After six months of build-out in its new Richmond location, Stone Corral Brewery will reopen on Friday, September 4, says owner-brewer Bret Hamilton. The new taproom will offer flights and pints of its classic German, Belgian and English styles, including Kölsch, Palomino Pale Ale and Latigo Scottish ale, along with a new double-chocolate maple porter and Oktoberfest.
Soft pretzels and other finger-friendly bites will come from nearby Sweet Simone's and other local eateries. "I really don't have the capacity to be in food service and run a brewery right now," Hamilton says. "So we're going to look to our local food community for that."
An avid homebrewer since the early 1990s, Hamilton opened Stone Corral on a four-barrel system on the Huntington horse farm he shares with his wife in August 2013. In the shadow of Camel's Hump, he brewed, bottled and welcomed guests for a year and a half — while working full time — before deciding to scale up.
The new, 4,000-square-foot brewery has plenty of space for his shiny new 15-barrel brew system, but Hamilton says he's kept the brewery's homespun spirit alive in the new location. The taproom features lots of locally milled wood and picnic-style benches and tables made by area artisans. A 40-foot mural by Huntington portrait artist Christine Billis depicting the horses, barn and brew shed at the old farmstead brewery anchors the décor.
The new space also features a canning unit, which will allow Stone Corral to release its flagship beers in 32-ounce "crowler" cans. With standard 12- and 16-ounce cans in short supply, the larger format provided a creative, low-cost packaging solution.
This means Stone Corral can sell its beers at lower prices than in the past, Hamilton says. He will continue to bottle specialty brews, such as barrel-aged and wild-fermented beers, sours and other experiments in kettle and cellar.
In keeping with making the brewery a community gathering place, Hamilton plans to debut a live music series later this fall. "Richmond kind of lost its live music venue when On the Rise [Bakery] sold, so we're really looking forward to being able to fill that role a little bit," he says.
The original print version of this article was headlined "OK Corral"
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