan base recognized for its minimally branded European-style pint bottles and its nationally acclaimed Lunch IPA. Fulton later returned to the Blue Ridge Mountains to open a start-up independent brewery with longtime friends and fellow entrepreneurs Patrick Adair and Jeff Raileanu. After three years of careful planning, recipe development, and design, their dream has become a reality.

Located on the west side of Charlottesville’s Meadows neighborhood, Reason Beer opened to the public in July 2017. The proprietors’ stated mission is to create beers that exemplify balance, creativity, and flavor. Of their four core beers, Reason Pale Ale and Reason Blonde were the first to be bottled and sent out to retailers. Blonde features a subtle maltiness and bright acidity, combining the spicy qualities of Old World hops with the fresh, citrusy notes from those of the New World. Pale Ale features a classic European malt base and bright American hops for a pronounced citrus flavor and dry finish. So, if you’re seeking the perfect pint that was designed with quality in mind from grain to glass, the Reason might just be the answer.

Stillwater Shoegaze

Shoegaze is a style of music in which instruments and vocals are blurred, mixing and amalgamating and  coming together to form something cohesive and familiar but altogether new. In Stillwater’s case, Shoegaze is a New England-style India Pale Ale that happened to meet a Farmhouse Pale Ale in a quaint little venue in Baltimore. Brewed with oats, lactose and smelts and featuring familiar IPA hops like Citra and Simcoe, Shoegaze is as wild as the artwork on its can would suggest.

O'Connor Endless Summer Saisons

O’Connor La Preciosa Hibiscus Saison

Our friends from Norfolk, O’Connor Brewery, are here with La Preciosa, a Hibiscus Saison in their Endless Summer Saison series. La Preciosa is a lusciously red Saison, infused with hibiscus and featuring citrus, vanilla, berries, and a dry, tart finish. O’Connor is donating part of the proceeds from La Preciosa to the Virginia Beach chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, which works to protect oceans and beaches. A Saison for a good cause? We’ll cheers to that.

 

O’Connor Shipwreck Bay Nelson Sauvin Saison

Named after a renowned surfing spot in New Zealand, Shipwreck Bay is O’Connor Brewing Company’s Nelson Sauvin Saison, a farmhouse-style ale in their Endless Summer Saison series. The series is inspired by the surfing locations of each beers namesake, with Shipwreck Bay featuring Nelson Sauvin hops grown and developed in New Zealand. The hops are known for their strong fruity flavors and smell similar to white wine, which helps to create a beer that is both tropical and well-rounded.

Big Sours

Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing have put on their mad scientist hats with their Love Child series, now in its eighth iteration. A mix of Flanders style red ale and a sour sour-style Belgian golden, Love Child Number 8 is aged in bourbon barrels and features Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces cultures to give the beer some real funk. That funk, along with sour and fruit components, are indicated by a gauge on the label that helps to tell the story of the beer when it was released. This beer is a wild one, but you couldn’t have a love child without a little bit of experimentation now, could you?

Hailing from Orange County, California, Bruery Terreux has been cranking out farmhouse-style wild and sour ales since 2008. Goses Are Red is a little bit Gose and a slight bit Rosé, a wheat-based beer that pushes the boundaries of what a farmhouse ale can be. Starting off with tart and sour notes encouraged by Bruery Terreux’s in-house cultures, Goses are Red gets its wine-like qualities from the addition of grapes and time spent in an oak foeder. This Gose is red, but you’re going to feel blue if you miss out on it.

 

Hardywood Peach Cuvee

A richly complex Cuvée made with the most delicate of fruits, RVA's own Hardywood has outdone themselves with this one. Cuvée Peach is a white wine barrel aged peach tripel, as intricate and sophisticated as it is bold at 8.2% ABV. Featuring fruity esters, juicy peach, hints of vanilla as a result of the aging process in white wine barrels, and a dry finish, Cuvée Peach is as decadent as they come.

New Belgium Sours!

