At Norfolk’s artsy Neon District, BEARDED BIRD BREWING crafts well-rounded Americanized versions of several standard beer styles. Open since May 13, 2017, manager Matt Harte and brewer Joe Cloonan help guide the delightful l’il nanobrewery.

Beneath a generic black and white Bearded Bird sign, patrons enter the high-ceilinged one-room pub to find a 10-seat L-shaped bar, gorgeous black serpent queen mural and front-windowed community tables. Its unfinished warehouse feel is increased by the aluminum-roofed back patio (with metal furnishings).

My wife and I visited during a hot Friday evening, July ’18.

Smooth ‘core beer, Angry Aly Amber, allowed yellow fruited spicing to brighten the front end above mild leafy-hopped grain roast and nutty remnants.

‘Sunny’ Clean Cut Canary Cream Ale let its sweet orange tang coerce raw-honeyed lemon rot souring over toasted wheat malts.

Sour-creamed White Flag Vanilla Cream Ale offered lemon meringue tartness and mild vanilla bean sugaring to grassy hop astringency.

Ginga Ninja Honey Ginger Saison raised ginger and honey adjuncts above lemon rot souring and leathery barnyard acridity.

Vibrant The NEON IPA saddled lemony grapefruit and orange-peeled tangerine tanginess with dry piney hop resin and floral-spiced herbage.

Milk-sugared Big Trouble coffee beans lifted Early Bird Hazelnut Stout as hazelnut sweetness and chocolate-spiced vanilla fudging edged out toasted hop crisping.

Similarly-styled 1st Anniversary celebrator, Early Bird In Russian Stout, brought sweet-milked hazelnut coffee to dark chocolate, cocoa and carafe malts as well as tertiary black cherry and black licorice snips, picking up a peppery nuance over time.


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