Stall Series Release: Moonlight Rider Aged on Tart Cherries

Stable Craft Brewing will launch its all-new Stall Series collection with Moonlight Rider aged on Tart Cherries.

Moonlight Rider, a barrel-aged brown ale, will be available in bottles and on tap starting at noon Saturday, Oct. 21 in the brewery’s tasting room. Moonlight Rider aged on Tart Cherries will be released, as well as Moonlight Rider aged on Hazelnut Coffee.

Barrel-aged releases are a part of the craft brewing industry that Stable Craft is effectively expanding into as part of its operations, and the brewery has already had great success with a barrel-aged release. Stable Craft had its first barrel-aged release with Julep, an ale aged in bourbon barrels, during the brewery’s Kentucky Derby Day Birthday Bash in May 2017 that was very well accepted.

Rye whiskey barrels hold Moonlight Rider in the brewery. The beer will be released on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Moonlight Rider differs from Julep as it has been aged in rye whiskey barrels made of oak from Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in Purcellville, Va. instead of in bourbon barrels. The beer will adapt both the flavors of the organic rye whiskey that was previously in the barrels, as well as the flavor of the wood, according to Issac Peglow, assistant brewer.

The brown ale was first put into the five oak barrels to age at the end of January 2017 after being brewed and fermented, therefore, they will have aged for about nine months prior to being bottled and kegged.

About a month and a half ago, tart cherries were added to three of the five barrels. The tart cherries are not added any later in order to prevent refermentation, Peglow said, which could happen if the cherries were added right before bottling.

Cherry was chosen as a flavor for Moonlight Rider by both Christopher Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer, and Peglow. The maltiness of the brown ale and the tart flavor of the cherries sounded like a good combination, Peglow said.

But tart cherries, apparently, do not come without their own set of challenges. Peglow described cherry as an “easily masked flavor and delicate.” He went on to add that there is a sweet spot you have to hit with adding cherries to the beer.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

This is Peglow’s first time being involved in a barrel-aged release from start to finish, and he said he is getting more and more excited to see how the beer has transformed in the barrels over time. The beer will have all new notes when it comes out, and drinkers will detect a greater whiskey flavor since it is the first time these barrels have been used to age beer, he said.

Everyone will be able to taste the tart cherries, whiskey notes and oak flavors of Moonlight Rider aged on Tart Cherries on Saturday, Oct. 21. This is a release exclusive to Stable Craft Brewing’s taproom. Drafts and 22 oz bottles of Moonlight Rider will only be available at this location.

Check back into Stable Craft’s brew blog later this week to learn about the Moonlight Rider aged on Hazelnut Coffee and for photographs of the bottling process.


Hoppy Harvest Party

Stable Craft Brewing is hosting its debut Hoppy Harvest Party this weekend.

The party will take place at the brewery located at 375 Madrid Road in Waynesboro from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15. Adults and children alike are invited to take part in Stable Craft’s fall festivities.

Attractions for the adults include caramel apples, apple butter, live music from Brent Hull and Stable Craft’s 16 beers on tap in the taproom. Activities for children ages 12 and under include a costume contest and the Great Pumpkin Contest.

For the costume contest, Stable Craft encourages children ages 12 and under to dress in their best Halloween costume to compete for a $50 prize. The Great Pumpkin Contest is a pumpkin-decorating competition where the winner will also receive a $50 prize.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

In Stable Craft’s constant spirit of supporting local agriculture, the pumpkins were supplied by Ed Miller, a farmer located in Waynesboro.

Children will be able to decorate their pumpkins with colorful paints, and the winner of the Great Pumpkin Contest will be photographed with their pumpkin. The photograph will be displayed in the taproom following the party.

Matt Milhit, Stable Craft Brewing’s taproom manager, brainstormed the idea to host the Hoppy Harvest Party. In the spirit of creativity, Milhit carved a Fumpkin pumpkin. Fumpkin is Stable Craft Brewing’s seasonal pumpkin beer.

Matt Milhit, Stable Craft Brewing’s taproom manager, carved this Fumpkin pumpkin, which is currently in front of the taproom.

Fumpkin is a seasonal pumpkin beer with crust, pumpkin and spice in the taste. The beer is currently on tap in the taproom.

Schedule for Sunday, Oct. 15:

1-4 PM – Brent Hull performs live

3-6 PM – Outdoor pumpkin painting party

5 PM – Contest judging begins for both contests. Participants must be present to win.

4-8 PM – S’mores by the campfire

 

 


Bolstering the Brewery

Three of the four new 20-barrel fermentation vessels.

