Image from a recent Hardywood virtual tasting panel.

Richmond Brewery Hosts Live Virtual Beer Tastings

Now that Zoom happy hours have become the new norm for friends who want to raise a glass, a Richmond-area brewery is taking things a step further–delivering beer selections to your door and invite you to a live, virtual tasting complete with commentary.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, with a downtown Richmond taproom just a few miles from the James River and a second venue in West Creek, has found a clever way to stay connected to beer fans while adhering to social distancing protocols. Their Virtual Tasting Panels let customers try new drinks and learn a thing or two from the safety of their own homes.

For $45, craft beer lovers can book a spot for one of the brewery’s scheduled live online tasting events. The featured beverages will be shipped to customers’ homes (delivery is available in Virginia and D.C.) in advance. Then, Hardywood experts lead a livestream tasting experience. You sip, they explain. Participant questions and conversation are encouraged.

Hardywood’s Maddie Wood tells Bay Bulletin that the brewery is thinking long-term and hopes to offer regular tasting experiences for virtual guests. “We are trying to plan panels every Friday and Saturday for the foreseeable future.”

Last weekend’s panels included a bit of Christmas in spring, with beverages like Gingerbread Stout, Christmas Pancakes, and Apple Brandy MEGA GBS. 

In addition to its seasonal selections, the brewery has a wide variety of IPAs, lagers, Belgians, and stouts, some of which feature support causes in the Bay watershed like the James River Association and the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation.

EricMcKay and Patrick Murtaugh founded the Richmond brewhouse in 2011. The West Creek brewery abuts a designated forest and Tuckahoe Creek, which McKay says is a popular spot for turtles to lay their eggs. In an online virtual tour of the grounds, McKay also notes that the West Creek venue is partially constructed of the pine, white oak, and cedar that came down when the property was cleared, and the building is powered by renewable energy sources as part of the Dominion Green Program.

Visit hardywood.com to learn more about the brewery and to book a spot for an upcoming tasting panel.  

Laura Adams Boycourt