The Great Return - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

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The Great ReturnThe Great Return

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BA SCORE
88
very good

52 Reviews
THE BROS
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 52
Hads: 461
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 32
Gots: 87 | 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.
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Reviews: 52 | Hads: 461
Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours from the can (three days old) with a clear amber color and is capped by a decent head that delivers a few strands of lace

Smell: Citrusy, with floral grapefruit and slightly resinous tones

Taste: A touch of malt and then we are off to the races with the citrus; grapefruit and floral elements with a bitter edge in the middle; a touch of malt in the finish but clearly hop weighted

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A classic "C" hop IPA; an excellent version of the style (523 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.98/5  rDev +1%
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! (1,752 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.16/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite a brown hued amber on this one; thicker cream head. Nose at first was strong pine with a citric edge. Tones down over time of course. Flavor is thick with pine and resin. It seems like it is trying to show some citrus, but the pine and resin are winning the fight. Extremely easy to drink. I was having some leftover prime rib and was 2/3 through the can before I realized I better get some notes while I can. I consider this a west coast/east cost hybrid. Definitely one you should try. (493 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is orange with a mild haze and an inch of fluffy, white head. West Coast aroma right off the bat. Dank hops, light pine, resin. Fresh and flavorful. Sturdy malt body supports the hop forward character of the beer. Good drin ability with ABV well hidden. Light bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. A solid beer and good example of the style.y (383 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.51/5  rDev +14.5%
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. (2,283 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
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. (1,231 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a tallboy into a shaker pint, the beer is a cloudy, opaque, copper-orange coloring with a foamy, light, fluffy, bubbly, off-white head. Aromas of pineapple, melon, and apricot, with a healthy dose of grass, cedar, and subtle bitterness. Fairly balanced nose. Flavors are roasted and fruity forward, with a little more citrus to go along with the tropical fruit cocktail. Orange and grapefruit pair up with the pineapple and melon notes, all on a backbone that is tangy sweet caramel and bread. There is an underlying bitterness that keeps everything in check. Big bodied, but slightly effervesced by the carbonation, the beer has a light, citrusy aftertaste, bordering on acidic. Smooth, light finish, with a dry, resinous linger. Big beer. (752 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
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. (358 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
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 (266 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Poured a golden body with two finger head that dies slow and leaves a little lace.
Aroma is sharp citric dirty hops mixed with some grapefruit.
As for the beer's taste, I find that the grapefruit element is more pronounced so beer is more "grapey" and has a little bit of sweetness thanks to this taste and a little malt sweetness as well.
Good balance from citric hops and beer finishes with a dry snap of hops that works well with this medium bodied, mostly hoppy but not too hoppy beer. (489 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
3.09/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pour is cloudy dark amber, a bit on the copper side, with some tight white head and solid retention. Nose has a lot of malt to it, caramel, crystal malt, hint of citrus hop but mostly stale resinous hops, a touch earthy and a faint peppery spice. Taste follows suit, malty up front, lots of crystal malt, stale hop, resinous, light biscuit, moderate citrus punch. Well carbonated, medium body, clean finish with a lingering citrus. (434 characters)

Photo of jbaker67
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The IPA had a creamy white head with a clear amber color with lacing. Your nose detects grapefruit and some pine. The taste is more complex with resin and grapefruit. The medium body ale had average carbonation. This is excellent IPA. The finish had a lingering bitterness that makes for a top notch IPA. (304 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
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. (774 characters)

Photo of argock
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Poured from a 16 oz tallboy can into a clear glass tulip. No freshness date evident. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Burnished amber with 1-finger frothy off-white head with below-average retention but a few lace forms on the glass. (3.5)

S: Big dank, resiny aromas fall away to reveal some peach and tropical fruit, pine, and floral notes. There are also some more earthy notes with mint and grass too. Maltiness is light caramel and backing. No yeast or alcohol. Really a complex and delicious aroma. (4.5)

T: Flavor is big too but not as big as the aroma. Maltiness is not prominent but does carry forward some light caramel sweetness. Hops are the force with more grapefruit and citrus than in the nose, still some mango and pine resin cut through without a doubt. There are some more leafy minty, herbal flavors too. Good flavor, just less cohesive than the aroma. A little tea like flavor in the finish. Moderately bitter and not afraid to show the 70 IBUs. No yeast character and alcohol is well-hidden. (4.25)

M: Very crisp and quite light for the ABV. A little sticky, a little oily, but mostly just easy to drink with moderate carbonation and light-medium body with a very dry finish. (4.75)

O: I really enjoyed The Great Return and I quickly ordered up two more 4-packs from my local store. A really complex and interesting near-DIPA that hits a broad spectrum of hops notes while maintaining a highly drinkable beer. Great work on this brew by HP. (1,487 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy dark amber color. The head is two fingers high, with an off-white shade. I'm fairly impressed with how well the head retains - and even more impressed by the massive lacing it leaves on the glass. The haziness is a slight detraction, but otherwise it looks decent enough.

