Crafted Stories

Drink beer for a good cause

Ghent Craft Beer Festival

GoLocal757 will hold its first Ghent Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, June 28.

The event is partly a fundraiser for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore and partly a salute to local craft breweries.

Festivities begin at noon at the new O’Connor Brewing building on West 24th Street, Norfolk, where each participant will receive a goodie bag that includes a festival T-shirt, souvenir pint glass and coupons and specials from sponsors.

Don't kick the can

Last month, a tour group in Smartmouth Brewing Company on Raleigh Avenue in Norfolk approached an empty area near where a row of bourbon barrels worked their magic on an aging stout.

“This big open space right here is where our canning line will go,” said Noel Fernandez, tasting room manager.

Craft beer selection a hit at Harbor Park

Norfolk Tides

“Get your peanuts, get your Red Hots here, get your ice-cold Belgian Saison pale ale, semi-dry with a fruity notes, hints of pepper, earthy yeast tones and a mild tartness!”

Okay, you’re unlikely to hear that pitch from vendors at Harbor Park this summer. But the folks who bring you the Norfolk Tides have raised their game this season with new craft beer selections and a central location for all your game-time microbrew needs.

Virginia, N.C. brewers win at World Beer Cup

World Beer Cup 2014

Breweries in Virginia and the Outer Banks came home from the World Beer Cup competition with medals and bragging rights.

Devils Backbone Brewing Co. received one gold and one silver medal; the Outer Banks Brewing Station and Starr Hill Brewery each won a gold.

The Brewers Association has run the international competition every other year since 1996. It’s often called the Olympics of Beer Competitions. This year, beer judges awarded gold, silver and bronze medals for 94 styles of beer.

Big Ugly Brewing Co. hopes for summer opening

Big Ugly Brewing Company


Chesapeake will soon have its first craft brewery.

Shawn C.S. Childers and James “Jim’’ Lantry are planning to open the Big Ugly Brewing Co. in Great Bridge.

“We have the space, and we have the equipment secured,’’ Childers said.

The two have worked with a few breweries in the area as those opened, so they have some practice. They’re aiming for a July 4 opening.

Childers is a financial planner, and Lantry is a nurse practitioner. 

Both have long been beer drinkers and bloggers.

Green breweries

Green breweries

Industrial beer brewing yields any number of wonderful, tasty things, but it also produces some not-so-great stuff.

Spent grain, wastewater and carbon dioxide are some of byproducts of the brewing process. Many local brewers take steps to mitigate the environmental impact of their businesses, from brewing or otherwise.

Spring is the season for sours

Seasonal brews are all the rage in the craft beer world, but they’re far from new. Before modern brewing equipment and techniques, all beers were seasonal. This was because brewers had to brew with what they had around at the time. More important, they needed to turn their harvested grain into beer to ensure a longer shelf life.

Grains are susceptible to mold and vermin, but high-alcohol beers last for years.

So something must have stuck.

Norfolk officials hope to land Stone Brewing Co.

Stone Brewing Company


Norfolk has thrown its hat into the ring of cities hoping to land Stone Brewing Co.’s second brewery.

The Escondido, Calif.-based company has asked cities east of the Mississippi River to make a case for why Stone should expand there.

Smartmouth and Green Flash to collaborate on beer

Green Flash and Smartmouth

An outrageously hopped saison will debut in April. It’s a collaboration between Norfolk’s Smartmouth Brewing Co. and San Diego-based Green Flash.

Smartmouth’s Head Brewer, Greg Papp, and Green Flash Brew Master, Chuck Silva, met at a brewery conference last year and hatched their plan.

The saison will contain Azacca, Citra and Mandarina Bavaria hops. It will be available in Smartmouth's tasting room and in restaurants from Virginia Beach to Richmond by April.

Green Flash is building its Virginia Beach production facility, set to open in 2016.

Beer here! on the Taste Tidewater Tour

Taste Tidewater Tours

In the last four years, Hampton Roads has seen the craft beer movement grow and people are learning that crafts aren't just for hipsters or "beer snobs."

Taste Tidewater Tour, owned by Virginia Beach residents, Rex and Lisa Hamaker, have long supported local businesses through their work with Buy Fresh Buy Local. They are taking their knowledge and passion for all things local and educating people about eating and drinking fresh and in season.