(Local breweries from Hampton Roads celebrated at Tuesday's Golden Tap Beer Awards)

(Local breweries from Hampton Roads celebrated at Tuesday’s Golden Tap Beer Awards)

By Jeff Maisey

Southern Bank presented VEER Magazine’s 2015 Golden Tap Awards December 8 with Norfolk’s O’Connor Brewing Company scoring the most overall points to earn the Golden Tap for Brewery of the Year.

Gold, silver and bronze medals were given in brewery/beer categories recognized by the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild as well as for best tasting room, collaboration, brew pub and events.

Additionally, awards were presented in a variety of restaurant/bar categories. Bottle shops, festivals and home brew supplies were also featured.

Fifty percent of the overall tally came from a popular vote conducted online. A panel of judges weighed-in for the other half of the scoring with each judge casting one weighted vote per category.

Participating breweries included Pleasure House, Reaver Beach, Young Veterans, Brass Cannon, Wasserhund, Home Republic, Big Ugly, Smartmouth, Back Bay, Alewerks, St. George, Commonwealth, Wharf Hill and O’Connor.

Following are VEER’s 2015 Golden Tap Award results.



Light Lager

GOLD: Back Bay, Steel Pier

SILVER: O’Connor, Cinco de Maibock

BRONZE: No Entry



GOLD: Smartmouth, Safety Dance Pilsner

SILVER: St George, Pilsner

BRONZE: Commonwealth, Aureole


Amber and Dark Lager

GOLD: O’Connor, O’Ctoberfest

SILVER: Wasserhund, Dunkel

BRONZE: O’Connor, Commonwealth Common


Light American Ale

GOLD: O’Connor, Green Can Golden Ale

SILVER: Alewerks, Shorty Time

BRONZE: Young Veterans, New Recruit Honey Blonde Ale


Kolsch and Altbier

GOLD: O’Connor, Walk-Off Kolsch

SILVER: Home Republic, King Kolsch

BRONZE: Reaver Beach, Riptide Altbier


British Bitter

GOLD: Pleasure House, First Landing ESB

SILVER: Alewerks, Maizie’s ESB

BRONZE: Alewerks, Best Bitter


Scottish and Irish Amber Ale

GOLD: St George, Winter Scotch

SILVER: No Entry

BRONZE: No Entry


American Amber and Brown Ale

GOLD: St George, Nut Brown Ale

SILVER: Smartmouth, Murphy’s Law Amber

BRONZE: O’Connor, Red Nun Red Ale


English Mild and Brown Ale

GOLD: Alewerks, Olde Stitch

SILVER: Pleasure House, No Waves

BRONZE: Brass Cannon, Barrage Brown Ale


American Pale Ale

GOLD: O’Connor, Norfolk Canyon Pale Ale

SILVER: Reaver Beach, Ghost Ship

BRONZE: Smartmouth, Indecision Pale Ale



GOLD: O’Connor, El Guapo Agave IPA

SILVER: O’Connor, Spyhop White IPA

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Rockers IPA


Imperial IPA

GOLD: Smartmouth, Notch 9 Double IPA

SILVER: Reaver Beach, Hoptopus

BRONZE: Alewerks, Bitter Valentine



GOLD: St George, Porter

SILVER: Big Ugly, Ghost Rider

BRONZE: O’Connor, Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter



GOLD: Alewerks, CoffeeHouse Stout

SILVER: Smartmouth, Cowcatcher Milk Stout

BRONZE: O’Connor, Bold Man Oyster Stout


Russian Imperial Stout

GOLD: Alewerks, Café Royale

SILVER: O’Connor, Ibrik Imperial Turkish Coffee Stout

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Ape Hanger RIS


Strong Ale

GOLD: Alewerks, Grand Illumination

SILVER: Back Bay, Queen Anne’s Revenge

BRONZE: Pleasure House, Winter Champs


German Wheat Beer

GOLD: Wasserhund, Hefeweizen

SILVER: Smartmouth, Sommer Fling Hefeweizen

BRONZE: Young Veterans, Pineapple Grenade Hefeweizen


Belgian Session Ales

GOLD: Smartmouth, Alter Ego Saison

