Monday, August 3, 2009

Wolf Hills Brewing Company, A New Brewery for Virginia

If all goes according to plan, Virginia will soon gain yet another craft beer brewery. Wolf Hills Brewing Company is a new brewery in the works in Abingdon, Virginia. This small brewery has been in planning for about a year. Local permits are complete and they are waiting on approval from VA ABC. Like many craft breweries, Wolf Hill grew out of a passion for home brewing. Brewer Chris Burcher was a college professor who has a PhD in Biology and Stream Ecology. Chris says that brewing fulfilled his scientific interests, plus he "got pretty good at it." Chris explains his plans thusly:
We have a tiny space (275 square feet, that's 18X16) with a 1 barrel (31 gallon) system using a basic 'homebrewing' style setup. We will be able to produce 6 bbls a week with me working part time. Wolf Hills comes from the original name "Wolf Hill" that Daniel Boone called the area while exploring. While trying to camp his dogs were attacked by wolves form the local caves and the name was born. We will have 4 year-round beer styles, also named after local ideas or people. Fighting Parsons Pale Ale is our flagship and is a very hoppy American style Pale Ale with a intense hop aroma and flavor from dry hopping. It is named after an early leader from the area who famously preached from the pulpit with his rifle by his side. Creeper Trail Amber Ale is a lighter, more malty selection. Black's Fort Brown Ale is an India Brown Ale that balances a complex malt character with west coast style hopping. Stonewall Heights Stout is named after the street where the brewery idea was born and is a dark, rich American example of the style. We will also offer White Top Wheat in regular and blackberry varieties and Wolf's Den Double IPA as seasonal beers.

Though incredibly tiny we anticipate offering tastings and growlers at the brewery site once we're licensed. We don't anticipate that our beers will make it very far outside of Abingdon but we are poised to expand if the demand exists (which, of course, we think it does). We are intentionally starting very tiny to keep our investments low and to minimize risk. However, we all are very excited to make available fresh handmade beer to the local area just like it used to be.

We'll be keeping an eye on Wolf Hills and wish them great success. I was alerted to Wolf Hills by Ray Jones of Shooting Creek Brewery who said "Pretty soon we might have a brewery in every hill, holler and corner of southwest VA." To that I respond, one can only hope!

Visit the Wolf Hills website, under development, here.

1 comment:

  1. I have always wondered why there aren't more microbreweries (not brewpub/restaurants) in Northern VA; particularly in Alexandria, Centreville, Fairfax, Manassas & the Gainesville areas)?

    I am aware of the three tiered system and other hoops one must jump through, but it seems like microbreweries are beginning to appear everywhere but NOVA! Are they opening in NOVA and then failing within the year? Is it because consumers prefer massively produced beers in NOVA? Is it because they are more successful with a restaurant/brewery? What's going on here?

    I can say that we have quite a large population center and people are leaning more heavily in the direction of craft beer despite the economy. What appears to be the obstacle in NOVA?


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