S: This definitely brings the resinous grapefruit notes. Very sharp, defined grapefruit, actually. It's a hair over two weeks old, so that's no surprise (seriously, there's nothing like a fresh IPA). There are also lesser notes of grass, lime, lemon, and pine. I'm having trouble picking up the malt, apart from a touch of caramel sweetness. A great smelling IPA, helped by the freshness.

T: It starts with a vibrant blast of grapefruit, continuing all the way to the finish. There's also a slight malty touch near the back end, bringing faint caramel. It just dawned on me - while it's certainly an impressive IPA - it's missing a bit of the subtle juiciness I love in the best examples (like Lunch). Still, I like how (relatively) balanced it is: it isn't dominated by crystal malt, nor is it oppressively bitter for the sake of being oppressively bitter.

M: Resiny grapefruit lingers on the tongue nicely. That's about it: the unfiltered body makes it fairly crisp and light for 7.5%. There is, however, a medium body which slows down drinkability ever-so-slightly. Carbonation is nice and soft.

O: Now this is a solid IPA! It's ALMOST spectacular, but not quite - like I said, if it were a bit juicier, it would be off the chart. Still, this is well worth purchasing, and well worth drinking again. (1,624 characters)

Photo of wedge
4.37/5  rDev +10.9%
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. (508 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.01/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (642 characters)

Photo of JayQue
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (706 characters)

Photo of RonfromJersey
2.96/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hazy orange body, two fingers of level off-white foam. Thick coating of lace.

Grapefruit and pine aroma.

Begins sweet, but it's fruity sweet not malty sweet. Tons of juicy fruit. Overly abrasive pine finish.

Medium-plus mouthfeel.

Not even malt up front, good juicy middle, tough finish. Pass. (298 characters)

Photo of justintcoons
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%

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. (567 characters)

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%

Gorgeous bright orange body with a pale amber hue to it. Huge, fluffy cream-colored head that stays around and sticks to everything. Body has just a slight hint of haze to it, but is otherwise very transparent. Piney hops in the nose with hints of tropical fruits and sweet malt. Flavor follows with lots of pine, lots of tropical fruit flavors (mango, pineapple, even some white grape). Smooth sweet malt backbone balances things out nicely. Body is terrific, full enough, but crushable. A very solid IPA overall with very nice flavors aroma and feel. (552 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (1,323 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Edited and adjusted on 7/17 using a 6/5/2015. I think my original review might have been a little older:
My first attempt at a Hardywood beer, and I am happy with the offering. The corporate description is on for the nose, grapefruit-centered with some maltiness evident. I also get a bit of orange and melon in the citrus notes that hit the nose.

Originally: The appearance is quite nice with a sustaining head, although the nice orange-amber color is perhaps a little more clear than I expected.
The re-review beer is definitely more pale and more yellow, but also a bit cloudy with some floaties. Lacing is good, however.

The opening taste is a little earthy at its base, and is tending towards an orange flavor over top. Re-review: I get more grapefruit pith that I might have originally described as earthy. Definitely a little pine bark (impression, not that I've had) as well.
The base turns dry a little early, with a hint of tropical fruit peaking from under the initial bitter opening. Original review mentioned papaya, but the notes un the re-review are not strong enough to pick out individually.

The carbonation and bitterness linger a while. Re-review: bitterness definitely has some staying power, maybe a little too much. It seems to leave a sticky film of grapefruit and pine resin.

Yet another case of a good IPA from a regional brewer. This offering starts down a taste path that leads to an enjoyable pint, a straightforward IPA that relies on a citrus-based bitterness throughout.
Re-review I lowered the feel a notch as the dry coating lingered too long. (1,590 characters)

Photo of bmwats
3.91/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (529 characters)

Photo of jacewg
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

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. (833 characters)

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The Great Return from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.