Richmond, Virginia is known for its ham and Duke's Mayo, but Strangeways Brewing is making a name for the city's craft beer. Started in May 2013, the brewery boasts 25 beers on tap at all times and features their year-round offerings as well as the Migration (Seasonal) series, Woodman (Barrel-Aged) series, Annihilation (Boldest Concoctions) series, and Curiosities (Experimental) series. Neil Burton, founder of Strangeways, brought on Mike Hiller, who started at Richmond's Legend 20 years ago and owned Bavarian Barbarian, to head up the brewing program.
Strangeways's motto is 'Think Strange. Drink Strange.' We definitely agree with that! The four beers we tasted were adventurous to say the least - from a squashbock to a grisette - and we had our first experience with Crowlers (32 oz. aluminum can growlers)! Read on for our notes and let us know if you've (A) tasted some Strangeways or (B) drank from a Crowler.
Part of Strangeways's Migration Series, Southern Heirloom is a collaboration with Richmond chefs Jason Alley of Pasture and Travis Milton of Comfort. Inspired by love of family, Southern hospitality and Southern cuisine, the squash bock is brewed with 100% heirloom products including 8th generation, Milton family candy roaster squash, fresh Huguenot hops, heritage malted barley and rye and yeast from the world's oldest brewery. The bock pours clear with effervescence - straw-colored and Champagne-like with a bone white head. The nose starts off tart with a little pepper from the yeast, finishing with a nutty sweetness and mild vegetal scent. Biscuity, herbal qualities dominate light body and flavor of this bock.
With a gorgeous label and an even prettier (trust us) aroma, Delightfully Immortal Grisette was brewed as a 1st anniversary beer for the brewery, which sounds like a pretty good anniversary gift to us! Aged in Virginia oak wine barrels from Horton vineyards, this grisette has additions of lavender and heather, a Biere de Garde yeast and hop varietals like Citra, Simcoe and Galena. The beer is goldenrod in color and pretty cloudy - some described it as the color of an orange tabby cat that eats lasagna for breakfast. The super fine carbonation gives way to larger bubbles at the top. Scents of potpourri and aromatherapy are present in the nose with distinct notes of lavender and lemon. We note some bitterness and sourness in the flavor as well as cedar (no wonder this is part of their Woodman Series).
A Berliner Weiss brewed with Brett, this beer poured draft perfect from its Crowler! Murky with tiny bubbles, Uberlin has a pompelo or papaya juice coloring. Umami and cheese dominated the scent - it was extremely savory. The flavors in this Berliner Weiss are all kinds of earthy, ashy and grassy. We note washed rind cheese and saurkraut - and that's definitely a good thing.
A berry-spiked lacto sour, this fruity saison is the color of unpolished copper with a bubbly, buttermilk-colored head. Another Crowler offering, That's My Jam! has the wild aroma of raspberry cheesecake mingled with scents of fruit leather and berry compote. Flavors of musty, tangy raspberries mix with chocolate and fruit yogurt, too - yum.