Wilderness Series Release: Turk Mountain Kolsch

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing will continue its Wilderness Series collection with the release of the brewery’s Turk Mountain Kolsch at noon Saturday, April 14 in the brewery tasting room.

A Wilderness Series beer is released at each Flight Sessions Running Series race, which are all hosted by Stable Craft, and the Turk Mountain Kolsch is the beer release for the Turk Mountain Trot race, which will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 14. Runners who are 21 years old or older will get a sample of the beer release for their race as part of their race entry fee before the beer is released to the general public at noon.

The Flight Sessions Running Series and Wilderness Series collection both officially launched on Saturday, March 10 with the Bear Den Dash and the Bear Den Hefeweizen, respectively. Stable Craft had great success with the Bear Den Hefeweizen as the beer sold out within hours of being tapped, according to Christopher Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer. 

A participant in the Bear Den Dash race on Saturday, March 10 raises at Flight Sessions Running Series glass in the Stable Craft Brewing tasting room.

Issac Peglow, Stable Craft’s assistant brewer, brewed Turk Mountain Kolsch on the brewery’s pilot brewing system. The idea to brew a kolsch for one of the Wilderness Series releases stemmed from one of the brewery’s Brew Your Own Experiences, Peglow said.

The Brew Your Own Experience is one of Stable Craft’s many unique offerings. Anyone can sign themselves and their friends up to create any type of beer they desire while working closely with Stable Craft’s brewers. The Brew Your Own Experience that inspired the Turk Mountain Kolsch was brewed for a wedding at Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables, Stable Craft’s sister business, and it was a dry-hopped kolsch, Peglow said.

“With the kolsch, it’s a really refreshing, easy drinking ale that you might actually want to drink after running,” Peglow explained. Turk Mountain Kolsch was also described as being a very balanced beer with low hop bitterness.

The ingredients used to brew Turk Mountain Kolsch included mostly grains, such as small amounts of oats, wheat and light malt. Acidulated malt was also used to create a light, crisp tangy flavor, Peglow said. The only hops used were Nugget hops. 

Nugget pellet hops sit on the pilot brewing system. Photo by Katherine Hensley.

Turk Mountain Kolsch altogether took three weeks to be produced, and it was a straightforward brewing process, according to Stable Craft’s assistant brewer.

Of the beers currently on tap in the brewery tasting room, Peglow said Turk Mountain Kolsch is most similar to Appalachian Divide as the two beers are both light, refreshing and easy drinking.

Check Stable Craft’s Brew Blog this time next month to learn about Mad Lick Maibock, the Wilderness Series release for the May 5 Flight Sessions race.

Stable Craft Brewing Welcomes New Executive Chef

Joseph Bissonnette, Stable Craft Brewing’s new executive chef, started working at the brewery in January 2018. Photo by Katherine Hensley.

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing recently welcomed a new executive chef to the company’s brew crew. The newly appointed executive chef, Joseph Bissonnette, is already hard at work creating new specials and reworking the current menu.

Bissonnette’s humble introduction to cooking began in his Grandma Grzemkowski’s kitchen.

“I know it is real cliche for everyone to say that standing in their grandma’s kitchen and watching her cook inspired them, but, after working in the industry and looking back and asking myself why I am doing this, I would think that is an important person who inspired me and does daily,” he said.

Bissonnette’s grandma is Polish and the dishes they made together paid tribute to his family’s eastern European heritage. These dishes included: cabbage rolls, perogies, kapusta, different kinds of sausages and Polish angel wings, or chrusciki.

Bissonnette chose to pursue a career in the culinary arts after graduating high school and college.

He spent five years working as a sous chef at the Devils Grill at Wintergreen Resort. The Devils Grill serves contemporary American fare and sources local ingredients, just like Stable Craft Brewing.

In this role, Bissonnette worked under three different executive chefs, and he described the experience as his most influential job to date.

“I learned quite a few things as far as the levels of standards and consistency,” Bissonnette said.

