Appalachian breweries score at GABF

Appalachian regional breweries took home eight medals in addition to a top brewery honor from the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) last Saturday in Denver.

Devils Backbone Brewing
The Devils Backbone Brewing crew as they won the title for best beer at the Virginia Craft Brewery Festival in 2013. They are recognized as one of the top small breweries in the U.S.

Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Outpost brewery in Lexington, Virginia, won the prestigious title of Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year for 2014.  This was not the brewery’s first success at the festival. Devils Backbone’s Basecamp brewery in Roseland, VA,  had won small brewery of the year in 2012 and 2013, but this was the first win for its Outpost brewery. The Outpost is located in Appalachia, while Basecamp is not.

Other Appalachian region brewery winners included:

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Big Timber opens taproom

Big Timber Brewing logoBig Timber Brewing Company of Elkins, West Virginia opened a taproom at the brewery in Elkins. Featuring seven taps, you can count on a great variety of fresh Big Timber brews.

Located at 1210 S. Davis Ave., the taproom will offer light food and snacks along with Big Timber beer.

Matt Kwasniewski, owner/brewer, said he hopes the taproom will become a community meeting place like the taverns of yore. He likes the connection it allows him to have with the customer. Continue reading “Big Timber opens taproom”

Paw Paw moonshine flows at Appalachian Distillery

ApDist-04Paw Paw Moonshine? I’ll bet you’ve never heard of it, let alone tried it. Well that all changed for me with a visit to Appalachian Distillery located at Ripley, West Virginia.

Two former coal miners with deep family roots in the moonshine industry opened this rustic little distillery to continue a long-standing family tradition. A couple of years ago, while still working in the mines, co-founders Dwayne Freeman and James Hager began talking about leaving the mines and entering the whiskey business.

Hager tells a bit of their story in this video.

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Mountain Dragon Mazery masters mead

Mountain Dragon Mazery is certainly one of the most exciting new producers of meads and other honey-based wines anywhere in the Southern Appalachian region.

Mountain Dragon Tulip Poplar Honey Mead
Mountain Dragon Tulip Poplar Honey Mead is a varietal mead made of honey from the blooms of the tulip poplar tree.

Located in Fairmont, West Virginia, Mountain Dragon Mazery makes a wide variety of meads, melomels and methyglyns, several of which are unique to the market. Some of their products harken back to the old days of mead making in the British Isles. In fact, the name Mazery is taken from an old English word for meadery. Continue reading “Mountain Dragon Mazery masters mead”

September farmers market and Bramwell Oktoberfest

Sept Farmers Market
September is a great month at the local farmers market. It’s the change out between summer and fall crops. You get some of both.

I love to visit a farmers market this time of year here in Southern Appalachia, but I also know that the summer garden season is coming to an end.

Apple harvest is in full swing and cider production is well underway. Local wineries and cideries are busy places now. It will likely be a few months though before we get to taste the magic of the 2014 vintage, especially for the red wines and hearty ciders that need a good bit of time in the barrel to mature. Continue reading “September farmers market and Bramwell Oktoberfest”

State of Origin Craft Brew Festival revisited

State of Origin Festival
The first annual State of Origin Craft Brew Festival was held June 14, 2014 in Morganton, NC.

Definitely one of my favorite beer events of the past year was the State of Origin Craft Brew Festival in Morganton, North Carolina. I’m all in when it comes to local ingredients in local beer, and that is where this festival excelled.

Put together by Todd Boera and others at local Fonta Flora Brewery, this festival was unique in that it brought together over 20 breweries, each bringing beers with North Carolina ingredients.  The following video gives you an 8-minute look at the 2014 festival held on June 14.

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