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Belt’s Beer Garden: Hokie Dokie

Hardywood collaborated with Virginia Tech’s Dept. of Food Science & Technology to brew Fightin’ Hokies Lager, a Munich-style Helles Lager

Football season is fast approaching (FINALLY!!) and I can hardly wait!! In order to tide me over until that last week in August I found myself a nice Lager from Virginia that will hopefully do the job - Fightin’ Hokies Lager.

Fightin’ Hokies Lager is a collaboration between the Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.

Hardywood, out of Richmond, Virginia, is one of the most well-known breweries in the state. They opened their doors back in 2011 and have seen a ton of success over the past decade. In fact, they have since opened a second location in the West Creek area of the city.

The VT Department of Food Science and Technology has constantly been named one of the nation’s best. They have their own brewhouse and both their bachelor’s and master’s programs are currently listed as one of the top ten food science programs in the country (if I ever go back to school, I know where I’m going!!)

You can read all about the collaboration here but, the important thing is that there is a VT beer out for consumption right now!!

This lager is a Munich-style Helles Lager made with Noble hops. It has a 5% ABV and six 12-ounce stubby bottles will set you back $10.

Fightin’ Hokies lager poured a bright and clean golden color with just about a finger of pure white head forming. The bubbles quickly fizzled down into a razor thin ring around the edge of the glass with a single lone cloud floating in the middle.

The aroma was sweet malt with a light hop backing. It was dominated by a cereal-like quality that featured flaked wheat and corn, like a bowl of liquid Corn Flakes...with just a touch more sugary sweetness to it.

It began with a very light touch of carbonation. The flaked wheat notes hit my taste buds almost immediately with that crisp, sweet flavor. The grist added a roasted/smoky malt characteristic as well but, for the most part, it was the sweeter aspect of the grains that came through.

There was a dash of hoppy bitterness that peeked its head out on the back half of the sip. But Munich style brews are known for having a bit more of a hop presence than their Czech counterpart and, as a hop-lover, the light bitter twinge didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I thought it added a nice lemon zest quality and some floral notes that amplified the grains.

Fightin’ Hokies Lager finished really nicely - which, sadly, can’t be said of the football team last year, as they lost four of their last five games (but three of those games were to top 25 opponents). It ended very cleanly, with just a slight lingering bitterness and a bready characteristic both of which faded within a minute.

With five of VT’s first six games being home games, this brew is going to be a perfect tailgating beer in Blacksburg this September/October when the weather is still nicer. It’s a great compliment to the hot weather and makes for a beautiful all-day sipper.

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