Beer News: Hopocalypse now, abendessen, fish bladders, and…Yuengling?

Hope you enjoyed your time with beer, because hops (and everything else we eat, basically) will soon become part of the swirling dustbowl called “Formerly California.” Also some other stuff happened this week, and we’re 80% sure they weren’t April Fools’ jokes?

Prepare for the coming hopocalypse

With the worsening California drought, you’re probably gonna need to grow your own hops if you want to keep drinking beer in our impending Mad Max-like world. Lucky for you, Hardywood is hosting a workshop on growing hops in Richmond that’s sure to up your value in a post-apocalypse society.

Folks from the Virginia Cooperative Extension–a group tasked with bringing “the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth”–will lead discussions on the basics of growing hops and how to handle pests and disease. A Q&A session with David Goode from Piedmont Hops will follow. This is basically every person you could possible want to talk to about hop growing in one room. Take advantage of the opportunity, Future Hop Growers of America!

This free event takes place on April 6th from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM. You probably should sign up early to make sure you get a spot at the table (proverbial only).

The 30-year gamble

T’wouldn’t be a beer news column without some Stone Brewing Co. news, and, as such, RVA Mag’s got a well-reasoned editorial by Jeffrey Sadler about the 30-year gamble the city’s taking. I’m officially way too dumb to know what’s going to happen three decades from now to Richmond, the craft beer industry, and Stone Brewing Co. in particular, but five extra points to Sadler for mentioning Hypercolor. Now read this wikipedia on thermochromes.


Did you know that the German language has an entire word dedicated to German-themed beer dinners? Abendessen! Metzger Bar and Butchery will host their own “abendessen” on April 16th, which feels like many, many days from now, but I guarantee that this thing will sell out in a hot second, so buy your ticket now. $40 gets you an app, entree, dessert and their accompanying German beers.

Fish bladders

Isinglass is the dried and powdered swim bladders of fish–the thing that helps them stay neutrally buoyant while swimming around. For hundreds of years isinglass has been used to help clarify beer. But, if you’re not into eating animals or things made with animal byproducts, some beers are strictly off limits and it’s often hard to know which. While Facebooking around, I found this post where Hardywood confirms that since the installation of a centrifuge none of their beers contain isinglass and all are vegan, excluding, of course beers made with milk or honey or whatever, but duh.

Beer art…beert?

Later this month Hardywood kicks off a cool new set of releases: The Brewer & Artist series. A brewer from Hardywood pairs up with a local artist to collaborate on the beer inside the bottle and on the art displayed on the outside of the bottle. The first iteration will put a Maibock brewed by Ken Rayher together with a label designed by Katie McBride.

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The Brewer’s Association released their list of the top 50 breweries of 2014 by sales volume. At the top of the list…Yuengling. Here’s the BA’s definition of “craft brewer” before you start to loudly complain that Yunegling is not a craft brewery.

Old Ox Brewery and neighboring Lost Rhino Brewing Co. (both out of Ashburn, Virginia) had a charming April Fool’s back and forth (part one, part two)–a rare thing indeed. You need some background to get these jokes, though, and the WaPo puts it succinctly: “Red Bull wants to rename an Ashburn brewery, because an ox looks like a bull.”

Literally every other piece of beer news I could find this week was about a fake, April Fools’ beer release. Sigh.

Takeovers and releases

  • Ardent Craft Ales releases their Touchstone Wheat Pale Ale, which is a collaboration with Triple Crossing, this Saturday.
  • Lickinghole Creek did an enormous tap takeover at Joe’s Inn last night–16 beers! That’s crazy! You could schlep by today and see if they’ve got any leftovers.
  • The Hardywood weekly food truck court court returns! It was yesterday. You missed it. But next week!

‘Graming with @theanswerva

Photo by: Orin Zebest

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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