The Veil may be coming to Norfolk.
Excitement about the Richmond brewery occupying the old Norfolk Chop House space on Colonial Avenue has been mounting after a meeting of local business owners and a social media post by the Veil itself. Though small, the two-year-old brewery has an outsized reputation, inspiring fevered devotion among beer fans.
Its presence there would significantly raise the profile of beer in Hampton Roads.
Veil president and co-founder Dave Michelow did not deny the Veil is expanding to Norfolk. But he also declined to confirm it.
The brewery posted an Instagram story Wednesday showing the former chop house building at 2314 Colonial Ave. Emojis with a thinking face were placed over the photo, with a GIF of a woman dancing in front of the building. The post has since disappeared.
Immediately, speculation flared on social media.
The plans were also discussed at a Railroad District Business Association meeting last week by the developer Monument, an attendee and a colleague of attendees both told The Pilot. Tom Dickey, a principal with Monument, said that the building is under contract to 2314 Colonial Norfolk LLC, and any development is contingent on city approval. He declined to comment further.
The Veil is already in the process of opening a second location in Richmond. But their renowned head brewer, Matt Tarpey, has strong family and professional connections to Hampton Roads. He was raised in Chesapeake from the age of 12 and has called Norfolk his hometown. His first brewing job was at O’Connor Brewing in the city’s Park Place neighborhood, less than half a mile from the Chop House building.
On the heels of New Realm's Virginia Beach opening in September, a Norfolk brewpub from the Veil would be another feather in Hampton Roads' beer cap. Even outside Virginia’s borders, the Veil is the subject of fervor bordering on the cultish.
Each beer released by the brewery is met with the kind of dedication usually reserved for Beyonce tickets. Every Tuesday at 4 p.m., fans line up outside their brewery in Richmond's Scott's Addition neighborhood with lawn chairs and coolers, waiting hours for their chance to buy a limited allotment of Veil four-packs. Some drive more than three hours for the privilege.
There's reason to believe that even a small brewpub in Norfolk would draw beer tourists from outside Hampton Roads looking to sample the Veil's new and limited-batch releases. Of the top 50 Virginia beers ranked on beer-lover site Beer Advocate, 14 are brewed by the Veil.