 

Stable Craft Brewing expects to triple beer production once its brewery expansion is complete.

Stable Craft is building a four-story warehouse and barrel-aging room on its property in Waynesboro, Va, as well as adding new brewing equipment. The physical expansion started on August 24 and is a result of a need for more fermentation vessels to keep up with the demand for Stable Craft beers.

The expansion is partially funded by a $15,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund that was approved by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Augusta County, where the brewery is located, has matched the state grant with local funds. Private funds are also being utilized.

The brewery’s equipment prior to the expansion included six 10-barrel fermentation vessels and one 10-barrel bright tank, according to Chris Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer. Four 20-barrel fermentation vessels, one 20-barrel bright tank and a bottling line have already been added to the brewery as part of the expansion.

Stable Craft Brewing’s new bottling line produces about 20 bottles per minute.

Right now, theoretically, we are putting out 60 to 80 barrels a month on the existing system, Fann said. We will be able to triple that after the expansion, he added.

The new barrel-aging room that is in the process of being added will hold about 50 53-gallon barrels at one time. Fann particularly enjoys barrel-aging beer and is looking forward to increasing Stable Craft’s capacity to do so.

I like the different flavor profiles from experimenting with the different types of wood, Fann said. He views it as a creative outlet and a viable opportunity for the brewery considering barrel-aging beer is a relatively new venture for the craft beer industry.

The new equipment and increased space will, ultimately, allow Stable Craft to add variety in its tasting room while maintaining its 16 taps that are currently available.

The equipment will also allow the brewery to add soda production to its reservoir of offerings. Stable Craft’s current goal is to bottle soda by the end of the year and, in due time, offer two to four taps of soda in the tasting room, in addition to the beer taps, Fann said.

Britchin’ Brown labels are ready to go on the new bottling line.

 

The current expansion is projected to be complete by this Christmas, according to Craig Nargi, Stable Craft Brewing’s owner and operations director. But expanding the business is no new feat to Nargi.

Nargi purchased the property with his wife Nikki in 2006 and has been developing it into the successful wedding venue, agri-pub and brewery it is today ever since. The latest addition of a warehouse and new brewing equipment is just the most recent measure of accomplishment for the duo.


Stable Craft’s Brewing Process: A Labor of Love

Malted barley waiting for the mill.

Stable Craft Brewing just expanded its market by over 50% and can now be found in a local Virginia retailer near you. Take a look behind the scenes, as we talk about our brewing process.

Craft breweries are incredibly popular, especially in Virginia, but few may know the actual extent of what it takes to make beer. Fortunately, Chris Fann, head brewer at Stable Craft Brewing, possesses a wealth of knowledge and is willing to share it.

Fann has been the head brewer at Stable Craft for over a year, but his experience in the industry goes back almost five years. He started by cleaning kegs and worked his way up to brewing beer. Fann now makes all of the recipes for Stable Craft, which has 16 beers on tap in the brewery’s tasting room with a new small batch release every other week. These beers are also available in restaurants, bars and taverns and, just recently, in bottles at grocery and convenience stores.

Chris Fann starts the brewing process off by measuring out various malts and adding them to mill.

Chris Fann adding various malts to the mill.

I like tasting the nuisances in craft beer and then creating those nuisances myself, Fann said.

The brewing process starts at Stable Craft when Fann and Issac Peglow, assistant brewer, fill the mash tun, a device used to convert starches from crushed grains into sugars for fermentation, with water being added until the water level in the machine is above its false bottom. Once the false bottom is covered, Fann adds malt to the mill.

Malt is a germinated cereal grain that has been dried. The specific type of malt used in the brewery’s Appalachian Divide, an easy drinking ale, is sour malt.

The mash tun – hot water is added to the malts here.

As the malt enters the mash tun, it is sprayed with water via the mash hydrator. Fortunately, Stable Craft operates on well water and is not required to go through the extra steps city water requires, such as chloride filtration.

The mash rake, which looks like an enormous fork, rotates in a perfect circle to mix the grain evenly in the mash tun. The rake prevents “dough balls” that could otherwise form, Fann said.

Once mashing is finished, the brewer rests the product for 20 minutes before moving onto the next stage, known as vorlauf. Vorlauf is when the wort, or liquid extracted from mashing, is clarified. In practice, vorlauf simply looks like the mixture is recirculated with the mash rake.

