By Tim McCoy
If you think about it, craft beer and music have a lot in common. At their core, both are works of art. Similar to a musician, a craft beer brewer starts with a handful of simple ingredients, blends in plenty of skill and passion, all to ultimately form a unique concoction that brings others joy. It’s one of the reasons the two make the perfect pairing.
Andy Bishop, one of three owners of Twin Creeks Brewing, is passionate about that pairing, and its at the core of Roanoke County’s first brewery. Twin Creeks Brewing opened its doors in November 2016, and has made steady progress to become a destination for both delicious craft beer, and excellent original music in downtown Vinton. Bishop, a musician himself, recognizes the importance of making the brewery a destination where people can feel comfortable to visit.
“A brewery is not a bar, and a bar is not a brewery. A brewery is a social gathering place. A brewery is a place for family and friends to come together and share an experience, and music is an integral part of it.” Bishop shared in a recent interview.
Twin Creeks is most definitely a comfortable venue, with a large open table area, some inviting couches, and a long bar adjacent to the brewing area. The setting is completed by an ample-sized stage that sits right next to the entrance where the band can play, but not overpower the guests. Couple this with delicious, innovative beers, and the rotation of various food trucks, and you have a recipe for a unique experience every time you visit.
Bishop has spent considerable time making sure the sound set-up is conducive to creating a great listening experience for his guests. The stage, with it dock-like theme, along with strategically placed acoustic foam, has created a sound experience that both guests and musicians have complimented. Bishop also brings his obsessive eye to the selection of bands he has play the room.
“I spend a lot of time listening to the bands we invite to play. Even if it is something I don’t immediately warm to, I will listen repeatedly to see if it is an artist my guests will enjoy.”
Bishop books a variety of bands to play “The Dock”. Twin Creeks hosts live music every Saturday night, most Friday nights, and now every other Thursday with a session called “Good Times Thursday” where Shannon Wheeler, fiddler for local band, Mason Creek, leads a jam session.
The story of the creation of the brewery is one worth telling, as it displays the synthesis of Bishop’s passions for quality beer, repeatable processes (he is an engineer after all), and his desire to create community.
“Our company motto: Good equipment, good process, good ingredients, make great craft beer.”
The brewery was originally conceived by Bishop, his friend Barry Robertson (also an engineer), and Bishop’s brother Jason, (the business brain, and master brew chef dubbed “Heisenberg”), in a small home brew venture they called, “Project Aleworks”. Aleworks was, and still is, a test bed for new brews that allow the trio to practice their craft and develop the unique tastes they couldn’t find in other beers. As their skill set grew, and they decided to take the leap into a full-scale brewery, they found common cause with the town of Vinton which saw the value of developing a local brewery.
“The Town of Vinton has been like an older brother looking out for us and always asking us, ‘What do you need?’”
With the construction of 110 apartment spaces, and the recent opening of the Star City Playhouse, the town planners recognized that the Roanoke area is on the cusp of becoming a destination for people who appreciate outdoor activity, comfortable living, and live music.
Bishop, and his partners, are committed to ensuring that Twin Creeks Brewing is an integral part of that development. They rotate a selection of 6-10 quality beers on tap, and strive to have one new beer per week. Likewise, with music, they work to bring strong local and national acts to perform on “The Dock” stage and are currently expanding the range of artists to include “Nashville Sessions,” which will feature artists from the Tennessee music mecca.
For more details on how these three friends came to bring their passion for craft beer and live music to Vinton, visit Twin Creeks Brewing Company website. Then, head on over, grab a pint, and experience the music and brewery for yourself. This Friday night it’s Josh Marlowe on the Dock, followed by Lee Crockett on Saturday. Cheers!