Thursday, September 1, 2016

RVA's Stone World Bistro & Gardens

Image from Baskervill Architecture
Richmond Bizsense is reporting that Stone Brewing is ready to turn focus to the first stages of its World Bistro and Gardens, on RVA's Riverfront: 

Steve Wagner, president of the California-based brewery, said the firm met with its general contractor this week about previously announced plans to renovate the former Intermediate Terminal site at 3101 Wharf St. into Stone World Bistro & Gardens.

Just weeks after Stone Brewing announced it was moving forward with plans for its planned Stone Hotel in Escondido, CA, the company hinted that RVA could see their own craft beer hotel. Only time will tell. The company is still sticking with its original 2018 time frame for the Bistro, so we should see some movement in the coming months.

Friday, August 26, 2016

4th Annual Alumni Charity Challenge!

The annual Alumni Charity Challenge is upon us! Join your fellow alumni September 14th from 5:30-8:30pm at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, in a race to see who can raise the most canned goods. All donations will go to the Central Virginia Food Bank

If you are not familiar with the competition for a good cause, the Alumni Charity Challenge was established in 2013 by VCU Alumni’s RVA GOLD chapter. During the past three years, the Alumni Charity Challenge has collected over 10 tons of canned goods with the support of over 27 colleges from in-state and out-of-state. The Central Virginia Food Bank serves 31 counties and five cities, from the Northern Neck to Louisa County and south to the North Carolina border.

For more information, visit their website. We hope to see you there!

A list of all Participating Alumni Organizations

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ale for Arthritis

It's time to have a craft beer for a good cause! Mark your calendars for this years Ale for Arthritis. Sunday, September 11, at Norfolk's own O'Connor Brewing Company. You'll be supporting Virginia brewed craft beer and raising money/awareness for arthritis and rheumatic diseases. Get your tickets here

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Steam Bell Beer Works Grand Opening!

After 3 years of planning, owner Brad Cooper's dream has come to fruition, Steam Bell Beer Works is opening for business. We are grateful to have been invited to Steam Bell's media tasting party, just a few days prior to their public opening. At the time of our visit, there were eight beers on tap: 
  • Grisette (5.4% Saison)
  • Patchronce (5.7% Blackberry/Raspberry Belgian)
  • Southern Stubby (8% West Coast DIPA)
  • Smoked Braggot (8.4% Strong Ale)
  • Deep Roots (8.3% Wee Heavy)
  • Liege (8.6% Maple Syup/Vanilla Bean Belgian Triple)
  • Tiramisu Stout (9% Vanilla/Coffee/Rum)
  • Barrel Maker (6.4% American Wild Ale)

The Grand Opening, Saturday should see the arrival of two more. If you plan to attend opening day, come hungry and ready to dance, as multiple food trucks and bands will greet you. Check out the pictures below!

Monday, May 23, 2016

(Beer) Monsoon on Chincoteague Island

Beer and balloons are a great combo

With all of the great beer, someone was wading in water for Miller Lite

Seeking shelter to enjoy our brews

Friday, May 20, 2016

Chincoteague, Here We Come!

Today is the day! Ercell and Jessica, along with my Wife Lauren and I, will be leaving soon for Chincoteague Island's Second Annual Saltwater Brew 'N Que! Starting this evening, spectators have the chance to participate in the People’s Choice Wing Tasting event (6 – 8 p.m). Tomorrow is the main event: A day full of barbecue and beer tastings from some of the best craft brewers in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Keep an eye out for updates on our Twitter and Instagram, as well as a follow up blog post on all of the goings on. 

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Devil’s Backbone Brewing Acquired by ABI

You’ve probably already read, heard, or felt a disturbance in the force that Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) has acquired Virginia’s own Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company. That happened.

