The must-try beer from every WV brewery
West Virginia’s growing craft beer scene is creating a ton of delicious, must-try beers from all over the state. Here’s your ultimate guide to the must-try brew at each of these Mountain State breweries:
Abolitionist Ale Works
Abolitionist Ale Works in historic downtown Charles Town carries a dozen original craft beers on tap, which may seem a bit daunting to newbies. But if you’re looking for a rich and filling brew, try the Burning Couch. This dark ale is fermented in a bourbon barrel with smoked malt and buckwheat honey. The result is a full-bodied, coffee-flavored beer with a nice balance of smoke and sweet.
Bad Shepherd Beer Company
Charleston’s brewery, housed at Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, produces a wide menu of beers, from stouts to pale ales to seasonal offerings. Meat Candy milk stout is derived from adding lactose to the brewing process. The result is a thick, dark beer with a hint of dark chocolate and dried fruit flavors to give it just the right amount of sweetness to warm the flock on cold winter nights.
Banning’s is still new to the craft beer scene, so you might have to do a little searching to find this brewery’s line of beers. There’s no tap room, so your best bet is to look for Banning’s at restaurants in the brewery’s hometown of Summersville. Try the Banning’s Black Stout, with a dark malt and smooth chocolate finish.
Berkeley Springs Brewing Company
The Eastern Panhandle is famous for its apple orchards and Berkeley Springs celebrates the fall harvest with its annual Apple Butter Festival. That inspired Berkeley Springs Brewing Company to create its own Apple Butter Ale to mark the occasion. This fall beer is described as malty and full bodied, with a hint of crisp apple butter flavor.
Blackwater Brewing Company
Step into Blackwater Brewing Company in Davis and you’ll feel like you’re in a pub on the other side of the Atlantic. Likewise, this brewery’s European-style session ales and lagers match its old-world ambiance, with locally sourced maple and honey contributing key elements to several beers. Not sure which to try? Start with the popular Canaan Valley Kolsch—full bodied but light and refreshing.
Big Timber Brewing Company
Big Timber Brewing Company makes big beer—literally. The brewery’s 16-ounce tall boys stand out on the shelves. Crack open a can, or visit their taproom in Elkins, home of the Mountain State Forest Festival. You can’t go wrong with Big Timber Porter. A taste of this robust but smooth porter reveals strong notes of coffee and dark chocolate balanced with subtle hints of tobacco and dried fruit.
Much of what is now West Virginia was settled by Scots-Irish immigrants. Brew Keepers’ Eireann Dearg Irish Red is a fitting tribute to the Emerald Isle. Wheeling’s newest brewery makes a medium-bodied ale that is slightly malty with caramel notes and floral hops for a moderately sweet taste.
A combination brewery and hostel, Brewstel is the perfect base camp for outdoor lovers on their way to play in the massive Monongahela National Forest. Downtown Maple Brown, a tribute to the mountain town of Elkins, is made with West Virginia maple syrup. The American brown ale is smooth, with subtle hints of caramel, toffee and of course, maple syrup.
Bridge Brew Works
Based in Fayetteville, Bridge Brew Works has a tasting room and you can find their beers all over the state—either bottled or on tap. Channel your inner West Virginian and try their Mountain Momma Pale Ale after a day spent at the Gorge.
Chestnut Brew Works
Thanks to the dedication of scientists and brewers, both the American chestnut tree and craft beer are experiencing a resurgence in West Virginia, an accomplishment that is reflected in this modern taproom in Morgantown. Try the beer here that customers are raving about: the Halleck Pale Ale, a lightly hoppy beer brewed with English floor-malted barley and citrusy American hops.
Beckley’s Dobra Zupas has an interesting collection of beers to pair with its restaurant menu selections. Chief among them is the RaisON Saison, a saison/farmhouse ale that’s open-oak barrel fermented with raisins and coriander. Fans describe it as sweet and smooth with a distinctly unique taste.
The Freefolk Brewery
What began as a backyard brewing hobby has transformed into a unique brewing experience in Fayetteville featuring unique artwork, a fun environment and exceptional beer. The Freefolk Brewery has a wide variety of brews, ranging from Pale Ales to Stouts & everything in between. They draw inspiration from their Mountain State roots – as evidenced in many of their popular beers like the Fayetteville Fog Hazy IPA.
Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company
Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company’s beers are iconic, bearing the names and likenesses of some of West Virginia’s most famous residents, from Devil Anse Hatfield to Zona Heaster Shue (better known as the Greenbrier Ghost). This Maxwelton brewery also produces Mothman Black IPA, a medium-bodied black ale brewed with Pacific Northwest hops and English malts for just the right balance of bitter and toasty.
