A Rising Tide

Random Row Brewing Company joins an ever-growing community of breweries in Charlottesville.

When Random Row Brewing Company opened its doors Friday, Sept. 16, co-founder Bradley Kipp says he received one complaint: lines were too long. But in a beer-soaked town like C’ville, this isn’t a bad problem to have.

Offering a regularly rotating selection of 14 beers on tap, the brewery’s tasting room features a 45-foot bar and plenty of indoor seating, plus a front-row view of the brewing process itself.

“All of our brewing equipment is out in the open, right behind the bar, as little as eight feet from where the customer sits,” Kipp says. “You’re literally seeing where the beer is made as you’re drinking it, which provides a really cool experience.”

Kipp and the rest of the team (CEO and brewmaster Kevin McElroy and general manager Matt Monson) say that the 14 rotating beers on tap will always include a handful of staple brews. They haven’t yet established what they are, says Kipp, but he’s “hoping the customers can help us decide.” So far they’ve rolled out a Hefeweizen, an English-style ale, a German-style brown lager, a classic Irish stout and, of course, a couple of IPAs.

Local food trucks like Two Guys Tacos and Mouth Wide Open (which serves sliders and fries) will be parked outside every Thursday-Sunday, but Kipp says customers are welcome to bring food with them, or even order a pizza or some sandwiches to be delivered straight to the brewery. (Other beer, not so much.)

For now, “The only place you can have a glass of Random Row beer is at Random Row,” says Kipp. Stay tuned for distribution news.

Located midtown at 608 Preston Ave., Random Row sets up camp in an area that has become a destination for hopheads (Three Notch’d Brewing Company and beer garden Kardinal Hall are within walking distance). But there is room for all, and Kipp says he’s grateful to be part of a community that continues to embrace newcomers in the beer industry.

“I think we’ve meshed great with all the existing breweries here in town,” says Kipp. “There’s really no competition, and like they say, a rising tide raises all ships, and that’s really the attitude with all these breweries.” RandomRow.com 

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