Canon & Draw Brewery in Richmond, VA, The new brewery opened by owners of Steam Bell Beer Works in Midlothian, Va, just west of Richmond.
by Phil Galewitz
Ahh. Baseball is back. And thankfully, most baseball stadiums have embraced local craft brewers. This is nowhere more apparent than at Oriole Park at Camden Yards – which was built on the sight of Babe Ruth’s family saloon. The stadium is home to Dempsey’s Brew Pub, which brews on site. Dempsey’s is named for Rick Dempsey the beloved 1983 World Series MVP catcher. Several other Maryland-made brews are sold at the ballpark including a selection from Baltimore-based Heavy Seas and Union Craft Brewing. This year, the folks from Frederick, MD-based Flying Dog have introduced a baseball-themed sud called Bleacher Beer that’s sold inside and outside of Camden Yards. It’s the perfect brew to drink on those warm days in the bleachers – or any other seat. The 4.6% lager is crisp and lighter than most craft beers today. As a result, it pairs well with, you guessed it, peanuts and cracker jacks. Cans are appropriately emblazoned in the Orioles’ colors.
Also new for Flying Dog this season is a brew sure to please those who like a little heat with their cold beer – the Heat Series Pepper Pack. It includes Honeydew Jalapeno Wheat, 5.5%, where jalapeno meets subtle tartness of the wheat base; Bird’s Eye Rye, a 5.3% beer that has spicy notes of rye and chili peppers that cling to citrus hop and bready malt sweetness; Bloody Mary Ale, 6.8%, brewed with habanero pepper and lime and Scorpion Pepper Fruited IPA, 7.7%, beer with the hottest of hot peppers meeting pear, blood orange and citrus hop bitterness.
Beer supports so many good causes today. I saw that first hand as a guest at the annual Cystic Fibrosis Brewers Ball in the National Building Museum in March. Forty breweries poured some favorites matched with terrific food from 25 local restaurants including Hank’s Oyster Bar and Matchbox. A silent auction of incredible beer and travel related pleasures took part before the 1980s band performed. The ball raises funds for the Metropolitan Washington chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which has contributed greatly toward research for new treatments, programs and care for those with CF.
Beer also supports local brewer’s guilds that support the craft beer movement. To aid the DC Brewers Guild, DC Brau hosted HopFest 2018 on April 7, an event that featured unlimited pours of hop-forward brews from over 15 Mid-Atlantic breweries including Mad Fox, Denizens and 3 Stars Brewing.
With so many great breweries in the Baltimore-DC area its great to see so many working together. Heavy Seas in Baltimore is collaborating this spring with Right Proper Brewing in Washington on a Café au Lait Vanilla Malted Oak Stout. It’s brewed with malted oats, milk sugar, vanilla bean and coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Co.
Port City of Alexandria, VA, has one of the best taprooms in the DMV area. On April 19 it will host brewing trivia night in association with beer experts from the Heurich House Museum in Washington, aka, the Brewmaster’s Castle.
One of the nation’s top craft beer events – Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience – returns to the National Building Museum in Washington June 1-2. The Brewers Association event is bigger than ever this year with 90 craft brewers serving 180 beers. The beers are paired with food made by a host of all-star local chefs including Mike Friedman from The Red Hen and Nathan Anda of Red Apron Butchery. Each $135 ticket includes a unique parting gift: a collaboration beer created by Crux Fermentation Project of Bend, Oregon, and Port City Brewing. Brett de Vinum is a barrel-aged imperial wit that showcases each brewery’s strengths while paying homage to their shared wine making roots. Details here: SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience,
Steam Bell Beer Works of Chesterfield, VA has opened its second brewery, Canon & Draw in Richmond’s historic Fan District. The 5,000 sq ft space on West Main Street has a taproom, a seasonal food menu and a space for private events. Canon & Draw Brewing offers at least eight beers, including lagers, saisons and IPAs. It will include a different lineup of brews than are seen at the Chesterfield location with a focus on IPAs. One of its featured beer is L’appel du Vide, a 10.5% barleywine made with classic American hops.
Heritage Brewing Co., a veteran-owned brewery in Manassas and Arlington, VA, is making a host of changes, including updating the brand and its logo; it’s also introducing a new lineup of flagship cans and beers. With the arrival of 2018, founders and veteran brothers Ryan and Sean Arroyo are at last working full-time, side by side in the brewery. “We have taken our lessons learned in our five years in the industry and made impactful changes to our processes and recipes,” said Sean Arroyo.
Ryan honorably finished his service with U.S. Army recently where he served for 10 combat deployments, and received the Purple Heart, and 4 Bronze Stars amongst other awards. Sean served in the Marines, doing duty in Iraq. The new brand and logo gives a nod to the two veteran founders of our company with its subtle stars side by side. Heritage’s Freedom Isn’t Free ale has been given a fresh restart with a newly refined hop profile to accentuate certain hop aromas, increase citrus flavors and reduce bitterness. The end result is a bright and floral, citrusy pale ale with a medium to light body and a crisp malt finish. Heritage has also launched a new flagship, Civil Works, a lager with subtle honey sweetness that will replace American Expedition, a pale wheat ale.
Richmond, VA-based Hardywood Park Craft Brewery is opening a second location in April about a 20-minute drive outside the city. Hardywood West Creek, nestled on 24 bucolic acres overlooking Tuckahoe Creek was designed to deliver the ultimate craft brewery experience. There’s a 55,000 sq ft brewing and packing facility, including a 60-bbl brewhouse. Visitors will enjoy three service bars in a 4,000 square-foot ground level taproom that includes arcade games, shuffleboard and stage. There’s also a 1,500 sq-ft mezzanine-level taproom & rentable private event space. It’s a bright airy space and outside includes a service bar and 2,000 sq ft patio with fire pit and bocce courts and outdoor amphitheater.
With two adjacent tap rooms in Richmond and another in Charlottesville, West Creek will mark the third location for Hardywood but its by far the biggest.
Wicked Weed Brewing, one of the revered brand of beer in North Carolina (acquired last year by AB InBev), has begun selling its ales across Virginia. Known for brewing West Coast hoppy ales and authentic Belgian ales, Wicked Weed has reputation for producing beers that extend the boundaries of the craft beer industry. From fruity IPAs, like Pernicious to French toast inspired imperial stouts, Wicked Weed covers the full spectrum of beers. Wicked will be distributed in the commonwealth by Virginia Eagle Distributing Co.
Washington, DC – based Bluejacket Brewery is selling its first batch of canned beers at the Navy Yard restaurant and brewery. Beer director Greg Engert plans to make available 100 cases per week of select brews – starting with American-style IPA Lost Weekend ($15 per 4-pack of 16-oz cans.)
There’s dozens of great places to drink great beer in the DC area. Who’s the best? The RAMMMY nominations for best Beer Program for 2018 went to Owen’s Ordinary in Rockville, Republic in Takoma Park, MD and Roofers Union, Brasserie Beck and The Sovereign in DC. The annual RAMMY awards are presented by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. The winners will be announced in June.