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Written by: Beth Stinnett
Monday August 6, 2018

Celebrate Virginia Craft Beer Month with a visit (or even two or three) to Mountain Valley Brewing in Axton, VA. Mountain Valley Brewing, which opened in May of 2017, is Martinsville-Henry County’s first and only craft brewery. According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, “Virginia is truly for Craft Beer Lovers, travelers and craft breweries nationwide are taking notice. In the last decade, the Virginia craft beer scene has exploded, creating social spots in cities across the state where travelers can soak in some local flavor.” We invite you to try the local Mountain Valley flavor this August!

Overlooking a valley and a 450-acre farm, Mountain Valley Brewing offers a perfect opportunity to enjoy the only hand-crafted beer in Henry County while strolling through the hopyard, touring the small brewery, chatting in the cozy taproom, listening to live music outside under the pavilion, or playing yard games while enjoying the beautiful views.

The story of Mountain Valley Brewing naturally began with a farm. It all started when a job change moved owners Peggy Donivan and Herb Atwell from a comfortable suburban neighborhood outside of Richmond to rural Henry County, Virginia. They found themselves settled in a quaint home on ten acres of land just as the craft beer industry began to boom in Virginia. Mountain Valley Brewing came to life when they realized there were few choices if one wanted to head out after work or on the weekend for a good craft beer. There were no breweries in Henry County at the time, and just one in nearby Danville, VA. As they continued to brew and become more involved with the Train Wreck Homebrew Club, they realized that they could brew up some mighty tasty beer that people really enjoyed. Peggy and Herb started their own hopyard in 2014, and since they had one of the most important ingredients for making beer in their backyard, they asked themselves why not start a little farm brewery? Add in their supply of untreated natural well water and a love for great beer and everything else fell into place. They created Mountain Valley Hops thinking that if nothing else, they would at least have their own endless supply of the key ingredient needed to make a great beer.

Fresh hops are rarely found in craft beer with the exception of the seasonal brews in the fall, and those are still fairly difficult to find in Virginia. With their own hop farm, the Atwells can keep fresh hops year-round. In May 2017, their dream of hopyard tours and cold beer brewed on site with their own fresh hops became a reality. When they say they “grow beer,” they mean it.

Walk into any grocery store and you'll usually find a decent selection of craft beer. What won't you find? MVB beer. That's because Mountain Valley Brewing doesn’t distribute, bottle or can. Instead, they focus their efforts on providing unique, delicious beer you can't get anywhere else. They use fresh hops from their on-site hop farm and turn to local farmers for raw ingredients like honey, fruit, grain and barley for fresh varieties of brews. Mountain Valley Brewing is considered a limited farm brewery, producing around 100 barrels per year in their 1.5-barrel homemade brewing system. Though you'll have to visit the taproom to try the beer, MVB would love to let you fill up a growler to take a Mountain Valley brew with you wherever you go. Peggy and Herb say that they hope to continue “growing craft” for years to come.

Mountain Valley Brewing tries to offer a variety of styles so that even those that don’t like craft beer will find something to sip on. The brewery has several beers now that are customer favorites, with a total of nine beers on tap. Their Vulture Roost pale ale is their go-to beer as an introduction to those more accustomed to domestic favorites.

Peggy says, “We really enjoy letting folks try the various beers and getting their immediate feedback. I tell people it’s okay to make a face if you don’t like a certain style of beer, we understand. At least you tried it! I think the biggest compliment that we hear is when a customer gets a flight of six beers and can’t decide which one they like best, so they order another flight of the same beers!”

Mountain Valley Brewing is kid and dog friendly and their goal is to be the brewery where you feel comfortable bringing grandma, the new baby and Fido with you to enjoy the views and relax for a bit. The brewery has become a meeting place for locals and everyone is so friendly that even those traveling through usually end up in conversation with someone new. Mountain Valley Brewing is also available as a special event venue for gatherings and activities of all kinds. Want to get married on the hop farm? They’ve done it! Call Peggy and Herb to see what they can do to help you plan your big day.

Weekends are usually filled with live music by local, regional and even national artists. As an added bonus, dinner is often offered from local and regional food trucks. If there isn’t a live performance scheduled on Fridays or Saturdays, there will still be entertainment for your pleasure including events like the popular “Sip ‘N Spin Vinyl Night.” Bring your favorite vinyl albums and sip and spin the evening away with great music, beer and food.

2018 has been and will continue to be a big year for the brewery. This year, Mountain Valley Brewing is working with 2 Witches Winery & Brewing Company to supply the beer for the annual Smith River Fest being held on August 11th at the Smith River Sports Complex, and they are working with Piedmont Arts and the United Way of Martinsville-Henry County for several other special events. Mountain Valley Brewing is passionate about supporting other small businesses in the area as well as local clubs, charities and non-profits.


Events Coming up:

The New Habit Band on Friday, August 3rd

Ray Martin on Saturday, August 4th

Jim Sharkey (an Irish singer/songwriter from Charlotte) on Saturday, August 25th

Marie Anderson live at Mountain Valley Brewing on Sunday, August 26th

The 1st Annual Dam Hangout Music & Brew Fest on September 14th and 15th This is a chance for us to partner up with another local small business, Dam Good Equipment, and celebrate the end of summer with a two- day event, complete with limited camping, bands, food and tons of hammocks.

Follow Mountain Valley Brewing on Facebook for more upcoming events and to learn more about the beers that are on tap.

Taproom Hours: Thursdays: 5 - 10:30 pm | Fridays: 5 - 10:30 pm | Saturdays: 1 - 10:30 pm | Sundays: 2 - 6 pm

Cheers to Mountain Valley Brewing and to you!

Tags: Axton, Mountain Valley Brewing