Chestnut Brew Works started as a small idea in the owner’s backyard. Now it’s a booming business that has a simple menu to go along with its major beer brewing operation.
The beer starts as barley going into the hopper. It’s then sent to the masher. Everything but the barley then gets boiled, when that finishes it’s transferred to the fermenters, which makes it alcoholic. Finally, it’s carbonated. The entire process takes about two weeks, depending on the beer.
Owner Bill Rittenour said they distribute about 1,600 gallons each month to supply their own restaurant plus about 20 others. They keep up by brewing at least once, some times twice a week.
“We typically try to keep five of what we call our flagships in stock at all times and we try to brew one or two different seasonal or specialties beers,” said Rittenour. “Our taps in the taproom, we have 7 different beers.”
Rittenour is originally from Philadelphia. He studied plant pathology at WVU and worked on the Chestnut Blight in West Virginia during that time. That’s how he came up with the name of his establishment.
Rittenour lets his wife claim the inventor title for their most famous beer’s name: Halleck Pale Ale. He’s also brewed Abigail’s Amber Ale, Nate’s Nut Brown, and Billy’s Morgantown Brown. Each is named after one of his kids.
“We love what we do, and we love when people come in and ask us about it, and get excited about it. We promote that,” Rittenour said. “If they have ideas, people have ideas about what they’d like to see brewed, we welcome that for sure.”
Chestnut Brew Works makes the food choice easy for its customers, with only a few dishes. Each one is delicious.
“We have two different kinds of hummus. We have a black bean hummus, which is a little different, and we have a regular style hummus,” Rittenour explained. “We also have buffalo chicken dip, and then we serve house made pepperoni roll sandwiches and regular cheese sandwiches for the people who don’t eat meat.”
If you’d like to try Halleck Pale Ale, you can get it at several places that sell local brews. You can even take it home to enjoy.
“We do fill growlers on site and there are a few other places around town that fill growlers,” said Rittenour. “We’re considering hand bottling 22-ounce bomber bottles. Hopefully maybe by spring time we’ll have some of those 22-ounce bottles out.”
Chestnut Brew Works is located on Brockway Avenue in the South Park area of Morgantown. It’s open Wednesday through Friday 4-11 p.m. and Saturday Noon-11 p.m.