Coelacanth Brewing Co. - They're 'Just Different'
“Ugly Fish. Beautiful Beer.” Tucked away in Ghent, the Coelacanth Brewing Company offers a new take on beer. The focus on flavor and local ingredients provide a unique experience to the rapidly growing craft beer scene. After taking a sip, it’s obvious that owner Kevin Erskine is doing something right.
Erskine opened the doors on Dec. 10, 2015. The namesake fish, pronounced (See-luh-canth), once believed to be extinct, provided Erskine with a cool story and logo.
“It reminds me that there are things out there that have not been discovered,” Erskine said.
Coelacanth is only one of 12 breweries in Virginia to be certified green by the Department of Environmental Quality.
“It requires a commitment to doing things in an environmentally sound manner, which had been my plan from the beginning,” Erskine said. Recycling, treating water properly, eliminating waste and having a small carbon footprint works towards being green.
Coelacanth also likes to use local ingredients as much as possible. Local blackberries, strawberries and rosemary are used in the beers.
“We are working with the Virginia Department of Agriculture to identify local growers of grains also,” Erskine said.
Erskine emphasized the importance of supporting local businesses and artists. He spoke of T-shirt Thursdays, where discounts are given on beer purchases to customers who wear a T-shirt from a local business or brewery. Each month a local artist puts up their work at the brewery.
The local support also extends to food. Food trucks are not the only way to eat at Coelacanth. Restaurants and chefs are invited to do pop-ups.
“We think beer goes well with food, so by having a wide variety of pop-ups and food trucks, we get to highlight that,” Erskine said.
On Nov. 18, Chef J Ponder was showcased in a pop-up. The menu included crab mac and cheese, Maryland style crab fries and his signature sweet & heat wings.
The logo “Just Different” is also part of Coelacanth. When asked, Erskine said, “We don’t want to follow trends, we try to look ahead.” By using unique ingredients and diverse aging techniques, Coelacanth delivers on full flavor, well-balanced beers.
The Coelia, an American pale wheat ale, uses lemon and rosemary to provide a light and refreshing brew. The Passionfruit Gose sour beer gives only a slight tartness with sweet notes of the passionfruit.
The Mermaid Kiss is truly uncommon. The rosemary lemon wheat ale is aged in a Mermaid Winery Pinot Noir cask for 7 months. The result is a beer that drinks like a wine and highlights the citrus notes.
If you think you don’t like dark beers, try the Kopimanis latte stout. The name translates to “sweet coffee.” The Sumatra coffee beans add a slight sweetness to the stout and easy drinkability.
Another fun beer to try is the Bramble Berliner Weiss. The local blackberries used turn the beer a light purple. The sour beer is tame in the acidity allowing a smooth, refreshing drink.
The atmosphere is also distinctive. Dark wood picnic tables in the center of the room encourage communal seating. Wooden benches with orange and black metal stools line the walls. The front showcases large, glass garage doors. The brewing room can be seen behind the bar. A wide range of customers highlights the family-friendly vibe.
To keep up with events and new beer releases check out their website or follow them on Facebook.