By Staff

O’Connor Brewing Company won its second consecutive Golden Tap Award on December 13 with a total score of 23.5 points. They were followed by Smartmouth Brewing Company (19 points), Alewerks Brewing (15.5 points), Big Ugly Brewing Company (14.5 points) and Commonwealth Brewing Company (11.5 points).

With 20 regional breweries competing, this was the most competitive year yet.

The Golden Tap Awards is Veer Magazine’s annual event where the general public and a panel of judges provide input into deciding the year’s best locally crafted beer as well as recognizing restaurants, food trucks, retail bottle shops and festivals for their contributions to the beer scene.

Breweries received metals in individual beer-style categories (see below). The Golden Tap is determined by a weight given for each where gold medals counted as 3 points, silver gained 2 and 1 for bronze. The brewery with the most points is crowned Brewery of the Year and presented Veer’s Golden Tap trophy by sponsor Southern Bank. Note the categories for brewpub and tasting room were not included in the overall point tally.


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Light Lager

GOLD: Bold Mariner Brewing Company, Pancho Villa Mexi Lager

SILVER: Gordon Biersch, Golden Export

BRONZE: Wasserhund Brewing Company, Local’s Lager



GOLD: Smartmouth, Safety Dance

SILVER: Wasserhund Brewing Company, Purebred Pilsner

BRONZE: Young Veterans, G.I. Pilsner


Amber and Dark Lager

GOLD: Wasserhund Brewing Company, Oktoberfest

SILVER: O’Connor Brewing Co., O’Ctoberfest

BRONZE: Coelacanth, Enefkay


Light American Ale

GOLD: O’Connor Brewing Co., Green Can Golden Ale

SILVER: Virginia Beer Company, Saving Daylight Citrus Wheat

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Sunbeam Blonde


Kolsch and Altbier

GOLD: Wasserhund Brewing Company, King Neptune’s Kolsch

SILVER: Smartmouth, She Kolsch

BRONZE: O’Connor Brewing Co., Walk-Off Kolsch


British Bitter

GOLD: Alewerks Brewing Company, Maizie’s ESB

SILVER: St George, Summer Ale

BRONZE: Coelacanth, CBPB (CBGB)


Scottish and Irish Amber Ale

GOLD: The Bold Mariner Brewing Company, Red Maiden Irish Red

SILVER: St George, Winter Scotch

BRONZE: O’Connor Brewing Co., Discovery Scotch Ale


American Amber and Brown Ale

GOLD: Big Ugly, S’mores Brown Ale

SILVER: O’Connor Brewing Co., Red Nun Red Ale

BRONZE: Smartmouth, Murphy’s Law


English Mild and Brown Ale

GOLD: St George, Nut Brown Ale

SILVER: Home Republic, Cup of Joe Coffee Brown Ale

BRONZE: Virginia Beer Company, Kind Intentions Dry-Hopped Mild


American Pale Ale

GOLD: O’Connor Brewing Co., Norfolk Canyon Pale Ale

SILVER: Smartmouth, Free Thought

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Mod’s Pale Ale



GOLD: Virginia Beer Company, Green’s View New England-Style India Pale Ale

SILVER: Smartmouth, Rule G

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Leaf Peepers IPA


Imperial IPA

GOLD: Reaver Beach, Hoptopus Double IPA

SILVER: Commonwealth, Big Papi

BRONZE: Smartmouth, Notch 9



GOLD: Oozlefinch, Ox Cart Imperial Porter

SILVER: O’Connor Brewing Co., Winter Pecan Porter

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Ghost Rider Porter



GOLD: Smartmouth, Cowcatcher Milk Stout

SILVER: O’Connor Brewing Co., O’Connor Dry Irish Stout

BRONZE: Commonwealth, Marvolo


Russian Imperial Stout

GOLD: O’Connor Brewing Co., Ibrik Imperial Turkish Coffee Stout

SILVER: St George, Imperial Stout

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Ape Hanger Russian Imperial Stout 


Strong Ale

GOLD: Alewerks Brewing Company, Grand Illumination Barleywine

SILVER: Virginia Beer Company, Rob Your Head Imperial Red

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Barnfind Barleywine


German Wheat Beer

GOLD: Gordon Biersch, Hefeweizen

SILVER: Commonwealth, Taonga

BRONZE: Wasserhund Brewing Company, German Shepheweizen



Belgian Session Ales

GOLD: Smartmouth, Alter Ego

SILVER: Alewerks Brewing Company, White Ale

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Sidecar Saison


Belgian Strong Ales

GOLD: Pleasure House, Glo Belgian Blond

SILVER: Alewerks Brewing Company, Jubilee X

BRONZE: Smartmouth, Third Rail Tripel


Sour Ale

GOLD: Commonwealth, Penthesilia

SILVER: Reaver Beach, The Reaver (oak fermented sour blonde)