Devil's Backbone sold…to the devil?
That seems to be many craft beer enthusiasts' initial response. On BeerAdvocate, Instagram, Reddit, and Twitter the brewery has already had comments by upset fans on the news as well as the “I was a hater before they sold out” remarks and will quickly face the first Untappd post saying “Vienna Lager now tastes like Budweiser”.

Press Release and Statement from Steve
In the press release itself, DBB’s founder Steve Crandall specifies that the management team will remain onboard for years to come, though did not specifically reference the brewers staying on. A statement from Steve Crandall highlighted additions planned for the facilities including a camping area and additional infrastructure at the Nelson County Basecamp as well as expansion of the shipping & receiving facility in the Lexington Outpost. The management team is excited for the merger and will have a high level of autonomy.

Is this really a surprise?
To be honest, it makes a lot of sense as Devil’s Backbone is enjoyed by many non-craft drinkers. The last time I went beer shopping at a non-local store I saw one cart full of Budweiser and Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager. Vienna Lager consistently wins award after award but only has a 3.63 rating on Untappd, which isn’t bad but certainly not the outstanding rating the beer gets from professional beer judges. Devil's Backbone brews appeals to both the craft and non-craft market, a sure win for ABI.

So what will happen?
This was just announced so we will need to be patient and see. But people still seem to love many of the other breweries already acquired by ABI. Elysian, Golden Road (founded by a Virginian, Meg Gill, who graduated from the same high school as Clay, Ercell, and Jessica, went to Yale, and founded a successful Cali-based brewery all by the age of 26 earning her spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of 2014), and many others still get purchased and enjoyed across the county. And everyone is aware of the crazy rushes to buy and trade for Bourbon County anything, despite the most recent year’s copious infection problems.

The press release indicates that Devil's Backbone will remain focused on their local communities while spreading their brews across the country. Craft enthusiasts respect the art and purpose just as much, if not more, than the final product so any major shift in ideals can be ruinous to the original fans. Those who will be introduced to Devil's Backbone post-acqusition will not experience the same sense of betrayal and will likely embrace the brews more openly, especially in new markets currently unaware of Devil’s Backbone and their Virginia roots.

The next Adventure Pack will be with Budweiser, Busch, Stella, Corona, and Natty Light
No, of course it won’t. But it’s inevitable for fans and non-fans alike to be upset. Every quarter it seems another craft brewery is being acquired. The craft community, which is made primarily of passionate drinkers, take their brews personally and feel each acquisition as betrayal of the craft community. In Virginia Devil’s Backbone is an OG, one of the early craft pushers that has always embraced the local and craft beer community of Virginia and responsible for the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest (working with Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, also chaired by a Devil's Backbone employee), so for them to be the first big acquisition from the state has a huge impact on Virginia’s craft beer community.

Craft or crap?
Without getting into personal opinion, to me it seems the biggest change will be with the consumer and not so much with the brewery. Devil’s Backbone has been honing their beer offerings and expanding their distribution which will likely both continue. Despite the fact that the beer will continue to be made locally, many craft enthusiasts have already placed them in the crap group of the craft not crap idea while others put them in a gray area of locally made but owned by a major corporation.

Certainly the Crandalls and the Devil’s Backbone management have all taken this into consideration before making their decision. There are tons of questions but very few answers since this is all so new. Over the coming months and years, we will see what comes of the merger but until then I have only one recommendation – read the comment sections of news and social media at your own peril.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Veil Brewing Opens Saturday April, 16th

The Veil Brewing Opens Saturday April, 16th, in the Scott's Addition Neighborhood of RVA! The brewery will join neighbors Isley Brewing Company, Ardent Craft Ales, the upcoming Buskey Cider, Black Heath Meadery, and the soon-to-open new home of Blue Bee Cider, to make for one hell of a reason to visit/move to Scott's Addition. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Deschutes Brewery Chooses Roanoke!

