Summer is the time to take road trips. But let’s be honest, for horror fans anytime is a good time to take a trip and explore the haunted depths of the continental U.S. Heading to the east coast? Richmond, Virginia is known for its wide array of urban legends, making it a good stop on the old horror bucket list. Haunted battlefields, runaway gorillas, vampires, and more.
Head over to Richmond’s oldest and most-established brewery: Legend Brewing Company. Originally a small microbrewery founded in 1994 by Tom Martin, it has since grown into a full-fledged micropub, serving beer and food to patrons from across the country. But here’s where they separate themselves from the rest and earn a spot on Blumhouse.com: they have an Urban Legend Series of beers.
Every three months, LBC comes out with a beer celebrating a particular urban legend native to Virginia. Each beer is brewed to complement the legend, making its taste unique and full of flavor, and more importantly turning tales of horror into enjoyable experiences. Curious to see which Virginia urban legends they’ve recently paid homage to? Check them out below.
THE URBAN LEGEND: In 1952, a Ringling Brother’s and Barnum and Bailey circus train derailed outside Evington, Va. Thirty-five gorillas escaped the wreckage and ran loose for three decades climbing on houses, peeking in windows, and harassing family pets. Every attempt to recapture and detain a single escapee failed and only one photograph was ever successfully developed. Eventually vanishing into the woods of central Virginia and into urban legend, these unlikely neighbors are the source for the Gorilla Train Coffee Stout.
THE BEER: GORILLA TRAIN COFFEE STOUT
Brewed with locally roasted coffee, this malt-forward ale bears strong roasted malt flavors and hints of dark chocolate and might just have you doing some monkeying around on your own. 6.5% ABV
THE URBAN LEGEND: One day after Christmas in 1811, seventy-two men and women died when a Virginia theater for unknown reasons erupted into flames. The last play ever seen on that stage was one called The Bleeding Nun, a play about an evil spirit epitomizing the sin of erotic desires who haunts the castle of Lindeburg cursing its inhabitants. The disaster sparked reactions that the tragic fire was divine judgment for the play’s focus on evil themes, or even God forbid – the presence of that evil spirit itself.
THE BEER: BLEEDING NUN SPICY OATMEAL STOUT (COVER PHOTO)
Expect a dark roast malt body with a fiery finish. 6.66% ABV.
THE URBAN LEGEND: An unlucky 13 days in the Spring of 1864 saw more than 17,000 Union and Confederate soldiers slain in battle just 10 miles outside of Richmond. The last major defensive victory for General Robert E. Lee laid the ground for one of the bloodiest battles in the war and one of the most haunted battlefields in Virginia. In the fog that settles over the field, one can detect the smell of gunpowder and hear the boom of cannon fire and the distant cries of dying soldiers echo across the rough terrain.
THE BEER: COLD HARBOR KOLSCH
Pouring a straw hue, this warm fermented cold conditioned ale is brewed with citrus peel giving it just a touch of bitterness reminiscent of that crisp foggy day
THE URBAN LEGEND: The urban legend began soon after a collapse of the C&O Railroad Tunnel beneath the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia. The cave-in buried several men and a train on October 2, 1925. The legend tells of a blood-covered creature with jagged teeth and skin hanging from its muscular body that emerged from the cave-in and raced toward the James River. Pursued by a group of men, the creature took refuge in Hollywood Cemetery, where it disappeared in a mausoleum built into a hillside bearing the name W.W. Pool. The men and their train, including the steam engine remain entombed in the now sealed tunnel to this day, and the “Richmond Vampire” reportedly haunts the tombs of Hollywood Cemetery as well as the streets of the city.
THE BEER: RICHMOND VAMPIRE RED
Legend Richmond Vampire Red Ale pours A deep crimson color with a sweet, robust toasted malt character balanced by the bold aromas/flavors of west coast hops. Although this is a strong beer at 8% alc. by vol., it is a balanced one as malt and hop flavors work in harmony…caramel sweetness backs up to pungent piney and citrusy hops. A clean ale yeast strain provides light fruity esters to add depth to the equation.
THE URBAN LEGEND: The R.I.P. Ale sheds light on the urban legend of the Virginia Bunny Man. Incidents identified a man dressed in a bunny suit who terrorized and intimidated Northern Virginia residents. He bludgeoned possessions with an axe and induced fear in the community with his savage behavior.
THE BEER: R.I.P. Ale
The R.I.P. Ale is a Red IPA made in collaboration with Lost Rhino Brewing Company. Specialty malts evoke a soft, drinkable profile, while Amarillo and Chinook hops add a tropical aroma and piney bitterness. This brew comes in at 7.0% alc by vol.
Legend Brewing Company’s beers can be found in Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. Click for a list of their distributors to find out where you can drink the Legend.