After vorlauf, the next stage of brewing is sparging, and it takes about an hour and a half to sparge the beer. For sparging, water is added to the top of the grain bed, and, subsequently, the wort is gravity fed into the kettle. The brewer adds hops to the mash in the kettle.

Katherine Hensley taking notes on the brewing process.

Ten minutes before the boil is complete in the kettle, Fann also adds a yeast nutrient and Whirlfloc, an Irish moss blend, which acts as a kettle fining agent by pulling trub, or unwanted sediment, to the bottom of the kettle.

The mixture goes through a 10-minute whirlpool after boiling. This is when the Whirlfloc does its job and pulls unwanted materials to the bottom of the kettle. The mixture rests for 20 minutes after the whirlpool.

Between boiling and fermentation, Fann runs hot water to sanitize the heat exchanger. The fermentation tanks have already been sanitized beforehand and are ready to go. A blow-off tube is placed in a bucket filled with water beside the fermentation tank for the carbon dioxide given off by the yeast during the fermentation process.

The wort is pumped from the bottom of the kettle into the heat exchanger and then, lastly, into the fermentation tank. Fermentation takes about a week for Appalachian Divide. During this time, the yeast will convert the sugars in the wort to alcohol and carbon dioxide.

After fermentation, Appalachian Divide is filtered and moved into a bright beer tank where it stays for about a day. The level of carbon dioxide is adjusted in the bright beer tank with a carbonation stone.

The final step is bottling or kegging Appalachian Divide and distributing it to Virginia’s craft beer drinkers.

appalachian Divide

The finished product, ready to enjoy.


Hop Pickin’ Party at Stable Craft

It’s Hop Pickin’ time and we need your help bringing in our Hop Harvest.

Saturday, August 5th 6am – 10pm (Sunday, August 6th rain date)
August is Virginia Craft Beer Month and what better way to celebrate than learning about hop harvesting from your local farm brewery! Join the Stable Craft Team and “Stan the Hop Man” to learn all about harvesting hops.

We will provide beverages while you pick. The smoker will be full of smoked meats and terrific side dishes to compliment. We will also be releasing our Small Batch Beer “Hummingbird Cake”.

Enjoy live music at 5pm by Crystal Armentrout & Alex Arbaugh.

Beer drinking while picking is also encouraged! No need to make a reservation, just show up and we will put you to work.

2 Hours = Lunch and Beverage
4 Hours = Lunch, Beverage, Growler
The Whole Day = Lunch, Beverage, Growler & T-Shirt

Follow us on Facebook for more info.


Stable Craft Brewing honored at Virginia Craft Beer Cup Awards


Christopher Fann, the head brewer at Stable Craft Brewing in Waynesboro, was honored among the best brewmasters in the state in the 2017 Virginia Craft Beer Cup Awards, which were presented Monday in Richmond.

Christopher Fann won second place in the Amber and Brown American Beer category for Stable Craft’s Britchin Brown Ale.
The honor came from the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, which gave out awards in 24 categories, encompassing 356 total entries from Virginia craft brewers.

The Virginia Craft Beer Cup is the largest state competition of its kind in the United States, and the aim of the competition is to give VCBG members the opportunity to obtain critical feedback from certified judges and get noticed statewide.

“The Virginia Craft Beer Cup recognizes brilliant independent craft beer and the creativity of the brewers that make it all happen,” said Brett Vassey, president, and CEO of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild. “Congratulations to all the teams that competed in this year’s Cup.”
The Virginia Craft Beer Cup competition was managed by Master Beer Judge Certification Program Judge Tom Cannon and 40 judges.
The judging took place May 13 at Fair Winds Brewing Company in Lorton.

Award winners will be featuring their beers in their tasting rooms, at festivals and through their wholesale and retail partners. The VCBG encourages craft beer enthusiasts to tour these breweries and sample the award-winning craft beers.

