August is Virginia Craft Beer month! It’s the perfect time to try a new Virginia brew at Capital Ale House, Strangeways Brewing or the famous Mekong Restaurant. But if you’re serious about enjoying a high-quality craft beer, OR, if you’re seriously interested in making your own, visit Final Gravity Brewing Company and Original Gravity. This popular local spot is located in Lakeside, a historic area near Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
We sat down with Final Gravity’s owner, Tony Ammendolia, to learn more about his business and get his advice for novice craft beer drinkers and home beer brewers.
|Best Places to Celebrate Craft Beer Month|
A Beer Lover’s Paradise
Original Gravity and Final Gravity Brewing Company is a wine and beer supply store and nanobrewery joined together in one location. When you enter the space, you can’t help but notice the smell of fresh hops. It’s a true beer lover’s paradise. And soon, Ammendolia tells us, it will also be the perfect place to take a class.
Ammendolia caught the beer-making bug early and began home-brewing in 1993. He opened Original Gravity near his current location in 2011. “We originally opened in the old Esso gas station and operated there for the first three years as Original Gravity,” he explains. “I chose that location for its ease of access from all parts of the city due to it being so close to I-95 and I-64. The rent in Lakeside is also favorable to many other places.”
In November 2014, Ammendolia moved the business from its 1,000-square-foot location to Lakeside Town Center. The move to the new address at 6118 Lakeside Avenue meant the addition of about 4,000 square feet. One side of the space accommodates the beer and wine supply business – the other, Final Gravity, a nanobrewery that claimed many awards during the 2016 Virginia Craft Brewer Cup event and garners favorable reviews on sites like Untappd.com and Ratebeer.com.
New to the Craft Beer Scene? Tony Says…
Final Gravity always has a wide selection of beers on tap, including IPAs, stouts, saisons and ales. You’ll also find infusions, like the Grapefruit-Infused Retrograde. While you’re there, be sure to enjoy one of the 8 to 12 beers on tap and peruse the supply aisles.
If you’re new to the craft beer experience, Ammendolia says, “We just released a Pilsner called Fast Machine that’s hopped with American hops (Simcoe and Chinook) that I think people who are new to craft beer might like, as well as anyone else. It's pretty tasty and perfect for this heat. Otherwise, The Doppler Effect IPA is a really nice IPA that is made with 100 percent Mosaic hops. It's very low on bitterness and high on fruitiness from the hops.”
|Final Gravity Brewing Company
What if you’re tempted to learn how to make your own beer? “Pay attention to sanitation and fermentation temperatures and stick to the recipe for your first three or four brews,” says Ammendolia. “Many new brewers want to throw all kinds of spices or other non-traditional beer ingredients into their first brew. It's important to learn how to just make good beer before you start experimenting too much.”
Or, better yet, why not take a class at Original Gravity?
“Bobby Faithful is heading up our education program, and we’ll be adding a variety of classes from intro to brewing, to off-flavors, to general beer education,” says Ammendolia. “We’re also looking at more ways to use the two sides of the business together. We recently held a homebrew competition where the winning brewer gets to brew their recipe here on our system with me.”
Regardless of which local spot in Henrico County you choose to celebrate this month, raise a glass and say, “Here’s to Virginia Craft Beer!”