 

New Belgium and Oud Beersel Transatlantique Kriek

What can we say about Transatlantique Kriek that hasn’t already been said? A beer of unbelievable logistics, history, consistency, and taste, this Kriek collaboration between New Belgium and Oud Beersel is breathtaking in scale. Now in its fourteenth year, Transatlantique Kriek begins its long journey in oak barrels at Oud Beersel, a 130-year-old lambic brewery in Belgium. After aging, cherries are added before it is shipped to New Belgium's Colorado brewery, where it is blended with an equal portion of Golden Sour Ale, aged for 1-3 years in oak foeders. The combination of the Golden Sour and Cherry Lambic gives this beer a distinct fruity sweetness and a light tartness. Not just a drink, Transatlantique Kriek provides a history lesson with every sip.


New Belgium French Oak Saison

If drinking in the Belgian countryside has always been on your bucket list, but you’re still waiting to book your trip, sipping on a French Oak Saison in the hills of the Shenandoah Valley might not be a bad substitute. New Belgium knows Belgian beer (it’s in their name, after all), and their seasonal French Oak Saison is an homage to the rich history of the country and its seemingly ordained ability to make amazing ales. French Oak Saison is a marriage of the regions of Flanders and Wallonia, blending a hop-forward saison with a golden sour ale aged for over a year in oak foeders. Sweet and sour with a dry finish, French Oak Saison will transport you from downtown Harrisonburg to downtown Brussels in no time.

French for “the folly” but tasting like anything but foolishness, La Folie is a traditional Flanders-style brown ale aged for one to three years in large oak barrels, or foeders. After the beer’s years long hibernation in the barrels, La Folie is sharp and sour, high in ABV yet thirst-quenching and playful. Flavors and aromas of green apple, cherry, pepper, and plum abound, a result of New Belgium’s brewers tasting the beers in their foeders and mixing different flavor profiles and ages together. A folly? In name only. 

Captain Lawrence Sours!

Captain Lawrence Pomme Sauvage

Pomme Sauvage is an American Sour Ale from Captain Lawrence, a New York brewery that has been putting out some our favorite sour beers since 2006. Pomme Sauvage is aged in French oak foudres with apples grown at Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard in North Salem, New York. Featuring crisp apple notes with acidity and funk, Pomme Sauvage sits at 7.25% ABV, providing a Sour Ale that is both decadent and heavy hitting at the same time.

Captain Lawrence Hudson Valley Harvest Sour Strawberry

A perfect summer drink brewed with optimum ingredients in mind, Captain Lawrence’s Hudson Valley Harvest Sour Strawberry is a literal fruit of the region’s labor; Captain Lawrence partnered with local farmers from the Hudson Valley to harvest strawberries during their peak seasons, and then fermented and aged the Sour Ale in oak barrels. The result is a refreshing and tart beer, with the strawberries providing subtle fruit notes mixing with Columbus and Crystal Hops.

 

Adroit Theory B/A/Y/S aged in Port Barrels!

B/A/Y/S [black as your soul] - Imperial Stout Aged in Port Barrels

B/A/Y/S [black as your soul] - Imperial Stout Aged in Port Barrels 

AT sez...."Our base stout aged in Port Barrels. The closest thing we have to a flagship; B/A/Y/S was the first beer we ever brewed. The 5th iteration stays true to the original, but with a few a few tweaks. We re-worked the hop schedule to add a little more bitterness. We also upped the hazelnut and cherries. This one should not be missed!

Tear off your suit-and-tie straightjacket. Submerge yourself in the riches of an alternate life, outside the corporate fishbowl. Obscured in the depths of this Russian Imperial Stout is the dark fruit of shadowy contemplation. Linger too long, ponder too deeply, and you may find your humanity is indelibly etched with the inkblot that is your soul.

Tasting Notes: Jammy notes of dried fruit, full bodied malt flavors give way to cherry & hazelnut notes, dry finish"

DIY Pool Party

Nothing says “summer” like sitting next to the pool, and nothing says “summer beer” like a Belgian-inspired cherry Wheat Ale. When you combine the two you get Bell’s Brewing Pooltime Ale (called Poolside last year, if you’ve been keeping an eye out for it), a tart and fruity beer that uses Montmorency cherries grown in Michigan, where Bell’s is headquartered. Sitting at a refreshing 5.2% ABV and with a limited availability, Pooltime is the perfect Ale to kick start your summer.
 

