Capital Ale House, Richmond VA

What could be better than a 28-page beer menu with full annotations?  We made Capital Ale House a stop on our trip down I-95, and it was absolutely worth the wait.  We sat upstairs (street level) where 30 taps and two hand pumps awaited our decision.  Downstairs, an additional 10 taps are available, and there are many, many pages of bottled beers, as well as a page of wines, and, unlisted, three macros.

The food menu was equally pleasing.  We each had a vegetable soup – mine a vegetarian vegetable full of chunky veggies, broccoli and chickpeas, and D’s was a thick, creamy chicken vegetable.  And for dinner, I enjoyed broiled Rock Fish with asparagus and rice, all prepared with a peppery citrus sauce.  He had a fried oyster sandwich on very crusty bread.

But this is a blog about the beer!  So, here’s what we had (one each with dinner, and one each for our dessert):

  • *  Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye (ABV 8%) – I loved this strong ale!!  It was an amber IPA with assertive hop, but such a well balanced flavor.
  • *  St. George Winter Stout (ABV 7.6%) – D let me taste this, and it was all about the roastiness…  A very nice beer.
  • *  Avery – Czar Imperial Stout (ABV 13%) – The more this warmed, the more it reminded me of a barleywine.  It was so full of candy flavors and spice, including dark flavors like molasses and anise.  It was warm and complex.  A fabulous dessert beer that could only be sipped.
  • *  Legend Brewing – Imperial Stout (ABV 8%) – This was D’s dessert beer.  I was not nearly as enjoyable as the others because it lacked balance.  But I found a lot of pleasure in the unexpected hop aroma and initial hop flavor.  It unfortunately didn’t blend well with the other flavors (the annotation described it as a “food fight in your mouth,” but I think it’s just a small but serious conflict.)

Before choosing our dessert beers, we had already made a decision to share a St. George Cask IPA (5% ABV) – winner of a Gold medal at the 2000 Beauty of Hops English Ale Awards.  It was cask-conditioned, and since all cask beers at Capital Ale House only come in 20 oz servings, we planned to share (most other beers come in small and large, so we had smalls (50-cents off each small went to charity that night!))  The unfortunate part of this story is that we missed out on this lovely treat.  The tap was kicked and something less appealing was on…

Our waitress sent us home with a menu since the menu changes weekly.  We’ll be reading an enjoying for a long time, and looking forward to our next visit (there is a second location, and soon to be a third, so we should get back!)

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