Ford Stephens Part of Locally-Crafted Ale Collaboration Team

Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) and Christian & Barton litigator Ford Stephens recently collaborated on creating an American Brown Ale with Three Notch’d RVA Collab House. LMR named the resulting limited edition brew “Here to Serve.”

Stephens is a homebrewing enthusiast who brought his knowledge of the process and a solid brewing vocabulary to the collaboration. “Brown ales are a natural choice for the fall season, and we used less hops to showcase the variety of malts that went into the brew,” he said. Hops are a green, cone-shaped flower that brewers add in varying amounts alongside grains to impart flavor and aroma. Hoppiness is generally considered a synonym for bitterness, and is a feature in IPAs.

Each week, the taps at Three Notch’d RVA Collab House feature several unique, locally-crafted beers brewed in partnership with nonprofits, businesses and others. “Here to Serve” is one of those small batch collaborations.

Stephens secured the chance to collaborate with professional brewers at a charity silent auction to support Type 1 diabetes research. “Given the spirit of that event, and the collaboration process, I thought this opportunity would best be shared with a diverse, community-minded group.” He approached LMR, an organization that educates and develops individuals to become community leaders, and they agreed. Stephens is a member of the LMR Leadership Quest class of 2010 (firm attorneys Cliona Robb and Jennifer McLemore also have participated in that program). “The partnership was a great fit,” said Stephens. “Creativity, adaptability and teamwork are important qualities to both leadership and the craft beer process!”

“Here to Serve” debuted at a Sept. 13 release party, and is available on draught at the brewery’s Scott’s Addition location for a short run.

The first stage in the brewing process is to steep the grains to extract flavor and sugars from them to create a liquid called “wort.” Myra Goodman Smith, (left), president and CEO of Leadership Metro Richmond, stirs the grains, called the “mash,” to distribute them in hot water. Ford Stephens (right) noted the masks are necessary at this stage due to airborne grain dust. After the grains are steeped, the wort is transferred to the kettle (pictured in the background) to be boiled. Adding hops, rapid cooling, oxygenation, transferring the wort to the fermenter, pitching the yeast, and patience are still needed for the final product.
Photo courtesy Leadership Metro Richmond

The limited-edition brown ale “Here to Serve” debuted on the menu board at Three Notch’d RVA Collab House in Scott’s Addition Sept. 13.

Have a drink and a laugh—samples of the custom labels Stephens has produced for his own homebrews.


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