There is no shortage of great breweries in Richmond ...
The Richmond area is home to more than 30 craft breweries, distilleries and cider houses and hundreds of restaurants serving locally made draft beer and cider.
In fact, Richmond, the state capital of Virginia, has a long love affair with craft beer. The history of this region is closely linked to the beer culture that dates back over 150 years. Richmond was even the first place where beer was sold in a can in 1935!
But it was not all easy. There is had a lot of booms and busts throughout Richmond's history, but currently the city is experiencing a craft beer boom.
The 12 Best Breweries in Richmond, Virginia
Quench your thirst in Virginia's capital and find out why Vinepair named Richmond the # 1 beer destination in the world for 2018.
With over 30 craft breweries and more on the way, it's easy to see why the Wall Street newspaper said Richmond "is home to one of the region's fastest growing beer venues."
Owned by the Mekong River and located right next to the world famous beer bar, Reply Brewpub, opened in 2014 to allow Mekong founder An Bui to take his passion for craft beer further. Answer offers over 56 years and a magnificent stage for live music. The taproom has an old-fashioned retro video game vibe and includes some old arcade games.
Ardent artisan ales
Located in Scott's bill, Ardent artisan ales prides itself on having unique beers, knowledgeable staff and a wonderful outdoor dog cafe. The brewery started out as a cooperative, operating out of the Richmond Garage, where the founders sought to create innovative beers and introduce historic styles to the Richmond market. Along with a delicious and usually unexpected list of dishes, this Richmond brasserie also offers a menu of local cuisine in small plates.
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Hardywood Park officially began its mission of brewing with a purpose in late 2011 as one of only two craft breweries in the city of Richmond. The original brewery and taproom was an empty warehouse uncovered in a long-forgotten neighborhood known almost a century before as the German brewing district of Richmond. They now operate a 20 barrel brewery and taproom at the original location, as well as a 60 barrel brewery and destination brewery in the West Creek area of Richmond, just on the border with Goochland County. I love them for their seasonal Gingerbread Stout as well as their incredibly delicious and classic Richmond Lager.
Final Gravity Brewing Co.
Final gravity is a Richmond nanobrewery that offers 12 to 18 fresh craft beers on tap. Along with an impressive line-up on their menu, the taproom offers arcade games and a dog terrace. Oh, and if you're looking to browse the homebrewing, head next to their shop, Original Gravity, for all of your brewing supplies.
Isley Brewing Company
Isley brewing opened in 2013 and was one of the first breweries in Richmond's Scott's Addition neighborhood. To this day, founding brewer Josh Stamps still brews award-winning beers with his “artisan” approach to brewing. If you visit the taproom, be sure to pick up their award-winning (locally loved) peanut butter porter: Choosy Mother!
Legend Brewing Company
Legendary brewing is a functional pub with a menu of German-influenced cuisine and its own beers, as well as a huge terrace with perfect views over the city center skyline. It was one of Richmond's first breweries and continues to be a favorite spot for locals and beer travelers.
Main Line Brewery
Main line The Richmond Brewery is proud to offer an ever-changing selection of craft beers (and now hard seltzers) that they curate with a busy schedule of live entertainment. Located along the Richmond Railroad, this brewery was founded by childhood besties, Sterling Roberts and Gary McDowell. Their hard work is the culmination of a shared dream of creating a space for their friends and family, as well as all of their neighbors to come together and share a local beer together.
Starr Hill Beer Hall & Rooftop (have not been)
Starr Hill was founded in 1999 in a music hall in the nearby town of Charlottesville. There are five locations across the state of Virginia, but their new location in Richmond's Scott's Addition neighborhood is quite unique. Working with a custom 10 barrel brewing system, Starr Hill also features five American white oak foeders and serves as the brewery's premier location dedicated to the production of wild beers.
Stone Brewing Co.
Like most popular beer towns, it doesn't take long before the big ones start showing up. Stone Brewing is consistently one of the top ten biggest beer producers in the world, and they choose Richmond as the place of their first east coast brewing and distribution center. Opened in 2016, their Richmond location includes a bistro and taproom with a long list of all those amazing Stone beers.
Triple Crossing Brewing Company
Triple cross brewing takes its name from the historic monument that sits in the heart of Richmond. This location is believed to be the only one in North America where three Class 1 railroads intersect at the same location at different levels. The brewery itself has a rotating range of hop forward IPAs and traditional English porters and stouts, as well as everything in between. Today there are two locations in Richmond, and both offer Neapolitan-style thin crust pizzas as well as outdoor dog seating.
