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2014: A West Virginian’s Year in Beer

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2014:  A year of many personal changes!  But no one reading this cares about that; we’re here for good beer!  I returned to West Virginia with much trepidation about the craft beer scene, but I’m happy to report many positive strides, both while I was away, and during the course of this particular calendar year. And as 2014 swims to its sudsy finish, we must reflect on the many delicious additions to the WV brewery scene, as well as to WV beer store shelves!

First, although legislative change is still stuck “in progress,” I’m happy to report these brand new 2014 additions to the growing WV brewery list (and please, add comments for any that I’m sure to have missed):

And lest we not forget that our beer store shelves are now more colorful, and include the following options from outside of West-by-God:

Not bad, eh? But there’s still room for more breweries to be established, and space in our store/bar fridges, too!  And with rumblings of more beer to come in 2015, it’d be wrong for me not to preview the “gossip” in time for yet another New Year.

Cheers, and Happy Holidays!

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The Path to Craft

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In 2008, I left Morgantown on that beaten path that leads to an out-of-state job. The path was a short one that followed the Mon, and I landed due north in the wonderful City of Pittsburgh. My bags were packed full of many things, one of which was a novice’s taste for wine developed in part by access to Slight Indulgence, one of my favorite Morgantown small businesses.

But I didn’t find another Slight Indulgence in Pittsburgh, because, much to my dismay, the Commonwealth desperately clings to its control over the state’s wine and liquor stores.  The result is a limited selection at many stores, so the day I followed my husband into a beer store was the day I chose to explore a fizzy booze alternative:  craft beer.  Compared to the dust-covered “selection” available in Morgantown at the time, Pittsburgh’s craft beer scene was almost dizzying.

Flash forward to now:  life’s unexpected turns have dropped me (and my suitcase full of craft beer love) back off in Morgantown.  And while the American craft beer market explodes, the West Virginia market has been slow to respond (hampered at least in part by former legal restrictions).  Even so, options have increased during my six-year absence:  breweries such as Morgantown Brewing CompanyMountain State Brewing and Chestnut Brew Works are fixtures in town, and establishments such as Apothecary Ale House and Black Bear Burritos serve both local options, as well as selections from a few established craft breweries that have entered the WV market.

So what does the WV craft beer future hold? Consider my glass half full; the success and increased availability of local craft beers will only increase WV’s thirst for beer variety. The trend is bound to continue locally and nationally, and it’s my simple goal to help with spreading the good news.