- East Coast Beer enthusiasts sidle up to the Stone tasting room bar in Richmond.
It's been nearly a year since Deschutes Brewery announced plans to break ground on a second beer production facility in Roanoke, Virginia by 2019. With Black Butte, Sage Fight and the rest of the gang now available statewide, the locals are certainly excited for it. Around 22,000 people attended the company's rolling outdoor Street Pub event back in August, which ain't bad for a city with a population still under 100K.
The move follows in the footsteps of several other large Western craft outfits establishing second (or third) locations outside the Pacific time zone in order to better serve the thirsty public at large. How are things shaping up for them? Let's go down the list:
Oskar Blues (Brevard, N.C./Austin, Texas)
The North Carolina location, opened in 2012, is south of the beer mecca of Asheville and just a few minutes away from Pisgah National Forest, making it a key stopping point for mountain bikers in the area. The Austin one, on the other hand, is more of an urban affair, featuring a massive patio, music acts most days, and more cans of Dale's Pale Ale than one could possibly count.
Sierra Nevada (Mills River, N.C.)
Showing some of the hazards expanding breweries can face, Sierra Nevada recently had to recall an entire month's worth of beer output from Mills River due to defective glass bottles, a move affecting thousands of barrels' worth of product. But that's no reason to avoid a visit, considering the awe-inspiring forested views and the use of local produce like peaches in the local brew.
Stone (Richmond, Va.)
Set on a huge old factory building overlooking the James River, San Diego based Stone has operated a low-key tasting room here for about a year, letting people scope out the 250-barrel brewing system and try out the collaborations they've done with Richmond's (many) local breweries. A full outdoor restaurant and garden along the river is slated for a 2017 opening.
Lagunitas (Chicago, Ill./Charleston, S.C.)
Chicago is home to Lagunitas' largest production facility east of the Mississippi, but the California-based outfit has been opening smaller, more locally-oriented taprooms across the US as of late. The one in Charleston, itself built in a former brewery building, is a multi-floor industrial affair built in the middle of the historic district, a great place to unwind and stave off the heat. The Petaluma brewery, half-owned by Heineken International, has also opened a taproom in Seattle.