Welcome Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company

GBVBCWEB-784x784Jim Justice¹ isn’t the only guy in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, supercharging the local economy. Enter Wil Laska, whose Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company (GVBC) began distribution this week as the state’s 11th licensed brewery.

GVBC fermenters
A few of GVBC’s shiny new fermenters. The brewery has the largest fermentation capacity in West Virginia. They have started with two full-time beers, with more to come later.

Laska and company invested over $1.3 million to build the state’s largest capacity brewery to date. A 20-barrel brewhouse and over 100 barrels of fermentation space (with room for much more) give GVBC the capacity to become a serious player, not only in West Virginia, but also a chance to enter the much bigger Virginia and DC beer markets.

Kucera at GVBC
Dave Kucera reviews the blueprints during the construction phase at Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company.

David Kucera, GVBC co-founder, general manager, and long time homebrewer, guided the overall buildout of the facility as well as the development of the branding and marketing plans. One of the more challenging parts of his responsibilities was signing up a network of distributors, but with that feat accomplished, GVBC draft is hitting on-premise accounts around the state this week.

 

GVBC brewhouse
The brewhouse at GVBC can produce about 20 barrels of beer at a time.

Easily the state’s most impressive facility, the 13,000-square-foot brewery is a beautifully put together sculpture of stainless steel tanks and piping. The installation includes a boiler to produce the steam required for mashing and boiling, a glycol chiller to cool the  wort after boiling and to control the fermentation temperatures, and a grain mill and grain storage unit.

GVBC mash filter
GVBC uses this mash filter device to separate the spent grain from the brewing wort.

Their set up also includes an impressive and somewhat uncommon mash filter device instead of a lauter tun. After completing the mashing phase, the thick oatmeal like mash of grain and water is pumped through the filter unit. The mash filter separates the brewing  liquid (wort) from the solids (spent grain). The wort flows directly into the brew kettle, while the spent grain is given to a local farmer for use as livestock feed.

Located at Maxwelton in the airport industrial park, the brewery was built just across the road from Smooth Ambler Distillery—a location that should benefit both from a tourism perspective.

GVBC Reymiller
GVBC’s brewer Brian Reymiller and marketing director Crystal Bishop adjust the taps at the Rails & Ales Festival in Huntington, WV last month. Their beer went very quickly as the crowd was anxious to try two new-to-the-market labels.

Laska and Kucera made a good move bringing in veteran brewer Brian Reymiller, whose resumè includes a stop at Victory Brewing Company, one of my personal favorites. Once he gets this pristine new brewing system totally dialed in, I bet we’ll see some wonderful creations from him.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Laska, Kucera, and Reymiller together at the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver last April, and you couldn’t ask for three nicer guys. Their enthusiasm was infectious. I’m definitely pulling for them to make it big.

GVBC control panel
This control panel runs the entire brewing process at GVBC.

GVBC begins operation with two beers, available in draft only. Soon, they will utilize a mobile canning line to produce six packs for distribution to off-premise retail. Bottles will also follow.

GVBC grain mill
GVBC’s grain mill can handle a wide variety of malts and other grains and produce a variety of grist textures.

Over the coming months they will add a couple more full-time beers, then add seasonals and a special high-octane project they have named The Bunker Series after the now well-known congressional Cold War hideout at The Greenbrier resort.

The first two full-time beers along with their brewery descriptions are:

Wild Trail Pale Ale is a golden amber ale featuring hops from the Pacific Northwest. The robust hops are balanced by a blend of British floor malted barley and American 2-row. At a moderate 5.3 abv and 43 IBU’s, this is a flavorful, sessionable American Pale Ale enjoyed at home or after a hike on one of West Virginia’s Wild Trails

Mothman Black IPA is a hop forward brew with flavors of grapefruit, mango, & peach from the use of the Pacific Northwest hops. The hops are balanced by German 2-row and English crystal malts. At 6.5 abv and 65 IBU’s this ale promises to satisfy any hop head.

Mothman IPA label
A draft version of the beer can label for Mothman Black IPA. You get the feeling. Spooky. The art was done by a local graphic artist.

GVBC at night

The brewery equipment at night is still a beautiful sculpture.

¹ Jim Justice is the amazing billionaire who bought the languishing Greenbrier Resort a few years ago and invested untold millions, to not only restore it to prominence, but also to take it to new heights. His successes include adding a PGA tour event and the summer training camp for the New Orleans Saints. Now he is building a tennis showcase for the likes of McEnroe, Sampras, and Roddick.

3 Replies to “Welcome Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company”

  1. I own a small wine and craft beer store in Buckhannon WV and would be interested in carrying you beers . Im having a difficult time finding the distributor that I can purchase from. If you could help me out I would appreciate the info.

    You can use the email provided or phone ” 304-704-7720

    Thank you,

    Sandra LaRosa

    1. Sandra LaRosa,

      I’ll be calling you shortly, however the distributor you need to contact is Elkins Distributing. I look forward to speaking with you and thank you for your interest in our beers.

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