WV Day Musings: 2015’s a Great Year for WV Beer (with more to come)

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This Saturday, June 20th marks West Virginia’s 152nd birthday, and also means that we’re not far removed from the halfway point of 2015. Each gives us reasons to celebrate and reasons to reflect. And, as a visitor to this particular blog might deduce, the reasons I’ll write about are quite serious, and relate to beer.

First, let’s take a quick peek back at all the wonderful beer news that has transpired (obviously, not many have been discussed on this much too-dormant blog):

  • The biggest news! On my last post many months ago, I described the proposed craft beer legislation that our state’s lawmakers were considering. Ultimately, Bill 273 passed and became effective just a few short days ago, on June 12. Growler sales are now possible outside of a brewery, and Morgantown establishments such as Iron Horse, Black Bear and (soon) Apothecary Ales will filling your 64oz glass jug with great beer – to go! The bill also benefits small craft brewers by reducing license fees and allowing brewery visitors to sample available beers.
  • In April, Chestnut Brew Works opened its much-anticipated Morgantown taproom. I’ve visited the cozy but welcoming space twice so far, with more trips surely to come. It’s a nice addition to Morgantown’s small brewery scene, and the Halleck Pale Ale (etc.) keeps tasting better and better..
  • As a sign of the amazing enthusiasm that fellow West Virginians have for WV craft beer, Huntington’s Rails and Ales Fest – which had increased the amount of tickets available this year – sold out in less than 30 minutes.
  • Our craft beer options are expanding, with more out-of-state breweries showing up on shelves, including Ommegang (try the Hennepin Saison!) and Anchor Brewing (the WV return).

And there is much left to celebrate in 2015, so here are a few things to look forward to:

  • WV Day Celebrations! Apothecary Ale House is hosting its 3rd Annual WV Day celebration, which will feature special WV beers. I attended this event last year, and it was a lot of fun – details are available on the link above.
  • New WV breweries! Stumptown Ales in Davis, WV appears that it will open any day now, and word is that three total brewery licenses are pending..
  • ..And you might get a chance to try some new WV brews at the Brew Skies Festival on August 21-22nd at Timberline Resort! Tickets are still available, and the festival features great music, as well.
  • Welcoming outsiders: Oskar Blues has announced that it is expanding distribution into WV. A pioneer of craft beer in cans, their Dale’s Pale is a canned, craft beer icon!
  • Speaking of cans:  more WV breweries are distributing cans throughout the state! Greenbrier Valley, Mountain State, and (sometime in the future) Morgantown Brewing are or will be canning their beers for your to-go plans.

Many things have changed in the WV craft beer just within the last year, and I’m happy to be here for the experience! What else can we look forward to, WV craft beer fans? Feel free to comment or tweet it @mtnbeers.