A Taste of Local West Virginia Ingenuity
The east is getting pounded by one storm after another, and the arctic air assures us that it’s full on winter. It’s a quiet time of year, a time to reflect on the past and to plan adventures for the seasons ahead. There are still adventures to be had out the back door: hikes in the Gorge, rock climbing on the sun exposed cliffs and boating on the warmest of the cold days (for the very brave). Winter’s long evenings also give us time to savor a good drink and retell our favorite memories. And here in WV, we don’t have to go far to enjoy libations from some of our favorites.
While catching up on the news today, I caught a headline mention of our own local brewery, Bridge Brew Works. With all the attention WV has been receiving due to the recent chemical spill, I was pretty happy to read about WV folks making their dreams a reality. It seems our local brewery boys were at The Greenbrier talking about making craft beer at home and how they made the leap from home brewing to opening and operating their own micro brewery. The Bridge Brew Works proprietors are Fayetteville locals, Ken Linch and Nathan Herrold. They are the tastemakers of 2 of our favorite drafts: Long Point Lager and Bridge Brew Ale. If you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy one of their beers, you know Ken and Nate make some fantastic beer.
When you think of hands on owners, it’s hard to find 2 sets of hands as on it as Ken and Nathan. The 2 of them are Bridge Brew Works, and on any given day they can be found ordering, cleaning, brewing, bottling and capping. Their days at work are pretty full, but they still find time to get out to regional events and festivals and share what they love best — great craft beer. They gladly share their home brew knowledge by offering up tips on home brewing and answering your questions about beer making. To learn more about Bridge Brew Works and to take a virtual tour, check ‘em out.
Over in Maxwelton, Smooth Ambler Spirits is distilling world-class vodka, gin and whiskey. They’re is making headlines with their serious gins and Whitewater Vodka (you know that’s got special meaning to us). Their gins are citrusy with hints of black pepper layered on the juniper, they age the gin in bourbon and whiskey barrels to add some caramel flavor and smoothness. The Whitewater Vodka is a clean, triple distilled sweet buttery vodka perfect for sipping on its own or in your favorite drink. Seems they think spirits should actually taste like something instead of alcohol.
They make small batches of spirits using the best ingredients and pure water. For the coldest days of winter, it’s not easy to choose between the Old Scout Bourbon, Old Scout Rye or the Old Scout Yearling. They are all rich and incredibly smooth. Their passion to create something unique and original to WV is partly why we like them. Their whiskey is also perfectly suited for bringing a little wild and wonderful into a classic Manhattan at the end of the day.
When people take their ideas and combine them with courage and effort, they don’t only create products they create micro-cultures. We appreciate ventures that start with water — at ACE we like to boat water, wild and mild. Just as we deliver an outdoor experience that challenges and inspires, both Bridge Brew and Smooth Ambler go above and beyond by sharing their knowledge and passions about good drink.
The taste of these locally made beers and spirits is another way to enjoy the local culture of the region, just like the New River is a unique whitewater experience you can only get in West Virginia. Enjoy.