July 6, 2020

Abolitionist Ale Works

by Felicia Cheney

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By Valerie Bruno / Originally Crafted Events

Abolitionist Ale Works
129 W Washington St. Charles Town, WV 
West by Quad, Wine Barrel Aged Dark Ale 9.5%

The Abolitionist Ale works describes their West by Quad, Belgian strong dark ale in the simplest way, “A Dark Strong Ale aged in a wine barrel.” Simple, sweet and to the point. 

That’s just what it was, simple, delicious and something a little different. This wine barreled dark ale poured smooth with an extremely dark hue and a very thin white cap which dissipated quickly. It had a rich aroma, very little to no carbonation and a satisfying mouthful. With a sweeter after taste, West by Quad definitely leaves you satisfied and if you can handle the 9.5% abv, you may just want one more. 

What is an Abolitionist you ask? “a person who favors the abolition of a practice or institution, especially capital punishment or (formerly) slavery.”

While on my travels to Virginia and West Virginia, I was able to stop at a few breweries; the Abolitionist Ale Works being one of them! Among many unique and historical facts about this brewery, the owners of the Abolitionist also host a few local Airbnb’s; one of which I coincidentally stayed at. 

This quaint Charles Town, WV brewery is definitely one you’ll want to check out if you are ever in the area. The old-fashioned charm of not only the town but the brewery was a little unexpected and a great surprise, not to mention the people were extremely friendly. The young lady working was helpful, knowledgeable and patient when helping me pick some delicious beers. I was able to pick up an awesome tulip glass with the saying “West Funkin Virginia” on it and the girl was able to snag me some awesome stickers and magnets; always a plus when you can snag some extra swag. The four pack I ended up choosing was; Wild Strawberry Lavender, Dirty Beard, Harpers Berry Sour and of course, West by Quad. They were all delicious. Although I was not able to go into the brewery during my visit, due to social distancing orders, their curb side pick-up was quick and easy; much like my Airbnb visit.

The private basement studio Airbnb I ended up spontaneously booking, hosted by “Abolitionist Ales Works” was beautiful, clean and overall a great experience. The private entrance was convenient and being able to use the fire pit out back was a great bonus. The woman who helps take care of the property was very friendly and accommodating when it came to me showing up a bit early. Impulsively choosing this Airbnb, it was brought to my attention after arriving that it was actually owned by the same person who owns the brewery, dah, it’s hosted by the Abolitionist Ale Works; it went over my head, haha. 

“We wanted Abolitionist Ale Works to be a destination stop to go along with all of the other great tourist attractions that our county has to offer, so when we were able to secure this historic building in Downtown Charles Town that featured 5 apartments, we wanted to convert the historic apartments into vacation rentals to give visitors a convenient way to visit the brewery and be close to the many historic destinations and outdoor adventure options.”

This town has deep roots when it comes to the history of abolitionists. Charles Town’s courthouse is famous for holding two treason trials; one of which was for John Brown, “perhaps the nation’s most famous abolitionist…who led a slave revolt in Harpers Ferry.” From this rich history, the Abolitionist Ale Works Brewery was born. “Our area is steeped in the history of the civil war and the abolitionist movement and we wanted to pay homage to that in the name of our brewery.” The Abolitionist’s team continuously strives to bring their loyal followers “fun, flavorful and unique beers for every palate… [and they] … try to have fun with beer, [they] are constantly creating new beers based on flavors that work well together.” Specializing in barrel aged beers; Sour Ales, Wild Ales, creative IPA’s and tasty strong ales there is certainly a beer that will satisfy anyone’s palate. 

The overall experience, from the Abolitionist Airbnb stay to the brewery’s curb side pick-up, was truly a unique and fun luxury. Coronavirus aside, I do not travel to many new places, so this was definitely a treat and exclusive experience. Since the portion of the trip was as coincidentally focused around this one brewery it was cool to have an experience that was all encompassing. I am unquestionably looking forward to making another trip down, however, this time, I’ll be sitting at the bar having a brew on tap! Would highly recommend stopping by or even plan a trip to explore the area, it is worth the visit.