EDGE DISTRICT — Beer, people, purpose. These are the three priorities the Virginia Beer Company (VBC) holds close to its heart.
So when an opportunity sprang up to craft a beer that embodied all of these qualities and support the LGBTQ+ community, co-founder of VBC, Robby Willey, said that it was just the natural thing to do.
“This one checked off all three boxes,” he said of the hazy IPA brewed by VBC that is fittingly named Friends Of Dorothy.
While the origins of the phrase, “Friend of Dorothy” have been debated, some harken it back to Judy Garland’s character in the beloved classic, “Wizard of Oz,” singing the iconic song, “Over the Rainbow.” Judy Garland went on to become an icon for LGBTQ+ for her acceptance and love for the community. To learn more about this phrase, click here.
This bright and refreshing IPA sets a beverage standard for equality and positive vibes. In its iconic striped can, which dons the pride flag, Friends of Dorothy is a beer for those who either want to express their LGBTQ+ pride or those who want to show their support for the community.
Dry-hopped with a mix of rotating hops, Friends Of Dorothy combines as many flavors as possible. With each batch made, the profile changes ever so slightly but always remains fruity and refreshing. Now on its third batch, this round features fruity Citra and El Dorado hops to add a candy-like taste.
“It’s kind of a mix of flavors and profiles, and that’s on purpose,” Willey said. “This one is like a bowl of fresh-cut mango and pineapple. It’s really perfect for the time of year when we release it.”
But this is not just a beer for Pride Month, nor is it an attempt to capitalize on it. VBC releases the beer throughout the year to emphasize a consistent culture of positivity and support. The brewery also works with Love is Love Tidewater on events and campaigns. They also signed a pledge with Equality Virginia.
“We have family members and team mates who are part of the community,” Willey said. “This beer was just natural to the spirit of VBC. As we always say, beers for all and cheers for all. ”
According to Willey, VBC’s Director of Sales, Michael Rhodes, came up with the idea to use the phrase for the beer’s name.
In coordination with Hampton Roads Pride, the Friends Of Dorothy IPA will be one of the featured beers at MJ’s Tavern 2021 Pride Kick Off Event Parking Lot Party this Friday, June 5. VBC also plans on joining Hampton Roads Business OutReach, an LGBTQ+ chamber of commerce.
The Friends Of Dorothy IPA has also made it outside of Hampton Roads and into the hands of Virginians statewide through VBC’s agreement with Total Wine & More. The beer has even reached a global audience, becoming popular with beer aficionados from as far away as Tokyo.
The Friends Of Dorothy IPA is on tap at VBC and is available at The Cheese Shop and Williamsburg-area Harris Teeter grocery stores. You can visit the brewery’s taproom at 401 Second St., which is open from 3-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 12-9 p.m. Friday through Monday.
To learn more about VBC and the beers it crafts, click here.
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