Ardent Craft Ales is a brewery, taproom, and beer garden in the Scott's Addition neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia. We began as a co-op in a Richmond garage, a space where we sought to create innovative beers and introduce others to historic brewing methods and beer styles. As a production brewery, our mission remains the same: to produce and celebrate exceptional and ambitious beers with the ever-growing craft beer community.

 

The Team

Tom Sullivan

Tom Sullivan

Co-Founder, General Manager

Role at Ardent    Signing checks and ignoring emails.

Favorite Ardent beer    I like the funky stuff.

Favorite non-Ardent beer    See above.

Hobbies or interests besides brewing?    Sleeping.

Favorite book, movie, band, etc.?    Having a favorite thing seems so limiting. I like variety. 

Power of flight, or power of invisibility?    I reject binary constructions as a general rule. I read that in a book. With lots of pages. Actually I overheard it at a bar and it sounded smart. I’m not sure what it means.

 

 

 
Chris Rommel

Chris Rommel

Brewery Production Manager

Role at Ardent    Managing brewing operations, creating beer recipes, and providing quality control.

Favorite Ardent beer    Schwarzbier

Favorite non-Ardent beer    Augustiner Pils

Hobbies or interests besides brewing?    Training bonsai trees, and whisky.

Favorite book?    The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. 

Ability to see 5 minutes into the future, or ability to see 100 years into the future?    I would see 5 minutes into the future to always stay one step ahead.

 
Lincoln Smith

Lincoln Smith

Taproom Manager

Role at Ardent    Providing a welcoming and relaxed environment for guests to gather and enjoy drinking delicious craft beer with their friends and family. Encouraging new friendships, be it dogs, children, or someone you happen to sit next to at a community table. Helping to educate curious folks new to the craft beer experience, or geeking out with the beer nerds.

Favorite Ardent beer    Dark Rye. Some would have you believe it’s the Rum Barrel–Aged Dark Rye. But it's not. Although that’s pretty darned good too.

Favorite non-Ardent beer    Anything from Potter's or Blue Bee. Wait. Does cider count?

Hobbies or interests besides beer?    As a parent of two beautiful children, my hobbies are in the arts and crafts department, as well as soccer and ballet.

Favorite travel destination?    So far, Alaska. I have been twice. Driven both times. Once in the summer and once in the winter. Have had the sun shining through my tent at three in the morning, and I have ridden on a dogsled. Drank some really good barleywines and stouts under the aurora borealis. 

Unlimited time travel, or unlimited outer space travel?    I would have to see a real brachiosaurus  up close. Set up a secret brewery during Prohibition. Hang out in Atlantis for a spell. Befriend van Gogh and take painting lessons. Hunt in a buffalo stampede with the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut. Woodstock. And to the future—take a trip to Mars and see what kind of beer the Martians are drinking.

 
Dominic Finney

Dominic Finney

Sales Associate

Role at Ardent    I make the world go round. And while I’m doing that, I manage all of our external sales, events, reporting, etc.

Favorite Ardent beer    Earl Grey Brown Ale (I’m aristocratic.)

Favorite non-Ardent beer    Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (When I first tasted it years ago, I hated it! Now that I’m into sours, I think it is a classic and stellar example of its style.)

Hobbies or interests besides beer?    Writing, cooking, baking.

Favorite travel destination?    I just like traveling period. Could be out of the country (I loved southern France) or in the country (the drive up PCH is incredible). 

Ability to teleport, or ability to read minds?    Teleport. Did you not see what happened to Jean Grey in X-Men trying to read too many minds? Screw that … I’ll just go where I want very quickly.

 

Stephanie Palmer

Taproom and Events Coordinator, Taproom Server

Role at Ardent    Resident answerer of all emails, voice messages, and charity requests, and organizer of all internal events and food trucks. And chief lover of candy.

Favorite Ardent beer    In the summer, Berliner Weisse. In the winter, Earl Grey Brown Ale.

Favorite non-Ardent beer    Bon-Chien.

Hobbies or interests besides beer?    Hiking, biking, yoga, indoor plant gardening ... and board games!

Favorite book?    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I first read this book in high school when my father gave me his copy from the 1960s (which I still keep mostly as a memento and have wrapped in a rubber band to keep all the pages together).

Power of flight, or power of invisibility?    Power of flight all the way. Having no car and flying as a means of transport would be the BEST.

