Hardywood Park Craft Brewery has expanded beyond Richmond and into the Virginia foothills.
The new Pilot Brewery & Taproom, located in Charlottesville, opened Feb. 18. Officials said the 3,600-square-foot space will serve as the brewery’s main hub for research and development.
Recipes are brewed and served on-site for customers to provide immediate feedback. Beers that prove popular at the Charlottesville location will be considered for wider production, especially once Hardywood’s Goochland brewery comes online.
“Our new Charlottesville innovation brewery marks the beginning of a new chapter for Hardywood,” said Eric McKay, Hardywood’s president and co-founder. “It creates the perfect opportunity for us to regularly release new pilot-batch brews, collaborations, and some tasty experiments.”
Lifelong friends McKay and Patrick Murtaugh opened Hardywood in Richmond in 2011. Five years later, it has become one of the most respected craft beer makers in the state, known for its thoughtfully innovative recipes and commitment to using local ingredients.
Hardywood beers have earned international acclaim with medals at the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival, as well as a rare 100 rating by BeerAdvocate Magazine for the brewery’s Gingerbread Stout.
The Charlottesville location features a 3.5-barrel Premier Stainless brewhouse, a system that will be fully visible behind the main bar. Kevin Storm, who most recently led the development of Hardywood VIPA and Tropication, will serve as lead brewer.
At the age of 21, Storm began his career as the youngest commercial brewer at Asheville Brewing Company. He also worked for Sailfish Brewing Company before joining Hardywood in June 2014. He’ll work alongside Assistant Brewer Anna Warneke, an apprentice from Germany.
Hardywood has several collaborations in the works with esteemed fellow craft brewers: Funky Buddha Brewery, The Bruery, 2SP Brewing Company and New Belgium Brewing, with whom Hardywood is partnering for SAVOR 2017.
Hardywood has also started working on collaborative concepts with Charlottesville locals Early Mountain Vineyards and Champion Brewing Company.
The new taproom offers 14 draft lines, as well as nitro coffee from Confluence Coffee Co. Blue Ridge Bucha is also on tap. Charlottesville-based Gearharts Fine Chocolates, Richmond-based Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches, and trail mix by Whitley’s out of Gloucester are sold, as well as nonalcoholic beverages.
The taproom is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. Private event rental options will be available on Mondays.