The Veil Brewing Company
The Veil Brewery at Scott's Addition focusing on hop-forward ales, high gravity barrel aging and spontaneous fermentation. It was named one of the “Hottest Breweries in America Right Now” by Gear Patrol in 2019. And for good reason too… Scott's Addition brewery focuses on hop-forward beers, aging in barrel with high gravity and spontaneous fermentation. You will always find something new, delicious and very interesting (or experimental a better word?) at their taproom.
Väsen Brewing Company
AT Väsen brewingit's about creating something bigger than yourself that shines through the beers they brew. They have developed a distinctive brewing process in which they produce balanced and easy-to-brew beers. And with their barrel aging program, you can also expect to find tons of great farmhouse beers and seasons when you visit their taproom at Scott's Addition.
Bonus stop: Mekong Restaurant
Richmond is home to Vietnamese restaurant MEKONG, one of the best beer bars in the country! In addition to some of the most delicious Vietnamese food you have ever tasted on the East Coast, the Mekong River has over 50 taps and over 200 bottles of amazing beer from around the world. This Richmond beer bar (located next to Answer Brewpub) is a must-see when you're in the area!
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Whether it’s your first time with a coffret, or your hundredth all-grain brew, you need to ferment it in something suitable. Most of the time your possibilités are between a bucket and a carboy. Carboys or demijohns look nicer, especially if they’re glass, but can be a pain to clean. Food-grade plastic buckets lack glamour, but are practical – just make sure you get one with a close-fitting lid that’s suitable for an airlock. As with most things there are more expensive alternatives, but while they’re good, they’re not necessary. You can find buckets and demijohns at Brew Store or The Malt Miller.
If you’re making beer, then you need to be rigorous about cleanliness during the brew. VWP is an absolutely no-nonsense cleaner and steriliser for getting everything ready beforehand. During the brew, a no-rinse sanitiser is invaluable. Between the two, spoilt and infected beer shouldn’t be a problem. You can buy cleaning products online from Brew Store and The Malt Miller.
Invest in some airtight plastic conteneurs. Malt, kept dry and cool, should be fine for six months, but get rid of it after that – you’re only going to get stale flavours if you use stale malt. Likewise, dried yeast will keep, if sealed and chilled, but it will lose potency and reliability. Hops do not improve with age. Be doubtful of any before last year’s harvest, however cheap.
While a good book is an invaluable reference, there will be a time you come across something that flummoxes you. It’s very unlikely you will be the first, and just as unlikely someone else hasn’t discussed it. From the magisterial, if dense, How to Brew by John Palmer to the uncountable cercles d'entraides and blogs discussing minutiae, such as Brewer’s Friend, there’ll be something to help.
Avoid grande amounts of table sugar, cane sugar or dextrose as fermentable sugars in your homebrew. They will ferment out completely and leave a very dry, almost ‘cidery’ flavour to your beer. This is what is recognized by many as the ‘homebrew’ taste. If you are looking for an easy way to improve this, swap these sugars with dry malt extract.
Most coffret beers are designed to appeal to a wide range of people and therefore have a fairly simple flavour that it not very bitter. They are also generally bittered by using hop extract that adds bitterness but little hop flavour or aroma. Boil some water and add ½ an ounce ( 14 grams ) of any hop variety known for their flavour and aroma characteristics for 20 minutes. This will add a much improved change to the flavour of the beer. Add another ½ ounce ( 14g ) for the last 5 minutes of the boil to add a pleasant hoppy aroma. Simply strain the ‘hop soup’ into your fermenter with the rest of the top-up water. These simple hops additions will make a remarkable difference to your kit beers.
tera wake a packet of dry yeast up and ensure that it is ready to start work as soon as it is pitched, try rehydrating it. Boil a cup ( 250mls ) of water for 5 minutes and then pour it into a sterilized container. Wait for the water to cool down to at least 80°F/27°C and sprinkle your packet of yeast over the top. Leave this for about 15-30 minutes, when you should start to see it get nice and foamy. Once your wort has cooled enough, pitch this and it will start fermentation much earlier.
If you would really like to get things started, follow the process above but add a tablespoon of dry malt extract to the water before boiling it. After pouring the water to a jar, add your yeast when cool enough and place cling wrap over the top to protect from the environment. Leave for at least 45 minutes at room temperature and you should start to see fermentation activity.
