A Birthday Surprise

Friends! Family! Beer babes! A very happy Friday to you all. We’re coming to you from Richmond, VA, where we’re on our annual trip to celebrate Maddy and Allison’s birthdays.

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We weren’t planning to talk about this delightful, delightful beer until Christmas morning, but unexpected events necessitate telling you about it today. We originally planned this trip around Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s release party for their Rum Barrel Gingerbread Stout, which we thought would be yesterday evening. Earlier this week we found out that the party will actually be on Saturday afternoon, and by then we’ll be back in Cville.

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Imagine our surprise, nay JOY when we walked into Station 2, the gourmet burger joint that we chose for dinner, and THEY WERE HAVING A HARDYWOOD GINGERBREAD STOUT TAP TAKEOVER! We could not believe our luck; it seemed that the cosmos was rewarding us for a long and trying day of travel.

IMG_4812 Station 2 is located in a renovated firehouse in downtown Richmond. They have a large menu of creative burgers (including an Elvis burger and a curry rubbed burger), and two veggie pattie options! Station 2 originally caught our eye because of their extensive draft list, and yesterday was no exception. In addition to having this year’s Gingerbread Stout on draft, they also had the 2013 GBS, rum, bourbon, and nitro GBS, and a handful of other Hardywood offerings. Sadly they were already sold out of the Double Vanilla Gingerbread Stout, which we are sure is freaking incredible. Listen to the description Hardywood provides: “The classic cookie stout you love with more bourbon vanilla beans added for that double frosting flavor.” Can you imagine??

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Maddy and I went with 12 oz pours of the original GBS, and Maddy’s boyfriend, Mac, tried Hardywood’s Hazlenut Stout. The GBS was even better then I remembered. It’s rich, creamy, and features notes of milk chocolate and cinnamon in addition to ginger. The Hazlenut Stout, which Hardywood says might be mistaken for “Nutella in a glass,” was amazing too. The hazlenut flavor is present, but not overwhelming, and like the GBS it has a creamy, velvety mouthfeel. We were especially grateful for our choices after the crazy-spicy jalepeño poppers that we ordered for an appetizer arrived. The stouts quenched our palates like a glass of cold milk.

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We plan to visit Hardywood today and pick up a few bombers of GBS to take home with us. Our hopes aren’t set too high, though. This beer is famously hard to get your hands on, and for damn good reason. Stay tuned!

p.s. Check out the guest post that I wrote for the Roanoke Times food blog, the Fridge Magnet. It features a delicious recipe and beer pairing that you just might recognize. 😉

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