After he drops off his new cases of beer at the hotel, Daren Register plans to head to Mekong and the Answer. He tried Triple Crossing Brewing Co. last night. But first, and before returning to North Carolina, he’s going to finish his fresh glass of Broz Night Out.
“It’s delicious,” the 35-year-old says after his first few sips of the auburn-colored Citra Double IPA at the Veil Brewing Co.
There’s a Politico reporter in the crowd — off duty, she says, playing hooky from her gig in Washington. And in from South Carolina is Dylan Porter, who turns 24 tomorrow, on a road trip with his girlfriend during a break from pharmacy school.
On a Tuesday afternoon in Scott’s Addition, this isn’t your usual crowd of Richmond’s craft-beer obsessed. These are out-of-town aficionados who make brewery visiting a destination sport.
It wasn’t necessarily designed this way, says brewer and Veil co-founder Matt Tarpey, who’s behind the taproom beside the steel tanks, working on the mashing-out process for a new batch. The point was to keep locals in mind by holding the weekly releases of new beers and revisions to other varieties on Tuesdays — away from weekend crowds.
That’s not to mention the ability to sell the beer within hours of it being canned, Tarpey says: “So it’s as fresh as possible.”
But the word is out, and the locals will have to coexist with the visitors from Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Hampton Roads and everywhere else. On some weeks, the lines stretch for blocks. Fans bring chairs and umbrellas, and pass time on cell phones or talking to friends made through social media — a kind of pen-pal status for beer lovers.
The doors open at 4 p.m., and the cans are waiting.
Joe Gerace, a 30-year-old in the security business, was lucky. He was only here three hours early, but he’s first in line. Got on the road from New Jersey at 6 a.m.
“I’ve heard they’re pretty top-notch,” Gerace says of the Veil, citing recommendations from friends and the stellar credentials of brewer Tarpey. “That’s enough for me right there.”
He’ll get back on the road for a job in Baltimore soon, with beer to share with friends and some cans for himself, he says.
“Maybe I’ll crack one in my hotel room a little bit later.”
Editor's note: This story reflects a correction to the print version, which misspelled Daren Register's last name.