BRONZE: Commonwealth, Hippolyta


Smoked and Wood Aged Beer

GOLD: O’Connor Brewing Co., Backyard Bonfire Smoked IPA

SILVER: Alewerks Brewing Company, Cafe Royale

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Dark Journey


Herb, Spice, and Vegetable Beer

GOLD: Alewerks Brewing Company, Pumpkin Ale

SILVER: Big Ugly, Ghost Pepper Gose

BRONZE: Big Ugly, Hot Pursuit


Fruit Beer

GOLD: Reaver Beach, Reaver en Noir (sour refermented with Pinot noir grapes)

SILVER: Pleasure House, Asian Unicorn Blonde Ale w/ Asian Pears

BRONZE: Smartmouth, Outta Yer Gourd



GOLD: Young Veterans, Goat Locker Breakfast Stout

SILVER: Commonwealth, Humblebrag

BRONZE: O’Connor Brewing Co., Tamarindo Red Coffee Saison

GOLD: Young Veterans/Bold Mariner, Shellback Coconut Stout

SILVER: Alewerks Brewing Company/O’Connor Brewing, Limoo Amani Black Lime Saison

BRONZE: Commonwealth/Big Ugly, Romhilda


Brew Pub

GOLD: Gordon Biersch

SILVER: Wasserhund

BRONZE: Home Republic


Brewery Tasting Room

GOLD: Big Ugly

SILVER: O’Connor

BRONZE: Commonwealth




GOLD: Karnage Asada

SILVER: Your Pie

BRONZE: Thai Express





Best Selection of Local 757 Beer

GOLD: Tap It Local

SILVER: Brick Anchor

BRONZE: DoG Street Pub


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

GOLD: Brick Anchor

SILVER: The Birch Bar

BRONZE: Cogans Ghent


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

GOLD: DoG Street Pub

SILVER: Lynnhaven Pub

BRONZE: The Bier Garden


Best Overall Bottle & Can Beer Selection

GOLD: Bier Garden

SILVER: The Birch Bar

BRONZE: 80/20 Burger Bar


Best European Selection

GOLD: The Bier Garden

SILVER: The Birch Bar

BRONZE: DoG Street Pub


Best Draft Beer Presentation of Taps

GOLD: Yard House

SILVER: Cogans North

BRONZE: Supper


Best Virginia Craft Beer Selection

GOLD: Brick Anchor

SILVER: Tap It Local (Chesapeake)

BRONZE: Cogans North


Best Beer with Outdoor Patio

GOLD: Bier Garden

SILVER: DoG Street Pub

BRONZE: Supper



Best Beer with an Atmosphere

GOLD: DoG Street Pub (Williamsburg)

SILVER: Bier Garden

BRONZE: Norfolk Taproom


Best Beer and Pizza

GOLD: Cogans Ghent

SILVER: Wasserhund

BRONZE: Cogans North


Best Beer and Live Music

GOLD: Taphouse (Ghent)

SILVER: HK on the Bay

BRONZE: Belmont House of Smoke


Best Sports Bar Beer Selection

GOLD: Cogans North

SILVER: Shorebreak Pizza & Taphouse

BRONZE: Baxter’s


Bottle Shop/Growler Fill

GOLD: Grape & Gourmet


BRONZE: ExceptionAle


Major Retail

GOLD: Total Wine & More Ghent

SILVER: Whole Foods

BRONZE: Total Wine & More Hilltop


Home Brew Supplies

GOLD: Home Brew USA Janaf

SILVER: Brew & Bottle

BRONZE: Home Brew USA Hampton


Best Brewery Event

GOLD: Treasure Chest at Green Flash

SILVER: Major & The Monbacks Block Party at Bold Mariner

BRONZE: O’Connoroo at O’Connor


Best Outdoor Beer Festival

GOLD: Whistle Belly Festival

SILVER: Virginia Beer Festival (Town Point Park)

BRONZE: Common Grounds


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

GOLD: 43 Hours of Sour @ The Birch

SILVER: The Bier Garden’s Oktoberfest

BRONZE: Shamrockin’ in Ghent