VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA
Occupying an inconspicuous warehouse with green and white awnings and a hop-driven surfboard logo, BEACH BREWING COMPANY has gained a tremendous reputation since opening for business in October ’11 – becoming Reaver Beach Brewing along the way and expanding to a second location in Norfolk.
During a muggy July ’13 Saturday afternoon visitation, the front of the place was filled to the gills with young families, post-collegiate brewhounds and several thirsty out-of-town beachcombers enjoying well-rounded beers and BBQ pit food. My wife and kids enjoy barbecue chicken and pork while I go inside the tiny 4-stool tasting room to procure four previously untried brews.
Grabbing a seat along the right side nautical-postered wall at one of the front chairs, I place my sampler tray on the elbow-high shelving and begin to watch a ballgame on the left wall TV while reading beer descriptions from the blackboard Tap List.
A labor of love for married co-owners Justin and Kristin MacDonald, Beach Brewing’s libations are presently kegged for retail and served at several local restaurants. However, room for expansion behind the taproom is in the cards. Though flagship beers Hammerhead IPA and Hoptopus Double IPA are both out upon my initial sojourn, four other distinct offerings make the rounds.
Approachable summer session opener Sandshark Summer Ale brought soft-watered orange, grapefruit, apple and apricot fruiting to a mild hop-spiced slipstream.
Equally buoyant, Riptide Altbier left Noble-hopped wood dryness along its caramelized fig-sugared plum and date pathway. Perhaps a step removed from the specified German-styled realm, the pliable moderation nonetherless suits many occasions.
Better still, tropical The Kracken Triple IPA allowed subtle orange-peeled grapefruit bittering and perky lemon-seeded tartness to infiltrate juicy mango, kiwi, pineapple and passion fruit illusions as well as buttery caramel-malted red apple, grape and cherry undertones, leaving a lingered alcohol burn in its wake.
For dessert, brandy barrel-aged dark ale, Devil’s Take Imperial Stout, worked hop-charred dark chocolate, roasted coffee and cocoa into rye-malted toasted oats, picking up brandy-wined sherry and port boozing. By the mocha finish, Jameson dark whiskey snips reach the surface.
Just a few miles from the hotel-bound Virginia Beach boardwalk, Beach Brewing will impress a goodly number of respectable sun-tanned beer travelers.
As a pleasant sidebar, military-themed microbrewery Veterans Brewing was getting ready to open within walking distance.