At least eight brewery projects are in various stages of planning and development, giving them a chance to open in 2017. The West Virginia Barrel Trail is growing by leaps and bounds. A record seven new breweries received their WV licenses in 2016, bringing the total to 22.
Following is a brief description of the prospective class of 2017.
Weathered Ground Brewery
Weathered Ground Brewery will the state’s first farm-oriented brewery. It is being developed on a 20-acre farm at Cool Ridge in Raleigh County (in the general vicinity of Glade Springs Resort and Winterplace ski area). Look for completion later this year.
[See our early preview article here and an updated progress article here] Weathered Ground is put together by Sam Fonda, who has been brewing for the past several years in Charlotte, most recently with Triple C Brewing Company. He is installing a 7-barrel brewhouse at Weathered Ground and will include farm-raised ingredients in some of his beer. Fonda is best-known for making big, barrel-aged beers, but he also will also brew IPAs and develop funky farmhouse ales that fit with the theme of his new brewery.
Once open, the brewery will feature a spacious taproom inside a barn-like brewery building. Fonda hopes to offer some of his brews to craft-oriented restaurants and bars in southern WV.
Status Update: WV brewery license approved on June 15, 2017. Brewing now underway. Grand opening set for August 5, 2017.
2007 Flat Top Road
Cool Ridge, WV
Brewery Facebook Page
Short Story Brewing will be a family-owned brewery in Rivesville, WV. Co-owner and brewer, Aaron Rote, is the one leading the project and has purchased an old building and is renovating it. Brewery and taproom build-out is ongoing. A very nice taproom is planned, with plenty of room to relax and enjoy a Short Story brew.
Status Update: WV brewery license approved in May 2017. The brewery is currently self-distributing beer to a number of accounts around the Mogantown, Fairmont, and Clarksburg areas. Their brewpub opened July 1, 2017.
5904 Fairmont Road
Formerly known as Front Porch Brewing, Abolitionist will be located in the middle of historic downtown Charles Town. The brewery will add an exciting new dimension to the city’s food & beverage scene.
Led by Josh Vance, and his brewer brother Mike, expect Abolitionist Ale Works beer to have lots of character and, often times, lots of hops or funk. They are still completing the renovations on the historic building and installing the brewing system.
Mike Vance, formerly a brewer at Morgantown Brewing, has moved to Charles Town to make Front Porch a true family operation. This is great news as Mike was an accomplished brewer at Morgantown. Now he is focusing on local, barrel-fermented wild ales in addition to the traditional brews like stouts and IPAs.
A BrilliantStream tasting panel sampled some of Mike’s pilot brews and were extremely impressed. Front Porch Brewing promises to be a cozy little brewpub with a great location in WV’s Eastern Panhandle.
Status Update: Front Porch received their WV brewery license April 26, 2017. Brewpub grand opening took place on June 17.
129 West Washington St.
Brewery Facebook Page
This long-awaited project in downtown Huntington is completed and awaiting final stage licensing. (We first wrote about this project here on BrilliantStream in fall 2015.)
Still waiting to hear its official name, it is located inside The Peddler restaurant in downtown Huntington.
Owners Drew and Megan Hetzer will augment the brewery with The Peddler Restaurant’s gourmet burger-led food menu. They also have a very cool arcade game area, so patrons can have some extra fun while enjoying their burger and brew.
The brewery is based around a 10-barrel system, which should provide sufficient capacity to supply their other restaurants as well as put a small amount into local distribution.
The Hetzers, who also operate the neighboring restaurant, Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar, have already proven they can serve up a great plate of food. Now, all beer fans in the Tri-State area are anxiously anticipating their beer.
Status Update: As of July 21, are brewing beer now. Beer sales could start in next couple of weeks.
833 Third Avenue
Cheat Canyon Brewing Company
Cheat Canyon will be a large brewery for WV, in the 30 barrel brewhouse range, with lots of room to expand. Their primary focus is on water quality, clean brewery operations, and freshest ingredients to ensure a high quality product.
Status Update: July 9 – They anticipate a loan closing and ground breaking in the next 45 to 60 days. Hope to be under roof by the end of this year with a grand opening slated for mid-2018.
Brewery Twitter: @CheatCanyonBrew
As of the first of this year, veteran brewer Josh Clarke has moved from Heston Farm to join with others on a new brewpub project in downtown Fairmont. In its early stages, The Rambling Root will initially open as a restaurant & bar, with the brewery added later.
They promise the kitchen will dish out a melting pot of Southern, Appalachian, German foods and Fairmont favorites. The bar will have a selection of 21 taps cranking out handcrafted and innovative brews from other WV breweries alongside their own house-brewed beers.
Status Update: As of Mar. 27, remodeling and renovation on the restaurant is completed and the restaurant and bar are open. Clarke will help curate the tap selection while he works on developing the brewery project. Brewery opening could possibly hit before the end of 2017.
Project Facebook page
This project is being developed by Lawrence Walkup who operates the independent Old Spruce tavern and draft house at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Some brewery equipment has arrived on site. Projected opening date is unknown, but could occur in 2017.
Old Spruce Draft House & Old Spruce Tavern house beer (Citra IPA) has been being brewed as a re-badged label of Big Timber Brewing in Elkins. but it would be brewed here, once a brewery license is secured. Plus a range of additional beer styles would be brewed.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort
Slaty Fork, WV
Old Spruce Tavern Website
Organized by the entrepreneurial husband and wife team of Todd Cotgreave and Jessie Shanholltz, Town Run Brewing Company is located in downtown Shepherdstown. The business is already operating as a tavern and hopes to soon begin selling its own beer.
Town Run will start with a 1/2 barrel system and later move up to a 6 barrel brewhouse. The owners say they hope to have 25 different beers on tap with a large variety of styles.
Their restaurant is already operational and is well-known for its Farm-to-Table and comfort-food cuisine. Until the brewery opens they are rotating WV beers and some of the owner’s favorite craft specialties.
With historic Shepherdstown already popular as a tourist destination, Town Run Brewing will enhance the area’s reputation as a fun place to eat and drink.
Status Update: As of June 17, this project seems to have changed to inactive The business changed its name, dropping the words Brewing Company. No other details available.
202A East Washington St.
Brewery Facebook page
You read about this possible project on BrilliantStream in fall 2015. Last year, it seemed to be moving ahead, but now seems to have stalled.
Veteran brewer Josh Clarke was hired last year as Head of Production for the new Pinchgut Hollow Brewery project and for other operations at Heston Farm. But as of the January 2017, Clarke was no longer with Heston. He had left to begin his own brewery project in downtown Fairmont (described above).
Mickey Heston and family already have one of the state’s sharpest tasting room operations for wine and whiskey. It would be nice to see them add a brewery to the operation. I guess we will have to wait and see.
Status Update: As of Jan. 1, this project may be on hold but has not been abandoned.
1602 Tulip Lane
Heston Farm Website
If anyone has information on other breweries planning to open in West Virginia, please leave a comment.