the surrounding community is notable.
In addition to its brewing capabilities,
O’Connor’s tasting space — which can fit
about 700 people — is a regular hotspot
for local events and weddings.
O’Connor Brewing, which employs about
35, also sticks with what it’s best at: ales.
In addition to its flagship brews, O’Connor
makes a variety of seasonal flavors and
other limited edition beers.
The company also isn’t afraid to play
around with offbeat ingredients. One of
their most popular beers is an agave IPA
that encapsulates O’Connor's approach to
finding the right flavor in a beer.
“It should always have a balance
between sweet and sour,” O’Connor said.
The weirdest ingredient he’s ever tried?
A Carolina Reaper pepper. It didn’t go very
“We’ll never use those peppers again,”
O’Connor admitted with a laugh. “It was
way too hot.”
About three hours away from O’Connor
and in the central part of the state, Pale
Fire Brewery has taken its own unique
approach, as well.
“I think the world was crying out for a
Russian literature-themed brewery,” Tim
Brady, the founder and general manager of
Pale Fire, joked.
He may have been sarcastic, but the
formula seems to be working. Its urban
space in Harrisonburg has become a
popular neighborhood hangout, with a
cozy couch, fireplace and walls lined with
All of Pale Fire’s brews take names
related to music and/or literature. They
taste pretty great, too. In 2015, an industry
publication named Pale Fire one of the best
new breweries in the country. The company
has also won medals for two of its beers at
the World Beer Cup.
Pale Fire’s capacity is about 7,000
kegs per year, and the company employs
13. Even though it is one of the newer
breweries in the state, Pale Fire has
already made its mark on the scene
and is continuing to work on increasing