VA’s Great Craft Beer for the Great Outdoors

The strong showing Virginia’s breweries made at the Great American Beer Festival last weekend is just the latest indication that the Commonwealth is the birthplace of more than presidents. The state boasts over 100 craft breweries, from hyper-local upstarts to established tastemakers with multiple locations and big plans for expansion.

This bounty of beer is matched by another bounty that blesses Old Dominion: an impressive range of options for outdoor fun. From the Appalachian mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, there is as much to explore outside Virginia’s taprooms as in them.

So why not do both together? Continue reading

The Can Revival: Fresher! Greener! Right?

why canned craft beer makes life betterLast week, Bell’s Brewery announced that Hopslam, one of its most sought-after beers — one of the most sought-after craft beers bar none — would be released in cans next year, instead of bottles. Bell’s already offers flagship Two Hearted and summer seasonal Oberon in cans, but to entrust aluminum with the aromatic and delicious, oh-so-limited-release IPA that people hunt down, wait in line, and pay through the nose to get is a big step in the can revival. (They’re doing it because they have to, but still.)

There are now 2,063 canned craft beers from 533 breweries, according to CraftCans.com. The number of U.S. breweries just passed 4,000, so more than 1 in 4 American craft breweries can some of their beer. Even so, the can is still predominantly associated with the Buds, Millers, and PBRs of the world. Psychologically, it’s as hard to overcome as the screw-cap wine bottle dilemma. Continue reading

IPA Day: Five Reasons to Raise a Glass

I like big hops and I cannot lie
Those rhizome haters can’t deny
That when a beer goes down with a piney, citrus taste
And a bitter flash in your face
You get strung
Can’t drink fast enough
‘Cause you notice that beer’s robust…

It’s the “imperial age” of American craft beer, and the IPA is king. Last year, craft brewers took double digits in the U.S. beer market, and their most popular style continues, unmatched, to skyrocket up the charts and shakeup the industry.

Which makes August 7, IPA Day, feel like a cross between Independence Day and a birthday party for a benevolent dictator. Created by beer drinkers, brewers, and bloggers, it celebrates a style that serves the beer community as both boundary pusher and standard bearer.  Continue reading