To learn more about these breweries and plan your next trip, visit the craft brewery directory at virginiacraftbrewers.org/guild.aspx or go to the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s craft beer site to plan your next weekend or vacation virginia.org/craftbeer.
The VCBG also encourages anyone interested in tasting many of these award-winning beers at one place to register for the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest coming up on August 19 in Charlottesville

–vacraftbrewersfest.com


IPA’s for Days

The Sunbaked IPA and the Traditional IPA

Besides the Throatlatch IPA, Stable Craft is pleased to provide craft beer lovers with both the Sunbaked IPA and regular IPA. Our IPA is a revitalized West Coast version infusing aromatics and recognizable citrus nose with an exciting East Coast balance of caramel sweetness and complexity. The traditional IPA has a fairly high ABV of 7%. It has a caramel sweetness and a delicate balance of bitterness, cascade nugget hops that are grown on the farm. The Sunbaked IPA boasts big apricot aromas with a subtle fruity flavor. The Sunbaked IPA is brewed with comet and mosaic hops. Apricot IPA is a big flavored beer. The strong hint of apricots makes for boosted aromas.

We suggest pairing the Sunbaked IPA with our crispy braised pork belly. The crispy braised pork is served with chipotle peach BBQ over sriracha coleslaw. Our orchard grilled chicken salad is filled with yummy mixed greens, goat cheese, grilled chicken breast, sugar-grilled peaches, topped with onion marmalade served with peach vinaigrette. If an IPA is just for you, stop by the brewery today and grab a glass. Cheers!


Craft Beer Lineup Series: Britchin’ Brown Ale

Craft Beer – Robust, dark, & enjoyable

Next up in our craft beer lineup series is the Britchin Brown Ale! With a name like “Britchin Brown” it is hard to overlook this beer. This brown ale has a roasted, nutty taste that truly showcases the malt flavor with a ABV of 5.5%. It has a strong-pull mouthfeel that is enough to lure in any craft beer lover. A well-made brown ale is typically characterized as a combination of toffee, nuts, and toast flavors. Chocolate notes are notorious for brown ales, while moderate hop bitterness brings a brassy middle. Far from boring, good brown ales will delight the taste buds-they are typically the perfect balance of not too heavy and not too light! If you fall in love with the Britchin Brown Ale, it is bottled and distributed from buds to suds!

Britichin Brown Ale

Brown ales pair well with hearty foods, such as smoked salmon, brisket, or smoked sausage. Cheeses such as aged gouda also go well with the Britchin Brown, perhaps try pairing it with our cheese plate containing: asiago, cheddar, pimento, sun-dried tomato, and goat cheese served with pickled veggies. Tomorrow our featured beer is the Night Latch American Stout. This beer is a close cousin to the Britchin’ Brown, as it is also a dark beer with a roasty, chocolate finish. Stay tuned as our craft beer week lineup continues on!


Craft Beer Lineup Series: Throatlach Imperial IPA

West Coast flavor with an East Coast Twist.

throatlatch Imperial IPA

This Imperial IPA is bigger and bolder than your average IPA. It has a complex citrusy flavor that is loaded with hops. The throatlatch IPA is the last, but certainly not the least, of our four main beers. The name “Throatlatch” is a noun inspired by a strap of a bridle or halter passing under the horse’s throat. With an 8.5% ABV, this beer is certainly big and bold. It has a complex nose and an impressive citrus, rounding out to a sweetness and caramel bite. This beer has something for everyone as it is incredibly hoppy but also gives off hints of sweet caramel malts.

As far as pairing, we suggest trying the Throatlatch with the hop trellis wrap. This wrap contains crispy bacon, chipotle peach BBQ, goat cheese & mixed greens. Imperial IPA’s are notorious for being paired with pungent cheeses, such as blue cheese or goat, making this wrap the perfect match for this crisp and hoppy beer. Grilled meats and saucy barbecues also make for great additions to any imperial IPA. For the last day of national craft beer week, we will feature the Blueberry Blonde made with fresh blueberries, stay posted!


Craft Beer Lineup Series: Nightlatch American Stout

Tiramasu in a Glass

Cheers to farm fresh beers! Today’s craft beer spotlight is on the Nightlatch American Stout. Fun fact: Nightlatch is a noun, meaning a door locking having a spring bolt operated from outside by key. Being the third featured beer in our series, the Night Latch exhibits a strong body and presence with 6.6% ABV. This creamy stout is big on flavor! It is sensible and well balanced, with a roasty, soft chocolate finish.

On our menu, the Nightlatch is comparable to the Whoa Bucker Oatmeal stout due to the roasted coffee and chocolate notes, however, the Nightlatch is a bit sweeter. We suggest pairing the Nightlatch with our brewer’s grain brownie, which is made with the leftover Nightlatch grain making this a killer combo for anyone with a sweet tooth. Stay tuned for our next entry on the Throatlatch Imperial IPA, for the fourth of the craft beer spotlight series!