SILVER: Alewerks, White Ale

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Split Window Saison


Belgian Strong Ales

GOLD: O’Connor, Bells Beach Galaxy Saison

SILVER: O’Connor, S-Turns Honey Saison

BRONZE: Reaver Beach, Polaris


Sour Ale

GOLD: Alewerks, Lover’s Greed

SILVER: Smartmouth, Lactobacillusaurus Berliner Weisse

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Bim’s Magic Berlinerbus


Smoked and Wood Aged Beer

GOLD: O’Connor, Backyard Bonfire Smoked IPA

SILVER: Smartmouth, Hive Mind Honey Saison

BRONZE: Alewerks Bourbon Barrel Porter


Herb, Spice, and Vegetable Beer

GOLD: Alewerks, Pumpkin Ale

SILVER: Big Ugly, Ghost Pepper Gose

BRONZE: O’Connor, Punkelweisse


Fruit Beer

GOLD: Smartmouth, Alter(ed) Ego Raspberry Saison

SILVER: Big Ugly, Mango IPA

BRONZE: Big Ugly Brewing, Blackberry Gose



GOLD: Smartmouth, Missing Digit Hemp IPA

SILVER: St George Brewing Company, Honey Meade Lager

BRONZE: Commonwealth Brewing Co, Taonga



GOLD: O’Connor & Smartmouth, Treaty of Ghent Belgian Dubbel

SILVER: O’Connor & Three Notch’d, 40 Mile to the Border

BRONZE: Alewerks & Virginia Beer Co., Public Frenemy #1 Red Rye IPA


Brew Pub

GOLD: Gordon Biersch

SILVER: Home Republic

BRONZE: Wasserhund


Brewery Tasting Room

GOLD: O’Connor

SILVER: Big Ugly

BRONZE: Smartmouth




Best Overall Draft Beer Selection (Number of taps/quality) – 20+ Taps

GOLD: The Birch Bar

SILVER: Yard House

BRONZE: Cogans North


Best Overall Draft Beer Selection (Number of taps/quality) – Under 20 Taps

GOLD: DoG Street Pub

SILVER: The Bier Garden



Best Overall Bottle & Can Beer Selection

GOLD: Bier Garden

SILVER: DoG Street Pub

BRONZE: 80/20 Burger Bar


Best Overall American Craft Beer Selection

GOLD: 80/20 Burger Bar

SILVER: DoG Street Pub

BRONZE: County Grill & Smokehouse (Yorktown)


Best International Selection

GOLD: The Bier Garden

SILVER: The Birch Bar

BRONZE: DoG Street Pub


Best Draft Beer Tap Display

GOLD: Cogans Ghent

SILVER: Cogans North

BRONZE: Yard House


Best Virginia Craft Beer Selection

GOLD: Public House

SILVER: 80/20 Burger Bar

BRONZE: Cogans North


Best Beer with Outdoor Patio

GOLD: DoG Street Pub

SILVER: Bier Garden

BRONZE: Cogans North


Best Beer with an Atmosphere

GOLD: DoG Street Pub (Williamsburg)

SILVER: Bier Garden

BRONZE: Norfolk Taproom


Best Beer and Pizza

GOLD: Cogans Ghent

SILVER: Cogans North

BRONZE: Wasserhund


Best Beer and Live Music

GOLD: Belmont House of Smoke

SILVER: Taphouse (Ghent)

BRONZE: County Grill (Yorktown)


Best Sports Bar Beer Selection

GOLD: Cogans North

SILVER: Red Dog Saloon

BRONZE: Shorebreak Pizza & Taphouse


Food Truck at a Brewery

GOLD: Karnage Asada

SILVER: Bro’s Fish Tacos

BRONZE: Seoul 757 Tacos


Bottle Shop

GOLD: Grape & Gourmet


BRONZE: Hair of the DoG


Major Retail

GOLD: Total Wine & More Ghent

SILVER: Total Wine & More Hilltop

BRONZE: Harris Teeter Hanbury Road


Home Brew Supplies

GOLD: Home Brew USA Janaf

SILVER: Brew & Bottle

BRONZE: Home Brew USA Hampton


Best Brewery Event

GOLD: Treasure Chest Fest @ Green Flash

SILVER: O’Connoroo

BRONZE: Back Bay Kiss My Cask


Best Outdoor Beer Festival

GOLD: Virginia Beer Festival (Town Point Park)

SILVER: Whistle Belly Festival

BRONZE: Virginia Beach Craft Beer Festival


Best Beer Event (Non-festival, non-brewery)

GOLD: Battle of the Beers @ Tapped

SILVER: 43 Hours of Sour @ The Birch

BRONZE: MOCA Blues & Brews