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Quarrier brew pub aims for April to open taps

Lawrence Pierce
George (left) and John Saville, sons of Taylor Books owner Ann Saville, check out the stainless steel fermentation and "bright" tanks awaiting final installation at Saville's brew pub, under construction along Quarrier Street.
Lawrence Pierce Ann Saville has her hands full these days, presiding over her bookstore and building a brew pub. The side wall of the dining area, behind the bar, will have eight windows offering patrons a view of the brewery.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ann Saville hopes she won't be an April fool this year.

She's targeting the first of April to open her long-awaited, still-unnamed brew pub in a storefront along Quarrier Street.

"We'd like to do it before, but we keep running into hiccups," Saville said Wednesday while on a site visit.

Curious pedestrians who peer through the picture windows can see the tanks -- five gleaming fermentation tanks and five "bright" or serving tanks -- awaiting final installation in the brewery room, and imagine the variety of ales and porters that soon will flow from the taps.

"Everywhere I go, people are asking about this," said George Saville, his mother's "number two" son (she has four). He's helping with engineering and finances. Two other sons also are involved, including John, the general contractor.

"John, he was up at The Greenbrier. Someone asked him when we're opening," Ann Saville said. "I was in the airport in Charlotte. Someone said, 'Oh, aren't you the one who's opening the brew pub?' People are excited."

George Saville oversaw the delivery of the 10 tanks, manufactured by a beer consultant in California. They barely cleared the wall opening, he said.

"They're so expensive, stainless steel. 'Don't scratch it.' They're 10-hectoliter tanks -- 1,000 liters. Everything in the beer business is in liters or barrels."

The brewery has a sunken floor to provide enough ceiling height -- 14 feet -- for the mash tank, he said.

Although the tanks are impressive, much of the equipment has yet to arrive. "We haven't got the beer-making outfit, the high-efficiency beer-making outfit. We still need the boiler and the mill. But things are taking shape."

Following architect David Marshall's design, carpenters have framed the interior walls. Ann Saville pointed out the mechanical area, mill room, kitchen, bathrooms and dining area.

A window wall behind the bar will give patrons a birds-eye view of the brewery operation. "Of course our brewers say, 'No, no, you don't want to see us work,'" George Saville said. Tours are planned so folks can learn more about the process.

The operation is designed to brew five beers at a time, with the final tanks lined up along the wall behind the bar.

"It will run straight from the bright tanks to the tap, so it will be very fresh," Ann Saville said. "Some of our beers will be kegged off, so we'll have 10 or 11 of our beers on tap at any time."

While her sons build out the brewpub, Saville has been hiring staff. Chef Gary Needham, who retired from the Bluegrass Kitchen, will serve as executive chef, overseeing kitchen operations, she said.

George and David Saville (yet another son) attended brewing school in Chicago, but Ryan Heasting, formerly of Pies & Pints on Capitol Street, will be the head brewer, Saville said.

Paul Farnsworth, a beer consultant and brewmaster from California, will oversee the startup.

"He'll be coming out here, actually brewing on this equipment," George Saville said. "It's very high tech, state of the art, but it's not like putting a pot on the stove in your home kitchen."

Once it opens, the brew pub will join a select club in West Virginia, unlike say California or Washington, where they're common.

"There are two in Morgantown, two in Tucker County, Parkersburg, Fairmont and Fayetteville. There's seven," Ann Saville said. "This will be the eighth."

Reach Jim Balow at balow@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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