Named for the rocks that protect shorelines, and featuring the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse as a logo, Rip Rap Brewing Company is the latest addition to the Hampton Roads craft beer scene. The brewery, located on East 25th Street, is the brain child of two Coast Guard Academy buddies, Ben McElroy and Liam Bell.
The brewing started as a hobby in Ben’s garage and the two realized they really had something with the beer they were churning out. Hooked on what they were creating, they decided to take the risk of getting into commercial brewing and building a business plan. Also a Kickstarter campaign was started to help raise funds and it was well received in the community.
The next step was putting the facility together, and the two put in the work themselves converting an old garage in the industrial area of Norfolk. Parts from the old Norfolk courthouse were used to put together the tasting room, including a defendant’s table as the bar countertop and the old jury room door as the back door. Also an old shipping container was converted to a cold storage room.
The brewing system is currently at 2 1/2 barrels, which makes about 75 gallons per batch; the system was also handmade by the two as well. Mostly ales are on the lineup, made from all local ingredients, but the beers tend to switch out as Rip Rap tries to find their best to feature.
The brewery has outdoor seating and garage doors give it a more open feeling on nice days. Rip Rap is also dog friendly, and there are plenty of board games to keep you, friends or little ones entertained. For the brewery’s upcoming events, which includes food trucks, check out their website or Facebook page.
Check out hrScene’s feature with Bell and McElroy below.