 

Dan Shebaylo

Brewer

Role at Ardent    Aside from brewing, I can generally be found fixing or building something.

Favorite Ardent beer    IPA 6.2

Favorite non-Ardent beer    Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

Hobbies or interests besides brewing?    Playing guitar.

Favorite movie?    I'd have to say that one of my favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz. It has so much nostalgic and sentimental value to me, and recently I introduced it to my daughter. She loves it! Now we sing all the songs together, she'll pretend to be Dorothy; it's adorable. Watching it with her has brought a whole new realm of appreciation for it.

Power of flight, or power of invisibility?    If I had the choice between the power of flight or the power of invisibility, I would choose invisibility. There are so many practical applications, especially when it comes to playing pranks on people. You could be in a room and just move something, or say something and really confuse or surprise someone. Or have you ever wondered what people do or say about you when you're not around? You could totally find out. I think it would be a lot of fun.

 

Mike "Stainless Wallace" Stone

Brewer

Role at Ardent    Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door—that way Rommel can’t see me, heh—after that I sorta space out for an hour. I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I’d say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual work.

Favorite Ardent beer    Company Man pils

Favorite non-Ardent beer    Helles Schlenkerla Lager

Hobbies or interests besides brewing?    Cycling, soccer, cooking, and hiking with my dog, Emmet.

Favorite sports team?    I am a huge soccer fan and enjoy watching Real Madrid, Liverpool, Borussia Monchengladbach, USMNT, and DC United. I also enjoy playing locally in Richmond.

Rich with a lifetime of no beer, or poor with beer for life?    More money more problems. No money, more problems. I love beer, but I also like money ... and bourbon.

 

Steve "Steve!" Randolph

Cellarperson

Role at Ardent    Putting beer in things, taking beer out of things, and cleaning the things that beer goes in and out of.

Favorite Ardent beer    Defenestrator

Favorite non-Ardent beer    Saison de Rude

Hobbies or interests besides brewing?    Falling asleep on the couch with my dog.

Favorite book?    A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick.

Playing with a dozen puppies, or playing with a dozen kittens?    I’m allergic and a masochist, so I’ll take the kittens.

 

Danny Fain

Cellarman, Packaging

Role at Ardent    Handling the cold side of the production area. I carbonate the beer and put it into either kegs or bottles. I also clean the tanks, kegs, and hoses we use.

Favorite Ardent beer    Tokaj barrel sour

Favorite non-Ardent beer    BFM Bon-Chien

Hobbies or interests besides brewing?    Fantasy sports and Golden Tee.

Favorite sports team?    Minnesota Vikings and UVA Cavaliers.

Ability to teleport, or ability to read minds?    Teleport definitely. I'd still probably be late to work but at least there'd be no traffic!

 

 

Brickman's Garage

Kevin and Tom brewing on the pilot system in the Church Hill garage.

Kevin and Tom brewing on the pilot system in the Church Hill garage.

In 2010, Tom Sullivan and Paul Karns launched a homebrewers co-operative and purchased a Sabco half-barrel pilot brewing system to further their brewing knowledge and experience. Tom and Paul had been homebrewers for several years, and while setting up the co-op, they met Kevin O’Leary, who had recently moved to Richmond from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he served as a brewer at Cambridge Brewing Company. The three men began brewing with other members of the co-op on Sundays in a Church Hill garage, where they opened their doors to members of the local community who were interested in brewing and beer. The community response was overwhelming: week after week, people visited the garage in order to learn about the brewing process and taste various beer styles. As the weeks turned into months, the partners concentrated on recipe development. They reviewed and brewed traditional styles made with traditional ingredients, and then varied the ingredients in order to create beers that reflected these styles but that were distinctly their own. To further their knowledge, they attended seminars on brewing technology, brewery management, and brewery marketing at the annual Craft Brewer's Conferences.

In 2012, the partners wrote their business plan, and began their pitch to potential investors. In July 2013, the generosity of friends old and new allowed Ardent Craft Ales to officially join the community of Richmond breweries. A lease was signed and renovations were begun on a 1940s warehouse in Scott’s Addition, a 15-barrel DME brewhouse was purchased, and orders for raw materials were placed. Thanks to the kindness and belief of many, Ardent Craft Ales, a brewery and taproom, opened in June 2014. Kevin, Tom, and Paul look forward to a lifetime of celebrating beer with the Richmond community.