The Great Return - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

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The Great ReturnThe Great Return

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BA SCORE
89
very good

433 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 433
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 27
Gots: 74 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: blackie on 10-26-2013

Bold, resinous and bursting with bright grapefruit aroma, this IPA is a tribute to the decades of hard work by conservationists to restore the James River as a bounty of vibrant aquatic life, eco-friendly recreational activity, and in our case, fresh brewing water. These efforts have culminated recently with the symbolic return of the endangered Atlantic sturgeon, a prehistoric, yet majestic behemoth of a fish, spotted as far up the James River as the fall line in Richmond. Your purchase of this beer supports the James River Association. Thank you for being a part of The Great Return.

In our commitment to James River conservation, Hardywood will contribute $10 per barrel of The Great Return to The James River Association, to support their mission to be the guardian of the James River. The JRA's core programs include Watershed Restoration, Education and Outreach, River Advocacy and the Riverkeeper Program.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 433 | Reviews: 57
Reviews by PGVG:
More User Reviews:
Photo of beatenbyjacks
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - this pours a very light straw color, but once in the glass this one has a nice bronze like color to it. The carbonation pours great, but leaves quickly which is the only down fall.

Smell - lots and lots of bitterness and citrus from this one.

Taste - Grapefruit sweetness up front followed by the hoppy bitterness I would expect from an IPA

Mouthfeel - nicely carbonated even though the head left the beer quickly. Nice smooth feel to this one as well.

Overall - this is a fine example of an IPA. glad I got to experience it via a trade.

Photo of informaticsDoc
3.56/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very hoppy, but, unfortunately, the hops combined with the acidity of the grapefruit is slightly unpleasant

Photo of tastybeer
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Lovely white cakey head over amber colored, well filtered beer. This beer is fun to smell... Things that come to mind are orange creamsickles, wild flowers, pitted fruits, sugar cookies, toasted caramel...Very pleasant. West coast style with a little something else. Taste is both dry and steadily bitter. Flavors include grapefruit pulp, citrus in general, yummy bready malts... This particular West Coast style IPA is more aggressively bitter than a lot of other current versions of this style. Not a problem though... Crisp, refreshing and pleasantly assertive. Good stuff!

Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz can / split

Paired with Allen & Son BBQ - nom nom nom

Nice resiny hop profile, strong bitterness, piercing citrus hops, some pine. Juicy and bitter - based on previous Hardywood experiences, was shocked at how good this was. Great canned IPA - even better BBQ

Photo of hophugger
3.44/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very Excited to have this beer as I have been extremely pleased with several of their other offerings. Poured from a 16 oz. can, canned on January 23, 2015, the color is a beautiful golden-bronze that just screams sunshine and citrus. Head is nice and fluffy and the only disappointment is that it leaves too early. The lacing on this west coast style IPA is spotty, yet abundant and gets me even more excited to drink it !. Aromas hit the nose with nice grapefruit and other citrus smells. Also, get some smooth malty caramel also, nice !. The flavor smacks you right upside the head with some abundant hop bitterness, lots of grapefruit rind and yet again, that background of smooth caramel that evens thing out quite a bit. The maltiness does play a bit part in this IPA, but isn't that what you want in a bold IPA?. The bitterness hangs in the back of your mouth in a good way, providing a nice remembrance of what you are drinking. Overall, the mouthfeel is nice and what I expected. This is a bold beer and you would never know, by the taste, that it is 7.50 abv. Alcohol is completely hidden and that also adds to the enjoyment of this beer. Balance is right on for the style and I would say that Hardywood has done it again with this one, Cheers !!

Photo of KYGunner
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This pours a deep seductive amber to apricot orange and brown. The head was a billow of dense foam that mounted two full inches with a normal pour and left tons of sticky lacing.

The nose is full of big grapefruit aromas with bitter pine resins. The residual scents are earthy with bits of malt.

As goes the nose so goes the taste as this seems to match the nose precisely. Grapefruit starts the taste with bitter piney resins finishing. The earth and malt dots the flavor throughout.

The feel is astringent and very bitter. The funny thing is the feel hits very late and it is smooth before.

The is very good with bold flavors and aroma.

Photo of tone77
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A big thanks to the creator of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a beige color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is bursting with hops, citrus. Taste is hoppy and bitter, only a touch of the citrus detected in the smell, pine and resin are the strongest flavors. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

Photo of Beejay
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A medium orange amber, plenty hazy, but with a nice off white head.

S: Citrus comes out right away with grapefruit, and maybe a touch of orange peel. Light tangerine and a little bit of caramel.

