Parkway Brewing Company
739 Kesler Mill Road
Visited on March 1, 2013
Southwestern Virginia isn’t exactly a mecca for breweries. They are few and far between, and those that do exist aren’t of an outstanding caliber. Sufficed to say, there is plenty of room and plenty of market for newbies in the area. And apparently someone finally got the memo.
Parkway Brewing Company is the newest kid on the block, joining two other small breweries in Roanoke and just a handful of others within an hour’s drive. The Brew Master knows the area, having decided to jump ship from the largest brewpub in town (Roanoke Railhouse) to start his own place along with a likeminded local dreamer. My guess is that they will succeed.
The brewery isn’t much to look at. It’s a warehouse space in the industrial district of Roanoke’s next-door neighbor of Salem. They’ve got the front painted nicely to proclaim the name of the place, but not much else in the way of signing. The parking lot is too small to accommodate the number of drinkers in the moderately sized city. The interior is concrete, mash tuns, fermentation tanks, and everything else needed to produce the wares. A couple of days per week, some ropes are strung, tables put out, and employees man a few taps behind a simple bar. It’s not so much a tasting room as a tasting area.
However, the tasters are actually tasty. I was fairly impressed with the fledgling brews. The IPA has an intense, distinct citrus note that intrigues for a pint or two, but begins to become wearisome after more. The Belgian pale ale is a wonderful combination of European sweetness with American ingenuity. I might actually be able to drink an entire growler of it. The third beer – just released the day of my visit – is a dark and smoky porter. It is full and rich, but with a nuanced taste profile that gets overwhelmed by the IPA and Blonde if switching back and forth between the three. I need to try it sometime on it’s own for a true feel of its flavor.
Since the brewery just barely has a tasting area, it certainly does not have a kitchen. The role of food provider is played by a food truck happily sitting away in the parking lot out front. There are at least two that I know of that have taken up residence, and as far as I can tell, both are viable options to say the least.
Total: 71 (of 80)