Behind the Scenes: Our Southern Living Photoshoot

Craig and Nikki Nargi, the owners of Stable Craft Brewing and Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables, had the pleasure of welcoming Southern Living to Waynesboro, Va. last May. Southern Living sent photographer Robbie Caponetto to capture Stable Craft’s local charm and equestrian essence.

Pictures taken during the photoshoot appeared in Southern Living’s May 2018 issue for an article titled, “The Call of Skyline Drive.” The article highlighted trails, restaurants, shops and lodging along Skyline Drive.

Stable Craft Brewing, located between Swift Run Gap and Rockfish Gap, was featured for its locally sourced food and craft beers. Stable Craft also made the, “Skyline Drive Short List,” for places to eat and drink along the drive.


Wilderness Series Release: Mad Lick Maibock

By Katherine Hensley

Mad Lick Maibock, a German-style lager, will be available on tap starting at noon Saturday, May 5 in the brewery tasting room and is the third release in the brewery’s Wilderness Series.

Mad Lick Maibock is not only a Wilderness Series beer, but is also part of Stable Craft’s Kentucky Derby Birthday Bash. The bash begins on Saturday, May 5 at noon, and Mad Lick Maibock is one of seven beers that will be released in celebration of both Stable Craft’s two-year anniversary and the 144th Kentucky Derby.

Stable Craft Brewing’s Kentucky Derby Birthday Bash will begin at noon Saturday, May 5.

Issac Peglow, Stable Craft’s assistant brewer, brewed Mad Lick Maibock on the brewery’s pilot brewing system. Christopher Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer, decided to brew a maibock for the Wilderness Series, Peglow said.

The brewing process for Mad Lick Maibock included a few unusual or out-of-the-ordinary aspects, such as the hops, boil time and overall production time.

The hops used to brew Mad Lick Maibock included both Hallertauer Hersbucker hops and Nugget hops. Hollertauer hops are noble hops, which refers to four varieties of European hops.

American hops possess citrus and fruit flavors while European hops possess herbal and floral flavors, Peglow explained of the differences.

The hops in Mad Lick Maibock are enough to balance the beer out, so it’s not too sweet, Peglow said. Other ingredients used in the maibock include pilsner malt, Munich malt and aromatic malt. The aromatic malt is roasted and brings an amber hue to the beer.

Pilsner malt

The boil time for Mad Lick Maibock was 90 minutes, which is half an hour longer than the typical boil time. The extra time helps precipitate the proteins in the grains, or helps the proteins in the grains form a solid.

Ales, typically, take three weeks to produce from start to finish, however, lagers take longer. Mad Lick Maibock is expected to take between four to five weeks to produce from start to finish, Peglow explained. Fermentation is expected to take four weeks and then the beer is expected to take another week to, “lager out.”

“Lager out,” as Peglow called it, is when the beer matures in cold storage after undergoing cool fermentation. Slow, cool fermentation and cold storage are hallmarks of the brewing process for a lager.

Of the beers currently on tap in the brewery tasting room, Peglow said Mad Lick Maibock is most similar to Britchin Brown. “I think people who like Britchin will like this,” he said.

Mad Lick Maibock is also similar to the German-style dunkel and German-style marzen/oktoberfest. Mad Lick Maibock is expected to be 6.9% ABV and 28.5 IBUs.

Continue checking the Stable Craft Brew Blog for more information about upcoming beer releases.


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.
Buy Now
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.


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.


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!


DUDE WHERE’S OUR VAN! Selfie Photo Contest

Stable Craft Brewing Van

Spring has sprung and the first Stable Craft Brewing photo contest has just begun!!!!

“Whoever said craft beer can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to drink! Stable Craft Brewing and Blue Ridge Beverage are out on the open road working hard to bring our Farm Fresh Beers to your home and local bar! Have you seen us? Prove it! We are excited to introduce our first ‘Dude Where’s our Van’ Photo Contest. Enter now to win 1 of 10 fun prize packages, worth more than $50 each!
Stable Craft Brewing has just finished wrapping Blue Ridge Beverages third distribution van with our fun logo and slogans! Next time you see our van take a picture and share!

To enter Stable Craft Brewing ‘Dude Where’s our Van’ photo contest please complete the following steps:

1) Follow @stablecraftbrewing and stable_craft_brewing on Facebook and Instagram
2) Post a selfie photo of the Stable Craft Brewing van with the hashtag #dudewheresourvan and #stablecraftbrewing
3) Tag @stablecraftbrewing and stable_craft_brewing in the photo and share where you saw our van

The follower with the best photo, most likes and shares in a week wins!
We will select the winner of best picture with most likes every Thursday via Facebook & Instagram starting April 5, 2017 – June 1, 2017.

Please don’t drive and photo! Winners must pick up prizes within two weeks of announcement on Wednesday & Thursdays only! A new winner will be chosen each week! No purchase necessary to play, you gotta play to win!
That’s’ a wrap!!

*** Please remember you must follow @stablecraftbrewing in the loop to qualify. All entries must be submitted by Wednesday night by 11:59pm EST. We ask that private accounts are made public during the giveaway in order to be entered. The winner will be announced on Thursdays at 4pm, we appreciate your patience while we verify all the entries. Good luck!

Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 21+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.”

Stable Craft Brewing completely releases Instagram by each entrant and participant. Stable Craft Brewing understands that this promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram. Stable Craft Brewing understands by using Instagram & Facebook to administer the ‘Dude Where’s our Van promotion we do so at our own risk. ***