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The craft beer scene in Richmond is booming. RVA’s newest addition — Garden Grove Brewery Co. (opening on February 14, 2015) — will be the 100th brewery in the Commonwealth. Legend Brewing Company has been around for over 20 years and more than a dozen craft breweries have opened in Richmond and the surrounding area in the past 5 years. Specialty stores like Corks & Kegs and the newly-opened Growlers To Go
(with 56 beers on tap including many local varieties) are thriving in the River City.
With California’s Stone Brewing Co. set to open its east coast headquarters in Richmond (including a brewery and a restaurant) by late 2016, Richmond will soon be a national destination for beer lovers. In fact, it already is.
Here are 10 RVA craft beers that you need to try if you live in or visit Richmond:
1. Hardywood Gingerbread Stout
Imperial Milk Stout, 9.2 ABV, Beer Advocate score = 96 (2012 Beer Advocate score = 100)
Hardywood’s Gingerbread Stout is like Christmas in your mouth. It is light and crisp and has some sweetness without being overly sweet. Try to find it on tap at the brewery or a local watering hole — otherwise, you’ll have to wait until November for this holiday treat.
2. Center of the Universe Pocahoptas
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IPA, 6.8 ABV, BA score = 87
Ashland’s COTU brewery makes this hoppy and delicious IPA. It is a year-round brew and definitely one of my favorite IPAs in Richmond. COTU just finalized a deal for distribution in Virginia Beach and Norfolk starting in February — the 757 is about to get a taste explosion.
3. Strangeways Albino Monkey
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Witbier, 5.0 ABV, BA score = 85
Strangeways makes a lot of interesting beers. Albino Monkey is a year-round beer with some subtle spice and citrus notes and it is now available in 6-packs.
4. Legend Brown Ale
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English Brown Ale, 5.8 ABV, BA score = 86
This is the old standby of RVA craft beers. Legend has been making this sweet nectar since 1994, long before most of the RVA craft breweries opened. The Brown Ale – Legend’s most popular brew – is full-bodied with hints of caramel and spice.
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5. Extra Billy’s Citra Ass Down
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American IPA, 6.8 ABV, BA score = 92
Extra Billy’s is a smokehouse and a brewery – that’s a great combination. Citra Ass Down is citrusy (hence the name), smooth and balanced. Try one with a half rack of ribs on the side.
6. Lickinghole Creek Three Chopt Tripel Ale
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Tripel, 9.3 ABV, BA score = 88
“Non-stopped hopped” is how Lickinghole Creek descibes its Tripel Ale. It is full-flavored with notes of lemon, lime and tropical fruit.
7. Triple Crossing Falcon Smash
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American IPA, 7.0 ABV, BA score = 83
Falcon Smash is double dry-hopped for a serious punch of hop. Check out Triple Crossing’s cool tasting room and deck downtown and try this tasty IPA.
8. Isley Choosy Mother
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Porter, 6.6 ABV, BA score = 91
This is a peanut butter oatmeal porter. Let me repeat that — a peanut butter oatmeal porter. Choosy moms choose Isley for this delicious and not-too-heavy porter.
9. Ardent Honey Ginger
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Summer Ale, 8.2 ABV, BA score = 82
Ardent makes one of my favorite summer brews. Honey Ginger is a seasonal ale that is smooth and refreshing with nice notes of ginger. Enjoy one in Ardent’s great beer garden this summer.
10. Midnight Brewery Not My Job
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English Brown Ale, 5.0 ABV
This smooth, easy-drinking brown ale is worth the drive to Goochland. Or just do what I did — grab a 64 ounce growler of Not My Job from Growlers To Go
What about you? Tells us your favorite RVA breweries in The RVA Beer Brawl!
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If you liked this post, you might also enjoy Top 20 Mid-Atlantic Breweries To Check Out and The RVA Beer Brawl.
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Matt "Chop" Friedman is a food, craft beer and pop culture enthusiast living in Richmond, Va. When Matt is not hanging out with his wife, Ashleigh, or Nellie, their Labrador puppy, he likely is waiting in long brewery lines for limited-release 6-packs or exploring RVA to find the next great restaurant! Matt Friedman is the genius behind Chop Culture