Stable Craft Brewing represents a couple of firsts for his career; it is his first time working as an executive chef and his first time working at a brewery.

Bissonnette’s Polish cooking knowledge is excellent and compliments the beer very well as certain dishes from Poland share similarities in Austrian and German cuisine, specifically beer-paired foods, Craig Nargi, the owner of Stable Craft Brewing, said.

Polish cooking is rich in meat, especially beef, chicken and pork, and winter vegetables and pairs well with English Pale Ales.

An example of a special that Bissonnette has already created in his short time at Stable Craft includes porter-braised steak tips with pepper jam cornbread and garlic bacon green beans.

Adaptability, understanding the clientele and making the guest feel welcome by knowing what they want and preparing foods that complement the region are all important attributes of a chef, according to Nargi. The brewery’s goal behind welcoming a new executive chef is not to completely change what is already being offered, but to adapt to the ever-changing culinary desires of the clientele by utilizing the talents and skills of a professional chef.

Guests can expect a short-term menu change for Stable Craft Brewing’s tasting room courtesy of Bissonnette in the next week or two. A greater transformation of the menu is expected to be released in about three months.

Constant Government Support Drives Brewery Success

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing has enjoyed the support of federal, state and local government funds since its very beginning.

Craig and Nikki Nargi, Stable Craft Brewing’s owners, built a reputable wedding venue, Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables, after purchasing their property in Hermitage, Va. in 2006. The property was originally a Tennessee Walking Horse facility, but, after extensive renovations, the Nargis turned it into a four-season venue capable of accommodating up to 200 guests for both ceremonies and receptions.

The barn and lookout tower at Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables. The venue is available year-round. Photo by Katherine Hensley.

Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables, which officially opened its doors to wedding clientele in 2008, proved to be so successful that the couple decided to expand their offerings to a second business, Stable Craft Brewing, that includes a hop farm and brewery.

Craig Nargi began growing hops in 2011, and, to supplement his operation, applied for a United States Department of Agriculture Value-Added Producer Grant, or VAPG, in 2014, which he was awarded. The USDA VAPG program, “helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of new products,” according to the USDA.

The terms of the grant were that USDA would match spent funds up to $250,000, and the funds had to be spent, “for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product,” according to the USDA.

“You had to show you had the means first,” Craig Nargi said. “The matching grant was only for labor, ingredients and inputs to make beer.”

It could also be applied to energy consumption and the brewer’s time, but it was specifically for expenses related to the beer making process, he explained.

The federal grant did not match expenses related to the construction of new buildings or the salaries of the agricultural employees who helped to grow the hops, Craig Nargi said.

With the assistance of the federal funds, he was able to use the profits to grow the business. The next major step for the Nargis in growing their successful businesses was opening Stable Craft Brewing up to even more clientele via a top-of-the-line tasting room.

The tasting room officially opened in May 2016 and has been an economical benefit to the Augusta County community ever since. The agri-pub menu includes items, such as burgers, sandwiches and skillet plates, that are prepared with fresh, local ingredients.

In the spirit of contributing to the local economy and farmers, the Nargis established a business relationship with McNett Angus Beef of Grottoes, Va. McNett Angus Beef supplies the tasting room with the farm’s all natural beef for the burgers while Stable Craft Brewing supplies McNett Angus Beef with the spent grain from the brewery to feed the farm’s cattle.

The brewery, along with the tasting room, will continue to build relationships with local proprietors not only because of Stable Craft Brewing’s business model, but also because of a second grant the owners received.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe formally announced at the brewery that the Nargis had been awarded a $15,000 Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development, or AFID, facility grant in September 2017. This a state grant that Augusta County matched with an additional $15,000 of local funds.

The terms of the AFID grant are that, “a minimum of 30% of the agricultural or forestry products to which the facility is adding value are produced within the Commonwealth of Virginia on an annual basis in normal production years,” according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The AFID grant and county funds are a portion of an even larger $500,000 brewery expansion that will create 13 new jobs. The expansion includes the purchasing of new equipment, such as a bottling line and additional fermentation vessels, as well as a new warehouse.

