It's more than a beer for Virginia Tech. 

Now on the market, Fightin’ Hokies Lager represents years of inspiration, dedication, research, and a sustainable partnership with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Virginia Tech alumni, fans, and friends can now purchase and enjoy responsibly the classic Munich-style Helles lager in bottles at Hardywood brewery locations and at stores and restaurants across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Later this summer and early fall, the lager will also be available in cans and draft. To find Fightin’ Hokies Lager, visit the webpage and search using the beer finder.

At 5% alcohol by volume, Fightin’ Hokies Lager is clean, crisp, and refreshing with pleasant aromatics of fresh baked bread, a subtle underlying floral herbal note from the noble hops, and a touch of malt sweetness in the finish. Overall, an extremely refreshing, light bodied lager. The beer pairs beautifully with mild cheeses, pizza, and pub food. And of course, Hokie celebrations.

What began six years ago with trips and experiences to Munich, Germany, with a Virginia Tech student exchange collaboration, has resulted in bringing faculty-led research to market that will provide economic benefits to the commonwealth and support research, scholarship, and university initiatives.

“We were inspired to bring the Helles beer style home to share with the Hokie nation,” said Brian Wiersema, who oversees the pilot processing plant for the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech. “Fightin’ Hokies Lager is a highly drinkable, clean, and balanced beer that with each sip makes you want to come back for another. The beer is meant to be enjoyed with friends on any occasion.”

Three faculty members in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Food Sciences and Technology collaborated to develop the recipe for Fightin’ Hokies Lager. From left, Herbert Bruce, Brian Wiersema, and Sean O’Keefe hold stubby bottles of the Fightin’ Hokies Lager. Zeke Barlow, Virginia Tech
Three faculty members in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Food Sciences and Technology collaborated to develop the recipe for Fightin’ Hokies Lager. From left, Herbert Bruce, Brian Wiersema, and Sean O’Keefe hold stubby bottles of the Fightin’ Hokies Lager. Zeke Barlow, Virginia Tech

Together, three Virginia Tech faculty members, Wiersema; Herbert Bruce, assistant professor of practice for undergraduate education and master brewer; and Sean O’Keefe, professor of food science and technology; joined forces with Hardywood in Richmond, Virginia, to finalize their recipe, package, and distribute the beer. Housed in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Department of Food Science and Technology is ranked No. 9 on the Successful Student’s list of the 10 best bachelor’s in food science and nutrition programs in the country and No. 8 on its list of best master’s in food science programs.

The Virginia Tech team is crafting plans that will enable Fightin’ Hokies Lager to be made available for purchase to fans who visit the Blacksburg campus at the Cassell Coliseum and Lane Stadium in fall 2021. The faculty team are also developing other beer profiles that could result in market distribution.

fighting' Hokies lager

About the Label Design

The label design features university trademarks, including the word Hokies and the vintage Fightin’ Gobbler. Use of the vintage mark, which is a part of the university’s College Vault collection, is a nod to nostalgia as the university approaches its sesquicentennial celebration in 2022. The design also incorporates a Hokie stone motif, which is a locally sourced limestone from which many Blacksburg campus buildings are constructed. The design was originally created by Virginia Tech Athletics and collaboratively finalized with Hardywood. 

Customers enjoy Fightin’ Hokies Lager while visiting Hardywood’s West Creek location in Richmond, Virginia. Zeke Barlow, Virginia Tech
Customers enjoy Fightin’ Hokies Lager while visiting Hardywood’s West Creek location in Richmond, Virginia. Zeke Barlow, Virginia Tech

Featured Beer of the 2021 Virginia Tech Reunion

Virginia Tech alumni who register for the Reunion Weekend on June 8-11 will have the opportunity to enjoy Fightin' Hokies Lager, join Hokies all over the world for virtual happy hours, engage with an online panel exploring 100 Years of Women at Virginia Tech, and watch a virtual performance by comedian Paula Poundstone.

The Original Retro Brand Fightin' Hokies Lager Tri-Blend T-Shirt and other merchandise is available for purchase on: https://www.hokiegear.com.
The Original Retro Brand Fightin' Hokies Lager Tri-Blend T-Shirt and other merchandise is available for purchase on: https://www.hokiegear.com. Photo: Fairen Horner, Virginia Tech

Fightin’ Hokies Lager Merchandise

Officially licensed Fightin' Hokies Lager merchandise is available at hokiegear.com and other participating retailers. The sale of licensed Virginia Tech merchandise supports scholarships and student initiatives across campus.