RICHMOND, Va. — Stepping up its game to get into the holiday spirit, Final Gravity Brewing Co., in partnership with Padow’s Hams & Deli, announced the release of its seasonal Hickory Ham Stout this morning.
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Alex Donahue, the chief brewer at Final Gravity, said the idea came to fruition as the team was trying to nail down what their flagship holiday beer would be.
“It’s holiday season and we wanted to produce something festive that you can’t find anywhere else,” Donahue stated, adding that it was a matter of competition between other breweries. “Hardywood has the Gingerbread Stout, and everyone else has some kind of Christmas porter, so we wanted to enter the game with our own take on the season.”
“Then we remembered that ‘It’s Always Sunny’ episode with the rum ham,” he continued, “and it clicked. We got in touch with Padow’s and by the weekend, we were throwing in chopped up bits of salted ham with roasted barley.”
“It gave some unusual smells during the fermentation period, but we just shrugged it off as ‘normal,’” Donahue added.
While many stouts are rich with flavors like coffee and chocolate, the Hickory Ham Stout will feature the salty taste of the popular Virginia ham. It’s recommended that the stout be served lukewarm and with a pineapple garnish.
“The HHS combines the richness of a stout with the raw, dog-breath flavor of a hickory ham,” Donahue said. “It’s literally the most Virginia thing we could come up with, minus adding the air particles from Old Rag Mountain into the recipe.”
Jim Idleson, a spokesperson for Padow’s, said the deli is looking forward to the partnership as well and hopes it could lead to more business from a sought-after market demographic.
“We were pretty excited when Gravity contacted us about the idea. We’re beginning to worry that the only people who voluntarily eat Virginia ham are retired folks over the age of 70, so we’re hoping this can help us finally tap into the millennial demographic.”
To celebrate the release, Final Gravity plans to throw a release party on Saturday morning at its Lakeside taproom which will feature a tasting session where patrons can try the stout paired with mixed nuts, smoked bacon, and, of course, homemade biscuits.