T: Citrus with caramel undertones.. The orange peel and tangerine continue through in the taste. There is a nice bit of resiny goodness, with bitter notes of pine and a slight earthiness.

M: Medium in body, with a fairly soft feel. The carbonation is fairly active, and helps to bring out some of the bitterness. There is a slightly drying feel in the finish, with a touch more of the resinous quality.

O: Overall a very good beer, but I would like a touch more depth as far as the hop character is concerned. Putting 'West Coast Style IPA" on the can is like painting a bulls-eye on it, and while it is quite excellent, I think it could be a touch more complex and West Coasty.

Photo of smakawhat
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the can into a Spiegelau Dogfish Head glass. Canned Jan 17th 2014.

Real thick head, thin bubbled and big off the pour, easily three four fingers tall, with a real off white creamy retention and island capping. Body color is a real mix of controlled murky brown, and deep orange amber color. Some noticeable carbonation but deep color makes it hard to see. Solid looker here.

Real nice interesting hop front. Mix of dank earth, and tropical citrus notes. Real woody and cedar tones, and soft malt qualities. Chewy, leafy, and a faint hint of orange zest. I like that it has a bit of a subtle dank quality at first.

Big pine and large soft dank mix of caramel malts and hop softness. Chewy, leafy. Some good bright tones on the finish of juiced grapefruit and orange, but a subtle controlled earth and dank aromatic depth. Wonderful control on this beer for such a big hop angle. Juicy oily finish, real nice without a large syrup sweet thickness. Controlled alcohol hardly noticeable.

While the West coast is advertised, this is a creation unlike that and something unique all its own. I love the soft dank qualities on this that doesn't get out of control and there's enough west coast style IPA to make it fun too.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Can shared with stillmatic2232, thanks man.

Pours a beautiful opaque dark orange, very hazy, some sediment noted. One inch fluffy head, with a little bit of lacing down the glass.

The aroma is quite nice- and very hop forward, as I'd expect. Lots of citrus- grapefruit, orange, pineapple and the like.

The taste is quite good too, but not quite as good as the super fresh aroma on this one. Fairly bitter, with some great juicy hop flavors cutting down on it- orange and grapefruit, mainly, with more orange noted. Some piney bitterness lingers on the tongue throughout. Not much malt noted, really.

Medium bodied, crisp, dry mouthfeel, with some sweetness near the end. Very drinkable, no alcohol present.

A nice surprise, this wasn't on my radar, and was quite tasty.

Photo of wedge
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bright gold with some flaky sediment and a soft, frothy head. Bright hoppy aromas like grapefruit, peppery grass, pine resin, mango, and some earthy dankness. A little biscuit malt underneath, but it's mostly a bold, sticky hop affair. Bitter citrusy hop flavor like an old-school West Coast IPA. Zesty grapefruit, leafy dankness, pine, and lingering oily resins. Very bright, crisp, and lively. Aggressively bitter compared to many other modern day IPAs, but I dig it. I like this a lot...underrated.

Photo of ThickNStout
3.42/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz can from ThatCracker (thanks man!). Canned 11/18/13. Served in a Souther Tier tulip snifter.

Pours hazy gold amber with a two finger off-white head. Foam lingers for a while and leaves a fair amount of lace.

Nose seems slightly muted with aromas of citrus, earthy pine and bread.

Taste follows the nose- citrus zest, pine, bready malt, pepper and cracker. Straightforward and unoffensive.

Medium full feel fairly strong carbonation. Bitter pine root finish.

This is a good but not outstanding IPA. There was nothing wrong with it but it lacked the brightness that I look for in IPAs.

Photo of MisSigsFan
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy orange color with a white head. Smells like grapefruit, orange, pine, and slight alcohol. Taste is mostly the same with a decent malt backbone. Can says "West Coast Style" but I'm not sure if I agree. It tastes a lot like some midwest IPAs I've had. The typical super orangey taste you get from those. Weirdly enough it tastes a lot like a Pliny clone I made that turned out not like Pliny at all. A decent IPA but that's it.

Photo of atigerlife
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had as a cask ale at Chuchkey.

Pour a copper color with almost no head [cask ale]. Some white lacing.

Aroma of grapefruit, sweet malts and some vanilla.

Taste is dominated by grapefruit. Vanilla still comes through. Malty.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly cleansing. Rather dry.

