#SippyTimeBeer Review – @RockBottomRVA

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I went to Richmond VA to visit my older brother and his family. He’s lived down there for as long as I’ve lived in Columbus. This was the first visit I’ve gotten a chance to actually visit some of Richmond instead of hitting a party for <insert occasion here> and leaving. Because of the #SippyTimeBeer articles, they of course took me to a couple of breweries in town. The first one we went to was Rock Bottom Brewery, which is a chain much like Gordon Biersch. We thought the name was familiar and it was because there is one in Colorado Springs. They also had a fantastic deal of a flight of six beers for $6. You can’t beat that with a stick. They were also very generous and mixed up my brother’s flight with mine so they gave us an additional beer to taste. Here are the reviews.

Rock Bottom BreweryWhite Ale – When I have the information to do a tasting from lowest IBU to highest IBU like North High Brewing suggested, I do it. Rock Bottom did provide this information so I started with the White Ale which comes in at 11 IBU. Like a lot of white ales, we get orange peel and coriander to spice up the drink. They both came into harmony with the Belgian yeast since this is a Belgian style beer. It packs average punch at 5.3% ABV.  They actually gave you a rating card with the flight. I listed this beer as their best.

Rock Bottom BreweryKolsch – This beer was next up on the IBU list at 20. I had this style from Saint Arnold on my New Orleans trip and really liked it. This one was not as good as that one. It didn’t seem to have punch either way. I didn’t taste a light wheat in it or a nice bitter hop note. It tasted a bit like a pilsner, which I’ve come to figure out I don’t like. Like a pilsner, it comes in at a modest 5.0% ABV. This beer went to, ahem, rock bottom of my list.

Rock Bottom BrewerySweet Magnolia Nut Brown Ale – My normal procedure is to use the brewery name to hyperlink to the specific beer in question, if possible. That is not possible in now because each Rock Bottom location has a brew master who gets to create their own unique flavors. I think that’s a cool way to make the chain stand out. This beer was one of the Brew Master Becky’s creations. It fell into the IBU spectrum at 24 so it was next on my list. My dad took a sip before I did an approved. That was the second time in my life I saw him drink beer. I ended up approving of it too. It had a good nuttiness to it and was smooth. It stayed in the same area as the other beers with an ABV of 5.7%. I should have take a picture of my rankings to jog my memory on exact rankings aside from the top & bottom. Very good beer.

Rock Bottom BreweryN2 Cafe con Leche Stout – This beer rotates so the link isn’t entirely accurate. Stout beers don’t tend to very hoppy so the IBU comes in at a mild 27. It does have bitter notes that come from a very heavy coffee taste. It had a great thickness, darkness and head to it. This stout didn’t have any other prominent notes in it though. I thought the N2 might mean nitro but I’m not sure. Those beers tend to be more smooth than this one. There was no sweetness from milk. It was a good beer but not outstanding.

Rock Bottom BreweryCascade Amber – Brew Master Becky came up with this beer too. It supplied me with more evidence that most ambers have more hops in them than I had encountered early on. The name tells you which type of hops they used to get to 36 IBUs. This is the region where you start to taste those notes of hops bitterness which they did well. It still has a maltiness from the amber side of things that’s brightened by the floral notes Cascade hops provides. At 6.2% ABV, this beer was in the middle of the ABV rankings for Rock Bottom. Another win for the on site brew master.

Rock Bottom BreweryRed Ale – Back to the all locations beers for the last two. The Red Ale, despite being a malt heavy beer in most places, comes in at 38 IBU. It ended up tasting similar to the Cascade Amber because the ratios of malt to hops is similar. The style of hops makes the difference as I didn’t get the floral notes that come from the Amber. The malt still came through. It wasn’t quite as vibrant though. This one does have a lower ABV at 5.7%, but that isn’t exactly a huge gap. No wider than that of the IBUs which gives another reason to compare the beers. Having the beers back to back also made the comparison very easy. It was another good but not great beer.

Rock Bottom BreweryIPA – This was the last beer of the lot. Much to one of the waitress’s surprise, she didn’t think 60 IBUs was very low. When I informed her that I’ve had ones as high as 110, she realized what I meant. Their site says that they use Yakima hops to come up with this IPA. I don’t think it has the floral notes they talk about. Though it was in my range for most IPAs, I feel like the mixing of hops is a better taste profile which wasn’t provided. I was amused to find out though that my mother liked this beer. I can’t let her have any IPAs that are over 6.6% though. Let’s just say that you’ll hear more from here at the next brewery stop.

If you’d like to try their beers, they have locations in 18 states. Let me know what the local brew master came up with for a good #SippyTimeBeer. – Kevin

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