Press Release:
Bend, OR/Roanoke, VA – March 22, 2016 – Deschutes Brewery announced its much anticipated decision on an east coast location today at an event in downtown Roanoke, Virginia. The growing brewery, which was founded in Oregon in 1988 by Gary Fish, has explored hundreds of potential locations in the region over the last two years. The company selected Roanoke based on several criteria including a culture and community that fit well with Deschutes’ decades-deep roots.

“We started Deschutes Brewery when craft beer wasn’t burgeoning and led with a beer style that wasn’t popular at the time – Black Butte Porter,” said Gary Fish, CEO and founder of the brewery. “This pioneering approach was a key driver behind our decision to go with Roanoke, as that same spirit exists in this community and its fast-growing beer culture.”

The future Roanoke facility has been lovingly dubbed “Brew 4” as it takes its place in line after the original Bend, Oregon public house (Brew 1), the brewery’s production facility in Bend (Brew 2) and the Portland, Oregon public house (Brew 3). Brew 4 will be located at the eastern edge of Roanoke with construction on the site beginning in 2019. Eventually, a little over 100 new jobs will be created for the region, and the new brewery will produce approximately 150,000 barrels to start, with a design to increase capacity as needed. Deschutes expects to start shipping beer from the Roanoke location in about five years.
“Roanoke is honored to be chosen as Deschutes Brewery's East Coast location after a very thorough review of several communities in the Southeast,” said Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill.  “It is a company with a strong culture of community engagement, recognized for its craftsmanship and will be a perfect fit for Roanoke's vibrant outdoor lifestyle.  We are thrilled to welcome Deschutes as we continue to build a diverse, resilient economy.”

Deschutes Brewery chose to add an east coast location after the company’s distribution footprint (which currently includes 28 states and the District of Columbia) reached the east coast. By having a production facility on the eastern seaboard, the brewery will be able to deliver beers – such as its flagship Black Butte Porter – to states east of the Mississippi quickly and more sustainably.
Michael LaLonde, president of Deschutes Brewery, who was an integral part of the east coast location selection team, said, “Although it was a tough decision – we loved so many of the communities that we visited over the past two years – we are very excited to be heading to Roanoke. We love the region and everyone we've had the opportunity to meet and work with during this process has been incredible. We have absolutely been blown away with how the community rallied around bringing us here and has given us such a warm welcome. #Deschutes2Rke we’re on our way and proud to be able to now call Roanoke our second home.”   

For more information on Deschutes Brewery in Roanoke, please visit our website here:

About Deschutes Brewery

Named as OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work for the last three years in a row and winner of the 2015 Oregon Sustainability Award, Deschutes Brewery was founded in 1988 as a brew pub in Bend, Oregon. Still family and employee owned 27 years later, the brewery is known for brewing a diverse line-up of award winning beers including the exceptional Fresh Squeezed IPA, Black Butte Porter, and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Deschutes Brewery now ships beer to 28 states, the District of Columbia, and around the world from its main brewing facility located on the banks of the Deschutes River.  

Marie Melsheimer, Deschutes Brewery

Monday, March 21, 2016

Saltwater Brew N Que 2.0 Info

May 20 & 21: BBQ and Beer Festival a tasty good time 

-- Kick-off summer at the Second Annual Saltwater Brew ‘N’ Que in Chincoteague, Virginia. The weekend event will feature a barbeque cook-off, beer tasting, live music and family attractions. –

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va., March 18, 2016 – No question where craft beer drinkers, barbeque and wing aficionados will be celebrating the start of summer. The second annual Saltwater Brew ‘N’ Que returnsMay 20 and 21 to the Chincoteague Fairgrounds in Chincoteague, Virginia.

This unique event is part barbeque competition, part beer festival and part country music festival. The barbeque competition is officially sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society. Registration for amateur and professional teams is currently available online at and there is over $6,000 of prize money at stake.

On Friday, May 20, spectators have the chance to participate in the People’s Choice Wing Tasting event from 6 – 8 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the gate for $5 to taste wings and vote on favorites. There is no gate entrance fee on Friday, and there will be live music and large pour beers available for purchase from the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department.