The new warehouse was constructed in fall of 2017.

The warehouse will have a barrel-aging room with the capacity to hold 250 53-gallon wooden kegs, an exclusive tasting room and room for storage.

The popularity of the company in the Augusta Community has motivated much of the support the brewery has received up to this point.

Craig and Nikki Nargi work around-the-clock to constantly improve both of their businesses and appreciate the support the federal, state and local governments have granted them over the years that help to make their visions successful.


Stable Craft Brewing Hires Consultant for Brewery Expansion

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing is now working with esteemed brewing consultant Peter Boettcher who will help with the brewery’s rapid expansion.

Boettcher has owned and operated his own brewing consultant agency for five years, but his experience in the brewing industry expands over 30 years. He got his start in the industry when he became a journeyman brewer and maltster through the chamber of commerce in his native Germany.

Peter Boettcher will help Stable Craft Brewing with the brewery’s rapid expansion. Photo Credit: Megan Harris/Eastfield College

From there, Boettcher attended the Technical University of Weihenstephan and Doemens World Brewing Academy where he earned a certification in brewing science and a degree in brewing science, respectively. Boettcher relocated to the United States and started his professional career at the Pennsylvania Brewing Company in Pittsburgh, Pa.

He was responsible for the creation of award-winning recipes at the Pennsylvania Brewing Company, as well as the production and quality control of bottom and top fermenting beers, supervision of staff and purchasing of raw materials. Boettcher significantly increased brew house efficiency and reduced the cost of operation throughout the company.

Boettcher has also worked for the Baltimore Brewing Company in Maryland, Abita Brewing Company in Louisiana, Pall Corporation in New York, Pacific Western Brewing Company in Canada and, most recently, the MillerCoors Brewing Company out of the its Fort Worth, Texas location.

Over the years, Boettcher has been responsible for a variety of tasks related to brewing, including consistent involvement in quality control, production and business planning, at the range of locations he has worked.

He has also been a Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner four times, a Great American Beer Festival Silver Medal Winner once and a Great American Beer Festival Bronze Medal Winner twice. The medals were received in different categories, but most often in the German-style lager category.

Three of the four new 20-barrel fermentation vessels.

Boettcher currently lives and works in Fort Worth, Texas where he not only operates his brewing consultant agency, but also instructs students at Eastfield Community College in Dallas. He aided in the development of the brewery program at the college, which boasts a 98 percent job placement rate.

Within his consulting services, Boettcher provides technological and technical expertise for process and quality improvements throughout the production process. He works with large brewing companies, craft breweries, malting plants and cider companies.

Highlights of his consulting career include project management for Anheuser-Busch InBev in Russia where he took on the task of helping the company to modernize and expand its production facility and consulting for the European Union funded SARD III project in Turkmenistan. He has also had clients as far away as South America and Australia.

Boettcher is passionate about his work with both large and small breweries and enjoys passing on his expansive knowledge of the industry for the improvement of operations. Boettcher will assist Stable Craft Brewing with charting the brewery’s continued growth.

Pork U Collaboration Beer

Pork U’s collaboration beer is officially fermenting.

Stable Craft Brewing’s brewers, Christopher Fann and Issac Peglow, and beer bloggers, Jason Baker and Josh Hall, began brewing the Pork U collaboration beer, a chocolate vanilla milk stout, together on Saturday, Dec. 16. Pork U is a beer and bacon pairing class that will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13 as part of Porkuary, an all-day pork celebration.

Josh Hall from “Swill and Swine” has homebrewed in the past, but this was the first time brewing beer for Jason Baker from “Beer, Bacon and More.” It was Hall’s idea to brew a milk stout as he prefers that type of beer.

The collaboration beer was brewed on Stable Craft’s pilot system with the help of Fann and Peglow. The first step for Baker and Hall was to mill the barley to be used in the beer.

