In preparation for a few days off for my upcoming birthday, 3/12/14 was perhaps our busiest day of brewery visits to date. We started off early morning at Midnight Brewery then promptly made our way through the country to Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery before noon. We then managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello prior to finishing the day off with a stop to see the fine folks at Three Notch’d Brewing Company in nearby Charlottesville. The city is home to the University of Virginia as well as a burgeoning craft beer scene. Three Notch’d is the latest to open its doors in the area, launching for business about 6 months prior to our visit. The company was founded by Derek Naughton, Scott Roth, and George Kastendike with Dave Warwick taking over the helm of all things beer. The founders all share a passion for great beer and thought to taking up homebrewing to create the perfect beer for their tastes. Thoughts traveled further as they dreamt up ideas of how to finance their habit by selling beer to local pubs and eventually made their way to the only logical conclusion – opening up a brewery. At that time there were no distribution breweries in the city so they set to work with the business plan. We were privileged to get the occasion to speak with both Derek and Dave on this chilly Virginia evening.
Following an early 9 am stop at Midnight Brewery, we traveled west through the VA countryside to visit our second brewery of the day before lunch. Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery sits on 221 acres of land, 83 acres of which are wooded and will remain untouched for the enjoyment of guests to the brewery. Their name pays homage to the small creek running through the property that was named in pre-colonial times for the wildlife that stopped for a refreshing drink. The farm style building was built on site to house the brewery and is intended to appropriately blend in with the landscape. The concept is to be as water conscious and sustainable as possible by growing many of the brewing ingredients on site – many crop terraces can be seen in the fields surrounding the building. Currently various hops, barley, pumpkins, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are planted with further plans to do herbs, additional berries, grapes, figs, oranges, and more in the future.
On our way from Norfolk to Richmond on 3/10/14 we felt it was important to make a short detour for some sightseeing. We decided to take an educational tour of Jamestown with an archaeologist and, rather than visit Historic Williamsburg, felt a proper representation of the city could be experienced at the local brewery. AleWerks Brewing Company opened in 2005 but operated under the name of Williamsburg AleWerks until just over a year ago. The brewery was started by Chuck Haines, who secured the facilities of the defunct Williamsburg Brewing Co. He hired on longtime homebrewer, Geoff Logan, to handle the brewing and Geoff has been responsible for creating all of AleWerks’ recipes over the years. In keeping with the rich history of the area, they utilize a traditional 30bbl brick wrapped brewhouse with open flame, as opposed to the steam systems in operation at many other breweries. This day Corbin graciously served as our beer tasting and brewery guide. As an artist himself, Corbin shared his view of how brewing is the best form of art because you can enjoy a beer with all of your senses then, of course, you feel good afterwards.