On Saturday, May 21, there is a suggested donation of $5 at the gate for adults ages 13 and over. This includes live music, kids’ activities, access to the professional BBQ competition, food vendors and more. The craft beer tasting wristbands are sold separately. Prices are $20 in advance or $30 at the gate for adults 21+ and event hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Large pour beers are not included in the wristband price. There will be an after party at The Jackspot restaurant on Main Street from 7 – 10 p.m., which will feature live music, drink and food specials.

Event Director Daina Behe said, “We are so excited to be bringing this event back to Chincoteague for a second year. We had a blast last year, and were able to donate over $5,000 to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. This year, we’re hoping to double that donation with the growing support of the town and all of our attendees. As of today, our beer offerings include over 20 breweries who will be bringing at least two to three selections each, and we’re adding to that number.”

Sandy Fulton, event organizer and board member for the Kansas City Barbeque Society noted, “Excitement and smoke will be in the air once again when this BBQ contest comes back to Chincoteague for a second year. Professional BBQ cookers will be coming from up and down the East coast to compete in this contest. Pro BBQ food vendors will be there for you to try the best BBQ you have ever eaten. You also get a chance to vote for your favorite wings at our People’s Choice contest!”

For more information on the Saltwater Brew ‘N’ Que tickets and event lodging, please or contact Sarah Witkowski at 410-213-2600 or or contact Daina Behe at 848-459-8738 or .

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Another Visit to Stone!

Clay and I (with wives in tow) had a few in Stone's newish tasting room last Friday night. The tasting room is -as Clay put it- essentially, the hottest bar in RVA right now. To give you an idea of the vibe, we experienced people yelling directions at their Uber driver (they got annoyed eventually hung up), no where to sit for around 30 minutes, and a mixed crowd of older folks, young professionals, and students. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect from the newest bar in RVA.

The decor of Stone's tasting room is minimalist and industrial. If you've been to a tasting room before, you'll be familiar with the setting. Lots of metal and wood, concrete floor, and places to stand and sit. The staff are helpful and prompt despite suffering side glances and snide comments on a few occasions by impatient patrons.

We've arrived.

The four of us had a good time even if the venue is not equipped to be a bar. It would have been better had it not been 35°F outside -there is ample seating in the beer garden. The tasting room is going to be excellent once the crowds die down and the restaurant opens.

That isn't a line, just people hanging out.

The beer selection from Stone's repertoire is grand. On my first order I went straight for the chocolate with the Xocoveza Mocha Stout (pronounced "Chocoveza"). This milk stout is loved by many and is probably Clay's favorite Stone beer. This was my first Xocoveza, so I had no expectations and didn't know it's pedigree. It absolutely blew me away with its complex and rich flavors: chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, chili heat. This may well be my favorite Stone beer this year. It's astound how much flavor this beer conveys. My words will not do this beer service: just drink it and enjoy.

12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
My next order was the delicious 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout -a mouthful in many ways. This stout has a lot of flavor, but it's not quite the complexity of the Xocoveza. I probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't had one before, though. It's a very dark black stout with light brown head. The chocolate, oat, and malt smells are pleasing. In the mouth, the stout is very smooth and the alcohol is prominent. Smooth dark chocolate and surprising syrupy mouth feel make this beer a sipper. I really enjoyed this stout and likely will get a growler or two in the future.

All the people!

The bar with the goodies.
We had a good time and enjoyed the beer! The lighting is a little stark and the decor is spartan, but it's a tasting room -not a bar. If you expect a tasting room with dozens and dozens of Stone brews, you'll be satisfied. It's a great opportunity to taste some of Stone's harder to find beer and connect with the brewery. I would recommend going on a warm day or night. The beer garden will give everyone enough room to stretch out and be comfortable.

Have you been there yet? What did you think? Favorite Stone beer there?