Hall poured the barley into the smaller mill used for the pilot system while Baker operated the drill. Using a drill is easier than hand-cranking the mill, Peglow said.

Josh Hall from “Swill and Swine” pours barley into the mill while Jason Baker from “Beer, Bacon and More” operates the drill. This is both of their first times collaborating on a beer with Stable Craft Brewing.

Jason Baker operates the drill on the small mill for the pilot brewing system.

Once the barley was milled, it was added to the mash tun. From there, the brewing process on the pilot brewing system is the same as the brewery’s larger brewing system designed for mass production.

As most familiar with brewing beer are aware, there is a lot of downtime while the brewers wait for one step to end before they can move onto the next step. Hall and Baker took this time to ask Fann and Peglow questions and learn more about brewing beer.

Baker took on the tasks of removing the spent grain from the mash tun and adding the sugar to the beer while it was in the boil kettle.

Baker cleans out the spent grain from the mash tun.

Baker adds the Nugget hops, which are pelletized, to the chocolate vanilla milk stout.

The collaboration beer will get its chocolate flavor from chocolate malt, an ingredient in the beer, Peglow explained. As for the vanilla flavor, the beer will soak in vanilla beans for a couple of days between fermentation and being transferred to the brite tank, Fann said. The Pork U collaboration beer will ferment for about a week and a half in total.

The chocolate vanilla milk stout will be one of the six beers that will be paired with a special type of bacon during Pork U.

Matt Milhit, Stable Craft Brewing’s taproom manager, will cure all of the bacon for Pork U himself. He plans to have the following types of bacon available for the class:

  1. A maple whiskey brined bacon smoked on hickory
  2. An agave syrup and tequila brined bacon smoked on mesquite
  3. A brown sugar and cinnamon dry-rubbed bacon smoked on applewood
  4. A black pepper and coffee dry-rubbed bacon smoked on hickory
  5. A chili dry-rubbed bacon smoked on cherry
  6. A dry-cured Italian bacon, or pancetta

The following Stable Craft beers will be paired with the above types of bacon:

  1. Porter
  2. Roostered Red
  3. Blue Ridge Sunryes Lager
  4. Throatlatch
  5. Britchin Brown
  6. Special Collaboration Beer – a chocolate vanilla milk stout

Sign yourself or a friend up today to experience this one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about pairing quality craft beer with delicious bacon.
Tickets are available for purchase online or in our taproom.
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Space is limited.

Join Christopher Fann, Josh Hall and Jason Baker for Pork U, Stable Craft’s educational beer and bacon pairing class, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. January 13.

A Cavallo Story

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing will release Cavallo, a barrel-aged American Imperial Stout, at noon Saturday, Dec. 9 exclusively in the brewery’s tasting room. This is a historic moment for Stable Craft Brewing as Cavallo is the first barrel-aged stout produced by the farm brewery.

Cavallo was aged for one year in rye whiskey barrels made of oak and sourced from Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. in Purcellville, Va. Christopher Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer, first created the recipe and brewed a pilot batch on the brewery’s SABCO system in September 2016, which was about the same time Stable Craft’s relationship with Catoctin Creek began to develop.

Craig Nargi, Stable Craft’s owner, decided to source barrels for barrel aging beer from Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. because of their quality product and as a way to continue the brewery’s reputation of supporting other small Virginia businesses. When we discovered Catoctin Creek rye whiskey, we were blown away with the perfect, smooth and approachable rye, Nargi said.

Christopher Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer, transferred Cavallo from the barrels into the brite tank for conditioning on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

After the pilot batch was brewed and the barrels were sourced, Fann tweaked the recipe to fit the flavor profile of the barrels. Cavallo went into the Catoctin Creek oak barrels in November 2016. It was the first beer to go into the first 16 barrels the brewery purchased from the distillery, and it will be the last to come out of those original 16 barrels.  

A sixtel of the barrel-aged stout was released on May 6, 2017 during Stable Craft Brewing’s anniversary party under the name, “Valley Reserve.”

