Richmond VA: Home to Arts & Craft Breweries Galore
Richmond, Virginia may seem sleepy at first glance, but don’t be deceived – it’s a city on the rise and its craft beer industry is no exception.
By Haley Kieser on Jan. 18, 2018
Artistic inspiration is in no short supply, as across the town colorful murals splash over brick and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art houses a collection of token era pieces and rotating modern installations. Weird history tidbits are everywhere, from the haunting Poe Museum to the array of known names resting at the Hollywood Cemetery. Technology and business development are rising to prominence in the city too – in fact, both Amazon and Facebook are set to develop big projects in Richmond in the near future.
Truly, this is a place where anyone can find their niche. As a hipster haven, it seems only fitting that Richmond’s eclectic mix of rich history and urban development would be home to one of the most noteworthy burgeoning craft beer scenes.
History is essential to Richmond, and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery is just as essential when it comes to craft breweries in the city. Back in 2012 when the law finally allowed for beer to be served at a brewery without a restaurant, Hardywood Park was amongst the first setting the scene and paving the way. Hence, this beloved brewery is a staple.
The biggest focus for Hardywood Park is minimizing their environmental impact, sourcing their power from renewable energy, using recycled packaging, and serving their acclaimed Kentucky Christmas Morning. What’s not to love about a brewery who cares?
As would be expected in an urban and rapidly developing city, Richmond always has something new to do, and Hardywood Park has been in the same mindset since opening. They host both taproom and off-site events and are also a hot spot on many brewery tours.
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery also fits perfectly into this mindset, a water-conscious brewery focused on clean living and simplicity. While their original location is set on a farm deep in the heart of Goochland, this past year they expanded to downtown Richmond, much to the excitement of residents. In true Richmond fashion, they’re looking to provide their services with a twist. The plan in the works involves a mock indoors food truck set-up, meant to display the talents of a variety of food truck chefs with temporary stays.
Strangeways Brewing strikes a mix of whimsical and just plain strange with the array of craft beers they offer. Their weekly game nights and trivia nights draw a crowd, but it’s the eclectic flavors that keep people there. A constant on their menu is the Albino Monkey (a Belgian White Ale), or a more adventurous soul could order an Oak Barrel Aged Gingerbread Gourd of Thunder (an Imperial Pumpkin Porter). Either way, the tasty drinks and relaxed atmosphere make for a raved-about craft brewery that’s sure to enjoy a long stay in the city.
Whimsical and strange could also be used when it comes to describing Triple Crossing Brewing, located in Downtown Richmond. Colorfully painted tables and an eye-catching full-wall mural draw your attention, right before you notice the life-sized velociraptor perched above the bar. In keeping with their decor, the brewery focuses on fresh, attention-grabbing combinations to ensnare their patrons.
Turning right at whimsical and landing at mythological, Väsen Brewing Company’s decor features what looks like rough stone carved from the ground and woodsy features in a pale setting. The Scandinavian brewing company is utterly Richmond, offering a balanced array classic wheat beers and pale ales with creative and exotic new flavor combinations. They also bring a focus on the great outdoors (fitting, as Richmond sits on the James River), creating ambassadors from the outdoorsy-est folks they feel embody their brewery.
Fans of Major League Baseball may recognize Chris Ray as a former pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles. However, craft beer enthusiasts in Richmond know him better as the co-owner of Center of the Universe, another successful brewery he operates with his brother Phillip Ray. Their focus on community and steady service has developed a steady following, and most regular patrons recommend you try a Ray-Ray’s Pale Ale (yes, it’s named for the owners) whilst kicking back on their scenic terrace.
Community is also a focus for Garden Grove Brewing and Urban Winery, located in the colorful and crowded Carytown. A smaller-scale establishment, Garden Grove embodies what one would expect of a craft brewery – they avoid mass production and bottling, instead focusing on creating exceptional quality brews with new twists each time. They also offer an assortment of wines, sourced from Virginia vineyards.
All of these amazing options, and that’s only just a taste of what Richmond has to offer. Whether you walk on the weird side or prefer a quiet atmosphere, the craft breweries of the city leave no stone unturned and offer a variety of choices as enticing and exciting as the city itself.
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