There are many treasures that lie tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. From historical sites that preserve sacred memories to intricate underground cave systems, West Virginia offers much more than scenic sights.
The Mountain State has a knack for creating craft beer as well. According to Brewer’s Association, West Virginia has seen a sharp increase in the number of breweries since 2014. The state now hosts 11 breweries that produce nearly 8,000 barrels of craft beer per year. With a spike in local brewpubs taking hold in small communities around the state, the industry brought in $211 million in 2014 alone.
One of the oldest and largest breweries within the state, Mountain State Brewing Company has been fueling those statistics since 2005.
Owners of Mountain State Brewing Co., Brian Arnett and Willie Leymann, founded the brewery in Thomas, West Virginia. The two West Virginia locals and fellow beer lovers decided to operate the brewery independently, purely thriving from the business of local community members.
In an interview on Mountain State Brewing Co.’s site, the two said their idea began after Leymann sketched a logo and what would be a brew house for the future business. The images that were once just doodles on lined notebook paper eventually became a logo known throughout the state.
"We both enjoy the challenges of creating things on our own," Arnett said in an interview on Mountain State Brewing Co.’s website.
"That’s a West Virginia trait, to be totally self-sufficient and to rely on yourself," Lymann said.
The two built the brew house themselves, from the trusses that hold the ceiling to the details within the bar. Most of the wood, rocks and decor are from the Mountain State itself.
Lymann and Arnett both said their upbringing in West Virginia also gave them the background they needed to create a successful craft brewery within their home state.
"We don’t really have malls or cinemas, or many of them or anything like that," Lymann said. "We hang out with people, and I think that’s what our product is more than anything."
Mountain State Brewing Co. holds three locations throughout West Virginia and Maryland. While breweries are located in Morgantown, West Virginia, Deep Creek, Maryland. and Thomas, West Virginia, the business still caters to the small-town vibe. Aside from the seasonal specialty brews, Mountain State Brewing Co. offers year-round brews at many West Virginia locations. From the Cold Trail Blonde to the Almost Heaven Ale and the Seneca IPA, Mountain State Brewing Co. has a brew to cater to nearly every palate. The brew itself is made locally in Thomas, West Virginia, where the brewery sits at over 3,000 feet in elevation atop a watershed, allowing the beer to brew with the pure, uncontaminated water.
"Our product is West Virginia," Arnett said. "Our product is our atmosphere."
The two said the Mountain State Brewing Co. offers a shelter for old buddies to share old lies, tales of good times and delicious pints of beer.
For more information on Mountain State Brewing Co., visit http://mountainstatebrewing.com/.