“We released a small quantity during our one-year anniversary celebration and sold out of one keg in 25 minutes,” Nargi said. “It was previously named ‘Valley Reserve,’ but we felt, with that kind of following, it deserved a name that envelopes our brand and instills uniqueness.”

The word, “cavallo,” means horse in Italian, therefore, the name fits well with the farm brewery’s equestrian roots.

Whiskey, vanilla and a little bit of oak from the barrels is how Issac Peglow, Stable Craft’s assistant brewer, described Cavallo’s flavor profile. “It’s Fann-tastic,” Peglow added with a chuckle.

Cavallo doesn’t possess the same burn from the alcohol as other barrel-aged beers because of the length of time it was in the barrels, Fann said.

Cavallo went into the barrels at a 9.4% ABV and, after aging, has finished at a 12.5% ABV. The stout will be exclusively available in the Stable Craft Brewing tasting room on tap and in 750 mL bottles. Two variants of the beer will be available, Bold American Imperial Stout and Chocolate Raspberry Imperial Stout.

This is not the first barrel-aged beer released by Stable Craft Brewing, and it certainly won’t be the last.

“The barrel aging program at Stable Craft Brewing is about to become an entirely new offering for 2018,” Nargi said. “A new warehouse space will provide enough room for 150 plus oak barrels and, directly above the warehouse, a new exclusive tasting room is being built with majestic views spanning from both sides of the Shenandoah Valley.”

Issac Peglow, Stable Craft’s assistant brewer, uses a bottling wand to fill Cavallo bottles on Friday, Dec. 1.

Five hundred bottles of the Bold American Imperial Stout variant of Cavallo will be available for purchase.

Stephen Clay, Stable Craft’s cellar technician, manually puts crowns, or caps. on the 750 mL bottles of Cavallo on Friday, Dec. 1.

Back on Tap: Madridiculous IPA

Madridiculous is exclusively available in six packs in the Stable Craft Brewing tasting room.

By Katherine Hensley

Madridiculous was welcomed back into the Stable Craft Brewing tasting room this November after last being on tap this past summer.

It was a popular beer, and we brought it back because people were asking about it often, Chris Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer, said.

Madridiculous is the first New England Style IPA Fann has ever brewed, and he said he wanted to experiment with the different techniques of that brewing style.

“In a lot of your New England IPAs, you get a soft mouth feel,” Fann said. “A well that is not filtered is a unique challenge to get close to what you need for a soft IPA.”

Fann altered the recipe in the mash while brewing to create the softer mouthfeel desired in a New England Style IPA. There are also certain malts that can be added to the beer to help soften and give a creamy mouthfeel, Fann said.

In addition to certain malts creating a creamy mouthfeel, flaked oats and flaked wheat also create a silky mouthfeel and were ingredients in Madridiculous. The flaked oats and flaked wheat promote body and create haze as well.

Traditionally, haze, or cloudiness, in beer has been a byproduct of brewing that brewers avoided, but beer drinkers now notably seek haze in IPAs. The phenomenon, which began in late 2016, has been nicknamed the, “Haze Craze,” in the craft brewing industry.

Madridiculous fermented for a week before being transferred to the brite tank and then bottled and kegged. The IPA is currently on tap and available in six packs in the Stable Craft Brewing tasting room.

The pervading taste in Madridiculous is citrus with tangerine, grapefruit and pineapple dominating the senses. Copious amounts of Citra and Amarillo hops were used in Madridiculous in both the whirlpool and the three different dry hop stages.

Tangerine is one of the many citrusy flavors in Madridiculous. Photo Credit: Neil Conway.

The brewery is currently only producing half batches of Madridiculous, according to Fann, and that is for a couple of reasons. Half batches allow the brewers to always keep the beer fresh, and it allows them to tweak the recipe if needed.

The plan for Madridiculous is to now have it on tap in the tasting room year-round and, in the future, to do small bottling runs, Fann said.

As for the name, Fann created the name Madridiculous and was inspired by the road the brewery is located on, Madrid Road.