If you’re a fan of Bell’s, or really just a fan of craft beer, there’s not much we can tell you about Oberon that you don’t already know. Oberon is a Bell’s flagship - a classic wheat ale brewed with only four ingredients - proving that simple really is better. What is newsworthy is that Oberon’s delicious simplicity is back in mini-keg form, holding five liters on the inside and displaying Bell’s eccentric artwork on the outside. Perfect for a weekend gathering outside, and when you’re finished, a centerpiece to show off your dedication to drinking good beer.

DOOM

Beer names come with a deliberate intent. In just a single word, a name can tell you everything you need to know about what you’re about to drink.  With a name like Doom, you expect a beer to pull no punches and take no prisoners, and that’s exactly what Founder’s Brewing Company have in mind. Doom is a bourbon barrel-aged Imperial IPA sitting at 12.5% ABV. Initially only available in Founder’s taproom, with its last commercially available release in 2013, Doom is complex but manages to stay smooth with hints of vanilla and oak as a result of the barrel aging process. You don’t need to fear Doom, but you should be prepared for it.

Bruery Releases!!!!

"Saule is French for “willow”, a traditional nine-year anniversary gift. Our ninth anniversary ale, Saule, follows in the footsteps of our anniversary releases before it, which are loosely based on an English-style old ale, fermented with our house yeast strain, aged in bourbon barrels and blended using the solera method. This means that a portion of each anniversary ale is saved in oak barrels and blended in with the next year’s production, providing more complexity and depth of character as the years go by. The result is layered in robust and complex flavors of toffee, caramel, dark fruit, vanilla and oak." --from the Bruery's website

California and Florida combine to give you Cuban guava pasty in beer form, and we couldn’t be hungrier. A collaboration between Orange County’s The Bruery and Funky Buddha out of southern Florida, Guava Libre is an Imperial Cream Ale brewed with guava, and turned sweet and delicious with the use of milk sugar and vanilla beans. If you’re looking for a vacation down to Miami but can’t leave the Shenandoah Valley, Guava Libre has you covered.

Sans Pagaie is a Belgian-style kriek that translates from French to “without a paddle”. A kriek is a traditional Belgian Sour Ale aged in barrels with cherries, and San Pagaie  ups the ante with flavors of coconut, vanilla and a slight funk. If you do happen to find yourself up a creek, San Pagaie wouldn’t be a bad beer to have with you.

New from Adroit Theory!!

Here's what the brewery's got to say about these two new releases:

EBK: New England Style Triple IPA

3/16: EBK - New England Style Double IPA

"If you got to sample the DIPA version of EBK, than you now know that Adroit Theory has stepped up its game when it comes to hoppy beers.

Brewed with even more hops than #1, this beer is triple dry-hopped with Citra & Mosaic. We also upped the Wheat and Oats in the grain bill for an even creamier mouthfeel. This will also mute the bitterness a little to give it an even juicier bouquet."

Tasting Notes: Smooth Creamy Mouthfeel, Citrus Aromatics, Juicy Sweetness, Hazy Appearance.

Liminal Spaces: Biere de Garde

5/19: Liminal Spaces - Barrel Aged Bier de Garde

"We collaborated with our friends from Council Brewing (San Diego, CA) for this one. The base beer is a malt-forward Bier de Garde that is characterized by a toasted malt aroma, slight malt sweetness in flavor, and medium hop bitterness.

We fermented the beer with our own "Purcellville Yeast" a wild Sacch Yeast we used in our Two Headed Calf. Once fermented, we transferred the beer to used Bourbon Barrels that had previously held a Golden Sour with Alphonso Mangos. The beer was infected with Councils house blend of Brett and Lacto, where it aged for 6 months."

Tasting Notes: Sweet Malt Aromas with a Tropical Element, Hint of Funk, Belgian Style Esters, Dry Finish.

Boulevard Changeling

Out of Kansas City, Missouri, Boulevard’s Changeling is a Dark Sour Ale aged in whiskey and wine barrels. The real fun part comes with its treatment with Lactobacillus as well as Brettanomyces, a yeast that helps add the sour flavor and is translated from Greek as “British fungus” (you KNOW we love our fungus here). Changeling features hints of peach, roasted malt, caramel and some all-around delicious Brett funk.