Overall, a very enjoyable beer. Refreshing. Not really sessionable due to the tartness/ABV, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Photo of MNishCT77
2.44/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. purchased at Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom (NW D.C.), canned on "110514," drank out of my BBA tulip-style glass over 30 minutes

Photo of jlindros
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yay, gotta love tall boy cans, esp an IPA... thanks to mikehighplains (Reddit) for this one.

Pours a nice semi thick but bubbly creamy like 1+ finger head that fades semi slowly, nice soapy lacing, semi hazy orange-red honey-copper like color.

NOse brings plenty of hops, some fruity, some floral, some citrus, some candy, etc... a nice fruity hop with some citrus, a little tangerine and candied orange peel, with that is a little earthy like hop with some bitter hop presence, and into sweet malts, candy malts with a little caramel toffee note, and general sweet big malts, and hints of booze waft out. A big beer DIPA like aroma.

Taste is just like the aroma, an almost DIPA like big beer. Sweet malts right out, some caramel, toffee, candy malt characters, with fair sweetness, little juicy malt, etc, and a bit of warming booze maybe moreso than it should for only 7.5%. Then hops, and lots of them. A fair to big bitterness, a little spicy but not much, some fruity hops but generic fruit, some citrus too with a little tangerine and orange rind, candied orange peel as well, and a little bit of a tropical fruit punch almost. The hops turns a little earthy and slightly hop oil like character before the finish. Finish is quite bitter as it dries a bit, but still somewhat sweet, little spicy and earthy, more candied orange peel and generic fruit hops.

Mouth is med to a little heavier bod, nice carb, bit of warming booze.

Overall not bad, a big beer with DIPA like qualities but still a single IPA, hops aren't bad, citrus and generic fruit is nice but could be more bright and out front, malts come through nicely but too sweet for a single IPA, and booze seems stronger than it is, but still a nice drink, and in a tall boy can, yay!

Photo of woodychandler
4.51/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We recently took distribution of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery's beers here in LanCANster, PA and you CAN imagine my unbridled joy when I found out! The CANQuest (TM) abides.

From the CAN: "Hardywood[-]The Great Return[-]West Coast Style IPA[-]Proceeds Benefit the James River Association"; "C[AN]serve"; "Hardywood Presents The Great Return"; "Bold, resinous and bursting with bright grapefruit aroma, this IPA is a tribute to the decades of hard work by [CAN]servationists to restore the James River as a bounty of vibrant aquatic life, eco-friendly recreational activity, and in our case, fresh brewing water. These efforts have culminated recently with the symbolic return of the endangered Atlantic sturgeon, a prehistoric, yet majestic behemoth of a fish, spotted as far up the James River as the fall line in Richmond. Your purchase of this beer supports the James River Association. Thank you for playing a role in The Great Return."

One of the unexpected CANsequences of The CANQuest (TM) is my renewed interest in recycling and CANservation, so this fits right in with my core beliefs. I Crack!ed it open to reveal a brimful craft CAN and while I initially attempted an inverted Glug, I had to back off, due to its being a pint CAN. Still, it fit nicely into my awiting glass, producing two-plus fingers of dense, rocky, tawny head with good retention. Color was Amber to Deep Amber/Copper (SRM = > 9, < 13) with loads of particulate in suspension. Nose was filled with a pine scent and my mouth began to water as I watched sticky lacing begin to form in the glass. Mouthfeel was medium. The intense grapefruit citrusiness rocketed into my tongue like a bolt out of the blue! This was undoubtedly a hophead's AIPA and not something that ABInBev would ever think of producing. Sorry, but I was rankled by that SB commercial recently and have tried to remain above the fray, but if this is the type of beer that they were pooh-poohing, then I CANnot stand mute. I CAN't stand Pat, Mayor Gray, the current marijuana laws, or having to get up early every morning to go to work, either. Just sayin'. The finish was dry, like a cool inhalation of air on a winter's day. The hops were really working well together to make a minty, citrusy melange that was literally breathtaking.

Photo of ChefHopMeister
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nose: Somewhat muted. Some grapefruit rind, caramel malt

Palate: Creamy, perfect carbonation, malty, resinous malt with that nice west coast IPA stickiness. Some hoppy spice, grapefruit rind.

Finish: That grapefruit dances with the malt into a nice harmonious balance for me. The spice has a gradual fade.

The Great Return is a good name for this brew as I will return to get more. Glad to see Hardywood pumping out a strong IPA in class. Well done and thank you!

Photo of bmwats
3.91/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz can into a nonic.

A: Dark golden hue. Pours a 2 finger, tight, foamy, white head. Settles slowly and not completely. Persistent beer ring lacing.

S: Hops and pine resin.

