Sláinte! Prost! Skål! Kanpai! Salud!
Did you know that the first Friday in August is known as International Beer Day? There’s few things better in life than enjoying time with friends over a pint or two, so we thought it would be fun to celebrate and share some of our favorite brews with you. With roots in Virginia, we wanted to celebrate the Commonwealth’s impressive array of lagers and ales. See if your favorite is listed below and be sure to tell us what we should keep an eye out for whether here in Virginia or beyond!
PEACE, LOVE, AND HOPPINESS
Big Lick Brewing Company, Roanoke VA
My favorite brewery is Big Lick Brewing Company in Roanoke, VA. When I first moved to Roanoke right after graduating college and didn’t know too many folks, I fell into a bar trivia group at Big Lick and they have become fast friends. Big Lick has outgrown their original cozy spot, but they are thriving in a new and much larger location. Guess who’s fortunate enough to live directly above it?
Having spent some time there, my favorite Big Lick beer is their Peace, Love, and Hoppiness. This has been one of their mainstays from the very beginning. They’ve always been about trying new things and small batch releases, but this is the one that put them on the map and made them so popular among local breweries. I rarely let one of their brews go by without at least trying a sample, but this is the one that I always get excited about when it makes its way back into rotation.
— Robert B.
Final Gravity Brewery
There are lots of breweries in Richmond that love grabbing headlines, but there’s not many that can maintain a 90 on Beer Advocate with the consistent deliciousness that is Final Gravity’s Venus Rising. Perfectly balanced Imperial IPAs are hard to craft and yet Final Gravity, one of the most underrated breweries that the Old Dominion, does it batch after batch.
— Casey E.
LEGEND BROWN ALE
Legend Brewing, Richmond VA
Ever hear the tales of how the taste of a Guiness increases exponentially based on its proximity to the Saint James Gate? Legend Brewing might be Central Virginia’s equivalent. Legend is amazing when fresh. There’s nothing quite like it fresh from the tap, especially when that tap is overlooking Richmond’s skyline from their venerable location in Manchester. Results vary greatly when bottled, but if I can get someone to a tap Richmond then they can’t get enough.
— Mike H.
FALCON SMASH IPA
If Captain Falcon is the epitome of a rushdown character, then Falcon Smash is the epitome of an IPA. Whenever Falcon Smash is on the menu, it’s almost impossible not to order it. Falcon Smash even appeals to the #NeverIPA set because it’s extremely well balanced and empirically delicious.
Justin E. & Andrew M.
ORANGE IS THE NEW STOUT
Center of the Universe, Ashland VA
As a devotee of stouts, if I only had one choice it would be the chocolatey, orangey, sea-salty goodness of Orange is the New Stout from CoTU. Boasting a 10.5% ABV, the orange is a featured player but carefully kept in balance in this delicious easy-drinking stout style beer.
— Alex B.
GLUTEN-FREE HAZY IPL
Ardent Craft Ales
My neighbor is a manager and part-time brewer at Ardent and is deeply passionate about helping gluten-free folks find more tasty options. He’s always brewing up interesting short-runs for Ardent made from surprising ingredients like rice, pumpernickel, and even maple syrup! But Lincoln’s Gluten-Free Hazy IPL holds a dear place in my heart, partly because my friend made it, but mostly because it was a delicious short run!! The Hazy IPL has a crisp and balanced taste with a medium body and it has no gluten but contains millet, buckwheat, brown rice syrup, and even honeycrisp apples.
— Brian B.
There’s nothing better than a summertime beer that is light and clean. Ah, but what if we added hints of citrus, maize, and salt alongside the classic flavors one expects from a malty lager? More than just being a tasty beverage, Mexican Läger is brewed by Vasen a brewery committed to sustainability and which participates in many sustainability initiatives like 1% for the Planet.
— Derek H.
MOMMEE BAHAMEE TASTEE
The Veil Brewery, Richmond VA
While something of a lightning rod for beer discussion in and outside of Richmond, it is hard to deny the quirky charms of whatever unholy creations the mad scientists at The Veil hath wrought. Sacred? Profane? The war wages on. As an example of their madness/genius, the Veil has created what they call Tastees; kettle sour ales fermented with milk sugar then bolstered by fruit purées. In the case of the Mommee Bahamee those purées are coconut, pineapple, orange and sweet cherries. In short, the Mommee is as close to the flavor profile of a Bahama Mama cocktail as you could theoretically get while still remaining a “beer” … depending on your definition.
Whatever the heck it is, I define it as yummytime summytime in my tummytime.
— Brian B.
BLACKBERRY HIBISCUS KOMBUCHA
Looking for non-alcoholic brews out of the region? Ninja Kombucha has some of the most flavorful and refreshing fermented tea around. While a variety of flavors and a new hard kombucha line just rolling of the lines, they have a little something for everyone. My favorite thought has to be the Blackberry Hibiscus. The tart flavors of the berries mixes well with the tartness and funkiness of kombucha while the light carbonation and hibiscus brighten and even out the taste.
2021 Simple Thread International Beer Day Honorable Mentions:
- Albino Monkey: Strangeways, Richmond, VA
- Banh Mi Sandwiches: The Answer, Richmond, VA
- Choosy Mother Peanut Butter Porter: Isley Brewing Co., Richmond VA
- Hydraulion Irish Red: Three Notch’d, Charlottesville, VA
- Origin Beer Lab: COTU’s experimental batches and short-runs
- Richmond Lager: Hardywood, Richmond, VA
Please share some of your favorites with us! We always love a good opportunity to bend the elbow with new and old friends alike. Cheers!
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