Founded with the intention of bringing the styles of New England and Belgium to Richmond Virginia, The Veil quickly positioned itself as not only one of the most exciting breweries in their region, but one of the best on the Atlantic Seaboard.
The story of The Veil Brewing Co. begins with co-founder and head brewer Matt Tarpey. Having grown up in the suburban Norfolk town of Chesapeake, Matt played in a variety of metal bands in the area, though as he grew older, he surprising never got into homebrewing or saw himself owning a business. Having grown weary of touring and the rock-n-roll lifestyle, Matt went about working a few odd jobs, became an avid participant in the burgeoning world of online bottle trading, and after enjoying a friend’s homebrew, signed on to volunteer at a local Norfolk brewery in 2010. Six months later the brewery signed him on as a full-time shift brewer and after a year he was hooked, ready to further broaden his knowledge.
Over the next 5 years or so, Tarpey would embark on an incredible journey to work at some of the world’s finest breweries, learning from the best brewers in the industry. After spending one year working with Tod Mott of Portsmouth Brewery in New Hampshire, he went on to work under John Kimmich at The Alechemist in Vermont. Next, after meeting Jean Van Roy at a beer festival a few years earlier, he embarked on a 2 week internship at Brasserie Cantillon in January of 2014. It was here that Van Roy discussed with him what winemakers in Italy call the protective pellicle inside a beer barrel – The Veil.
Back at The Alchemist he had the opportunity to meet Shaun Hill of Hill Farmstead just up the road. Of course he soon began volunteering his free time here as well, all to learn more about wild fermentation and barrel aging, eventually becoming Hill’s assistant. It was there that he got the chance to meet Dustin Durrance from Richmond, Virginia. They both realized that the high quality beers being made in New England could have an audience in Virginia – folks like Durrance had been driving north for years to seek them out, so they, along with partner Dave Michelow and additional investors opened The Veil Brewing in April of 2016.
And when they did open, it’s almost as if all of Tarpey’s note taking, learning, and on-the-job experience paid off immediately. They had the capital needed to flourish from the start, they had their own canning line and cans available to customers on the day they opened. They went all in and have since bought the original building from their investing partners, opened a location in Norfolk (Nov. 2019), then a Forest Hill location in November of 2020, and lastly opened the Funkhaüst Café in their wild barrel facility. Most recently, just a month ago, they opened a second 8,000 square foot taproom, built to replace the original Scott’s Addition location just down the street, this time in partnership with Longoven – a pop-up restaurant in town, called Nokoribi.
Over the course of 7 years, The Veil has created roughly 1122 unique beers according to untappd. Of those, 545 of them are termed to be a variety of IPA including 174 Double IPA, 113 Hazy DIPA, and even 3 Quadruple IPAs. They’ve also created over 170 different Sour Ales, 150 unique Stouts, and around 100 beers identified as Farmhouse Ale, Table beer, or Lambic.
Since the announcement earlier this year about The Veil taking over Function PDX in June, we’ve now brought their beers into Oregon twice over the past few months!
An early sneak-peek of what’s to come: it’s exactly the variety we’ve come to expect in cans at Function, including a Pale Ale and Hefeweizen, 7 different varieties of IPA, a few smoothie sours and fruited sours, but when it comes to draft the variety is even greater. We anticipate a variety of barrel aged Imperial Stouts, 4-5 different mixed-fermentation beers (Lambic-inspired and special blends), plus more IPA and fruited sours.
Be sure to come out and visit Function as they feature The Veil Friday June 2nd through June 28th. I’m sure there will be a few surprises as well, including a collaboration or two!
Content and imagery for this article sourced from The Veil Brewing Co., Good Beer Hunting, RVA Mag, Richmond Magazine, Function PDX, and WRIC.com.