Another brewery is coming to Scott’s Addition.
The Veil Brewing Co. has signed a lease for the 11,000-square-foot building at 1301 Roseneath Road, just north of West Broad Street. The building most recently was used as Unity Baptist Church.
Co-owners Dustin Durrance, Dave Michelow and Matt Tarpey anticipate opening the brewery by November.
They have ordered brewing equipment and applied for approval from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
They also have lined up financing. Between Durrance and Michelow, they raised the necessary capital and brought on five silent partners in just a week.
“We want to bring something unique to Virginia,” Durrance said, “and the key for us is getting Matt’s talents.”
The focus of the brewery, they said, is Tarpey, who is the head brewer.
“I would never have had the idea to start a brewery if it weren’t for Matt,” said Durrance, who initially met Tarpey through Richmond musician and beer aficionado Dave Witte. “Matt is the driving force behind this whole thing.”
When Durrance learned that Tarpey and his wife, Michelle, needed to return to Virginia to be closer to her parents, the idea of a brewery began to percolate. They had been living in Vermont.
“I’d never had any interest in starting my own brewery,” Tarpey admits. “I’d been involved with startups and brewers that were expanding, and I’d watch them chain smoking and pulling their hair out. … I wanted to enjoy my life and sleep well at night.”
If beer names “Heady Topper” or “Cantillon” make you salivate, you will appreciate the beer program planned for The Veil Brewing: Tarpey’s résumé sparkles with hop and sour credentials.
After home brewing, Tarpey began volunteering in 2010 at O’Connor Brewing in Norfolk, where he was later hired as a shift brewer.
As he began itching to learn more, he heard of an opening as assistant brewer at The Portsmouth Brewery in New Hampshire, best known for Kate the Great Russian imperial stout. There, Tarpey was able to brew, learn and create some of his own recipes, including the popular White Lightning white IPA.
His next move took him to The Alchemist in Vermont, famed for Heady Topper imperial IPA. Simultaneously, he volunteered at rural, remote and renowned Hill Farmstead, also in Vermont, in order to learn even more about brewing. Soon, he was hired as assistant brewer at Hill Farmstead.
While in Vermont, Tarpey also began an ongoing, occasional apprenticeship with Jean Van Roy at Cantillon in Brussels. The traditional Belgian family brewery creates and blends some of the world’s best lambics, spontaneously fermented beers.
“I enjoyed working with all of those (New England) breweries,” Tarpey said, but he welcomes the opportunity to move back to Virginia and to learn and grow in his own brewery.
“No matter how long I’ve been brewing, I will always consider myself a student. I never call myself a ‘brewmaster.’ … I always want to learn; I always want to grow.”
At The Veil Brewing, Tarpey said he will focus first on beers that are hop forward — citrus and juicy, but not necessarily bitter — beers that appeal even to those who do not like IPAs.
He plans to brew high-gravity, barrel-aged beers; big imperial stouts; hoppy and low-ABV pilsners; and possibly some quicker-fermenting kettle-sour gose beers.
“We’ll have beers that are unique and flavorful, with a lot of character,” Tarpey said.
In addition to the 15-barrel, three-vessel brew system, brewery production facilities also will accommodate Tarpey’s sour program. The roof will host a coolship — an open tank that captures wild yeasts from the air — for spontaneous fermentation.
“The beer is going to have its own character,” Durrance said.
Tarpey added, “It will be a Richmond beer, fermented with wild yeast from the Richmond air.”
They will lease a separate building off-site, a “funky” location, for barrel storage, blending and packaging, to avoid cross-contamination of the wild, funky yeasts and their standard beers.
Even the brewery name pays homage to spontaneous fermentation: Italian natural wine makers call the protein-based membrane that forms on souring beer “the veil.”
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