Rails & Ales Festival gets great reviews

rails ales festival

The second annual Rails & Ales Festival in downtown Huntington, WV was a great success this year, with about 1,000 beer enthusiasts sampling a variety of local, regional, and national craft brands. The festival took place August 16, 2014.

Tickets sold out in three hours, showing a greater interest than ever in craft beer around the Tri-State region.

Several new local breweries participated in the festival this year. Overall, nine breweries from West Virginia, two from Virginia, and one from Kentucky did a wonderful job sharing many of their latest brews.

Bridge Brew Works Ken LinchBridge Brew Works of Fayetteville, WV offered up its Summer Session IPA, Long Point Lager, and Derailleur Pale Ale. Bridge Brew co-founder Ken Linch (pictured above on left) saw a lot folks interested in trying his new Session IPA on the hot August day.

BrilStrmBlog04Ryan Heastings, brewer at Charleston Brewing Company, served up a glass of Moonbeam Wit, which was perfect on a steamy summer day. Heastings also offered Citra Obsession Session IPA which was very popular.

Mountain State Brewing Co.Mountain State Brewing Company of Thomas, WV, brought Miners Daughter Oatmeal Stout, Almost Heaven Amber Ale, and Seneca IPA. It has been the largest selling WV brewery in recent years, especially as their bottles have gained wide distribution in grocery and convenience stores.

BrilStrmBlog02Country Boy Brewing Company from Lexington, KY, was a new participant this year. It has only been distributed in Huntington, WV for a couple of months. Participants got to sample Cougar Bait Blonde Ale and Shotgun Wedding Brown Ale.

IMG_3858Chestnut Brew Works of Morgantown, WV, poured Haleck Pale Ale, South Park Porter, and Soma hoppy wheat ale. Brewer/founder Bill Rittenour has been operating as a nano brewery but is building a new 7-barrel brewery and taproom that should open by the end of the year.

Big Timber Brewing Co.Big Timber Brewing Company of Elkins, WV is one of the newer West Virginia breweries. They sampled their Porter, IPA, Pale Ale, and Blonde Ale and drew a big crowd. Having opened several months ago, their beers are currently only distributed in kegs.

Greenbrier Valley Brewing Co.Brian Reymiller, head brewer at Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company, prepares to offer samples of Mothman Black IPA and Wild Trail Pale Ale to the waiting thirsty crowd. 

Greenbrier Valley Brewing is West Virginia’s newest brewery, officially opening distribution on September 13. GVBC is the state’s largest brewhouse with a 20 barrel brewing system.

North End Tavern and Brewery of Parkersburg, WV won the people’s choice award, with their Cherry Saison proving to be an excellent offering. The “NET” is West Virginia’s oldest brewery.

Other Rails & Ales Participants

Other Appalachia regional breweries participating included Morgantown Brewing Company of Morgantown, WV; Blackwater Brewing Company of Davis, WV; Blue Mountain Brewing Company of Afton, VA; and Flying Mouse Brewery of Troutville, VA. Additionally, local distributors set up stands for breweries such as Goose Island, Shipyard/Sea Dog, Sierra Nevada, Mendocino, and others.

BrilStrmBlog08The organizers did an excellent job on the festival this year, not only with the beer, but also with the variety of popular local food stands. Organizers have already announced that the festival will expand next year with more tickets and hopefully even more participating breweries.

Next year’s Rails & Ales Festival will take place on August 15, 2015. Tickets will go on sale around June 1.

—Charles Bockway

Leave a Reply