Patrick Henry was a Virginian and might have decried “the tyrannical oppression of industrial beer,” to quote Stone. In opening their new Richmond brewery, they collaborated with Ardent Craft Ales and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, both of Richmond, and with “His Excellency, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Governor.”
Opening the cap releases a high hop aroma of resin, pine and dried grapefruit rind. Beneath this is medium bready malt, mostly masked. A toasted caramel note emerges. The beer is hazy amber with a generous creamy off white head, heavily lacing the glass, with good persistence. On the palate comes a high earthy, resiny hop flavor with citrus peel and notes of overripe orange. The bitterness is very high. Bready, cakey malt provides backbone and prevents a total hop rampage, but there’s nothing balanced about it! Slight melon esters come underneath, then it finishes dry, with a long, bitter, earthy aftertaste. The body comes in above medium fullness with a heaviness more like oiliness than creaminess. The carbonation is medium, and the bitterness is strong enough to manifest as astringency puffing up the lips.
Overall? In game terms, “Hoppy Boots of Overkill.” This is a heavy earthy resin&pine hop bomb with no attempt at nuance. “Here I am; deal with it.” So, if you love hops with attitude, and aren’t looking for a citrusy sort, go for it.
Fredericksburg, Virginia is just north of Richmond, but this cry for freedom comes from Frederiksberg, Denmark.
The aroma of this Grisette Ale is complex, sweet and sour and funky with a crackery malt base, medum citrusy hops, and Belgian yeast character with stone fruit & banana. It pours cloudy golden straw with a medium bubbly white head, quite persistent. The flavor starts citrusy followed immediately by Brett-like funk over cracker & bread malt, then peach & melon esters. Low but distinct bitterness. Finishes quite dry with lingering yeast & funk.
Grisette Ale is an interesting style like a drier, grittier cousin of saison. The brewery seems to claim that this one is an ancient “collaboration” of Viking raiders and French monks who were too slow to get away. Viking raiders: “Here WE are, deal with it.” Not a favorite of mine–other than the great name–but could be quite refreshing.
Mexican from Massachusetts, this starts with medium high chocolate aroma with vegetal/pepper notes over bread and cake malt and low earthy hops. Toffee emerges as it warms. This is opaque brown even when held to direct sunlight and has an off-tan head. On the palate, caramel and cake malts lead immediately through chocolate into spicy pepper flavor. There is no apparent hop flavor and only medium low bitterness. The balance comes from spicy pepper, not hot, just warming. It finishes on the sweet side but nicely offset by spice so it’s not remotely cloying. It’s a bourbon sweetness with light oakiness in the aftertaste including vanilla…ah, there are vanilla beans in the brew! Also cinnamon. The body is medium full, silky, accented by a little spicy heat.
This has all the elements of a mole, however, I’m not pouring it over enchiladas! It’s a very nice warming beer, to my taste more for winter than for summer, but very much a beer to sip and savor. Pretty amazing that this is a lager!