Belgian-Style Tripel: Bridge Brew Works, Fayetteville, West Virginia
By Martin Cizmar
We're drinking the flagship craft beer from every state in the Union, counting down from 50-1, to find which is home to the President of Beers.
#46: Belgian-Style Tripel: Bridge Brew Works, Fayetteville, West Virginia
State: Wild, wonderful West Virginia, the most rustic Eastern state. Good olâ West Virginny is home to real wilderness and lots of colorful residents.
Brewery: Bridge Brew Works, named for the massive new River Gorge Bridge that gracing the stateâs quarter. The brewery is run by two very nice guys who are new to commercial brewing but seem plenty ambitious.
Beer: A polarizing Belgian style Tripel, which I actually liked a lot, scoring in the 90s, as other tasters commented that it was âtoo sweet and fruity.â Itâs low score was only four.
Difficulty of Obtaining in Oregon: Very difficult. This beer is only distributed in West Virginia. There are not a lot of beer geeks from the small and rural state active in the beer trading scene. Unless you know someone there who will send it you youâre probably not getting it.
PHOTO: Cameron Browne
Oregonâs Timberline ski lodge is famous. The only North American ski resort open year-round, scene of The Shining, with 3,600 vertical feet on the side of a gorgeous glaciated peak.
On the other hand, West Virginiaâs Timberline has great biscuits and gravy.
Itâs probably news to most Oregoniansâand Iâm sure to some West Virginiansâbut this country actually has two ski resorts called Timberline. Iâll bet here arenât many people in the country whoâve actually skied both, given how small and remote the resort in Davis, West Virginia is, but I have. And despite the Mt. Hood slopes being better by every measureâitâs 14 times as large and three times as tall and its ornate Depression-era lodge has unbeatable atmosphereâIâd be hard-pressed to pick a favorite.
The Caanan (thatâs kuh-NAIN) Valleyâs Timberline is a pleasantly scrappy little resort with slow and unsteady lifts, the Southeastâs longest run, a cruiser called Salamander, and pretty decent snow. By Eastern standards, anyway. And, unlike our Timberline, you can actually ski right up to your cheap rental cabin. That has a hot tub. Did I mention the biscuits and gravy?
Thereâs something special about the hills of West Virginia. Itâs the Western-most Eastern stateâin attitude and appearance, if not geography. Laid-back, friendly folks, tall mountains, fast rivers and a simple life. If Oregon has to share the name of our best ski slopes with anyone back East, theyâre most worthy.
The stateâs laws are utterly ridiculousâtechnically, all beer sold has to be ânon-intoxicating beerâ which until recently meant only up to 6 percent alcohol, but is now 12 percent ABV; bars serve until 3:30 am but you canât buy beer before NFL kickoff on Sundayâand craft beer has grown slowly and unevenly.
But hereâs the thing: outdoorsy states tend to be the beery states. The biggest beer drinking states, per capita, are New Hampshire, Montana and North Dakotaâplaces awash in natural splendor. Places like West Virginia.
And craft beer? Well, nationally, the two places with the highest percentage of craft beer drinkers are neighboring Virginia and Washington DC.
Virginians will deny it, but there isnât much seperating the two states, which split up because West Virginia was too progressive for their neighbors. If Virginians have gone crazy for craft beer, their cousins to the West will, too.
Give it a little time. Until then, there's this...
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