He is a busy man, in high demand for his extensive knowledge & passion for beer. But this week, we managed to find a few minutes to pick Beer Buyer Chris Stevens’ brain about craft beer. After all, it is Virginia Craft Beer Month! We recommend filing these notes away for next time you’re perusing our Indulge Department.
Q & A
ET: Has there been a craft beer that’s surprised you as a new summer favorite, of yours or our customers in general?
CHRIS: For many years we have carried craft beers made by 21st Amendment Brewery out of San Leandro, CA. They brew different seasonal styles but their Spring/Summer Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer flavored with watermelons has seen increased sales across diverse demographs in this market and elsewhere.
ET: What’s your go-to local favorite that we carry?
CHRIS: Different people like different things. That being said, currently I would have to say Full Nelson Pale Ale, in cans, made by Blue Mountain Brewery in Nelson County, and Pocahoptas I.P.A. made by C.O.T.U. Brewery in Ashland. (If I could get it, D.C. Brau’s On the Wings of Armageddon I.P.A.)
ET: For those in the “the hoppier the happier” camp, what are a few of your recommendations?
CHRIS: Different Hops impart varying aromas and flavors across the smell and taste spectrums. Sometimes I feel like drinking a citrusy and tropical Double or Triple I.P.A. and other times piney Doubles and Triples. I enjoy Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker, Imperial I.P.A. and Green Bullet, Stone’s Enjoy By and Ruinten, Flying Dog’s Double Dog, Avery’s Maharaja and Founder’s Double Trouble.
ET: If hoppy-ness isn’t you’re thing, what are a few craft brews that you would recommend?
ET: We’ve noticed growing interest in sour beers. What’s your opinion on a good craft option?
CHRIS: Sour beers appear to be the new “it” style. Here are a few that I enjoy: Oud Beersal Gueze, Oud Beersal Kriek, B.F.M. Abbaye de St. Bon Chien, Alvinne beers, Duchess de Borgogne, Vichtenaar, Ichtegem’s Rouge and Petrus Oud Brun.