After having spent the last few years carefully building a solid reputation for making great craft beer by serving them to its hometown fans in Richmond, Hardywood Park is wasting no time in introducing some of the beers that reputation is built upon to Roanoke, one of the brewery’s newest areas for distribution. Following the appearance of a couple of Hardywood beers at Blue 5 this past weekend, two more restaurants are featuring the brewery at events on Wednesday the 30th. Beamer’s 25, in downtown Roanoke, and the Wasena City Tap Room will both have at least a couple of the brewery’s beers available. In addition, as many as three Hardywood beers will be available at First Friday’s this week. Bottles of Hardywood beer also began reaching store shelves on Monday, as Wine Gourmet posted on their Facebook page Monday that the store had received an initial shipment.
According to information posted on the Beamer’s 25 Facebook page, the restaurant will be featuring Hardywood’s “Singel”, their Belgian Abbey style Blonde Ale, as well as their Virginia Blackberry, a Belgian style White Ale made with an addition of fresh Virginia blackberries. If you go, make sure to taste both, but if you have to make a choice, definitely give the Virginia Blackberry a go. The beer comes across in its taste with a soft, white bread or white biscuity like flavor that is threaded by a berry or plum like flavor that never gets too much in the way.
Beginning at 6pm over at the Wasena City Tap Room, Hardywood’s Singel, Virginia Blackberry, and their Bourbon Barrel Double IPA will be making an appearance, as reported on their own Facebook page. Again, introduce yourself to all of these with at least a taste or two, but here, try not to miss the Bourbon DIPA. Many bourbon barreled IPAs come at you like a monster, firing from the hip with both guns blazing – characteristics from the IPA itself, and then plenty of influence from the bourbon barreling. Personally, I thought Hardywood’s was one of the more enjoyable examples of this kind of beer I’ve had by not playing in that neighborhood at all; although the affects from the barreling wins out with plenty of vanilla and bourbon in the aroma and taste, there is a sense that the two sides fought it out and decided to make some sort of peace, the result of which is a beer where the edges are more rounded off and softened, instead of being angular and able to knock you over with each sip.
First Friday’s continues to prominently feature craft beer at their events, and this week, the downtown end of the week celebration will indeed take advantage of Hardywood’s introduction to the area, featuring their Virginia Blackberry, Singel, and Bourbon DIPA when the event kicks off at 5pm. Considering the heat and humidity the Roanoke area has experienced lately, both the Singel and the Virginia Blackberry make perfect beers to take the edge off with. But again, try not miss a chance to taste the Bourbon DIPA as well.