One of my favorite things about beer is that much like your wardrobe it changes with the seasons! Now that the weather is warming up it’s almost time to put the stouts, triple IPAs and porters on the back burner for awhile and break out the lighter IPAs, sours, weissbiers, goses and lagers. Lagers?!! Yes, lagers. There are some wonderful and inventive craft lagers out there and I stumbled upon one just a few days ago on my weekly run to the beer shop.
Richmond, VA based Hardywood Brewery puts out some great craft beers and their Richmond Lager is no exception. It’s billed as an “American Craft Lager” which generally and thankfully means a lager that’s closer in construction and execution to the classics in Germany and the Czech Republic than it is to Miller or Coors. They also tend to be reminiscent of what lagers were in the US before Prohibition; flavorful and complex rather than pale and flavorless, and when you drink a beer like this you quickly realize just how catastrophic and near-fatal Prohibition was not only to the brewing industry in the US but also to the US brewing culture itself. But that’s another topic for another blog post. Let’s dive into this beer!
Appearance and Mouthfeel
It pours a sparkling golden straw color, definitely richer and deeper in appearance than your average bottle of Bud Light which should be your first hint that something is different. The head was about a quarter inch and persisted for quite some time as you’d expect from a solid lager. Bubbly and effervescent on the tongue which would make it a great palate cleanser for spicy food.
This lager has a fairly complex aroma of bready yeast, floral hops and even some citrus which is very likely derived from the hops rather than any kind of adjunct. Overall it presents as malt forward but well balanced.
The taste is predominantly forward with a light bready quality. The hops are more herbal than citrus in the taste and actually balance the malt backbone quite well. A little bit sweet, but certainly not too much. A vibrant finish where the hops tend to assert themselves the most. Just a very solid and likeable beer. The kind that would be just about perfect after a long day working outside.
The high carbonation works great as a palate cleanser for spicy food and the malt forward character would also do a very good job balancing spicy dishes. It would work quite well with grilled food; hot dogs, brats, burgers and such. Think of it in that sense as a stadium beer, but much better than what many stadiums sell.
Richmond Lager is brewed with Virginia-grown hops and grain. Way to support local, Hardywood! If you want to learn more about fascinating history of lager yeast, check out my Instagram post (@brewscapes) to learn more!
Just a solid and well-crafted everyday beer. And just in time for its go-to season! Cheers!!