Absence makes limited-availability flavor even better!
Nature isn’t the only thing that’s seasonal. Visit West Virginia’s distilleries, wineries, and meaderies for drinks that rotate throughout the year.
Life’s too short for same old, same old. Sometimes, you want something unexpected! Here’s where you can buy or make spirited concoctions that will blow your pals away:
Mountain Dragon Mazery
Since ancient times, people have enjoyed mead, a type of honey wine. Modern recipes now include yeast and — for an occasional twist — fruity flavors.
Mountain Dragon Mazery in Fairmont has 2 seasonal varieties of mead. The delicate “Tulip Poplar” is available only when bees can produce enough honey from the trees. Some years are more plentiful than others, but that’s how nature works. The same thing goes for “Basswood,” a crisp drink with — according to the mazery — “minty, woody” notes.
Mountain Dragon also has recipes for Christmas and winter. You can add warm spices — like nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves — to mead, for example. Or, stir some into snow to make a slushie!
Seasonals from the vine
Like the mountains that surround them, West Virginia wine has surprising depth and variety. You can find anything from award-winning pinot noir to elderberry!
Batton Hollow Winery
This Lost Creek operation is a relative newcomer, but its wines have already won several awards. Most of Batton Hollow’s dry wines are ideal partners for hearty entrees. Its seasonals, though, are pleasantly sweet.
Look forward to:
- “Primavera.” This elegant spring wine is available in February at the earliest.
- “Summer Breeze.” Batton Hollow Winery’s most popular wine.
- “Autumn Glory.” Jim Kelley and his wife, the owners, describe this as a “sweet red spiced wine.” Go ahead, warm it up on the stove!
- “Winter White.” Available in November but rarely sticks around — it’s that good.
Forks of the Cheat Winery
When Jimmy Deal, the owner, was caught by his neighbor “stealing” grapes (even though they were growing over his side of the fence), he decided to grow his own!
Forks of the Cheat Winery has grown in leaps and bounds since its creation in 1990. With his wife and family, Deal raises French and American grapes on nearly 16 acres. They’ve won multiple awards, too.
“Spice Wine” is a Forks of the Cheat specialty. As you might imagine, this luxurious drink is ideal for winter. Cinnamon and cloves add heat to the sweetness, and you can even warm it. The Deals also have fruit wines. Though not specifically seasonal, they lend themselves perfectly to al fresco dining. There’s the delicate “Pear,” for example, which the Deals recommend with Brie and figs.
Visit Monday to Sunday and taste their full-bodied red, white, and fruit wines for yourself! There’s a patio with umbrellas and self-serve hors d’oeuvres. You can also go on a winery and distillery tour (Mon-Sat) and visit the Deal’s country gift shop.
Craft beer is a West Virginia specialty. You’ll find brews for every taste, from lagers to stout and everything in between!
Try these places for exclusive beers you won’t find anywhere else:
North End Tavern & Brewery
West Virginia’s oldest brewery has a stable of eyebrow-raising beers. “Roedy’s Red” leads the pack with several prizes under its belt, including many People’s Choice Awards. Also on the lineup are wheat, porter, and ale varieties, all made with natural ingredients by head brewer Chris Hopkins.
North End Tavern’s seasonal specials are:
- “Cerise Saison.” A light beer made with more than “300 pounds of local tart cherries.”
- “Appalachian Wit.” Pawpaws, orange zest, and a hint of moonshine give this beer a true taste of the south.
- “Pumpkinsheimer.” A spiced autumn brew made with real pumpkins.
- “Christmas.” A dark, malty Belgian chocolate stout.
Bridge Brew Works
Fayetteville’s beloved brewery lacks all pretension. Just 3 family members own and manage the joint, and their enthusiasm for craft beer is infectious. They make pale ales, lagers, and stouts, plus a few exotics.
Bridge Brew Works also has seasonal beers. “Oktoberfest” is a malty lager with an amber body and crisp white head. In winter, “Moxxee Coffee Stout” wakes everybody up with its bittersweet notes and energetic hit.
Other beers are limited, like the Belgian-inspired “3 River Tripel” and “Hellbender,” an IPA laced with spicy Northwest hops. Follow the brewery’s Facebook page for release details. You can also visit the taproom Tuesday-Saturday.
Wheeling Brewing Company
Since 2014, this Northern Panhandle microbrewery has created an impressive selection of pale ales, wheat ales, and seasonals.
Wheeling Brewing Company always has specials on rotation, too. Saengerfest Schwarzbier, Wheeling Wit #2 Orange Honey (a springtime beer), and Chapline Street Coffee Stout are just some of the many creations available. Give them a call and ask what’s in season!
West Virginia has many, many more distilleries and wineries, too. The next time you visit, consider taking home some fiery moonshine or floral wine. Your party guests will thank you for it!
Prefer beer? There’s a map just for you.
This post was last updated on March 16, 2022