By Jeff Maisey

The Old Dominion University Monarchs kicked off their 2023 football season with an addition to their rooster sure to please those pre-game tailgaters in the parking lots — ODU Golden Ale.

In partnership with New Realm Brewing Company, the Monarch craft beer pours a golden yellow, features a light, citrusy and piney hop aroma, and incorporates Cascade and Idaho 7 hops. At just 4.5% ABV, it’s a perfect game day beer that consumers can enjoy over course of all four quarters.

“I am thrilled with the beer we brewed together as the official craft beer partner of ODU,” said Mitch Steele, co-founder and renowned brewmaster of New Realm Brewing. “It’s a flavorful, clear, light and crisp golden ale that we hope everyone will enjoy in the Hampton Roads area.”

Teaming up with a regional craft brewery is a recent trend for universities seeking unconventional avenues to license and expand their brands to engage alumni, fans, and of-age (21 and over) students. 

Crozet-based Starr Hill Brewery has produced Sabre Premium Lager packaged in 16-oz cans printed with a “Go Hoos” shoutout for the University of Virginia. Hardywood Park partnered with Virginia Tech for Fightin’ Hokies Lager, and expanded that relationship last year with All Hail to Thee, an amber lager in celebration of Tech’s 150th anniversary. For the 2023 football season, Fightin’ Hokies Hefeweizen has been unveiled.  

Brothers Craft Brewing, in Harrisonburg, launched its latest “Proud & True” beer brand for James Madison University with an old fashioned pep rally event at the brewery. 

Brothers began its licensing deal with JMU three years ago with Proud & True Dukes Lager. This season, the downtown Harrisonburg brewery is expanding it colorfully engaging packaged product line to include Dukes IPA, J Maddy Pineapple Hard Seltzer and Raspberry Lime Hard Seltzer. 

All of these adult beverage products have one thing in common — they’re reasonably low in alcohol, thus making them “sessionable,” or easy to drink. 

Like UVA, JMU, and Tech, ODU’s debut brew is just the first step in its newborn relationship with their brewery partner.  

The university said they hope to create new pathways to enhance the ODU brand and solidify ODU’s commitment to innovative collaborations in Hampton Roads. This opportunity was made possible through combined efforts between ODU Sports Properties managed by PlayFly Sports and the ODU licensing office.

“We are thrilled to join forces with New Realm Brewing Co. to create and deliver our first-ever branded craft beer for our passionate ODU community,” said ODU Executive Director of Licensing Brian Eubank. “This collaboration not only enhances our brand, but also showcases the strong ties between academia and the local business community.”

Carey Falcone, co-founder and chief executive officer of New Realm Brewing, noted the beer offers an opportunity to connect with the strong Monarch ties in Hampton Roads.

“ODU is a short drive from our Virginia Beach scratch restaurant, craft brewery and small batch distillery,” he said. “We have enjoyed the support of the Old Dominion community since opening and we are looking forward to being on campus and becoming a part of Monarch history. This partnership celebrates the pride and passion of the New Realm family, the ODU community, students and alumni.” 

ODU Golden Ale will be sold at area grocery stores and other retailers as well as at ODU football, basketball, and other on-campus events where concessions are offered.