• Steven Keith

New Clendenin Brewing Co. opens this weekend

The Kanawha Valley gets it second new brewery in as many months when Clendenin Brewing Co. officially opens its door this weekend.

The rustic taproom (with games!) at Clendenin Brewing Co.
The rustic taproom (with games!) at Clendenin Brewing Co.

The new venture – built inside the stately former Farmer & Citizens State Bank building on Main Street in Clendenin – is the latest by entrepreneurs Matt and Nikki Holbert, the owners of Charleston’s Bricks & Barrels and Axes & Ales.


Clendenin Mayor Kay Summers will be on hand at 11 a.m. this Saturday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the brewery’s grand opening, followed by light food and drink specials throughout the day in a rustic, casual taproom offering an eclectic blend of décor, seating and games to while away the day.


The brewery is in the old Farmer & Citizens State Bank
The brewery is in the old Farmer & Citizens State Bank

Inside the taproom, guests will get a birds-eye view of the adjoining brewery space, where they can often see the brewer in action making new batches to fill the taps. Other locally made beer will be available for purchase during Saturday’s grand opening as well.


The new brewery is another milestone in the revitalization of Clendenin, which has seen a growth in both tourism and recreational activities over the past few years. Kayakers, hikers and bikers can pop in for food and local craft beer after a day on the river and rail trail, making for a nice day-trip from Charleston and nearby areas.


The Holberts are also looking for historic artifacts and such to decorate the place, so if you have (or know about) any old memorabilia from spots like Farmers & Citizens State Bank, Elk Refinery, the old Union Carbide, Big Sandy High School, Clendenin High School or anything local to the area, they’d love to chat with you about displaying them.


  • IF YOU GO: Clendenin Brewing Co. at 2 Main St. in Clendenin, will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit the brewery’s Facebook page.

• • •

That happy opening news, however, is followed by a bit of sad closing news. Sort of.

Gourmet Fast announced on its Facebook page this past weekend that it is permanently closing its current restaurant to the dining public and will instead focus on its growing catering business.


More games at Clendenin Brewing Co.
More games at Clendenin Brewing Co.

Located on Ruffner Avenue on Charleston’s East End, Gourmet Fast led by Chef Anthony Wilkins has built quite a following of fans for its soulful Southern cooking, which I can attest is DE-LISH!


However, they do tease a new location in the future.


“Gourmet Fast will be opening a full-size eat-in restaurant at a new location in the near future,” the post said.


“As much as we enjoy you guys, this is something that needs to be done so we can focus our time on caterings.”


• • •


I had a great time helping judge this year’s red-hot “Rolls on the River” pepperoni roll festival, although it was more the scorching weather than spicy pepperoni that brought the heat this year.


Rolls on the River pepperoni rolls
Rolls on the River pepperoni rolls

While guests strolled Kanawha Boulevard sampling pepperoni rolls and craft beer this past Thursday evening, fellow judges Candace Nelson, Jeff Shirley and Don Wilson were hard at “work” with me, all of us blind-critiquing nine different rolls entered in this year’s competition.


After tasting them all – then retasting again to make sure – I divided the nine into three different groups. There were three I loved, two that were pretty good and four I easily nudged to the bottom.


After the names of each entry were revealed, I learned my favorites, in order, belonged to Sweet Mama’s bakery in Hurricane, the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston (shocker!) and Legacy Foods artisan bakery from Indore in Clay County. After that, both Mea Cuppa and D.P. Dough had notable contenders on my scorecard.


Others in the hunt were from The Pitch, Gritt’s Farm, Mardi Gras Casino & Resort and Mountain Juice with a vegan entry.


At the end of the day, Sweet Mama’s delicious cinnamon roll-looking pepperoni roll took home the Judge’s Award, with Legacy Foods claiming People’s Choice. Both were legit good!


The annual event is organized by Charleston Montessori to benefit the school’s programs.


• • •


After reading last week’s memories about the old Kourey’s Restaurant & Sweet Shop leading up to this summer’s Charleston High School All-Class Reunion, reader Richard Boyd reached out with one of his own that gave me a chuckle.


The new Clendenin Brewing Co. cream ale
The new Clendenin Brewing Co. cream ale

“Dear Food Guy, I certainly remember eating at Kourey’s, and also at The Coffee Shop, which was on the same block. I don’t think I ever had the meatloaf, however I do remember ordering fish and asking the waitress for lemon. She looked at me like I was from outer space, and I heard her telling Louis (the owner): This kid wants lemon to put on his fish! Then I heard Louis patiently tell her that lots of people do that.”


On a related note, when the newspaper printed the recipe I shared for Kourey’s Individual Meatloaf “Footballs” last week, it inadvertently ran the ingredients in one single list rather than in the three individual groupings called for in the instructions.


I heard from several readers asking for clarification, so here it is again.


RECIPE


Individual Meatloaf “Footballs” from Kourey’s Restaurant


Group 1:

2 lbs. ground beef

1 cup oats

6 saltine crackers, crumbled (or 1/3 cup)

½ green pepper, finely chopped (or ½ cup)

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. onion powder (or 1 small onion, finely chopped)

salt and pepper, to taste


Group 2:

8 oz. tomato sauce

1 egg (or 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with 3 Tbsp. water)

½ cup ketchup


Group 3:

½ cup ketchup

4 Tbsp. honey or molasses

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first group of ingredients together in a large bowl.

  2. Mix second group of ingredients together in a small bowl, then mix well into the meat mixture until combined.

  3. Using a small (Corelle size) coffee cup, form small individual loaves and place in a greased baking pan or dish.

  4. Mix third group of ingredients in a small bowl and brush or pour over loaves.

  5. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes until tops start to brown.



• • •


Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at wvfoodguy@aol.com.

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