The most resent and the newest World Beer Festival is the one in Richmond, VA. I was there on June 12 to be was part of this historic event. I have to say that this festival has the most spectacular venue of them all.
The ballpark venues in Durham are great in many ways. The atmosphere is historical and very special in Durham. It’s not often you can drink beer on the outfield at the historically famous Durham Athletic Park. And is there another beer festival on the outfield at a triple A ballpark like the Durham Bulls Athletic Park? Being at Brown’s Island in downtown Richmond is just terrific with the river surrounding the island and the downtown skyline in the background. It was not only the venue that was great. The participating breweries were also out of a great quality. One of my favorite breweries Firestone Walker was there and 21st Amendment Brewery, a brewery that I haven’t seen that often a the World Beer Festivals.
There is a small brewery on the North Carolina cost, right south of Virginia Beach called Weeping Radish Brewery and Restaurant. This is a really interesting brewery. It’s not only their beers that make them interesting. The brewery is at a farm where they also have a butchery and a Cafe Deli. They had chosen to come to the Richmond festival.
Since Richbrau so sadly closed earlier this year Richmond now only has one brewery, Legend Brewing Company. Legend is really something for Richmond to be proud of. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the staff at Legend and they are just a great bunch of people! The brewery has been around since 1994 and has been a natural part of the beer community in Richmond.
I love to sit at their patio in the evening and see the great view of downtown Richmond. It wouldn’t be a beer festival in Richmond if Legend wasn’t there.
One of Richmond’s great beer bars is Capital Ale House. They have 3 locations in Richmond and with a great selection of beers. On Fridays they have Friday Firkin. They serve a cask ale from what ever brewery that can get a cask from. Cask ale has become more and more popular her in America. As a cask ale lover I have to say one thing. Her in America, in general brewers and bars don’t know how to handle cask ale. They haven’t really understood the charm and importance with this slow maturing beer and the gentle handling it needs. I guess it doesn’t go together with the fast maximized profits demands some chains have. Cask ale takes time, it need to still and mature. It can take one or several days before it can be served. The Dogfish Head 90 minute I had on cask at Capital Ale House needed a little more maturing to be perfect. But most important of all it needed stilling. There were still plenty of yeast in the servings. The worst of all was that I got the last pint. That is usually not a problem if handled correctly. The bartender lifted the back end of the cask to get the last pint. Everyone that knows anything about cask ale know that all the yeast that have sunk to the bottom front end will come in that serving. That is a pint that you can’t serve! It looks like pus and taste only yeast. But that is what she did. And she tried to charge me $7.50 for it. Well, she didn’t get my money and I’m was happy to get a Legend Brown instead. I’m a little surprised that a good beer bar like Capital Ale House doesn’t educate their staff in such basic cask ale knowledge.
When I’m out beer traveling I eat to much bar food. I have to admit, the food at most of the beer bars I have been at is not very inspiring. They all have the same food items on the menu with only a slight difference. It’s good, filling not healthy and after a while just simply boring. I found a vegan and vegetarian restaurant called Ipanema with hope of some more healthy and interesting food. My hope of any good beers where not high. But to my surprise they had great food and a great beer selection. Now that is a sign of a mature beer community when a none traditional restaurant have a great beer selection. They had Bells Oberon, Lagunitas Pils, Ale Works Brown, Founders Cinnamon and Stone IPA. And the food was really good! I know that I’m my be a little prejudice and not thinking that a vegan restaurant can have good beer. Of course they can but the normally don’t. It’s the same with a Vietnamese restaurant. “Let’s go to a Vietnamese restaurant and have some good craft beers!” You don’t hear that very often except for maybe in Richmond. They have Mekong! About 10 Km (7 miles) from downtown Richmond, in a small strip-mall on a busy street is this great restaurant. The owner An Mekong is passionate about beer and brings so much to Richmond’s beer community. He has an impressive selection of Belgian beers and of course great Vietnamese food.