When I woke up, I had a sliver of memory about a beer festival. Maybe I had dreamt it up. But once I actually got up and dressed, Rick assured me there was one and he had an extra ticket. The only caveat was I would have to throw my bike in his truck to make it in time. But as this is my trip, I went for it. We toured the farm and the hop garden and got on the road. A quick pit stop at the Beaver for signage (and to sell an elderly customer some wine yeast), then we picked up Patrick, the Beaver’s marketing guy.
The festival itself was being held on private property which looked to be a former plantation. There was live music, an inflatable bouncy slide, regional food options, and lots of regional breweries. I was delighted to spend the afternoon tasting beers that I wouldn’t have been able to try otherwise. Further, I was able to coax Grant (one of my two good friends in Richmond) to come out and play. And then I got him to go down the bouncy slide, where, much like a child, he managed to give himself rug burn. He did beat me to the bottom though.
I managed to try all of the beers at the festival, using my sweet stainless pint glass. It was frustrating to have to ask, and sometimes insist, to be poured small samples. I’m not opposed to getting drunk, but it was a long day and I wanted to try a lot of different beers. A couple of things struck me about this beer festival (and maybe VA and US craft beer in general): there were a ton of browns, reds and IPAs; a small handful of Belgian styles; even fewer lagers; and the attendees were there to party. I guess it isn’t too different from most festivals.
Post festival, we went to Hardywood Brewery, barely escaping a torrential downpour. It was packed in there, so we had two beers and rolled. Grant gave me a tour of the city, during which we happened upon the Blue Bee Cider room, where we did a great tasting. Then to Once Upon a Vine for beers and cheese, and on to his and Megan’s house. It was great to see them both and their little boy. I was even more excited to see my not so little girl, Poa. Poa is a Great Pyrennes that lived next to me during college, where we became great friends. I got out of class before Megan, and Poa and I would play and cuddle. I’ve always loved big huggable dogs and Poa is top notch. Arlo, the big boy, is also awesome, but he and I don’t know each other as well as Poa and I do. I had last seen the whole family when I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail five years ago. Back then when I made it to their yard then, Poa went crazy. It was a wonderful reunion and I wanted the same (Disclaimer: we stopped by on the way to DE to start so I had already seen her).