Founded in 1785 by Zackquill Morgan, the town that bears his name is best known as the home of West Virginia University and in so many ways it fits the bill of an American college town down to a tee. Nestled in the heart of the Appalachian range and situated along the Monongahela River, Morgantown is quaint in every sense of the word.
But make no mistake, Morgantown has a vibrant cultural scene and offers world-class dining options for both locals and visitors to enjoy, including some of the Mountain State’s finest breweries. Here are the 7 best breweries in and around Morgantown, West Virginia.
- Big Timber Brewing Company
- Chestnut Brew Works
- High Ground Brewing
- Morgantown Brewing Company
- Mountain State Brewing Company
- Screech Owl Brewing
- Short Story Brewing
Big Timber Brewing Company
While Morgantown has a handful of solid craft brewery options to choose from, it’s a small college town with a population of around 30,000 residents, so it may be necessary to travel outside Morgantown to experience more of what the region’s craft beer scene has to offer. Among the breweries that are worth making the drive for, Big Timber Brewing Company is at the top of the list.
One of the most popular beers at Big Timber Brewing Company (roughly an hour and a half south of Morgantown by car) is the Double Bit IPA (ABV 8.0%, IBU 77), a robust Imperial IPA with big fruity flavor, hoppy notes with just the right amount of bitterness, and a wonderful amber pour with enough head to properly fill a glass.
Chestnut Brew Works
The fact that Chestnut Brew Works is considered one of Morgantown’s premier breweries should come as no surprise. After all, its founder and head brewer Bill Rittenour earned his Master’s degree at nearby West Virginia University studying chestnut trees (hence the brewery’s name) and has a Ph.D. in Fungal Biology with an emphasis on biochemistry and fungal physiology.
This is all to say that Bill knows a thing or two about brewer’s yeast and the magic that can happen when things go right. One of the most popular selections at Chestnut Brew Works is the Halleck Pale Ale (ABV 6.0%), a hop-forward beer that gets its smooth, earthy flavor from English barley and nice, citrusy notes from American hops.
High Ground Brewing
Roughly an hour’s drive east of Morgantown is the town of Terra Alta, home to High Ground Brewing and its wildly popular beer menu. Compared to other breweries, High Ground Brewing is a no-frills operation with limited food offerings from their small kitchen (there is a regular stream of food trucks nearby). But the main draw here is the beer and there are plenty of can’t-miss options to choose from.
A local favorite is the Heavy Handed IPA (ABV 10%, IBU 41), a double New England imperial IPA brewed from Citra, Mosaic, Idaho Gem, and Chinook hops, poured with a deep amber color, and presenting clean hop forward flavor and a smooth finish.
Morgantown Brewing Company
Morgantown Brewing Company is the town’s oldest craft brewery and it sets a high bar for others to follow. While their beer list may not be as extensive as other breweries, what they do they do very well. Another thing they do well at Morgantown Brewing Company is preparing scratch-made burgers that are nearly as famous as their beer.
Whether you are in town to catch a Mountaineer football game or to explore the historic waterfront district, be sure to stop by Morgantown Brewing Company and try their Alpha Blonde (ABV 5.1%, IBU 17), an American Blonde Ale with a slightly sweet, honey-like flavor with a light body and crisp finish.
Mountain State Brewing Company
With a respectful nod to West Virginia’s nickname, Mountain State Brewing Company also does right by craft beer enthusiasts. Located along the banks of the Monongahela River, this brewery is a favorite among locals and visitors for its inviting atmosphere, an extensive menu of gastropub fare (word on the street is that the flatbreads are the way to go), and, of course, the beer.
Speaking of which, perhaps nothing captures the essence of this establishment better than its Miner’s Daughter Oatmeal Stout (ABV 5.3%), a creamy, smooth, and rich stout beer with a dark hue, subtle tobacco notes, and a surprisingly light body that makes ordering another round a no-brainer.
Screech Owl Brewing
This brewery with the interesting name is only half an hour’s drive due east from Morgantown and its diverse selection of small-batch craft beers is well worth the trip. Operated by a local husband and wife team, Screech Owl Brewing may be a small operation but they have built a fiercely loyal (and by all accounts, rapidly growing) following throughout the area.
The Bold Blonde Ale (ABV 6.1%) is the top seller at Screech Owl Brewing but if you’re looking for something that is more off the beaten path, then go for the Buckwheat Honey Porter (ABV 4.5%), a dark brew that combines the unlikely duo of honey and buckwheat to produce a mellow, slightly sweet beer that is sure to please even the most old-school of beer drinkers.
Short Story Brewing
If you’re looking for craft beer outside of Morgantown, then just hop on Highway 19 and head south to nearby Rivesville where you’ll find Short Story Brewing. With the motto “every beer tells a story”, this brewery’s plot line may still be developing but the reviews are in, and Short Story Brewing is a hit with locals and travelers alike.
One title that you won’t be able to put down until it’s finished is Fell Asleep Like This (ABV 11%), an imperial stout with a rich medley of flavors including dark-roasted coffee, molasses, and bourbon. Spicy, earthy, and slightly sweet, this is one craft beer that promises a happy ending for those who give it a try.