The USA craft beer revolution started in the 1970’s and really took off in the 21st Century. There are now over 5000 breweries in the USA and many are exported to the UK including, just recently, Hardywood Brewery.
Hardywood Brewery is based in Richmond, Virginia and opened in 2010. Richmond is a large city in eastern USA and is 110 miles south of Washington DC. They have their own taproom and offer brewery tours by appointment. Because they’re now launching their selection in the UK, I had to sample the goods:
Hardywood Virgindian Pale Ale 5.3% abv.
This is Hardywood’s own take on India Pale Ale which they have christened Virgindia Pale Ale. It pours a gold colour with a grapefruit aroma and has a good citrus flavour. It is brewed with Virginia grown hops and barley. Try this beer with Chinese food.
Hardywood German style Pilsner 5.2% abv.
This pale golden beer has a dry, biscuity taste and should be enjoyed by sipping slowly- it’s quite a bit stronger than most British session lagers. I would drink this with a plate of tapas.
Hardywood Singel Belgian style Blonde Ale 6.2% abv.
Many American brewers turn to Europe for inspiration and in this case it is to the pale and blonde ales of Belgium that Hardywood seek to emulate. This golden ale has a bready aroma and a yeasty, tropical fruit taste. This is a strong beer which I would enjoy after a meal, perhaps with some cheese.
The above Hardywood beers are available in the UK in 12 oz. bottles. If you visit the USA you can try their other beers which include; Pale Ale, Cream Ale, Pumpkin beer, Raspberry Ale, Peach Ale and a range of barrel conditioned beers.
Generally speaking US beers are stronger as they don’t have the session drinking culture that we have where people drink several pints in a pub. In the US most beer is consumed at home and is sold in 12 oz bottles and cans. American brewers, who lack indigenous styles of beer often produce challenging versions of European styles which can be stronger and more fully flavoured than the original beers.
These Hardywood beers should be sipped slowly to be fully appreciated. Pour yourself a glass of one of these beautifully crafted beers and listen to legendary Blues Rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa as he performs a live acoustic version of ‘Richmond’- a song which first appeared on his LP Sloe Gin. Joe will be visiting the UK in March 2018 so do try and get tickets for one of his gigs.