Visiting Richmond, VA

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2017-12-15_19-23-13_027Every once in a while, I get to leave the confines of my office and hit the road. ¬†I had to head up to Richmond, VA last week for a couple of days of meetings. ¬†Once I locked in my travel plans, I took a look at the numerous Richmond breweries and bottleshops. ¬† Richmond is quite a hotbed of craft beer these days, so there were many more places than I could visit during the little free time I would have during my time there. ¬†I mapped out the few on my must visit list that appeared to be on the way to north Richmond – Veil, Hardywood, and The Answer. ¬† ¬†On top of that, fortune was smiling upon me – Veil was releasing a new batch of Oreo Hornswoggler Chocolate Milk Stout on the Tuesday I would be driving up there. ¬†I was able to get a couple of cans of Peanut Butter Oreo Horns a few months ago and really enjoyed them. ¬†So having a release of Oreo Horns while I’m there was great news.

The drive up was uneventful and I arrived in Richmond around 5:30pm. ¬†Fighting rush hour traffic, I found Veil located on a side street just off the main drag in Richmond (Broad St.). ¬†I also found a long, long line snaking outside of the building. ¬†I expected a line, but this was a LINE. ¬†I was in no mood to wait, so disappointingly I headed to my hotel to get a good night’s sleep to be ready for my meetings.

After a solid day of productive meetings, I checked Facebook and again luck was on my side РOreo Horns were still available!  I had about 2 hours before dinner so I
headed to Veil. ¬†This time the line was about 5 people long – my kind of line! ¬†I was in 2017-12-16_16-29-31_238and out of Veil in 15 minutes with my Oreo Horns. ¬†The only downside was that I didn’t get a special token to get a limited edition Hornswoggler glass! (Note to the good people at Veil – I still would like a glass…). ¬†Since the visit was so efficient, I decided to head over to Hardywood, which is about a 10 minute drive from Veil. ¬†As it was with Veil, Hardywood was busy, but I was able to walk right to the counter and get a bottle of Christmas Morning, a bottle of Rum Barrel Gingerbread Stout and a nice matching Hardwood GBS 2017-12-16_16-12-41_185glass. ¬†I was hoping to find Kentucky Christmas Morning, but they sold out of bottles a day or two prior…..and although they had KCM on tap, I passed and headed back to meet my dinner commitments.

On my way back to dinner, I passed The Answer and a Total Wine….unfortunately, not enough time to stop at either. ¬†Why Total Wine? ¬†I like to visit Total Wines as they provide insight into the local craft beer market and what is available in the market they serve.

My last day in Richmond wrapped a bit earlier than expected, so as I was heading out, I took the opportunity to stop at that Total Wine. ¬†I walked around a bit and while I didn’t buy anything, the most interesting takeaway 2017-12-14_15-59-05_984was the picture on the left. ¬†There you see Bell’s Black Note Stout in quantity! ¬†Here in Raleigh, Black Note was a hot commodity at release, usually with a 1 per person allocation. ¬†Here in Richmond, it sits.

Heading back to Raleigh was another uneventful drive safely wrapping up a productive couple days of meetings and visits to a couple of local breweries. ¬†Unfortunately, I didn’t visit The Answer; that will just have to wait until the next time I’m there. ¬†I also want to visit the new Stone Brewing facility….and Lickinghole Creek (although that’s a bit of a drive from Richmond)….and a few others!

Are there any other breweries, bottleshops, or restaurants in Richmond that I should check out the next time I’m there? ¬†Let me know…drop me a comment!

Until next time – have a Stoutstanding week!

 

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A To-TOLL-y great time!

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2017-12-10_14-55-00_467If anyone follows my Instagram or Twitter feeds, you’ll know that The Toll from Raleigh Brewing is one of my favorite local Stouts. ¬†To celebrate all things Toll, the good people at Raleigh Brewing decided to hold a “Fireside Chat”. ¬†For a nominal admission price, you could enjoy unlimited pours (within reason of course) of 7 different Tolls – 2014 through 2017 The Toll as well as Rum, Bourbon and Port barrel aged The Toll.2017-12-10_14-54-10_543 ¬†There was food for all participants and everyone from Raleigh Brewing was available to chat – the Owners, the Brewers, and many of the staff.

I was fortunate enough to attend and really enjoyed myself. ¬†It was a well run event and everyone from Raleigh Brewing was very friendly and accommodating. ¬†I was able to get a few minutes with the owner of Raleigh Brewing, Kristie Nystedt, and she shared with me the reason for holding this event. ¬†Raleigh Brewing never has held a release event for The Toll so this was a way to celebrate this popular Stout and it’s dedicated fan base.

I also was able to spend some time with the Head Brewer, Scott Craddock and the 2017-12-03_19-10-39_777other Raleigh Brewing brewers. ¬†I asked them about their plans for The Toll and where they were looking to take their franchise Stout. ¬†Specifically, I asked whether we would see any adjuncts (Coffee, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Coconut, etc.) in any upcoming releases. ¬†Scott’s focus on The Toll is to make it the best Stout they know how – no adjuncts. ¬†It’s clear that they know what is happening in the Stout world and they have no interest in duplicating what is already in the market. ¬†They want to standout and be a leader by focusing on their strengths.

They do like to experiment with barrel aging, however. ¬†Raleigh Brewing releases an annual Bourbon Barrel Aged version of The Toll (the 2017 vintage was just released a few weeks ago) and had on tap at the event a Rum Barrel Aged version and a Port Barrel Aged version. ¬†I really enjoyed the Rum Barrel Toll and the Bourbon Barrel Toll is always solid. ¬†As for the Port Barrel Toll, I wasn’t a big fan. ¬† I was able to get the grape flavoring from the barrel but didn’t really think that added to the overall 2017-12-03_19-23-47_174flavor profile. ¬†That seemed to be a common theme in my discussions with other attendees.

I was also able to steal a few moments with the Amy Hanson, Raleigh Brewing’s Marketing and Events Manager. ¬†She was gracious and welcoming to all of the attendees.. ¬†We talked about social media and how important it is to local craft brewers like Raleigh Brewing. ¬†We also discussed the Triangle Craft Beer Alliance, which was formed to promote the local craft beer industry – brewers, bottle stores, basically anyone affiliated with craft beer in the Triangle.

Reflecting on the Fireside Chat, I thought Raleigh Brewing did a great job promoting not only The Toll but Raleigh Brewing as a local small business. ¬†Getting to know the people behind the logo makes you more loyal to that logo. ¬†Thanks to Kristie, Scott, Amy and the rest of the Raleigh Brewing staff for the well run event…..and for The Toll!