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 class of 2017.
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.
Brewer Jay Fox is at work in the facility brewing batches of beer, getting ready for the grand opening.
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 Mar. 27, brewery opening is expected in April, but may slip to May.
833 Third Avenue
To be located in the middle of historic downtown Charles Town, Front Porch Brewing Company will add an exciting new dimension to the city’s food & beverage scene.
Led by Josh Vance, who is moving his brewing status up from amateur to professional, expect Front Porch Brewing beers to have lots of character and, often times, lots of hops. Vance still has a good bit of work to do renovating the historic building and installing his brewing system. With any luck, Front Porch could be open for business by late this fall.
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. N ow 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. Brewpub grand opening is expected in mid-June.
129 West Washington St.
Brewery Facebook Page
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. Later, Fonda hopes to offer some of his brews to craft-oriented restaurants and bars in southern WV.
Status Update: As of May 9, construction at the brewery building is mostly completed. The focus is on finishing the interior of the taproom and obtaining final permits. Opening possible by mid-June 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: As of May 17, its state license has been approved. A mid to late June opening is expected.
5904 Fairmont Road
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.
Brewery construction should begin early summer, 2017. A 1st quarter 2018 opening is not out of the question.
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
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 Feb. 1, this project is still active, but progress seems to be slow. 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.