1 bourbon, 1 wine, 1 beer
1 bourbon, 1 wine, 1 beer. Not quite the lyrics to the George Thorogood song, but guessing song lyrics is not the intent of this blog post. Instead, I would like to share with you a guide to the local craft beer, wine and spirits of Fayetteville and Summersville, West Virginia.
Craft beer is a major passion of my wife and me. Myself, I am a big fan of New England IPAs (double New England to be exact), that are traditionally very juicy, fragrant and hoppy. The hoppier the better for me. Ashley is a big fan of hefeweizens, that hold a strong banana and clove personality and always refreshing. We both enjoy pilsners, coffee blondes, witbiers and fruited sours. To be subjective, we both do not enjoy barrel-aged anything, but understand and respect the crowd that does enjoy them. But I digress…
The industry has taken the initiative (mostly) to not only share with you their craft, but their community’s history too. Whether its in the design of their cans, taproom décor or beer names themselves (like Bridge Brew Works’ Long Point Lager), you can detour from your swig to learn a little about the area you’re visiting. Some cities like to setup ale trails, and with the handful of establishments settled in the New River Gorge and Summersville Lake area, completing this trail I have designed is a must for craft enthusiasts. Prior to sharing, is recommended to find safe travels to and from these establishments and back home again to avoid drunk driving. To keep track of what you like, be sure to download the Untappd app on your smart phone to check in at each brewery to remember which beers you enjoy most!
First stop: Freefolk Brewery – 1690 Court Street, Fayetteville, WV, 25840
“Free-spirited beer for free-spirited people.” Nothing truer could be said for this amazing establishment. When pulling up to the brewery, the bright colors in the designs on their walls make you feel like you’re heading toward something special, maybe something not so uniform as their building is tucked into trees. The vibe you get when there is natural, and you can expect there to often be live music, a food truck and always rely on tasty beer! Be sure to try a Fayetteville Fog IPA, Shoe Crew White Ale or the Blood Brother Fruited Sour.
Next: Bridge Brew Works – 335 Nick Rahall Greenway, Fayetteville, WV, 25840
We stumbled upon Bridge Brew Works on a warm spring afternoon and were glad we did! This venue was incredible. The patio was perfect to catch some fresh air and the beer itself, leaning towards some Belgian and German styles, were very enjoyable. Long Point Lager is a must, and if you’re a fan of boozy beers, their Tumble Home barleywine is a good sipper. I kept some in my fridge for 6 months, opened it up and it was as good as it was on tap.
Rounding Third: Kirkwood Winery & Isaiah Morgan Distillery – 45 Winery Lane, Summersville, WV 26651
Voted the best winery in West Virginia, Kirkwood is a fun pit stop that offers a dozen or more variety of wines, many aimed at those with a sweet tooth. My personal favorites are the strawberry rhubarb as well as the honey mead. All of their wines are great to pair with charcuterie board. As for the spirits created at Isaiah Morgan, I have unfortunately yet tried anything. Knowing how moonshine has deep roots in West Virginia and Appalachia, I would recommend any connoisseurs to try Southern Moon corn liquor and let us know what you think!
Banning’s @ Fran’s Restaurant - 607 N. Main Street, Summersville, WV 26651
Little is known of Banning’s, but according to those who keep tabs on West Virginia craft beer, their creations are poured at Fran’s Restaurant. According to the Untappd app, they have a stout that is approachable for those not normally into darker beers. Fran’s is a welcoming environment with a tasty menu, as well!
Gad Dam Brewing – 922 Broad Street, Summersville, WV 26651
Although they are not currently brewing their own beer, they plan to in the future! Currently they operate as a taproom, coffee shop and offer food both themselves and through pop-up kitchens. This is one of our favorite spots to hangout and is very kid friendly with games both inside and out. GDB is a great first base for anyone trying to introduce themselves to several types of craft beer from various West Virginia craft breweries and cideries. I first took a drink of Devil Anse from Greenbrier Valley Brewing at GDB, and now it’s a constant in my fridge. Gad Dam is named after the town of Gad was flooded to create Summersville Lake and Dam. According to those familiar, their first name of Gad Dam was rejected on their application for naming the structure. I wonder why?
Arrowhead Bike Farm – 8263 Gatewood Road, Fayetteville, WV 25840
Bikes. Beers. Battlestar Galactica. Or maybe just those first two things, but also goats! Arrowhead Bike Farm is located near the Long Point Trail, and they celebrate their love for biking and beer by having several local flavors on tap, and trails to traverse on your bike. They also boast a great vegan menu, as well as traditional, so this is a great place to seek out if you or a kiddo of yours has food restrictions. One of our favorites, and highly recommendable. Their barbacoa tacos are always on my plate.
Studio B – 309 Keller Avenue, Fayetteville, WV 25840
I love a good bottle shop – on my way home from work it can be fun to go do a mix and match six-pack to enjoy in the comfort of my home. Studio B has everything you need to experience the West Virginia craft beers all in one shop. Whether it’s a Mothman Black IPA from Greenbrier Valley, or a cider from Hawk Knob Cidery, they’ve got it all; they even have a good chunk of my money and patronage too!
Some of my first experiences in craft beer came from West Virginia. The forementioned Mothman Black IPA can be found nearly all over the state. I first tasted this beauty at the Union Pub & Grille in Huntington, where I worked in college. Weathered Ground and High Ground can always be found on tap at Arrowhead. Bad Shepherd Brewing provides a wide variety of brews and they too can be found in places like Studio B and other establishments around the Gorge. Perhaps in the future we will create a rewards incentive/discount on rental for anyone who can take photographic proof of stopping at Freefolk, Bridge Brew Works, Banning’s, Kirkwood/IM and GDB once they are up and brewing. Stay tuned and enjoy a local pint!