This party's hoppin' on the Mountain
The 13th Annual Blues, Brews and BBQ took place Saturday at Snowshoe Mountain. Attendees were blessed with sunshine and cool breezes, and had a chance to sample dozens of different brews and craft beers, many of them from West Virginia.
Tents were set up for food vendors and featured barbecue and platters from The Old Spruce Cafe, The Foxfire Grille, The Junction Restaurant, The Sunset Cantina, The Pretty Penny Cafe, South Mountain Grille and Woody's BBQ Shack.
Blues performances scheduled for the event included Lady D and the Empress, Angel Blue and the Prophets Band, the Big Boy Little Band, Tom Principato, Elliot and the Untouchables, all followed by a concert featuring the Father of British Blues, John Mayall.
Vendors were also set up in tents on the mountain selling arts and crafts, jewelry and clothes.
Greer Hughes said she grew up at Snowshoe and she never misses the event. Hughes said of the four beers she'd tried so far, Mountain State's Almost Heaven Amber Ale was the best.
Samantha Zurbuch, originally from Elkins, had never been to the event before, but she said she was having a great time. For her, Mountain State's Seneca IPA was the best.
David and Bonnie Bundy, of Summerville, have been to the event three times in the past, and they intend to come again next year.
“We like coming up to Snowshoe for different things,” Bonnie said. “It's just beautiful up here.”
“We love it,” added David. “We'll be back.”
Chip Roedersheimer was at the event representing North End Tavern and Brewery in Parkersburg. His dad has owned the company for more than 30 years, and Chip followed in his dad's footsteps.
“Primarily what I do is work down in the brewery. I'm the assistant brewer. I help out with the mashing, a lot of cellar work— cleaning kegs, the dirty work you could say,” laughed Roedersheimer.
Roedersheimer said North End Tavern is the longest attending brewery at the festival, and he was having a great time.
“We've been here every year that they've had it, long before I was ever involved. It's great being on top of the world. We lucked out on the weather, it's nice and cool, we've got a nice breeze going. I've been here in years past when it's monsooned on us,” he joked.
Roedersheimer said the tavern originated in 1899 but the brewery wasn't added until 1997. He talked about some of the beers he brought to the festival.
“So we're actually celebrating our 15th anniversary right now,” remarked Rodersheimer. “I think we're the first brewery in West Virginia to brew a gluten-free beer, the Health Nut Brown Ale. We have the HemPale Ale —we actually use 50 pounds of organic hemp seeds when we brew it. A lot of people don't know it, but hemp seeds are packed with protein and omega-3s. Then we've got Roede's Red, our flagship brew, our Dawk's Classic Porter, it's a traditional porter brewed with black malt and chocolate malt, and I brought our 5-way IPA — we use five different kinds of malts and five different kinds of hops. We also dry hop it, it's extremely good.”
According to Roedersheimer, dry hopping is any addition of hops after the fermentation process. He talked about the process of brewing the 5-way IPA.
“Usually your hop additions are in the mash,” explained Roedersheimer. “Where you mash it all together with hot water, then you move it to the boiler. There are three different additions of hops we use while it's boiling. After that, anything after the boiling process, is considered dry hopping. A lot of people get it confused. With wet-hops, they're basically freshly harvested hops. So you could conceivably take wet hops, and dry hop them.”
Roedersheimer said everything was going well this year.
“As far as the event, the staff has been great,” he remarked. “This year has been awesome. Easy transition. We had cold storage as soon as we pulled up. It's been a good time. Hopefully, I go home with empty kegs.”