CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, LICKINGHOLE CREEK & MIDNIGHT BREWERY

COTUJust a short ride up 95 North, you’ll find yourself facing a building that might resemble the DMV, but inside instead of stern faces and long lines, you’ll find Center of the Universe (they call it COTU) Brewery.  The space is huge and complete with a large patio.  With around 10 beers on tap, we were excited to give another local place a try.  What we weren’t excited about? No heat. Apparently it went out that morning so we bundled up, drank our flight, and scurried on out.

The beer here was alright. I really hate saying alright but we weren’t too impressed. It might be our tastebuds which prefer bolder brews.

I felt like the majority of our flight were IPA’s, which we’re both not huge fans of.  The beginning of our flight started with Slingshot (Kolsch), super light Ray Ray’s (Pale Ale) then to a traditional Main Street (Virginia Ale), then found my favorite in their Chin Music (Amber Lager). Next, the beers went to hop heaven with 4 IPA’s. Unfortunately, the hoppiness was so overwhelming that it changed the flavor of the ones that were not IPA’s.

I won’t give this one a thumbs down, I’ll certainly come back and make sure they have a seasonal brew or two and bask in their hug patio.

Ashleigh’s words: So many IPA’s, so little variation.

Flight: $13 for 8

Lickinghole

After COTU, we drove our way through some beautiful Goochland countryside to Lickinghole Creek. As we winded down a dirt road towards the supposed brewery, I felt like we were either going to end up in someone’s driveway (queue a little bit of Deliverance) or an off-the-grid campsite.

Even though I read Lickinghole Creek is Virgina’s first farm brewery, the beautiful white barn still took my breath away. The expansive land the barn sits on is beautiful and I can’t imagine how amazing this place is in the warm summer months.

Following our bad luck with COTU’s heatless tasting room, we quickly discovered Lickinghole’s water was out with a single trip to the Port-a-John. As a result, we weren’t able to snag a flight (unable to wash their glasses).
On the bright side, they had just released their Vanilla Virginia Black Bear Stout a day prior so we went along with the excitement and each got one. It was great – small hints of vanilla with a robust stout flavor. So robust and dark that it coated Ashleigh’s mouth resembling a kind of chola lip liner.

I also got a sip of their Rosemary Saison which was incredible with earthy hints of rosemary with the dry tang of a saison. I’d certainly get this if I saw it on a menu.

Ashleigh’s words: I wanted a little more vanilla flavor in the stout…and I think it’s better to visit during warmer months…and when the water is working…

Flight: $9

Midnight

Our impromptu trip to Midnight Brewery wouldn’t have been possible without locking eyes with their logo on an exit sign going 64 eastbound. This place was literally right off the highway, which delighted the both of us since we were both hungry and ready to get back to the city.Tucked in a small Industrial Park in the middle of a field, we found comfort in our last brewery of the day and the sweetest older woman who worked there.

The beers here were crisp and cold. For our flight, we ordered Not My Job (a Southern English Brown Ale), Rockville Red (Irish Red Ale), Midnight Granite (Oatmeal Stout) and Front Porch (Rye Porter).

My favorite was the Rockville Red which made me realize I had forgotten how great Irish Reds were. Its toasty caramel and mild hop flavor was amazing and beats my old days of drinking Killian’s.

Ashleigh’s words: I love a beer with a crisp, clean edge to it and all of the ones we tried had that, yes yes yes.

Flight: $6 for 4

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