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.


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.


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: 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!


Craft Beer Lineup Series: The Appalachian Divide

This craft beer is a real palate pleaser

In honor of National American Craft Beer week, Stable Craft Brewing wants to take the time to re-introduce our craft beer lineup. With four staple beers and dozens of seasonal brews, Stable Craft has everything a craft-beer lover could desire. According to CraftBeer.com, the United States now has more than 150 types of beer and over 20,000 brands to choose from, making our country the largest beer market in the world, wow! So why not join in on the fun this week?

The first beer of the Stable Craft lineup is the Appalachian Divide, American Blonde Ale. This light ale sits at a 4.0% ABV. It gives beer lovers a balanced, yet fresh finish. It does not have an overwhelming hoppy or malty flavor which makes this a versatile fan favorite for new beer drinkers as well. The Appalachian Divide is an American classic and is well known for its simplicity. The lightness of this beer makes it easy to pair with a variety of food. The Stable Craft Brewing team recommends trying the Appalachian Divide with the salad of your choice or any burger your heart desires. Those options don’t suit you? Well, you’re in luck because this beer pairs well with just about anything!

In honor of National Craft Beer Week, stop by Stable Craft to try our Appalachian Divide. This light, crisp beer is perfect for a new craft beer lover and is a classic for those with experienced taste buds. The Appalachian Divide is truly both a crowd and palate pleaser, come give it a taste!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog takeover all about the Britchin’ Brown Ale as the celebration of National Craft Beer week continues!


Stable Craft Brewing’s Santa Brunch

santa-brunch

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Stable Craft Brewing has invited Santa to come see all the munchkins on Dec 18th from 11am-2pm

Enjoy our delicious Craft Beer Brunch and let the children visit with Santa Claus! We’ll be serving up our pimento cheese grits, fluffy biscuits smothered in homemade sausage gravy, and smiles on your little one’s faces. Our craft beer and bacon brunch will be all the more merry with Santa here to help bring the cheer.

Visit with Santa, enjoy delicious homestyle brunch, grab a last minute Christmas gift from our farm store, or cozy up near our indoor fireplaces.

Make plans to visit with all your loved ones, and Santa on December 18th from 11am-2pm!


Stable Craft Brewing Co. marks formal grand opening

stable craft brewing coHermitage Hill Farm & Stables marked its 10th year in operation with the grand opening on Thursday of Stable Craft Brewing Co., a destination brewery that over the course of the next year will create 20 jobs in Augusta County.

Owner Craig Nargi began work four years ago on the plans to add the brewery, which includes a tasting room, catering business and farm store. Stable Craft Brewing Co. will operate on the premises with Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables, which opened in 2006 and includes, in addition to the working horse farm, a thriving agritourism business that brings weddings and conference events on grounds 30 weekends a year.

“The addition of the new reception space and the brewery tasting room embraces agriculture, the equestrian world and the nuances of a resort,” said Nargi, who brings more than 25 years of hospitality experience in resorts and hotels, including leadership roles in high-profile resort kitchens including Keswick, Wintergreen and Kiawah Island Resort, to the project.

Those on hand for the grand opening event at Stable Craft Brewing Co. on a rainy springtime afternoon included Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte, State Del. Steve Landes, the vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee in the Virginia General Assembly, Mary Rae Carter, a special assistant in rural development in the office of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and Augusta County Board of Supervisors Chair Carolyn Bragg.

Bragg played up the homegrown theme, talking up the importance of small business as the foundation of the local economy.

“At the end of the day, it is these companies, and the hard-working citizens of Augusta County, that enable us to have a strong local economy,” Bragg said. “On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I extend my sincere gratitude to Craig and Nikki for their continued business presence in our community. First you opened Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables, a premier event venue on a pristine rural landscape, and now we have Stable Craft, a true farm brewery honoring the agricultural background of Augusta County.”

Goodlatte also highlighted the growing small business element to the story of Stable Craft Brewing Co.

“As we recognize National Small Business Week, it is the kind of folks like Craig and Nikki that put the time, effort, money and risk into taking the small business they already have to a new level by creating this great brewery,” Goodlatte said.

“I believe this is just one more extension of the agritourism theme that you have here,” Goodlatte said. “It fits right into the rest of your model for economic growth, and I commend you for being willing to take that risk and grow our economy and create jobs right here in the community.”

Stable Craft Brewing Co. will produce craft beer literally from the ground up, with a hop yard that will begin with the planting of 760 hops, growing to more than 1,500 over the next year, with a head brewer on staff to oversee the production of 16 beers that will showcase Nargi’s long and successful track record exploring flavors.

Food will be also available through Hermitage Hill’s onsite catering operation.

“As opposed to being a hospitality business with a farm thrown in, we have always seen ourselves as a working farm first and foremost,” Nargi said. “The brewery and farm store will allow us to share the farm experience on an even larger scale while providing local beer aficionados with a unique addition to the craft brewery landscape here.”

Carter, who has worked in the rural development arena under the two most recent Virginia governors, first Republican Bob McDonnell, continuing in the administration of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, said Stable Craft Brewing is “the epitome of Virginia-grown, homegrown.”

“You are certainly the new Virginia economy. Growing businesses like this is very important,” Carter said.

Landes noted the growth of the craft beer industry in the past five years, with an estimated economic impact of more than $1 billion and more than 8,900 jobs created in the sector. The last count has more than 140 working craft breweries in operation in the Commonwealth, “and this facility will add Augusta County to the list of places that people come to visit,” Landes said.

“From my standpoint, this business follows what we’re trying to do in Virginia to bring businesses into the Commonwealth and grow the existing businesses that we have, but more importantly to bring people to the area to share in good beer and have a good time in the area as they’re doing it,” Landes said.

Story and video by Chris Graham