Center of The Universe Brewing Co. – Chin Music – Chris Ray is a co-founder of this brewery. He played for the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners for seven seasons. During the offseason, he home brewed beer. After his playing days, he founded this company with his brother. This beer was made in conjunction with the Richmond Flying Squirrels which is an additional reason for the naming of this beer. I have in the past bemoaned amber lagers for becoming too hoppy. That was not the case with this one. It was malty goodness through and through. They did provide some hop punch with German Tettnang hops. They don’t list the IBU though so no telling how much they use. I can tell you that it is a session beer at 4.5% ABV. Good thing I had a few of them while we were making Smores in Richmond. You can use trinkin.com to find out if they distribute in your area. I suggest looking at the website because it is a fantastic beer.
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – Cream Ale – When we visited, this brewery was the intended destination instead of Strangeways Brewing. Because the later is indeed strange, I’m happy we had that problem. My brother had mixed up opening time for Saturday. He has promised to bring Hardywood’s Ginger Bread Stout to Thankmas this year which was on his Best Five Beers of the Year list for 2013. Their Cream Ale had a completely different profile obviously. This beer is in homage to their first ever canned beer sale which took place in Richmond in 1935. It so happened that beer was also a cream ale. I had this beer before having the Clear Sky from Wolf’s Ridge at the Grandview Digfest. I did have the same basic reaction to it though. It is very light, bubbly and almost soda pop like. The numbers confirm it too. The IBU is at 18 which makes the hops pretty much invisible. This beer is on the cusp of being non-alcoholic at 4.4% so it is definitely a session beer. This was a solid beer so if you happen to stroll in Virginia, they distribute it all over, so give it a try.
Weyerbacher – Viridis Lupulus – Now that we’re done with the Richmond beers, I’ll move on to one of the beers of the week from OHPA. This one from Weyerbacher has a lot behind it’s name. Viridis is Latin for “to sprout” and “green” which describes the second word Lupulus which is a root word for hops. Not too surprisingly the label has a nice, large green hop on it. This decoration did give me pause before purchasing it. Weyerbacher backed up the name by using a “ridiculous amount of El Dorado, Centennial and Bravo hops.” They even dry hopped it to use even more hops in the process. They also tell you not to cellar this beer. I’m not a cellar a beer kind of a guy. I’m impatient with my alcohol. Since I complied, it was good, right? Quite the opposite. It got into that hop territory that I can’t handle. It’s at 95 IBU which is my tap out zone. Some companies make it more palatable by adding a sweetener, adding plenty of malt or by adding a hop that is more fruity. Centennial is one of those that seems to do that trick but it didn’t in this beer. Even though it has bundles of hops, it only has an ABV of 7.5%. As much as I like this company, that’s not enough alcohol for me to enjoy this beer. This is a spring hop offering, so you won’t be able to try it until 2015 but I think I’ll take a pass on it.
This weekend marks a couple of events in which I may drink a lot of alcohol. Tonight, I am headed down to the Ohio Craft Brew Festival at the North Market. I enjoyed quite a few beers there last year but the review has been lost in the ether of transferring servers. On Saturday is a friends bachelor party that will start with tail gating for the Kent State loss to Ohio State. I’ll be sporting my blue & gold as always but this is going to be a long, long football season. When you lose to your cupcake, South Alabama, at home, you know you stink. Reviews to come next week. Go out and enjoy a #SippyTimeBeer at your tail gate too! – Kevin