The length of time for fermentation on the side of your kit beer can is almost definitely not long enough. The manufacturers are in the business of selling product and these instructions will make beer, but it won’t be great beer. This should be extended out to 10-14 days.
Although your beer will be carbonated after about a week in the bottle, leave it for a few more to allow for the flavors to settle. This is especially relevant for beer made from kits as it will help remove some of the biroute found in young/’green’ beer.
In order to efficiently multiply and get to the of converting sugar to alcohol, yeast needs a sufficient amount of oxygen in your wort. If brewing using malt extract this can be reached a few ways including by shaking the water you are using to top up your wort, or by pouring it from a great height into your fermenter.
Don’t be too worried about removing your beer from the primary fermenter as soon as fermentation has finished. The Autolysis that you are seeking to avoid will take well over a month and in most cases a single stage fermentation is fine.
If you are looking to control fermentation temperature, place the fermenter in a large conteneur of water to cool it and prevent temperature fluctuations. Wrapping a wet towel around it and pointing a fou at it cools it even more through evaporative cooling. A few frozen plastic bottles of water are also perfect for cooling the water and your fermenting beer.
If you insist on using a two stage fermentation, use a bottling bucket ( or something else with a spigot ) for a primary. That way you only need a length of hose to rack into the secondary. The spigot will also be far enough off the bottom that the trub will get left in the primary with little extra effort – just tilt the fermenter forward at the end.
The activity of your airlock should only be seen as one indication that something is happening. There are many others indications and a faulty seal on your fermenter could stop anything from happening in the airlock.
The starting cell count is usually quite low with liquid yeast cultures. If you make a yeast starter about a day before brewing, you can avoid some potential issues from under-pitching the yeast.
If you are trying to cool a partial boil, place the whole brew bocal into a sink or tub of cold water. You may need to change this water a few times but it is far easier to cool a small récipient of wort in a temperature conductive conteneur ( i. e. your brew bocal ) than a large amount of liquid in a fermenter. Adding your cooled wort to even colder water ( or ice ) in the fermenter will serve to cool it even further and should hopefully get you close to yeast pitching temperatures.
Dry yeast packets are perfect for new homebrewers. They have a nice high cell count and are very easy to use. Hydrating these takes very little time and will help get fermentation sérieux earlier.
Get into the habit of sanitizing everything that will come in contact with your wort or beer after the boil.
Extract kits have come a long way from the dusty back shelves of Boots of yesteryear, and give you a simple, affordable way to try out the hobby with very acceptable results. Established breweries like St. Peters and Woodfordes have decent packs in boutiques and online at about £20, for example from Wilko or Brew.
Use a no-rinse sanitiser… This shouldn’t need an explanation and I am yet to hear of a real reason not to
Following on from above – Don’t use bleach as a sanitizer…ever. It is to rinse out and if any comes in contact with the maltose in your wort it has the potential to completely ruin your batch. There are so many better products available that this shouldn’t even be a consideration
Whatever sanitizer you use, put some of it in a spray bottle for quick sanitation during brew time.
Make sure you read and understand the recipe before you start brewing. Also make sure that you have all the ingredients handy before you start. These seem like simple things but the last 15 minutes can get a little crazy… especially if you started drinking while sanitizing
Beer is very resilient so don’t be too worried if you make a mistake while brewing. Although it may not be exactly the beer you were after, you will probably still have something tasty and worth drinking.
Leave the lid off your brew pot while it is boiling. The process of boiling actually vaporises chemicals that are not wanted in the beer and they evaporate out. The lid doesn’t need to be completely off if you are having trouble maintaining a rolling boil but should at least be enough for the steam to escape.
Keep a record of every beer that you make, no matter how simple the recipe. This record will allow you to recall and tweak your brews when all that remains in the future is a couple of stray bottles and a desire for more
Especially when starting out, keep your ingredients and brews as simple as possible. It is much easier to add to a simple recipe that is missing something than it is to remove from something complex
Start by getting a solid grasp of the sanitization, fermentation and bottling processes and work from there.
If you have a choice, choose a fermenter or bottling bucket with a spigot/tap over one without. The siphoning required otherwise isn’t but it is still one more unnecessary step.
Bulk priming your beer is a simple addition to your bottling process that will add much greater control and consistency in the amount of priming sugar in your bottles.
The quality of your beer will be relative to the quality of the ingredients used. Always go for the freshest and best quality possible. Always make sure that extract is within any specified dates, yeast is fresh and that hops are nice and green
But most importantly… just relax and remember that you probably aren’t going to ruin your beer – It isn’t as delicate as you think