(Josh Evans and Jeff Hartline. Photo by Brian Koski)

By Diane Catanzaro and Chris Jones

Here’s some exciting news for beer lovers! Norfolk’s newest brewery held their Grand Opening the weekend of July 8. Afterglow Brewing is now open for business at The Railyard at Lambert’s Point! We were there for the soft opening and enjoyed excellent beers, friendly service, and are thrilled to have a new brewery in this super-sweet location between Old Dominion University and the Sentara-CHKD-EVMS Medical Center.

The Railyard at Lambert’s Point is still under development and is great example of how Norfolk is combining adaptive reuse of older buildings with new construction to create an entertainment district that will have restaurants, breweries, entertainment, outdoor events, and office and retail space. While most of this new destination is still a construction site, Afterglow Brewing is ready to quench your thirst right now with a brand new brewery that seats 40-60 indoors, combined with a large tented outdoor space and open-air yard. Afterglow can accommodate up to 240 persons in these combined spaces, where customers can enjoy firepits, fooseball, or “the big game” on one of the indoor or outdoor television screens along with great beer.

Afterglow’s founder and head brewer Josh Evans is a former physical therapist who loved his field but was ready for a career move. Partner Jeff Hartline, also a physical therapist, was inspired by Josh’s vision to create this family-friendly destination brewery in Norfolk. Today this dream has become a reality; the name Afterglow represents the feeling of accomplishment in bringing this brewery dream to fruition. As medical professionals Josh and Jeff lived in a world of “relative value units” used to determine payment, also known as “RVUs”. Instead of RVUs, they now deal in IBUs and craft brews.

Josh is a long-time homebrewer and former member of the Hampton Roads Brewing & Tasting Society. He admires Sam Calagione, who leveraged his homebrewing chops to found a little start-up called Dogfish Head Brewing, now one of the premier craft breweries in modern history and part of the Boston Beer Company family. Josh is quick to praise his wife Amanda and father-in-law Sal with the support and love that helped to make this venture possible. As part of Josh and Jeff’s business plan Josh studied brewing science to earn certification through the Cornell Craft Brewing Certificate Program, and also traveled several times to Axe and Arrow Brewing in New Jersey to gain hands-on brewing experience in a commercial brewery.

Of course you are interested in learning about the beer! The beers offerings will change regularly, as Josh is brewing on a nimble 7-barrel system that allows him to vary the brews according to season and customer demand.

At the opening, we were very impressed by Cone-fection, a uniquely fragrant and delectable cream ale brewed with vanilla, brown sugar, and a hint of cinnamon. The fragrant aroma will transport you to your favorite ice cream cone memories, perhaps a childhood walk on the boardwalk where the waffle cones lured you like sirens to a hand-dipped scoop or two of tasty ice cream.  Quaffable due to the light cream ale base, but with a tantalizing aroma and flavor that will perhaps lead to a discussion of whether it is more reminiscent of a waffle cone, sugar cone, or cake cone. This beer is cone-fection perfection.

IPAs were represented by Lazy Hazy, a New England style IPA. This version is low in hops bitterness, instead the Amarillo and El Dorado hops provide a hint of pineapple and tropical fruit, making it very approachable even for those who typically find IPAs too bitter for their taste.

Right Track Wrong Train is a fruited sour, full of passionfruit, guava, and orange. While too often breweries offer American versions of goses and other ‘kettle sours’ that are over-the-top tart, this one is balanced and not so aggressively sour that the fruit is overwhelmed. Nicely done.

A pilsener-style beer, brewed with ale yeast instead of lager, wasn’t available at press time but we look forward to trying it. Josh calls it a ‘pseudo-pilsener’ due to the use of ale yeast instead of lager yeast. The use of ale yeast saves time because lagering takes too much time and people want their beer now! Don’t you want your beer now? Head over to Afterglow and get that beer right now (check opening hours!) While they don’t serve food, they will regularly have food trucks, and also share a parking lot with Sanctuary DMZ, which has some of the best tacos this side of the border.

Hope to meet you in the Afterglow! Location: 2330 Bowdens Ferry Road, Norfolk.

Opening hours: Tues through Thurs 3 – 9 pm, Fri 2 – 10 pm, Sat 12 – 10 pm, Sun 12 – 8 pm.