We’ve had a heck of a run in July with a ton of travel, an exciting Beer Bloggers Conference in North Carolina, and side trips up through Maryland and Pennsylvania. But now we are home. And there is no better month to stay in The Commonwealth than August. This is Virginia Craft Beer Month and if you are here, there are events all around celebrating the best in craft beer. We started our VCBM in Williamsburg at Whistle Belly, and by the reaction from several breweries and fans over on our Facebook page, we all had a great time. Of course the culmination of this month is the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival held at Devil’s Backbone Basecamp on August 22nd where the best beers in the state will be rewarded with some hardware.
Until then, there is plenty to talk about, especially today. August 6th is IPA Day, a day to celebrate the super hoppy quaff that Americans like to drink that Europeans still look at us and shake their heads. I’m not going to get into a history lesson today, but the American IPA and it’s varieties are at the top of the heap in world rankings. Virginia is not devoid of great IPAs, so here are a few that you can find around the state that are super worthy of picking up and toasting to today.
Bitter Valentine, Alewerks Brewing Company (Williamsburg, VA)
It is hard to not start a list without the original king. Bitter Valentine is in the VBR Hops of Fame for a reason. A DIPA that has been celebrated as one of the best in Virginia in any category and released around that one extra mushy day in February. It holds up as a great East Coast citrusy/hoppy/malty blend that is routinely sold out day 1.
Reviver Red IPA, Starr Hill Brewing (Crozet, VA)
A lot of great IPAs come out of Starr Hill, but we have been enjoying the Reviver more and more later into the summer. A great citrus malts in a solid IPA was a Top 50 beer in a recent blind taste test of the best IPAs in the country by Paste Magazine.
Double Falcon Smash, Triple Crossing Brewing (Richmond, VA)
How good is this beer? The IPA version Falcon Smash thoroughly confused our Californian imports, thinking this West Coast beer was from their state. The Double Falcon Smash was brought to a national bottle share in Asheville a few weeks ago (by other writers driving through our state on the way to the conference). It was a huge hit with the masses.
IPA Batch #13, Ardent Craft Ales (Richmond, VA)
Right down the road, Ardent unleashed this beauty the weekend we showed up for an impromptu tasting. The simcoe hops on this real hoppy citrusy beer shine through. When we talked with the brewers, it was one they did in their driveway before Ardent was around and now they are making it large scale. Win for us.
Spyhop, O’Connor Brewing Company (Norfolk, VA)
One of the hidden gems of Whistle Belly for us. It was a White IPA, so some really nice fruit and spice up front with a nice hop back. Hopefully we can find this again so we can get a nice solid review of it, but worth finding if you are down in the 757.