Asheville has gotten tons of attention for attracting big, Western craft breweries looking to expand and tap into our thirsty East Coast market. Personally, I couldn’t be more excited about Oskar Blues operating down the road in Brevard, and Sierra Nevada and New Belgium moving in to Asheville soon. But the beer invasion doesn’t stop at Asheville. San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing is building an expansion brewery in Virginia Beach with plans to open in 2016. The West Coast brewery is spending $20 million on a facility that will produce 100,000 barrels of beer a year on the Right Coast.
Green Flash is a huge part of San Diego’s ridiculously vibrant beer scene, and is known for producing bold, hoppy IPAs. Their West Coast IPA is a good introduction to the brewery—it’s tropical, floral and zesty and hits double IPA territory with 95 IBUs and 8.1%. The beer is no joke. Dig deeper into Green Flash’s portfolio, and you’ll find more variations on the IPA (like Hop Head Red, which has a really pleasant caramel, malty base), but also inventive concoctions like Rayon Vert, a super-carbonated Belgian Pale Ale that comes off like 12-ounces of champagne. I dig Road Warrior, a Rye IPA with a creamy, round mouthfeel and a bit of spice on the backend.
Just when you think beer can’t get much better in the South, we get a new neighbor like Green Flash, and the beer scene gets jacked up to a whole new level of awesome. When the brewery is finished in Virginia Beach in 2016, we should all show up at their front door with casseroles welcoming them to the neighborhood.