CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Brian Arnett clearly recalls craving a beer on a 6th grade camping trip. He didn't get one, but at age 37, he's had a few since then.
Arnett is co-founder along with his step-brother, Willie Lehmann, of http://mountainstatebrewing.com"> Mountain State Brewing Co., a brewpub and microbrewery based out of Thomas, W.Va., with locations in Morgantown and Deep Creek Lake, Md.
"A lot of people when they first taste beer they don't like it. That wasn't me," said Arnett, who founded Mountain State with Lehmann in 2005.
They'll be bringing their brew to the Greenbrier as part of the resort's Discovery Series "Brews and Blues Weekend" from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, celebrating artisanal breweries and blues music. Other breweries represented include Bridge Brew Works based in Fayetteville, Morgantown Brewing Company in Morgantown and Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Va.
"Most people are more accustomed to a wine and food pairing," Greenbrier President Jeff Kmiec said. "We're working closely with these four microbreweries to come up with food and beer pairings and mixing in some really memorable blues act through the course of the weekend."
"It's a little bit non-traditional for us to feature beer and food pairings -- and we're devoting an entire weekend to both the blues and the brews which is something new for the Greenbrier," Kmiec said.
The weekend begins with Brews and Blues Reception in the Crystal Room with favorite beers on tap and "The Best of the Blues" performed by the Adrian Duke Project.
Mountain State Brewing Co., will host a BBQ-inspired meal with beer pairings.
Charles Rick of Blue Mountain Brewery will take guests through the history of American beer from its early beginnings, Prohibition, the Volstead Act and the current craft beer renaissance.
Bridge Brew Works founders Ken Linch and Nathan Herrold will discuss making quality brews at home and how they transitioned to their own micro-brewery.
Home brewing was the seed for Mountain State Brewing Co., Arnett said. His dad had dabbled in home brewing when Arnett was a kid. "My dad had books from the '70s on home brewing beer and I kind of pieced together his equipment."
In those early days, he used what he could find including packets of Fleischmann's Yeast for the fermentation. "It was horrible. But it worked," Arnett said.