Morgantown Brewing Company
Discerning beer drinkers want a distinctive beer, and Morgantown Brewing Company delivers in the form of Zack Morgan’s IPA, a copper brew made with American Cascade hops. Named for Colonel Zackquill Morgan, the founder of Morgantown and the first known white settler in the area, this classic India pale ale presents an initial hoppy bite that reveals hints of orchard fruit crispness.
You can’t go wrong with any of Mountain State Brewing Company’s year-round offerings, but one of MSBC’s seasonal offerings is generating some chatter, too. Closs’ Harvest is brewed from pumpkins harvested on Closs Mountain in Tucker County. This thick, red ale is not your typical overspiced pumpkin beer—its fans say it’s low on spice with a good roasted balance. (MSBC has taprooms in Thomas and Morgantown.)
North End Tavern & Brewery
In a state that has new breweries popping up every few months, Parkersburg’s North End Tavern and Brewery is the elder statesman of the bunch. The NET’s flagship amber ale, Roedy’s Red, has been in production since 1997. Its longevity can be attributed to this amber ale’s popularity and the numerous awards it has collected for its bold hop and malt characteristics.
Parkersburg Brewing Company
It may look like a new brewery, but Parkersburg Brewing Company started in 1864 as Hebrank & Rapp Brewery before it was forced to shut its doors due to the growing temperance movement. PBC’s From Ash & Amber is a tribute to the brewery’s symbolic rise from the ashes of prohibition. The dark Cascadian ale reveals rich flavors like coffee, toast and caramel mixed with just the right amount of citrus, floral and earthy hops.
Huntington’s newest brewpub combines creative burgers with a half-dozen craft brews. Try their Hefeweizen, which is a refreshing golden wheat beer awith aromas of clove and banana.
Pubstomper Brewing Company
Morgantown’s newest brewery doesn’t have a taproom, so you’ll have to look for its rotating lineup of beers at select bars and restaurants throughout the state. But the search makes the find even more rewarding, right? Pubstomper Brewing Company’s Hoodie Weather fall beer is brewed with oats and wheat and double hopped with Citra and El Dorado for a crisp, smooth finish—reminiscent of walking through autumn leaves.
Screech Owl Brewing Company
Preston County’s claim to fame is the annual Buckwheat Festival, now in its 76th year. So when the owners opened Screech Owl Brewing Company in Bruceton Mills, it seemed only natural they dedicate a beer to this popular event. The seasonal Buckwheat Honey Porter is a dark rich porter made with English malts and buckwheat honey—just the thing to accompany a heaping warm plate of buckwheat cakes.
Short Story Brewing Company
One of West Virginia’s newest breweries, Short Story Brewing in Rivesville adopts a literary theme in the names of its beers. Beer flights (that’s sample sizes to newbies) are served in repurposed card catalog drawers. Try their Forward IPA, a modern American IPA with light floral hops and a moderate malt flavor, and you just might want to stick around till the epilogue.
Sophisticated Hound Brewing
Sophisticated Hound Brewing was inspired by the brewmaster’s dog, Denouncer, aka Big D—a retired racing greyhound. The brewery’s flagship beer is called Racer 8, after the number on Big D’s racing bib. Fans laud this American stout as smooth and drinkable, with hints of caramel and coffee. This nano brewery in Princeton does not yet have a tasting room, but you can find their beers at local restaurants, bars and festivals.
If you’re an IPA fan, you’ve come to the right place. Stumptown Ales—named in honor of Davis’ timbering history—produces a variety of hop-centric brews, including the crowd favorite, Lefty Lucy American Ale. The dark amber ale is balanced with abundant hops to create a unique hoppy amber.
Weathered Ground Brewery
Weathered Ground Brewery makes its small-batch farmhouse ales in its Cool Ridge barn, where rocking chairs serve as an invitation for visitors to sit a spell and enjoy a beer or two. If you’ve never tried sour beer, The Sour Kid is a nice introduction. Named for the Beckley-area media company Kid In The Background, this is a light and refreshing sour blonde ale, with mild acidity and just the right amount of tartness to pucker your lips.
Wheeling Brewing Company
Wheeling boasts a storied past, from its claim as the first capital of West Virginia to its emergence as a leader in the iron and steel industry which earned it the nickname Nail City. Wheeling Brewing Company pays tribute to the hardworking men of those steel mills with Nail City Porter, a robust, malty dark ale with hints of chocolate and coffee. Stick with the theme and stop in for a pint after a Wheeling Nailers hockey game.
How many have you tried?More Mountain State Flavor
This post was last updated on July 30, 2020