Random Row Brewing Co. is a smaller place, as far a square footage goes, but a brewery doesn’t have to be gigantic to be good, they just need to make good beer. I have to say, these guys make great beer.
A group of us went on a Saturday afternoon as the sun was setting. The vibe was very friendly, there were no “bros” about, no riff raff. Actually, there was a delightfully odd mix of people hanging out. There was a good number of families with kids, a hipster here and there, another couple that I would say were in there late 50’s, a few dogs, and people in their 30’s, like us. When you have a diverse mix of people at your establishment, it should clue you up on the quality of the place.
Before I tell you about what all we tasted, let me give you the Random Row backstory (parts of the story pulled from the Random Row website).
For several years, Shannon and Kevin McElroy brewed beer at home. In 2013, Kevin entered the DominionCup and placed second out of around 500 entries with his Keagan’s Imperial Stout. Kevin began to wonder if the skills he had developed during his day job (as a Certified Clinical Perfusionist) could lend themselves to professional brewing.
Several of the Kevin’s friends and co-workers were also very interested in beer and beer-making. They were also interested in the concept of founding, owning and participating in the management of a local business. Working with a co-worker who shared his passion for beer and local business development, Kevin spent over a year doing research on professional brewing and developing a business plan. On June 20, 2015, Kevin held his first fundraiser, serving four homebrewed beers in the basement of a friend’s house. Within 6 days he received the commitments he needed to launch the business, and five days later, on July 1st, Random Row Brewing Company was officially commissioned as a Limited Liability Company in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
It’s such a great story. Many (like myself) love to brew their own beer and think and wish to “some day” open their own brewery. These guys actually went out and did it and with a group of friends , which make it even better.
Now for the Beer
Jillian and I decided that since it was our first time there, we should do a sampling (something I suggest for all first timers).
This way you get a good mix and representation of what they have to offer. Keep this in mind when you do a tasting: You are probably not going to like every single option. In this sampling there were three that I personally didn’t like. That doesn’t make them bad, it just means that I didn’t particularly like them. However, I have friends that would have loved those choices.
While you are sampling, please take your time to enjoy them. If you are looking to get hammered quickly, don’t do a tasting, just go in an alley with a PBR and shotgun the thing.
My favorite: The Sublimation Stout. They call it a “classic Irish Stout” but to me it’s not a classic stout. To me … it’s better. To me, it tasted like liquid smoke, something that may not sound appealing to you, but I love it.
I also really enjoyed The Hill and Element Pale Ale
Next time you are in Charlottesville make a trip over to Random Row, I think you will enjoy the vibe and beer selection.
Hours of Operation:
M: 4:30P – 10P
T: 4:30P – 10P
W: 4:30P – 10P
R: 4:30P – 10P
F: 4:30P – 12A
SA: 12P – 12A
SU: 12P – 8P