by Colby Rogers
Seeking the Answer
One of Richmond's most anticipated openings has finally arrived. The new brew pub from Mekong and Commercial Taphouse owner An Bui, the Answer, opened its doors last Wednesday to give local media a peek at its renovated and clean-lined tap room. The spot on West Broad Street, next to Mekong, is nearly complete, with just a few more tweaks before the public can imbibe upwards of 80 brews on tap.
When will Brandon Tolbert, the Answer's brewer, start producing his own beer out of the new brewery located on-site? He isn't saying, nor is he disclosing his first Answer-exclusive beer. "A lot of people — a lot of people — are asking me," Tolbert says. "I have some ideas though. I really just want to get to the brewing."
A sampling of menu items on hand included bánh gôi, a type of Vietnamese tamale; steamed bao, buns filled with fish and pork; and crowd pleasing bánh mì sandwiches.
The Answer Brewpub is at 6008 W. Broad St. The grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 2. — Robey Martin
The Chili Anniversary: Carytown institution Thai Diner Too will celebrate its 15th anniversary the week of Sept. 9. Diners will get a free desert with dinner, discounts on pad Thai and 15 percent off their meal on Sept. 9. The restaurant opened Sept. 9, 1999. Co-owner Mam Hongcharti says she traveled to a Buddhist temple in Houston, Texas, to ask for a monk's blessing for the new venture. She was told that the number nine was lucky for her in business, hence the opening date of 9-9-99. 3028 W. Cary St. 353-9514.
Burgeoning Blanchard's: Richmond-based craft coffee roaster Blanchard's java soon will be available in Charlottesville and Northern Virginia through a partnership with three grocery chains. Coffee quaffers looking for a little local love can find Blanchard's roasts on shelves at Martin's, Kroger and Whole Foods Markets throughout Virginia.
Dooley drinking: It isn't difficult to find local craft brew in Richmond these days, and beer lovers will find all the usual suspects in attendance at Maymont's annual Wine and Beer Classic on Sept. 12. So who's going to be there? Fourteen breweries, including Lickinghole Creek, Ardent Craft Ales and Isley Brewing. Some farther-flung Virginia neighbors also will be stopping by, including Lost Rhino Brewing (Ashburn), Smartmouth Brewing Co. (Norfolk) and Wild Wolf Brewing Co. (Nellysford). In addition to unlimited samples of beer, festival-goers can enjoy performances from local roots-rock act Jubeus, a corn hole tournament, and raffles for a home-brewing kit and other prizes. Gates open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 — $15 for designated drivers — at maymont.org. 1700 Hampton St., 358-7166.
September Festival Roundup
Fall Line Fest: The biggie on this list. This two-day festival features more than 50 bands at venues across town. Don't miss the buffet-style Fall Line Brunch Fest (page 22) with signature dishes from eight popular Richmond chefs. Sept. 5 and 6. Tickets are $20-$75. falllinefest.com.
The Harvest Wine Festival: Four wineries bring their wares for a one-day event featuring live music, seminars and food vendors. Sept. 6, 11 a.m., James River Cellars Winery. Tickets are $20. jamesrivercellars.com.
The Chesterfield Chamber Craft Beer Festival: More than 20 breweries will be in attendance, local and out-of-state, including Heavy Seas Beer, Sly Fox Beer and Southern Tier Brewing. Sept. 13, noon, Westchester Commons. Tickets are $10-$50. chesterfieldbeerfest.com.
Shockoe-on-the-Half Shell Festival: Oyster dishes from favorite local restaurants. Music from Alison Self and the Regulars, Andy Vaughan and the Driveline. Shell recycling event to benefit the Chesapeake Bay. Sept. 14, noon, 17th Street Farmers' Market. Free.
Tubes and Taps: Attendees can help raise money for the James River Park System by spending a day floating in it. Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream's second annual benefit includes transportation to and from the River, food, live music and brews on tap from Foothills and New Belgium. Sept. 14, 11:30 a.m., Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream, Forest Hill. Tickets are $40. crossroadsrva.com.
10th Annual St. Benedict Oktoberfest: One of the largest Oktoberfest events in Virginia, with 50 craft beers and German and Austrian wine and food. Dancing, games, events and a children's area. Sept. 19, 20 and 21. Free. stbenedictoktoberfest.com.
10th Annual Richmond Italian Festival: Returning to the 17th Street Farmers' Market, festival-goers can expect the same Italian food, wine and fun as years past. Children's area and a cultural exhibit featuring photos and artifacts from Richmond's Italian history. Sept. 27 and 28. 11 a.m. Suggested $5 donation. richmonditalianfestival.org.
Belmont Butchery's Beast Feast: Lots and lots of flame-roasted meat — though local produce and booze will be in attendance as well. Sept. 28, 1 p.m., benefitting Patrick Henry's Scotchtown in Beaverdam. Tickets are $80.