Ross’s guide to drinking beer in the City

Allow me to take you on a totally biased tour of my favorite places to swill and sip beers in Richmond. And guys, St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a beer drinker’s penultimate holiday so this is, like, celebrating American cultural history! In a way!

Last Saturday I had some friends over to play D&D* and the Dungeon Master brought a four pack of Monk’s Blood (a Belgian dark ale by the 21st Amendment Brewery) to share. Can you imagine a more appropriate beer for a long night of D&D than MONK’S BLOOD? I will posit that the context in which you consume a beer is more important than — to a point — the quality of the beer. What say you!?

Look, I know you can go to wherever and drink a twelve dollar glass of Trappist ale served to you in a chalice decorated with the bones of your fallen enemies, but does it really beat drinking an ice cold Miller Highlife on the porch after moving your best friend out of his shitty Fan apartment into an even shittier Fan apartment? I say, good sir, that it does not.

So, with that in mind, allow me to take you on a totally biased tour of my favorite places to swill and sip beers in Richmond. And guys, St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a beer drinker’s penultimate holiday so this is, like, celebrating American** cultural history! In a way!


Garnett’s looks like the place Michael J. Fox would have gone in Doc Hollywood after a long day of listening to that zany/incompetent old doctor. It’s got this adorable counter that you can sit at, drink beers from its handful of well chosen taps, and eat amazing cakes.

Best context: Guys, all the single ladies would *love* to be taken here on a date or some such — whatever it is you single kids do these days. I hear it’s called sexting.

Leg Width to Jean Width Quotient***: 0.72

Legend Brewing Company

I mean, obvious right? It’s got the best view of the City in the City, and the best porch sit around. The only problem is that March is still, like, in the Winter. Hopefully we’ll get some of that sweet Global Warming California’s got and it’ll turn our weather frown upside down.

Also, I know everyone loves the Brown Ale — it’s their biggest seller; but, dang, that Lager is my jam lately.

Best context: A round of pitchers with the boys (or girls) on that first day of Spring or last day of Summer.

Leg Width to Jean Width Quotient: 0.19

Can Can Brasserie

Whoa, whoa, Mr. Fancy Pants. One of Richmond’s biggest myth is that Can Can is the most expensive/fanciest joint in town. Guess what my people: their happy hour is INSANELY AWESOME. Not only that, but their beer selection is always super pro. Let’s be honest, if the waiters are wearing blue jeans, how fancy can it be?

Best context: Can Can’s the perfect spot to ditch the kids and spend a night alone with the significant other. Although, hey, we’ve taken our kid there a bunch of times and he loves that you can color right on the table cloth.

Leg Width to Jean Width Quotient: 0.45


BELGIAN BEERS! Why does this place exist? A Vietnamese restaurant with a liver-boggling number of Belgian style beers has no business existing in a weird strip mall on Broad Street. But it does! And I am so happy about it! Also, everyone I meet seems to have a different tale about An, the proprietor, showering them with hospitality unheard of.

Best context: If you are really really hungry and don’t mind if you end up really really hammered, Mekong’s your place. Or, you can split a couple bottles with your Dad and make your mom or wife DD. They’ll love that!

Leg Width to Jean Width Quotient: 0.50

Commercial Taphouse

Commercial Taphouse has the most thoughtful selection of beer in the entire city — and I’m not just saying that. This is the truth. Some alehouses may have more taps, more seating, or better food, but none have as consistently — to borrow a Jazz dude word — “heavy” beer list. Go in there and order anything, I dare you. It will be solid.

While the rest of the Fan denizens stumble up and down Robinson like the collegiate undead, take heart that you are safe inside, surrounded by wonderful and flowing taps.

Best context: Do you like beer?

Leg Width to Jean Width Quotient: 0.34

* Yeah, Dungeons and Dragons, SAY WHAT YOU WILL — actually, my Dad said, “Did you win?” What a n00b!
** This country was built on the backs of the Irish, was it not?
*** The Leg Width to Jean Width Quotient turns out to be a super accurate means of measuring the general hipsterness of a place. A 1.0 on the LWJW scale means you’ve got on some seriously tight pants, likewise a 0.0 probably indicates a droopy drawers situation. Or, the LWJWQ might also be a measure of people who’s legs are SO MASSIVE that pants do not exist to cover them in a comfortable fashion.

If none of these are looking appealing for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, check out the Pub Wheel!

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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