As we close out 2017, we take a few minutes to review the most outstanding things in West Virginia beer for the year. All in all, it was a pretty amazing 365 days.
Stellar new breweries open
Abolitionist Ale Works opens in Charles Town and introduced its line of creative, culinary beer to the state, turning a downtown historic building into a haven for funky brews.
Short Story Brewing Company rehabs an old commercial building in Rivesville and turns it into a fun new brewery and taproom.
Weathered Ground Brewery puts a big investment in a field in Cool Ridge and turns it into a showcase brewery and taproom.
The long-awaited Peddler brewpub ended Huntington’s 20 year beer drought when it opened in September.
While it was licensed in late 2016, Mash Brewing Company in Charles Town actually opened for business in March of this year.
Existing brewery expansion projects set records
Berkeley Springs Brewing Company got underway with developing its new brewery location at the Coolfont Resort near Berkeley Springs.
Big Timber Brewing mostly completed work on its rehab of a large, nearly 100-year-old old brick building in downtown Elkins, turning it into one of the very coolest brewery buildings anywhere.
Bridge Brew Works began construction of its new taproom addition at the brewery in Fayetteville.
Screech Owl Brewing is well underway with construction of a new brewery building and taproom at its Preston County location.
Sophisticated Hound Brewing pretty much completed refurbishing an existing building for use as its new brewery and taproom in downtown Princeton.
Construction begins on new breweries
Construction began on Cheat Canyon Brewing‘s impressive brewery building out along I-79 in a new development between University Town Center and Morgantown Mall.
Snowshoe Mountain will get a brewery of its own as Old Spruce Brewing broke ground on its facility in December.
Breweries of the Year honored
Brilliant Stream names Stumptown Ales as West Virginia’s Brewery of the Year 2017.
Brilliant Stream names Weathered Ground Brewery as West Virginia’s New Brewery of the Year 2017.
Beer festivals expand
Beer brightens a Huntington evening as Rails & Ales Craft Beer Festival, already the state’s largest, added a second session and eclipsed its own record for tickets sold. The resulting evening session turned out tremendously well.
Morgantown finally got a real beer festival of its own when the Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival took place last February. The indoor winter event was a superb effort that warmed and pleased the thirsty crowd. We’re looking forward to Year 2 of this event.
Then, Morgantown quickly got its second big beer festival of the year, when the folks from Apothecary Ale House organized a well-curated Hops on the Mon festival in September.
While we still mourn the loss of Bramwell, the folks at Pipestem Event Center put on a pretty authentic Oktoberfest giving southern West Virginia beer fans something to cheer about. Prost!
In December, the brain trust behind Rails & Ales announced a second winter festival, Wild & Wonderful Winter Beer Fest, to take place in February 2018.
The State Fair folks added a WV-brewery focused beer festival at the State Fair grounds.
North End Tavern Brewery celebrated its 20th anniversary.
West Virginia Craft Brewers Guild picks up steam.
Brewers tell their story at a WV economic development conference.
After a one year absence, West Virginia was again represented at the Great American Beer Festival.
Most impressive new beer releases for 2017
While there were surely a bunch of good beers that debuted during the year, here are some of the new ones in 2017 that impressed the most.
- Abolitionist: Dirty Beard Stout with Chocolate and Coffee, Purple is the New Black (with mulberry & rosemary), West Funkin’ Virginia Basil Mango, Gin & Juice cockt-ale
- Bad Shepherd: Ovis Aries Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged Belgian Quad
- Berkeley Springs: Old Oak Stout aged in Black Draft Distillery bourbon casks
- Big Timber: Hop Harvest Autumn IPA, White Elephant White IPA
- Brewstel: Snozzberry Sour (Gose)
- Brew Keepers: Highlander Coffee Stout
- Bridge Brew Works: Tequila Barrel-Aged Iapetus Gose
- Chestnut: Medusa’s Juice Double IPA, Wild & Soulful WV Belgian Sour Ale
- Dobra Zupas: Shoot the Moon Belgian Quad Ale
- Greenbrier Valley: Zona’s Revenge Witbier
- Morgantown: May the Schwarzbier Be With You Black Lager
- North End Tavern: Citra One Way American Pale Ale
- Parkersburg: Fibonacci Dossier IPA, MoJoe Coffee Milk Stout
- Pubstomper: Líquido Fundido Mexican-style Imperial Stout
- Screech Owl: Buckwheat Honey Porter
- Short Story: Woke Up Like This Imperial Stout, Ready Steady Go Citra Pale
- Stumptown: Big Boy Pants Imperial IPA
- Weathered Ground: More Haggard Than Haggard Double IPA, BA Burley Barleywine, Struggle Street Breakfast Stout (both regular and BA versions)
- Wheeling: Zane Coffee Pale Ale
If you have other 2017 releases that you thought were excellent, add them in the comments below.