The Great Return | Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

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The Great ReturnThe Great Return

Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by blackie on 10-26-2013

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Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 594
Photo of Tastesalot
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%

A: hazy yellow-orange pour, off-white head

S: sweet fruit scent

T: pink grapefruit juice, mild tropical fruit, biscuity

M: medium to full, semi-sweet finish

O: The 16 ounce can being reviewed is 5-days-old, straight from last weekend's visit to the brewery. Serving poured into a tulip. Having had this beer both super-new and with six months of age on it, it is amazing regardless. I think this is Virginia's best IPA. Very highly recommended!

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Photo of Shumania
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16 ounce can poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

A: deep orange/ruby hue. Small head

S: lots of grapefruit, tropical fruit

T: it tastes like you are biting into a grapefruit. Some mango, finished with good but not overpowering bitterness

M: medium body, good carbonation

This is fantastic. This might be up there with two hearted ale for grapefruit punch

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Photo of woodychandler
4.51/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

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Photo of jacewg
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

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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Photo of blbarnett3
4.46/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz can. Pours orangey-gold, with a big head that lingers a bit. Nice lacing on the glass as the pint drinks down. The nose is intense grapefruit and pine. Good caramel malt up front. The grapefruit shows up again on the finish, along with resinous pine. The mouthfeel is a little thin. Overall, a really nice example of a West Coast style IPA. The name refers to the return of the Atlantic Sturgeon to the Falls of the James at Richmond. Hardywood is donating $10 per barrel to the James River Association for sturgeon restoration projects.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.43/5  rDev +13%
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.

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Photo of wedge
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

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Photo of midpack
4.31/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Strong piney grapefruity hop explosion. Reminiscent of DC Brau Corruption but more of a flavorful taste beyond the bitterness. It probably was 4 ounces too much - not fond of 16 oz cans.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.31/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured can into New Belgium globe

A-Pours lightly hazy orange with a one finger off-white head, good lacing.

S-Aroma is pine, citrus and floral hops, dank, biscuit and malt with pear and apple.

T-Flavor is heavy hops and bitterness, light crisp malt, light fruity esters with a dry and prickly finish.

M-Medium body mouthfeel and moderate carbonation.

O-Overall a great IPA I hope they make some more.

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Photo of beatenbyjacks
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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Photo of Bruvar
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Had a draft, Looks pretty light in color but very opaque. The smell is pretty sweet, nothing too strong, same with the taste. The fruit is definitely there and complements the bitterness well leaving the beer easy to drink.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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

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Photo of uvachief
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of argock
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

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.

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Photo of cavedave
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Even more and additional big thanks to gopens44 for this Virginia treat.

Stiff pour yields a turbid elixir the color of cider. Nicely topped by two fingers of thick white foam, that only gradually settle down, and leave behind righteous lace.

Sweet citrus and bitter orange goodness, pineapple with merest hint of herbal bitter, and grass. Med. strength aroma, but full strength enticement from its perfume.

Woahhh east meets west in this hop fest celebrating OG San Diego for sure. Right off the bat the bittering charge grabs hold while all the citrus and tropical hopflavors of the bouquet play around it. The sip ends with herbal bitter palate assault. In a good way.

Med. viscous for style, and despite a bitter hop resin linger, this baby drinks easy. It's nicely low carb. despite its look, and refreshing despite its dry, clean finish.

Excellent beer, highly recommended for the hophead in your family.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: pours a copper to gold color. a two finger off white and foamy head forms and has decent to strong retention. frothy lacing left behind. hazy and completely opaque.

Smell: tropical fruit hop, mostly in the grapefruit to pineapple realm. fresh cut grass and earthy, resiny hops. light pine. backend has a slight lemon bread malt character

Taste: opens up with strong fruity hops. grapefruit juice blends with pineapple, more citrus towards the end. hops open up quite a bit of earthy to resiny hops. fresh cut grass filters in a bit. malt backbone comes through with lemon bread and more bready aspects.

Mouthfeel: fairly bitter and some lingering hops. medium body. fairly refreshing.

Overall: perhaps the best of the canned/bottled IPAs in Virginia and easily the one thats most in my fridge. great hop taste and good bitterness. also doesn't fall off super quickly so freshness isnt the biggest worry.

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Photo of JayQue
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%

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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of HookemHoos
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served out of the can (one of a 4-pack) into a tulip glass.

Appearance: The appearance was a hazy amber with quite a bit of sediment at the end of the pour.

Smell: Very nice hoppy smell with notes of citrus.

Taste: A very crisp and citrusy taste that's not overly bitter. Slightly maltier than other similar IPAS.

Overall: This is my first experience with Hardywood and am very impressed. I'm looking forward to trying more of this beer and more of their other types of beer. Nicely done.

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Photo of jbaker67
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of athomasPSU
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice burnt orange with a light off white head that's about half a finger.
Smells of grapefruit and citrus but it's not very strong.
Wow this has massive hop flavors. Lots of resin and stickiness. Bitter backend that's pleasant and very much compliments the malt backbone.
Medium bodied but not heavy or too light.
Overall this is great. It's exactly what im looking for in an imperial IPA. Balanced with resin stickiness and bitterness.
My second brew from Hardywood and I already love their stuff.

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Photo of 57md
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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!

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The Great Return from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
3.92 out of 5 based on 594 ratings.
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