#SippyTimeBeer Reviews – @StrangewaysRVA

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My first comments after this picture were “I knew my head was large but it looks gigantic.”

Our second brewery tour was not exactly smooth sailing. My brother planned on taking me, the lady and parents to Hardywood Park Craft Brewery but it opened at two instead of noon as my brother had planned. As a back up plan, we headed to Strangeways Brewing which I was looking forward to trying more anyway. To make up for missing Hardywood, my brother got the brilliant plan to bring their Gingerbread Stout to Thankmas later this year. He did list it as one of his five favorite beers last year so I look forward to it. On to the strange beers from Strangeways.

Unlike Rock Bottom, this brewery is a Richmond establishment only. Another thing they don’t share in common is listing IBUs. They do have the numbers listed on their site so I can get into them in my reviews but I was unaware at the time of tasting. It’s pretty easy to guess by type of beer whether it’s going to be bitter or not. I’m not sure that matters in this instance because they’re bringing the funk on their beers that no one else I know is doing.

Strangeways BrewingAlbino White Monkey Ale – The base of this beer is a White Belgian Ale and is part of what they call their “Nucleus” series. They had an option with Grape in it but I had already picked the beer below so I wanted to try one of their beers without extra flavoring. I decided to start with this one because of it’s probable IBU, which ends up being 25. It had a couple of usual suspects in the white ale department, orange peel and coriander. I think what made this peculiar was the use of white pepper. It gives it a little hint of heat that helps pique the other flavors. They also provide just a little heat with the 5.0% ABV. I didn’t have a ratings card for Strangeways and I’m not sure I need one. This beer was a great starter.

Strangeways BrewingCaramel Woodbooger Belgian Style Brown Ale – Without the caramel, this beer is part of their “Nucleus” series too. From their description, this beer is normally more balanced. I don’t think adding extra caramel threw this one out of whack but I’m sure it is sweeter than their regular serving. It has a nice toasted malt flavor to it which brings about the color and classic brown ale taste. As usual, dark chocolate is added to the profile but I had a hard time picking it out. My mother may have considering she felt this beer tasted like burnt toffee. They use fruit esters in this beer too but again, I’m not sure I tasted it. Even though I can’t taste the later two flavors, you can tell how complex the taste is. This beer provided more punch than the last at 6.0% ABV. Even after missing some tastes, this beer tastes fantastic.

Strangeways BrewingMelon Disintegration Barrel Aged IPA – This beer is part of their “Woodsman” series which barrel aged in various casks. This one happened to be aged in oak. I didn’t know that the beer was barrel aged at the time of tasting. Like their other beers, it has a Belgian base for this IPA. It isn’t very high for an IPA with the IBUs at 70. The bitterness was wiped out by the oak flavor. It was obvious as soon as I read about aging. The citrus end of hops didn’t pop up much either. I will account the aging to that also. In my opinion, the barrel aging washes out a lot of flavors of the original beer. Since my mother had enjoyed an IPA the day before, I gave her a try. She told me it was “burny, throaty.” She didn’t like her second venture into IPAs. In IPA fashion, this beer does lay the wood on you at 7.7% ABV. Too bad the wood was the worst tasting beer I tried there.

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Front – Albino Monkey, Front Left – Freeze Ray, Front Right – Disintegration, Back Left – OTIS Sour and Back Right – Woodbooger

Strangeways BrewingFreeze Ray Eisbock – Though I didn’t expect this beer to have a high IBU (it ended up being 29), I saved it for later because of the ABV, which is 10.24%. I also saved it for later because bocks have a very heavy taste. I couldn’t even take a full weekend of them last year in Cincinnati’s Bockfest. I knew my brother didn’t like it but I have a wider range of tastes than him and I am sure glad I do. This beer from their “Migration” series packed a lot of flavor along with it’s punch. They create this beer by making a doppelbock then freezing it to remove excess water. It makes the beer become almost syrupy in consistency. It was also a bit creamy. This beer has trouble written all over it. The best beer I had during the tasting.

Strangeways BrewingO.T.I.S. Cucumber Melon Sour – This beer is also in their “Migration” series.  Sour beers have bedeviled me. I’ve enjoyed one in four. I saved this one for last specifically for last for that reason. I didn’t mind that I left it for last. This beer wasn’t as sour as the other beers I have tried so that made me enjoy it more. The fruits that they used, honeydew, juniper berries & tangerine zest, aren’t as pungent and it shows in this beer. The closest beer style I can think of to this one is a shandy. O.T.I.S. was light and refreshing and another favorite of my mother’s. She not only swiped some from my brother’s flight, she helped down mine so we could go get lunch. I’m turning my parents into craft beer addicts.

I bought a three back of half growlers when I left. They have the Wyrd Sisters (“Woodsman Series“) in which they brewed a Belgian Tripel Ale with three different strains of yeast. I will be tasting these with my neighbor Fred since he watered our plants while we were gone. The sisters are named Cordelia (Celis yeast), Desdemona (Trappist yeast) and Ophelia (La Chouffe yeast). I will report back after we tried them. I highly recommend taking the time out to try Strangeways if you’re in Richmond. They’re a fantastic brewery. As for this coming weekend, I’ll be enjoying my local #SippyTimeBeer at Grandview Digfest tomorrow. Full report next week. – Kevin

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