Celebrate Craft Beer Month Wisely

Richmond Virginia Craft Beer

This month, Virginia is for lovers – specifically, beer lovers. Throughout August, breweries in Richmond and across the state will hold “Craft Beer Month” events.

According to the Times-Dispatch, there are now 61 licensed breweries in Virginia, and 15 to 18 more breweries are expected to join the group in the year ahead.

While our area’s growing craft beer industry is something to be proud about and celebrate, it’s important to enjoy the festivities safely. People need to pay close attention to how much they consume and avoid drunk driving accidents.

Know Your Beer’s Alcohol Content

No two beers are the same. They differ in taste, color and aroma. They also vary when it comes to their alcohol content.

Alcohol by volume (ABV) is the measurement that is commonly used to convey the alcohol concentration in a given beer beer. (Proof is the term commonly used for liquor.)

It is a self-explanatory term. Think of it this way: You have 100 ounces of beer. You pour all of the alcohol found in that beer in one container and the non-alcohol ingredients in a second container. If there are five and a half ounces of alcohol in that first container, the beer would have a 5.5% ABV.

According to the Alcohol Content Database, the ABV tends to vary by the style of beer. For example, here are the typical ABV ranges for:

Style ABV
Pilsner 3–6%
India Pale Ale (IPA) 6-7%
ESB (Bitter) 3-6%
Lager 4-5%
Porter 4-5%
Brown Ale 4-6%
Stout 5-10%

A review of the beers offered by Virginia craft breweries, including those in the Richmond area, shows just how widely ABV can vary even when beers are the same style.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at different types of India pale ales, or IPAs, which are offered by different Richmond craft breweries:

Beer ABV
Ardent IPA 6.8%
Hardywood RVA IPA 7.0%
Legend Golden IPA 7.6%
Strangeways The Houblonic Belgian IPA 8.4%

Most local breweries plainly state the alcohol content of their beers on their labels, menus or websites. Brewers realize that alcohol content is a concern for many people, and they make it easy for you to know what you are getting into when you consume a beer.

For example, the impact on your body from drinking two beers with 8.0% ABV will be different than consuming two with a 4.0% ABV. Please keep this mind as you participate in different events during Craft Beer Month. Alcohol poisoning can be a potentially fatal consequence of drinking too much.

Don’t Drink and Drive

The list of Craft Beer Month festivities in Richmond is extensive. A complete calendar is available here.

As you go from brewery-to-brewery and event-to-event, please do not drink and drive. You can take several reasonable steps, including:

Use a designated driver – a person who will not consume any alcohol. Be respectful of the driver and don’t distract him or her while driving with rowdy behavior.
Call a taxi or use public transportation such as the GRTC Transit System.
Arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up at the end of your night out.

Please enjoy Virginia’s fine craft breweries and show your support for this industry in our state. But if you take even one sip, don’t get behind the wheel. You owe it to yourself, your family and others on the road.

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