Jan 20, 2015

Hardywood Gingerbread Stout

During the late Fall, Virginia’s leaves may have already displayed their splendor and fallen to the ground, left to be raked from yards across the state, but there’s one item just starting to rear it’s head. Hardywood’s Giingerbread Stout is, without a doubt, one of the most anticipated (and over-hyped) beer releases in the Commonwealth. It’s annual arrival creates a chaotic fervor around those few stores that are lucky enough to procure a case or three — it’s a phenomenon unmatched by any of its peers.

I’ve been drinking craft/micro-brewed/what-have-you beers for a couple of decades now and, as such was the norm back in the day, missing out on a special release isn’t that big a deal to me. Sure, if I happen to run across something on store shelves, I’ll pick it up, but I have never waited in line, or driven out of my way just to snag a single bottle of some limited release bottle. Such was the case with this bottle of Hardywood Gingerbread Stout that I happened across in my weekly beer run.

Hardywood Gingerbread Stout

My disdain for the ridiculousness that craft beer drinkers are apt to create around a beer is no reflection on this 9.2% ABV imperial stout or the brewery itself. In fact, this beer is pretty damn tasty, but had I missed out on it again this year — meh — so be it. That said, the Richmond company has done a wonderful job capturing the flavors of the season in this much ballyhooed brew..


A large stack of light brown foam rests atop the nearly opaque, black brew.

Hardywood Gingerbread Stout


The baby ginger arrives immediately, then cinnamon, some earthy honey, a light roast, touch of cocoa and then finally soft bready malt notes.


While the ginger takes the center stage in the aroma, here it allows the other elements to have their moment. Cinnamon, cocoa, hints of coffee, a light roast and smooth honey influence all mingle playfully as lactose, vanilla and that ginger cheer on from the background. Everything has their moment before ultimately fading slowly in the lingering finish. The brew is moderately sweet with an appropriate body and smooth texture. It’s not an overly warming beer despite its alcohol content.


I fully enjoyed the bottle of Hardywood Gingerbread Stout that I happened across. Is it worthy of the one-bottle per customer designation it often gets? Probably not. Is it good? Of course. It carries a seasonally appropriate flavor profile and is well crafted, but it’s certainly not the best beer available in the fine state of Virginia. Settle down folks.

Rating: 4/5

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