Brockway Ave. brews
Company opens tap room near downtown
By Ann Kennell
For Chestnut Brew Works manager and top brewer Bill Rittenour, brewing beer is a science project.
Rittenour, who has a Ph.D. in microbiology, began making beer at home in 2006. “Most home brewers think about starting a brewing company,” he said. “I just followed it through.”
That company, Chestnut Brew Works expanded this year by opening a tap room on Brockway Avenue.
The facility offers locals a unique environment to sample Rittenour’s craft brews.
Rittenour said there are normally five beers on tap, including the Halleck Pale Ale, Class II Wheatwater, Nate’s Nut Brown Ale, South Park Porter and Your Best Hoption.
The Halleck Pale Ale, however, is the overwhelming favorite of the customers.
“I gauge people and what they like to drink by talking to them, but most of the time I will have them try the Halleck first, because it is a favorite of everyone’s,” Rittenour said.
Along with Chestnut’s five signature beers, a few new brews are in the works. Rittenour just released an Imperial Stout that he ages in a Jack Daniels barrel for one year, and he’s working on a Belgian Pale Ale.
Rittenour said his strongest beer is the Your Best Hoption IPA, with an alcohol content of 8.2 percent.
Chestnut Brew Works aims to keep its brewing eco-friendly. The company donates all of its spent grain to local farmers to feed cattle and recollects water used for brewing instead of dumping it down the drain. Tap handles are also made out of repurposed wood.
Frequent customer Ryan Clark has been coming to the tap room every week since opening night.
“I work at Mario’s Fishbowl, and we got Billy’s beer on tap and I started trying it there,” Clark said.
Clark said he enjoys that the beer is really good, and the atmosphere is clean and rustic.
“I think it speaks a lot about the local brewers but also still the tradition of getting drunk in a bar,” Clark said.
A barley-to-beer class at WVU first brought student Richard Daniel to Chestnut Brew Works, and he keeps coming back for more.
“My class brought us here to check out the brewery and on the way out I saw the growlers and I decided I would come and get some before my cookouts with friends,” Daniel said.
Daniel thought that the beer was interesting and different. The Halleck Pale Ale is his favorite.
“This guy knows what he is doing,” Daniel said, of Rittenour.
Address: 444 Brockway Ave.
Hours: 4-11 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday