#MadeInRVA: Hardywood adding ‘bright, juicy’ VIPA to its flagship series

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond beer fans are familiar with Hardywood Singel and Pils, but a new name is being added to the brewery’s flagship lineup — VIPA.

From the name on the bottle to the ingredients inside, it highlights Virginia.

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“It is a Virginia India Pale Ale,” said Eric McKay, president & co-founder of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. “Well, enough times of saying Virginia India Pale Ale kind of evolved into ‘Virgindia’ Pale Ale.”

It’s made with Virginia-grown grain and Virginia-grown hops.

“We wanted to brew a beer that was unique to the Virginia climate, great with Virginia foods and certainly uses Virginia ingredients,” said brewmaster and co-founder Patrick Murtaugh.

VIPA features Virginia-grown hops from Piedmont Hops, LLC, Huguenot Hops and Misty Mill Hops at Rockmill Farm. It also uses two-row barley grown by Bay’s Best Feed in Heathsville and malted at Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville.

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The co-founders say, just because it’s an IPA, that doesn’t mean it’s exactly what you think.

They describe it as “bright” and “juicy.”

“A lot of people who say they don’t like IPAs because they’re too bitter, I think will like this beer,” said McKay.

Instead, there’s a citrus flavor and tropical aroma. Plus, at 5.2 percent alcohol, it’s milder than most IPAs and a good beer for pairing with food, according to McKay.

Using local ingredients is not new for Hardywood. Its Reserve Series uses everything from ginger to raspberries, blackberries to pumpkins.

But VIPA will be the first year-round beer committed to using Virginia’s own grain and hops.

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“There’re so many reasons that having local ingredients is important,” said McKay.

He says it means getting fresher ingredients that are made on a smaller scale. It also means supporting other local businesses.

Murtaugh agrees.

“We’ve gotten to know the hop farmers and the barley farmers and they’re great people who are just as passionate about what they do as we are about brewing.”

Hardywood will release VIPA Saturday, September 24 from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the brewery on Ownby Lane. It will be available on draft and in growler fills to go.

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You can also get it as part of the new Hardywood Variety Pack, featuring all three flagship beers: Singel, Pils and now VIPA.

Joshua M. Bernstein, the acclaimed beer, spirits, food and travel journalist, will be there from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. He’ll be having a meet and greet and signing copies of his book Complete IPA, The Complete Beer Course and Brewed Awakening.

VIPA will available on tap and in stores around the Greater Richmond area on Monday.

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