Microfestivus 2014 New Brewery Quick Look: Lickinghole Creek Farm Brewery

Lickinghole Creek Farm BrewerySomewhere within all the expense, likely red tape, and contractual obligations that surround the business of growing the barley, hops, and other ingredients that end up in most of our craft beer, a particular charm over that beer being a product mostly of the earth begins to get lost.  Now, perhaps you’re not the kind of person to really care much about how the craft beer in your glass is made but only in its aroma and taste, and of course that’s perfectly fine.  After all, in the end, that equates into whether you care for a beer or not, and we’re all on the same level there.  But for some – including myself – the thought of beer being produced from natural resources, however stuck in the history books it might seem, is a fairly endearing one.  So for these people, the idea of the farm brewery is one that can be very appealing.  In late 2013, such a brewery opened on 220 acres of farmland just outside Richmond, and began growing hops as well as other items to be used in their beer.  At this year’s Microfestivus, they will be bringing a couple of those very beers to try.

Lickinghole Creek Farm Brewery had been in the planning for roughly three years, and had already been working on growing their own hops by the time they opened last year.  Some of those hops ended up being used in their Gentleman Farmer “Estate Hop Ale”, a seasonal release which the brewery states on their website they had been wanting to make since they began planning the brewery.  In addition, Lickinghole Creek has been growing their own blackberries and pumpkins, the latter of which were used in a fall seasonal called Pumpkin Ain’t Easy.

Since then, the brewery has planted its own barley seedlings, and hopes to brew a beer in 2014 made entirely of ingredients grown on the farm.  They also have plans to grow an herb garden, blueberries, fig trees (to be used in some of their many Belgian style ales), as well as orange trees (to be perhaps used in a saison).  The brewery has also experimented with barrel aging their beers, resulting in beers such as their Bourbon Barrel Three Chopt Tripel, a bourbon barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout called Enlightened Despot, and more recently, “Bachelors Delight”, a rum barrel aged Quad.  IPAs have not been lost on Lickinghole Creek, as the brewery also recently produced an Imperial IPA called Nuclear Nugget, made with local honey, as well as a session style IPA called Til’ Sunset.

Many breweries have grown their own ingredients to be used in their beers for some time, even including larger, well known operations such as Rogue Ales.  Many more strive to purchase local or regional products for their beers as well.  On a somewhat smaller scale, Blue Mountain comes to mind, as they use some of their own hops in at least one seasonally released beer each year.  Richmond’s Hardywood produces their RVA IPA by inviting local fans of the brewery to grow hops for use in the beer.  Some say there is a small revolution “brewing” in Virginia for farm breweries though, encouraged by the passing of recent legislation that provides true licenses for such breweries and protects them from what can seem as over regulation of the farm sites by their local governments.

Lickinghole Creek may be right on the edge of such a revolution as they continue to grow their farm brewery, an idea that still provides that “old world” brewing kind of charm.  Make sure you make it by their tent at Microfestivus this year!

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~ by thebeerroad on August 4, 2014.

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