Mom always said to eat your veggies, and now Norfolk’s Benchtop Brewing is making sure you drink them too. Bringing homegrown flavor to city dwellers, the Chelsea neighborhood brewery is on point with some off-kilter vegetable brews.
Benchtop’s beers have largely played tribute to food and agricultural roots with a grain-to-glass mentality because of Owner and Brewer Eric Tennant’s upbringing with food science. “He thinks of different flavor combinations, gets inspiration from different foods, things that certainly are not traditional ingredients in beer, but stuff that can be locally sourced and that showcase local terroir,” shares Benchtop Tasting Room Manager and Cicerone Dale Price. “We’ve kind of been finding our own niche with these vegetable sours that sound so strange.”
One such brew is their Quick Pickle Carrot Cucumber Gose, a tart and refreshing beer made with carrots from Yamco in North Carolina and cucumbers from Cullipher Farm in Virginia Beach. The concept originated from Tennant’s affinity for gazpacho, and yes, it tastes better than it may sound. “He also has an excellent mind for recipe design,” Price adds.
Another produce-forward pour, Trial of Dmitri Beet Kvass, colors your glass purple as it’s made with Cullipher Farm beets and Vollkornbrot sourdough rye bread from The Bakehouse at Chelsea. The widely admired Mermaid’s Scorn Tidewater Gose makes use of locally farmed oysters imparting salt that’s then uplifted by lemon zest. And when you’re completely full of farmed goods and are looking to round out your food groups, try one of Benchtop’s hazy and juicy IPAs that stand tall in their stemware.
Benchtop Brewing is located at 1129 Boissevain Ave. in Norfolk. For more on their beer, visit BenchtopBrewing.com.