A cold January evening didn’t deter Charleston beer fans from braving the snow and ice to meet the Tucker County brewers. A pretty much packed house at Bar 101 enjoyed a sampling of brews from Blackwater Brewing, Mountain State Brewing, and Stumptown Ales.
Some of these beers made their first appearance, or at least a rare one, in the Capitol City. Mountain State brought its new small-batch seasonal John Brown Chestnut Ale. Blackwater Brewing brought its latest Indigenous IPA variant. Stumptown had its rarely seen in these parts Legendary Backside IPA. These three were the highlights of the evening.
All three breweries had staff on hand to answer questions and help highlight the magic they bottle in Tucker County.
The conjoined Tucker County communities of Thomas and Davis are legendary for their mountain recreation and for supporting three breweries with their roughly 1,200 permanent residents.
Mountain State Brewing
Mountain State Brewing’s Jessica Supak Wamsley said it took her a lot of time to roast and prepare all the chestnuts that went into the John Brown Chestnut Ale. The recipe also included a dose of molasses and vanilla. The beer was flavorful, just off-dry with a hint of chocolatey malt and nuts. Offering good flavor complexity, this lightly bitter beer was easy to get into and would suit a wide range of beer drinkers. Very nicely done. Mountain State is located in Thomas.
Blackwater Brewing’s Lincoln Wilkins said his recipe for this version of Indigenous IPA included two kinds of local forest honey and chestnuts. The beer was nice and dry, with some florals from the honey and the light touch of Centennial hops. The chestnuts gave it a secondary note of earthiness. This beer was clean, well-balanced and very drinkable, which is a trademark of Lincoln’s beers. If your taste runs toward less aggressively-hopped IPAs, this beer should hit your sweet spot. Blackwater is located in Davis.
Stumptown Ale’s Legendary Backside IPA has moved a bit from where it began a year or so ago as the brewery’s so-called Session IPA. Stumptown’s Cindy Robeson says her head brewer husband, Jonathan, loves to keep tweaking his recipes, seeking just a touch more awesomeness. The current Backside is a full-on standard IPA at a bit under 7% ABV. This beautiful, contemporary IPA tilts toward the New England style. Its pleasing, creamy mouthfeel accentuates the luscious tropical flavors from undoubtedly a truckload of hops. Keeping with its contemporary style, bitterness is subdued. The beer finishes dry and leaves you longing for another sip. Stumptown is located in Davis.
Tucker County brewers bring out a crowd
The large crowd was an impressive turnout for a cold January night. Hopefully, this demonstrates a growing interest in creative local beer events. Sure there were a few Bud Light bottles being sold, but most everyone was trying pints of Tucker County beer, and many for the first time. In addition to the three beers described above, also on tap for the evening were Mountain State’s Cold Trail Ale and Miner’s Daughter Oatmeal Stout, Blackwater’s Canaan Valley Kolsch and Laurel Run EPA, and Stumptown’s Bewildered Hippie IPA. Kudos to the Tucker County brewers.
It was good seeing Ross Williams, brewer at Bad Shepherd Beer Company drop in to show support for his Tucker County brethren. He said he loves trying these beers that rarely get to Charleston. He also said he’s got a few more wine-barrel-aged sour beer tricks up his sleeve. We’d better be watching the tap list over at Black Sheep so we don’t miss any of these.
WV Brewery of the Year
I took advantage of Cindy Robeson being in town to present her with a certificate honoring her brewery for its stellar accomplishments last year. You can read about the reasons Stumptown Ales was named West Virginia’s Brewery of the Year at this link.