Nanobrewery opens in Winchester
Winchester Brew Works, a nanobrewery and tasting room offering nine beers on tap, is now open for business at 320 N. Cameron St. in Old Town Winchester.
Founded by two couples who bonded over their love of home brewing, Winchester Brew Works also offers all the essentials for any would-be homebrewers.
Co-owner and brewer Bonnie Landy, who founded the nanobrewery along with her husband Jeff and friends Holly and Arthur Redding, said that, after seeing Harrisonburg grow and flourish around breweries and food trucks, Winchester has started to do the same as well.
“We watched as they did the renovation of the walking mall and watched Winchester grow,” said Landy. “We had sort of watched that just happen in Harrisonburg and I feel like everywhere in the valley has this love of outdoor festivals and doing fun new things. We started to say, ‘Why does Winchester not have a brewery? We could correct that.'”
Additionally, Landy said that she could tell that the lack of a brewery in Winchester at the time was not the result of a lack of interest.
“One of the things we noticed in Winchester was the Hop Blossom Craft Beer Festival,” said Landy. “… It’s on par with any craft beer festival in Virginia or any other cities and I think that’s indicative of the craft beer community that was already in Winchester before we got there.”
Winchester Brew Works offers a bit of a different atmosphere from the mostly stainless steel, industrial aesthetic present in other breweries.
“When we were designing our tasting room, we wanted it to feel cozy. … We wanted to be different than a lot of the breweries we’ve been to,” said Landy. “We’ve got a lot of wood and this amazing mural done by my mother. We wanted to capture the feeling and the atmosphere of Shenandoah National Park and other state parks in the area and to have that vintage national park vibe we’re trying to get. We like to say we’re bringing the outdoors in.”
Further distinguishing Winchester Brew Works from other breweries is the fact that those primarily responsible for running the business and brewing the beer are women. Landy works alongside co-owner Holly Redding to manage the business.
“I think we are the only majority female-owned-and-brewed brewery in Virginia and one of like a handful in the whole nation; it’s extremely rare,” said Landy.
The beers brewed range from creamy and nutty to peppery and potent, because they rotate their nine taps often to keep things “fresh and interesting.”
“A lot of our beers feature some unusual combinations like fruits and vegetables and spices and stuff that you won’t find in a lot of commercial beers,” said Landy. “It’s good to focus on one thing and do it really well, and that’s beer.”
Landy said that her favorite beers to brew are stouts because of the variability of the grains used as a base. She said she enjoys playing with ratios of her base grain mixture to try to maximize flavor complexity, not unlike a musician starting out a composition with an interesting guitar riff.
Winchester Brew Works is a draft-only operation, said Landy. The business doesn’t sell bottles or cans at its tasting room, and does not keg the beer, instead opting to serve it directly from the brewery’s Brite tanks, in which the beer is cold conditioned and brought down to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Pints and flights can be purchased by in-house guests, and growlers are available to take home.
Like many breweries, no food is prepared at Winchester Brew Works. However, caterers are welcome to work with the business to feed tasting room patrons, or customers can just bring their own food to eat inside or enjoy in its outdoor area.
Landy said she wants to create a relaxed, family-friendly tasting room where all are comfortable, from the most seasoned beer connoisseur to a non-drinker.
“We’ve had people come in that are craft beer aficionados but also people that maybe haven’t been to a brewery before,” said Landy. “…We’ve tried to take a lot of things into consideration that we would enjoy if we were the customers.”
Landy said that the owners are the only employees at the moment, so any customers or beer fans would have ample opportunity to see what Winchester Brew Works is all about.
IF YOU GO
Winchester Brew Works is open 4 to 9 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. The brewery is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org