Please excuse the word play. I couldn’t resist. The take-away is that you can now get canned beer from Mountain Valley Brewing.
Mountain Valley Brewing is the only craft brewery in Henry County and is located in Axton, on the far east side of the county. You take Highway 58 like you are going to Danville and turn north on Mountain Valley Road. Once you have decided that you absolutely must have gone too far because it’s all fields and wild, it will be on your right. It started as a hops farm and the brewery came later. There are signs by the road and there is a clearly marked parking area.
If you were wondering how our local craft brewery is dealing with the current crisis, I’m pleased to report that they have a system worked out. The mask policy is that you have to wear a mask when in the tap room or there are too many people to have adequate social distancing. That just means that you need to wear a mask when getting your order but you can take it off as soon as you’ve settled into your table – outside of the tap room.
These pictures are from early in the afternoon, just after they opened (3 o’clock on a Saturday). There was one table there when I got there but they left while I was enjoying my beer so it was just me and the bartender for most of my visit. He said that they are still doing a brisk business, they still have food trucks and live music, and – so far, so good.
There are two tap rooms, each with a different line up of beers. You can still order flights. Flights are where you order a sampling of different beers. A small flight is four selections and a large flight is six. You can also order a pitcher to share. ABV stands for Alcohol By Volume. For comparison, Budweiser has an ABV of 5%. Coors Light has an ABV of 4.2%.
The only restriction on flights is that all of the selections have to come from the same tap room – so it has to be a flight with selections from the upstairs tap room or from the pavilion tap room, but no mixing and matching.
Flights are served in disposable plastic cups. Pictured below is a flight of (descriptions are from their website):
Notch Yo Beer – A uniquely blended seltzer that highlights flavors of cranberry with just the right bit of sweetness. Very easy on the palate at any time of year.
Kookie Rooster – North American hybrid is crisp like a cream ale, with the aromatic characteristics of an ale with a delicate hint of toasted coconut.
Starburst – Must be new because there is no description on the web site. It has a denser taste like you get as you start approaching darker beers. I believe that it is a wheat beer. This would be an excellent introduction to why people like craft beers.
Coyote Call – Another new one? This is a kolsch and has a wonderful light taste. It’s full-bodied but that doesn’t get in the way. If you think that you don’t like craft beers, this would be the best one to try (in my opinion).
Picnic tables are scattered at a distance across the back lawn of the brewery. The structure on the right is for hanging hammocks. The poles you see in the background are for the hops to climb up. My understanding is that hops help preserve beer and so became used a lot when England was colonizing India and trying to transport the comforts of home to a distant colony. But, as with all things, it’s more complicated than that and Wikipedia has a really interesting entry on hops and beer if you are interested. Long story short, (TIL*) a beer without hops is an ale.
*TIL = Today I Learned
There is plenty of seating all responsibly distanced.
And the view is beautiful just about any time of day. The back lawn looks out over a valley to the east and the morning sunrise pictures they post to their Facebook page are phenomenal.
Masks are not required on the covered back deck of the pavilion, so there is cover on days that have a light rain.
The cover over the back deck is new since I was here last and the deck has really come together to be quite cozy looking.
The tap room itself is cozy too and the air flows freely through the building.
Live music is back and they have an active schedule which they post on their Facebook page.
But the biggest news for me is that you can now get canned beer to take home. They still have growlers, howlers, and yowlers (basically cute terms for an “old brown jug” of varying sizes) but a canned beer is going to keep in your fridge longer.
I highly recommend a visit to Mountain Valley Brewing. It’s a local business that can always use local support and there are so many flavors now that almost anyone should be able to find something that they like while taking in a beautiful view. If you just absolutely don’t like beer, try the Notch Yo seltzer. It tastes a lot like a wine cooler. (Did I just date myself with that term?)
It’s still only Sunday on Labor Day weekend so I may be able to find more to do this weekend. I hope you are enjoying your weekend!