Besides two corporately predictable Hops Grillhouse & Brewpubs, this State Capitol once offered commendable RICHBRAU BREWING, based in the heart of Richmond’s cobblestone Shockoe Slip section. It closed down in ’09 due to economic woes. Legend Brewery, a decent microbrewery, still exists (bottled versions reviewed in Beer Index).
Richbrau’s plentiful downstairs dining area had dark-stained wooden booths, bi-level marble column bar, and decorative beer barrel balcony. Upstairs, large billiard rooms festooned wood bar area; brew tanks adorned the rear.
Post-X-Mas ’04, quaffed crisp lemon-grapefruit rind-embittered, wheat-backed softie Griffin Golden Ale, mildly phenol, red-fruited Old Nick Pale Ale, silkily fruited, dry-hopped Real Ale, caramel-butterscotch-splotched, dark-spiced Big Nash Porter, and Kahlua-like mocha-marshmallow-deepened Imperial Stout.
Bottled versions of each are available on site, alongside brisk grapefruit rind-embittered, orange peel-brightened, lemony-hopped Richbrau Belgian-Style White Ale, acridly gauzy, coffee-butterscotch-hazed Richbrau Brown Ale, and dry chocolate-roasted, hop-spiced Richbrau India Pale Ale, tasted afterwards. Post-script: Mc Nasty Nachos are recommended.
On July ’06 trip through Virginia, revisited Richbrau, trying spicy vegetal-dipped, yellow grapefruit-sharpened, corn-husked Kolsch and lemony banana-surged fruit-hopped candy-tart spritzer Kristal Weizen on tap.
With pal Al back home in Jersey, swigged bottled versions of plain pale-toned Richbrau Alley Oop Ale (a dry-bodied grassy-hopped lightweight with faded yellow fruited frontage plus pleated peppery tobacco nip), soft bubblegummy coriander-spiced banana-sweet floral-tinted Richbrau Belgian White Ale, and dry chocolate-roasted coffee-milked honey-dipped fig-soured dilution Richbrau Big Nasty Porter.
Heading West a few miles, one of the finest microbrew stores is undoubtedly Glen Allen’s Wine & Beer Westpark. Bought five Legend brews, Utah’s Uinta Brewery sampler 12-pack, and Colorado-based Oskar Blues Old Chub there (reviewed in Beer Index).