Twin Creeks Brewing Company in Vinton recently won an award for one of ITS craft beers in the annual Virginia Craft Beer Cup competition put on by the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild (VCBG).
The guild is a statewide organization that represents member independent craft breweries. Twin Creeks placed third in the British and Scottish Ale category.
“Breweries were able to enter up to four beers in the competition which was judged by the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) certified judges,” said Jason Bishop, who owns Twin Creeks along with his brother Andy and friend Barry Robertson. “This year 375 beers were entered in the competition in over 27 different beer categories.”
Their award-winning beer is named “Across the Pond British Ale,” one of the newer beers that they produce.
“Technically, it is a seasonal beer; however, we have decided to brew another batch within the next month or so,” said Bishop. “We feel it will be a nice transition beer as we start moving toward fall.”
According to Bishop, “A brown ale is a style of beer that is right on the border between an amber ale and a dark ale such as a porter or stout. The uniqueness of a brown is you get some of the roast flavors of a dark beer but also a lot of the caramel and maltiness of the amber. Low bitterness and a nutty character round out the malt-accented flavor. The true standout to our version is the yeast that we used. It is a traditional English yeast which allowed the flavors to come out.”
The judging was done privately on May 19 at Fair Winds Brewing Company in Lorton. Andy Bishop accepted their medal at a ceremony on June 4 at WestRock in Richmond with nearly 300 brewers and supporters in attendance “to celebrate excellence in independent Virginia craft beer.”
Twin Creeks sent four beers in different categories to be judged.
“The four we chose were the ones we felt were the best representations of their style of beer,” said Bishop. “We did receive score sheets for all of our entries and all scored well; however, only the Across the Pond placed in the top three.”
According to the VCBG, the Virginia Craft Beer Cup continues to be the largest state competition of its kind in the United States. “The guild is committed to giving its members the opportunity to compete, obtain critical feedback from certified judges, and get statewide recognition that will help build their brands. Contributing to the development of outstanding independent craft beer is central to our mission,” said Brett Vassey, president and CEO. “The Cup is an important part of helping to expand public recognition and peer appreciation for great craft beer.”
Andy Bishop said business continues to thrive and expand at Twin Creeks. He was able to leave his position as an engineer last fall and works at the brewing company full-time, dealing with day-to-day operations, brewing, and marketing. They have added a second full time employee, tap room manager Haley Overstreet, a graduate of William Byrd, who is also in charge of booking music and special events. Twin Creeks employs quite a few part-timers as well.
Twin Creeks is introducing “Brunch, Brews, and Tunes” on the first and third Sundays of each month, beginning on July 1, bringing back Vinyl Sundays. Guests are invited to bring their own records or listen to Twin Creek’s collection— as long as it’s family friendly. One of the main goals of Twin Creeks has been establishing a family atmosphere where children are welcome.
Hamm’s Fine Foods will be serving the first brunch on July 1. Twin Creeks is brewing up some brunch beers with the intriguing names of “Kolsh-mosa” and “Bloody IPA.”
Bingo will be starting up on July 11, scheduled for second and fourth Wednesdays.
Bingo seems a natural addition to their game nights, which include Thursday Trivia. The trivia night idea came up last fall. It has proven wildly popular with a packed house most weeks. Andy Bishop’s theory is that the game evenings have become so popular because “it’s good clean fun and you get to hang out with your friends in a very sociable environment.”
Sixteen teams (with names like the Creek Dwellers, the Moops, Bobby’s Not Here, the Village Idiotz, the Deans, Foster Inc., the Plantar Fascists, the Tripping Billies, Hello Newman, That’s What She Said, and Tres Locas) were competing on June 21, with some pretty tough questions covering many categories from sports, to TV, to music, to movies, and politics— even history and geography.
The enthusiastic Creek Dwellers (Kim and Dale Barker and Jeff and Nonie Hall) started out rock bottom at the end of the first of four rounds with 24 points, but by the end of round four they had advanced to an impressive fifth place with 308 points. You bring your own electronic devices to play— a smart phone or tablet seems to work best.
Thursday Trivia gets under way at 6:30 and ends at 8:30. Each round has 20 questions with points increasing as the game moves along. An extra point is awarded to the team who responds the fastest to each question. Ten seconds are allowed for responses.
Gift certificates in increasing amounts are awarded to the top three finishers. Strangely enough, the teams seem to get more serious as the game progresses, not necessarily more boisterous.
The Creek Dwellers say that Trivia gives them something to look forward to on Thursday nights with their friends. On some nights, the games are part of fundraising events, such as canned food for Ronald McDonald House or donations for the Trettner family who lost their home in a recent mudslide.
In other Twin Creeks news, the distribution side of the business is increasing in volume across the Roanoke and New River Valleys. This month they will begin a limited-release (about 40 bottles) bottled series of popular barrel-aged beers, beginning with a customer favorite, the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale. They are also working on producing a four-pack of 16-ounce cans for customers to take home, camping, to the lake, the beach, or on vacation.
Their second annual Creekfest is scheduled in the brewery/market area for August 18 from 2 to 10 p.m., this year with a “Rock and Blues” theme featuring local bands.
The Bell Hornets will be headlining the event, joined by acoustic musician Daniell Pollock, Medicinal Americana who plays a mix of country rock, rock and roll, and alt-country, and GOAT.
Five food trucks will be located at the market with Hamm’s Fine Foods inside Twin Creeks. Festival-goers will be able to move back and forth between the brewery and the Vinton Farmers’ Market stage with the purchase of just one ticket.
A new, never-released brew will be introduced for each band at Creekfest.
According to Andy Bishop, the Bell Hornets say that when they play at Twin Creeks (their next appearance is on June 29), they get the best response from the audience of anywhere they play. In fact, he says, that is what most of the performers say about the audiences at Live on the Dock at Twin Creeks.
Twin Creeks Brewing Company has made all the difference to the nightlife in downtown Vinton in the short time it has been in business— as in, now there is a nightlife in downtown Vinton.