Mountain State BrewingJuly 19, 2018
Anyone familiar with the craft beer movement in West Virginia knows Mountain State Brewing Co. in Thomas, WV. Started in 2005 by Brian Arnett and Willie Lehmann, their craft brew business has blossomed into the state’s largest distributer of locally sourced beer. One of the most important aspects of being locally sourced for Mountain State Brewery is the City of Thomas’s water source. An undisturbed mountain spring whose water shed has been protected for nearly 100 years satisfies the needs for a quality product.
I don’t think there is anything that has not been hand built or crafted by Willie and Brian. From the initial building footers to the new 30 barrel brew house, these two gentleman are the epitome of hands on. Fortunately, they now have a team of five brew house employees assisting in the brewing, canning and development process. Mountain State Brewing offers five seasonal beers and four delicious staples that have led them down the road to success.
Outside of quality brews, a quality experience at the Mountain State Brewing tap house propelled the brew business by getting their ales into the people’s hands. At the start, MSB acted as the only watering hole offering micro brews in the region, let alone locally. From the start, their brand and attitude toward mountain living was infectious and a loyal following ensued.
The Mountain State Brewery tap house was, and continues to be, a big part of their success. The brew house may have changed, but the tap room and stage remain the same. Low ceilings, local collectables, and “bar stools” shaped as sawhorses make for a uniquely homey feeling. Custom stone work in the fireplace is the shape of the MSB logo and crafted by co-owner Willie. You just feel welcome before meeting the outgoing and friendly staff.
From early on Mountain State Brewing bolstered their reputation by rocking the house with live music. I have caught some fantastic shows there. Fortunately, two of my favorite continue today, one being the annual Holloween Party and Show and Morgantown legend, Rasta Rafiki. Live music continues its tradition at MSB with weekly shows and Saturday night free dinner shows from 6pm to 8pm.
Outback is a beautiful brick patio begging for those perfect spring, summer and fall days of sipping fresh Seneca India Pale Ales down and reminiscing of the day’s adventure. A prerequisite for any worthy outdoor bar setting is at least one set of Cornhole. Mountain State Brewery has you covered. A thread MSB is revisiting features a return to offering hot food items. Thursday thru Sunday a small menu is available to dine or snack from.
After spending a few hours with the staff and owners of Mountain State Brewing, I left with a new appreciation for the scale of their operation. I also feel the desire to continue to feel homegrown and be local. Brian and Willie continue to keep it real, expand on their business, invest in the community, and one day, will show a little something for it.
Cheers, Mountain State Brewing!