NORFOLK, Va. — The 2022 winners of the Virginia Craft Beer Cup were released Tuesday and several craft beer makers from Hampton Roads made the cut.
A record 106 breweries across the Commonwealth participated in this year’s competition, according to the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild (VCBG), the group that organizes the event.
Brewers were able to submit up to four beers to be judged in 33 different categories, with a record 396 beers entered in this year's competition.
The judging took place at Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, Virginia on several dates between June 10 and 18, preceded by two days where brewers were allowed to drop off their beers.
“Wow, what a great competition!” Head Judge Charlie Harr said in a news release. “It was clearly evident in the tight race that every brewery is extremely dedicated to the craft and their dedication is inspiring. This year’s competition proves Virginia has some of the best craft brewers in the nation.”
2 Norfolk breweries take the alternative grain or sugar category
Makers Craft Brewery's "Braggadocious" won first place in this category, while Bold Mariner Brewing Company's "Lucky Cat" landed second place.
Braggadocious is a collaboration with The Garage Brewery in Chesapeake and Vibrant Shore Brewing Company in Virginia Beach, according to the social networking service Untappd.
The brew is described as having a honey-forward flavor, malty backbone, and medium body. It has a light hop aroma and light bitterness that are balanced by sweet honey.
Lucky Cat is described as a Japanese-style pilsner brewed with Pilsner malt with a large amount of medium grain Japanese rice and Sorachi Ace hops.
Chesapeake brewery lands third place for amber ales
The Garage Brewery's "Rusted Nail" got third place in the competition's amber ale category.
This brew is predominately malt forward with notes of sweet caramel and a light roast, according to Untappd.
"The Simcoe hops added provide a lovely citrus and pine note to balance out the malt profile, leaving a crisp and straightforward beer," the brew's description on Untappd reads.
Also in third place, a Hampton brewery's British bitter
Caiseal Beer and Spirits Company's "Red Ale" got the third spot in the British bitter category. The company said the brew is a balanced and medium-bodied ale, featuring a bit of caramel sweetness, toast, and piney/earthy hops.
A first place winner in the brown ale category
Tradition Brewing Company in Newport News got the top spot in this category with its "Honey Brown" brew.
"Brewed with copious amounts of Honey Malt, this beer has a creamy, rich head, dark color, and tastes decadent and delicious," a description on Tradition's website reads.
Benchtop Brewing in Norfolk experiments
In the experimental category, Norfolk's Benchtop Brewing Company won first and second place with its "Trial of Dmitri" and "Rice Cubed" brews, respectively.
The brewer describes "Trial of Dmitri" as a "Kvass Style Ale made with local sourdough rye bread, beets, and sea salt."
Made in collaboration with The Bold Mariner Brewing Company and HASHi Chow, Untappd describes "Rice Cubed" as a foeder-aged koji rice pilsner.
Chesapeake brewery lands second place in the fruit category
Big Ugly Brewing took second place in the competition's fruit category with its "Hot Pursuit," a pineapple-habanero blonde ale.
Another second place: German and American wheat category
Williamsburg's Virginia Beer Company took the second place spot with its "Saving Daylight."
"Our brightest take on Saving Daylight packs citrusy sweet Orange Peels into this American Wheat Ale to create a crisp and sunny all-day, anytime crusher," the company wrote on its website.
Now on to the IPAs
Three Notch’d Brewing Company, which has a Virginia Beach location, won the Hazy IPA category with its "King of Clouds Juicy IPA," which the company said has "a pillowy mouthfeel with tropical notes."
Precarious Beer Project, located in Williamsburg, landed first place in the regular IPA category with its "Chug Rug," described as a "West Coast IPA with Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra and El Dorado hops."
Another first-place winner was Alewerks Brewing Company in Williamsburg, whose "Chesapeake Pale Ale" took the top spot in the pale ale category.
In the specialty IPA category, Benchtop Brewing Company's "Blanc Water" took second place. The company said it is brewed with Columbus and Hallertau Blanc hops and fermented with Norwegian kviek yeast.
Newport News brewery gets honorable mention in Irish red category
Tradition Brewing Company's "Red Willie" didn't land first, second or third place, but it did get an honorable mention.
"European Crystal Malts, and English hops combine to form a polished, medium-body, pleasant maltiness, and an ever so subtly bitter finish," Tradition wrote on its website.
Who's No. 1? This Suffolk brewery in the monastic ale category.
Nansemond Brewing Station's "Golden Express Belgian Singel" got the top spot in the monastic ale category. It's brewed with lemon drop hops, lemon grass and a pinch of peppercorn.
Alewerks No. 3 in porter category
Alewerks Brewing Company got another recognition with its "Protocol Porter," which landed in third place in the porter category.
"Protocol Porter is boldly American, and big in all the right places," the company wrote on its website. "We brew this beer for, and with, rough hands and hearty appetites. Look for notes of roasted coffee and toasted cocoa."
Gloucester Brewing Company recognized for stout
The location of this brewery is in its title... but it landed third place in the stout category with "Shucking Good," a dark and malty brew.
The winner of the strong European lagers category is...
...Wasserhund Brewing Company's "Zero Tolerance" brew!
The Virginia Beach brewery's said this brew has notes of caramel and chocolate, with dark fruit esters like plum.
2 local winners in the vegetable/spice category
St. George Brewing Company in Hampton won first place with its "Honey Meade Lager," while Cova Brewing Company in Norfolk won third place with its "Coffee Snob."