Sedona Taphouse

Tickle the Tastebuds - Cuisine & Restaurants

{jcomments on}Richmond’s Beer Scene Continues to Grow:

Is the Latest Addition a Plus?

The newest beer-centric restaurant has opened in the Greater Richmond area, promising potential for a new drinking destination while demonstrating room for growth. Their soft opening on December 19 drew a large crowd, and the location could keep the new business hopping. Although I'm eager to have a new beer joint south of the river to add to my rotation, however, I'm not sure that this is it.

Sedona TaphouseThis new Westchester Commons restaurant and bar is housed in a narrow, dark, high-ceilinged bay with limited seating of standard and high-top tables. The walnut veneer bar faces the compact tap heads and beer coolers against a stone wall, capturing the Sedona theme. The bar boasts 50 beers on tap and 500 craft beers, with sophisticated bar food to pair with the brews as well as a limited wine bar. I tried the Kobe beef sliders, on toasted buns with sauteed onions, with blue corn chips on the side. The burgers were juicy and paired well with the Firestone Walker Double Jack.

The beer selection at Sedona Taphouse encompasses representative samples from a wide variety of styles, mostly American craft beers with a handful of European imports. The local focus, unfortunately, is very limited. They have Hardywood Singel and the standard Richmond Legend Brown and Lager on tap. I did see some Starr Hill in bottles, though none of the other quality Virginia breweries were readily apparent. To add insult to injury, their first web site Brew Master Spotlight is not Virginian, not even American, but of a Belgian beer—Corsendonk Abbey Belgium Brown Ale.

Sedona Taphouse also doesn’t seem to have strong connections with the local beer crowd. At first glance, based on their selection, they seem to be targeting newcomers to the craft beer movement rather than hard core beer geeks. Not that there’s anything wrong with that—in fact, more new converts will spread the cheer to other restaurants and retailers.

Their web site contradicts that impression: “Created for the discerning beer aficionado who has a passion for fine craft beer in a fun but sophisticated setting, served by a friendly, attentive and knowledgeable staff.” The servers I met need a bit of beer education, but I imagine that will come with time.

Their web site, however, raises my hackles. “Where can you find a greater selection of craft beer? …No where else..  Where can you find a deeper passion for craft beer?....No where else.” Well hardly. Besides its random use of periods, their statement annoys me for its fighting words and its sheer impossibility. Those claims don't stand up in Richmond, much less beyond.

In addition, it offends my natural affinity for cooperation over competition. I have been pleased that the leaders in Richmond’s beer scene support each other, knowing that shared strength trumps antagonism. Sedona needs to embrace the cooperation that is helping to fuel the growth of craft beer here in RVA.

Sedona Taphouse is located in Westchester Commons, near the junction of Route 288 and Midlothian Turnpike. 


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