T: Hops are very prominent. Charred malt. Bitter pecan.

M: Thick and hearty. Hop bomb lingers on the palate. Steely finish.

D: Sipping experience due to character.

Atmosphere is really good. Large foamy head, plenty of beer ring lacing. Nose is hoppy and sweet. Bitter roasted malt, and prominent hops. Overall, this is a good quaff.

Photo of 57md
4.12/5  rDev +3%

Light copper color. Piney hop nose.

Decent maltiness in the flavor profile combined with a nice hop bitter finish.

This is one the border between a single IPA and a DIPA.

Photo of justintcoons
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%

16 oz can poured into a shaker pint.

Appearance
Golden with 1 finger of off-white head. Hazy with some light yeast sediment bouncing around. Moderate carbonation.

Nose
Grapefruit, biscuit, honey, honeydew, and caramel.

Taste
Yellow grapefruit juice, honeydew, and pine. Honey, caramel, and toasted biscuit. Finishes with dry pine needle, florals, and onion.

Mouthfeel
Medium bodied, smooth, semi-dry, and semi-juicy with a medium-light bitterness.

Overall
A well-malted IPA with your standard grapefruit/pine notes. Nothing too complex. Smooth and easy drinking.

Photo of JayQue
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good West Coast type IPA. Big enough flavor and high abv to be considered a DIPA. Pours a hazy orange/amber color with a good size, slightly off white head. Head retention is fairly good and there is some lacing on the glass.

First sniff and taste are piney hops, the resinous flavor and oily mouthfeel remain, but the flavor becomes much more citrus hops as you drink it. What sticks with you is citrus (grapefruit and tangerine) hops and a litle balancing malt. Alcohol presence is light for this level abv.

Mouthfeel is crisp and slightly resinous. Nice balance between hoppiness (dominant) and malt. No alcohol burn.

Overall a very tasty AIPA, well worth a try. I would drink this one again.

Photo of uvachief
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz can chilled to 37 degrees and poured into a pint glass. Golden orangish yellow hue that is very clear. Soft fluffy head that dissipated quickly. Aromas of grapefruit, pine, hops and maybe another citrus fruit. Tastes is a traditional citrus hoppy west coast ipa. Little pine tar but that's dominated more by the grapefruit than not. Proceeds for barrel sales benefit the James River Association. Zero sediment. Great tasting, clean finishing wc ipa. Would go down way too easy on a warm day on a boat or at the beach. I'm not an IPA fan but I like this one..a lot.

Photo of macrosmatic
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Big thanks to ZachKelly for sending this can as an extra in our trade! Reviewed from notes. Poured from 16 oz. can into a Cigar City pint glass.

A: Pours a deep gold, moderately hazy, with a finger's worth of off-white head with good retention. Lots of visible carbonation.

S: Resin, citrus rind and herbal hops with a bit of dank character over a solid bready sweet malt background.

T: Serious alpha bitterness up front, mostly resin in flavor with some grapefruit rind as well. Strong malt backbone with a fair amount of caramel character along with some alcohol heat hits next, as wave after wave of bitterness washes over the tongue. There's maybe a little oxidation here also. The hang is almost pure hop bitterness with some alcohol warmth.

O: Medium body, good carbonation sensation. The alcohol is more noticeable than it should be for an IPA - more along the lines of a DIPA in my opinion.

O: This wasn't a bad beer, but I'm not floored by my first offering from Hardywood Park. It's a can full of the things I don't prefer in an IPA - more alcohol heat, more caramel malt character, and more characterless bitterness than I would look for (this tastes like more than the claimed 70 IBUs). Still, it remains fairly drinkable and not offensive. Glad to have tried it, though I probably won't look for it again.

Photo of jacewg
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Draft at Brookland Pint

Appearance: Pours a gorgeous, deep orange color. Big, fluffly white head and great retention. Outstanding looking beer.

Aroma: Big, pungent aroma. Almost like a blend of old-school and new-school hops. Big, punchy grapefruit with lots of resinous pine. Hints of lighter citrus as well.

Flavor: Follows the aroma pretty well. Solid malt backbone with hints of caramel that balances but never intrudes. Great hop flavor. Again grapefruit dominant with some citrus and lots of resiny woody, pine character. Hints of dankness. Exceedingly drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Outstanding. Big and full/coating for an American IPA but well-carbed and never syrupy. Lots of hop oil character. Slightly chewy.

Overall: Nicely done. One of the better American IPAs I've had in awhile. Well-rounded and super enjoyable to drink.

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The Great Return from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 433 ratings.