Counter Service: Allowing Stable Craft Beer Education Since 2016

By Katherine Hensley

For those who have not had the pleasure of walking into Stable Craft Brewing for the first time, take a minute to imagine what it may be like. The breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains are in the distance, the rolling green hills of the Virginia countryside are right there and Clydesdales are grazing happily in their pastures just feet away.

The tasting room itself is a beautiful sight with its finished wood interior and equestrian-themed decorations, such as the colorful prints hanging on the walls and horseshoe chandelier. The enticing aromas of farm fresh beer and burgers are in the air. It’s a positively overwhelming experience for the senses of sight and smell, and this is before taste is even in the picture.

The first-time guest, or even returning guest, is trying to take everything in when they are then asked to choose from 16 different beers on tap, not an easy task. This is where the craft beertender with professional beer tasting experience comes in to save the day, and they are able to do so because of Stable Craft’s style of service.

Craft Beertender John Harman, left, and Taproom Manager Matt Milhit, right, assist guests with craft beer orders. Milhit has years of experience pairing craft beer with food.


Just like everything else at Stable Craft Brewing, the counter style service chosen for the tasting room was selected with the utmost care and concern for the guests’ experience. When the guest walks up to the counter, or bar, and asks the beertender about the beers, the beertender is able to talk to them about what the guest likes, what they do not like and what they are looking to drink.

The counter service allows the beertender to take this necessary time to converse with the guest one-on-one about what beer they are looking to experience because, after all, Stable Craft Brewing offers an enticing experience for the senses.

Once the guest has chosen a beer or flight of beers with the beertender’s help, the guest will then provide a card for their tab, take a number from the beertender and choose a spot for enjoying their beer. One of the craft beertenders will serve them their beer, food or both by matching the order with the table number.


Craft Beertender Shane Atwood pours a beer during a Steal the Glass night. Atwood has been educating guests about Stable Craft beers since June 2017.

Counter style service is not the style of every restaurant or even brewery, but that is because Stable Craft Brewing is not like any other restaurant or brewery. It is an agri-pub and working farm where educating guests about the beers and agricultural practices are major priorities. Counter service maximizes the beertender’s time spent educating, answering questions while hosting the start to an unparalleled farm brewery experience and minimizes time spent running to and from tables.

For guests planning a visit or for those who are returning, do not hesitate to take the time to ask the beertender behind the bar about Britchin Brown, Throatlatch, Peach Gose or any other beer on tap. Craft beertenders are there to educate and serve, and Stable Craft Brewing’s style of service maximizes their ability to converse one-on-one with guests to find the best beer for them.

Small Batch Release: Dry-Hopped Saison

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing will be rolling out a small batch of a dry-hopped saison Saturday, Oct. 28.

A Belgian-style saison is, generally, a beer that is lighter in body and more carbonated than most beers, according to Issac Peglow, Stable Craft’s assistant brewer. Peglow brewed the dry-hopped saison on Stable Craft’s pilot system, and it will be on tap starting Oct. 28 exclusively in the tasting room.

Saison is a style of beer that was drank during the harvest time, and, typically, would be lower in alcohol percentage. “The one that I brewed was 5.6%,” Peglow said. “Traditionally, they will be between 3% to 6%.”

Dry-hopping simply means the brewer adds dry hops to the beer post-fermentation to get the flavor and aroma of the hops into the beer.

The hops in the dry-hopped saison will be added by the brewer after fermentation is complete.

“Fermentation will stop, and then I will add the dry hops and let it sit warm for a couple days and then I will move it into the cooler and crash it to bring down all of the sediment that is in the beer,” Peglow explained. “Since we don’t have a filter for the pilot system, it will be a clearer beer going over to the brite tank.”

After the beer is crashed, or cooled down, the dry-hopped saison will spend the night in the brite tank where it will be carbonated before being transferred to a keg.

It is a beer that I have always wanted to brew ever since I got into brewing, Peglow said. “I really like saisons because each one is really unique because the flavor profile comes from the yeast rather than mostly from the malt.”

