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New Hardywood Flagship Beer

By Annie Tobey | September 13th, 2016

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery has merged its affinity for local with the craft craze for IPAs in its third flagship beer, the VIPA - Virgindia Pale Ale.

As a progenitor of Richmond’s latest craft beer movement, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery began conservatively. The brewery started with one, the Singel, an approachable Belgian-style ale. Later, it added Pils, another easy-drinking beer that highlighted malts over hops.

Now, the gloves are off.

Not that Hardywood’s fighting, but the brewery that has always embraced local products (as in the Reserve Series local-focused beers and the ginger and honey in the ever-popular Gingerbread Stout) has now merged the local focus with the IPA craze that is sweeping Richmond and the nation. Although barley and hops are not widely grown cash crops in Virginia, this new beer includes more than 10% Virginia-grown and -malted barley and 5% Virginia hops.

And the new flagship, the Hardywood VIPA – Virgindia Pale Ale – is not just market focused. It’s good!

So here are the vitals. At 5.2% ABV, VIPA’s are easy to polish off – yes, several per session. At 30 IBU, the bitterness doesn’t overwhelm. In fact, the VIPA has a nice malty finish, perfect for showcasing the malts that come from river country farmer Billy Dawson and Virginia’s Copper Fox Distillery. Yes, the initial aromas showcase the tropical notes. The flavor is clearly hop-forward, citrusy and juicy, with Azacca, Mosaic and Virginia Cascade hops (with thanks to Richmond-area Piedmont Hops and Huguenot Hops). But the lower ABV and IBU makes for an approachable IPA, suitable for post-yard work, after workday or après ski.

On Sept. 12, Hardywood offered the first tastes of its VIPA to those who have supported both the brewery and this new beer, including barley farmer Billy Dawson, Rick Wasmund and Charlie Wise of Copper Fox Distillery, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore, Assistant Secretary Cass Rasnick, hops mongers David Goode and Devon Kistler, Virginia beer promoter David Hunter and others who have supported the brand and the beers.

Initially, the Virgindia Pale Ale bottles will be offered in variety packs (with Singel and Pils) and on draft at the brewery, later on its own. Be sure to get a taste and celebrate Virginia.

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