Pork “U” Back Room at the Taproom- Informational Beer & Bacon Pairing Class

Saturday, January 13th 2-4pm

Stable Craft Brewing will host Pork “U” an informational beer and bacon pairing class from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13 in the back room of the tap room. Pork “U” is a beer and bacon pairing class hosted by Stable Craft’s award-winning head brewer Christopher Fann and bloggers, Jason Baker from “Beer Bacon & More” and Josh Hall from “Swill & Swine”.


Fann, Baker, and Hall will each offer a particular expertise to this class as they walk participants through pairing six different Stable Craft beers with six different types of bacon. Matt Milhit, Stable Craft’s hospitality director and taproom manager came up with the idea to do a beer and bacon pairing class during the brewery’s Porkuary event as a way to give people the opportunity to not only learn more about Stable Craft beers, but to also teach participants about beer and food pairings.

Pictured: Chris Fann, Head Brewer at Stable Craft; Matt Milhit, Hospitality Director at Stable Craft; Josh Hall from Swill & Swine; Jason Baker of Beer, Bacon & More

Pictured: Chris Fann, Head Brewer at Stable Craft; Matt Milhit, Hospitality Director at Stable Craft; Josh Hall from Swill & Swine; Jason Baker of Beer, Bacon & More

Milhit is a veteran of the hospitality industry having worked for major resorts, such as the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulfur Springs, W.Va., Boars Head Inn in Charlottesville, Va. and Airlie Center in Warrenton, Va. He is skilled with food and beverage pairings and enjoys sharing his expert knowledge with others.

Milhit 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 – This is a beer that is specifically being brewed for this event.

Milhit encourages craft beer enthusiasts, cicerones, fans of wine pairings, foodies, pork lovers and anyone else interested in learning more about pairing craft beer with bacon to sign up.

Tickets are $25 per person with limited availability.
Purchase tickets online through Paypal and present receipt at the door or purchase tickets directly at Stable Craft Brewing during our normal business hours – Wed-Sun.

 



A Cavallo Story

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.

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

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

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

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.


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.