Unlike pale ales and IPAs, the flavor profile in a saison comes from the yeast instead of from the hops. “With your hoppier beers, like IPAs and pale ales, the hops are going to be the stars. Whereas with Britchin Brown, the malt is the star there since there are less hops,” Peglow explained. Britchin Brown is Stable Craft’s brown ale.

Each saison yeast will produce a different flavor profile. The flavor profile can range from dark fruits to spice, such as peppercorn spice.

Citrus will be one of the dominant flavors in the dry-hopped saison that will be available starting Saturday, Oct. 28. Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Peglow will add Citra and Lemondrop hops when he dry hops the saison. With the hop addition, Peglow said drinkers will taste a good bit of citrus flavors, such as lemon. Other flavors that will come through to drinkers include a light cracker-like taste and fruity characteristics.

But the brewer hesitated to say exactly what drinkers will taste since he had not yet dry-hopped the beer.

“It is kind of a wild card whenever you brew it,” Peglow said. “You don’t know exactly how it is going to turn out until it turns out.”


The dry-hopped saison will exclusively be available in Stable Craft Brewing’s tasting room starting Saturday, Oct. 28. Come out to enjoy this harvest-inspired beer style while it is available.

Stall Series Release: Moonlight Rider Aged on Coffee and Hazelnuts

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing will be launching Moonlight Rider aged on Coffee and Hazelnuts this Saturday, as well as the Moonlight Rider aged on Tart Cherries. Both ales are part of the brewery’s Stall Series.

As noted in the previous blog post about Moonlight Rider aged on Tart Cherries, both of the flavors of the barrel-aged brown ale will be available in 22 oz bottles and on tap starting at noon Saturday, Oct. 21 exclusively in Stable Craft Brewing’s tasting room.

The process of making Moonlight Rider aged on Coffee and Hazelnuts is mostly the same as for the tart cherry version of the beer. The coffee and hazelnut version of the brown ale was also aged in rye whiskey barrels from Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. in Purcellville, Va. for about nine months.

The making of the two versions of the ale began to differ around the beginning of September when cherries were added to three of the five barrels of Moonlight Rider. The two barrels that were reserved for the coffee and hazelnut version of the ale remained unchanged until Oct. 18.

On Oct. 18, Chris Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer, moved the two barrels of Moonlight Rider that have remained unchanged for the past nine months into the brite tank where the beer was carbonated overnight.

The next day, Fann and Issac Peglow, assistant brewer, put coffee beans and hazelnut extract in a muslin bag in the pilot brewing system. The now carbonated Moonlight Rider ran through the pilot brewing system for a half hour where it was exposed to the coffee beans and hazelnut extract. This is where the beer picked up the flavor of the coffee beans that were supplied by Cranberry’s Grocery and Eatery in Staunton and the flavor of the hazelnut extract.

Chris Fann, head brewer, fills a bottle with Moonlight Rider by hand.


After Fann fills the bottle, he hands it off to Issac Peglow, assistant brewer.


The final step for Moonlight Rider aged on Coffee and Hazelnuts was hand-bottling and kegging the beer. There will be about 150 bottles of Moonlight Rider aged on Coffee and Hazelnuts and about 350 bottles of Midnight Rider aged on Tart Cherries available for purchase.

The inspiration to create a coffee-flavored brown ale came from Fann. “I pretty much live off coffee,” Fann said. He also said, since he is a coffee lover, he has always been interested in creating a coffee-flavored brown ale, and this was his first opportunity to do so.

Hopefully, there will be more opportunities in the future to collaborate with the Staunton Coffee Co., where Cranberry’s Grocery and Eatery sourced the coffee beans, in the future, Fann said.

Come out to Stable Craft Brewing Saturday, Oct. 21 beginning at noon to enjoy these first two releases of the Stall Series while they are available.

Peglow manually puts a crown, or cap, on the bottle after Fann hands it off to him.


Once a bottle is filled and capped, it has to dry before a label is placed on it.