The founders of Brass Cannon Brewing started off as avid homebrewers. They got into the hobby to enjoy making good beer and sharing it with their friends. Those friends kept on asking for more and more until one night, while under the influence of that very same homebrew, they realized they might be on to something. A mountain of paperwork, many pilot batches and a lot of time later, Brass Cannon Brewing was born.
Founded in a warehouse complex in Toano, VA. Brass Cannon had small beginnings. With very little in the way of startup capital, we had to improvise.
We built everything we could by hand to save on expenses (sometimes pulling all nighters to get ready) and eventually began brewing on a 4 barrel (124 gallon) brewing rig that we had built ourselves using leftover parts from other industries.
This system, lovingly referred to as a "franken-brew" rig, was something that no one in their right minds would want to use, but fortunately we were all a little crazy.
Everything that could go wrong did, but learning to work and produce great beer on that system taught us things that we couldn't have learned anywhere else and helped us develop the recipes that have been tested and proven over the years.
Fermentation was performed in plastic tanks, in a room made of plyboard and sheet plastic. A window-style AC unit was used to keep the room cool during the summer, and a space heater kept it warm during the winter. Cellaring was done in the same type of tank, placed within our walk-in fridge and carbonation was done in a brite tank converted from an old pressure boiler. The brite tank has often been mistaken for a piece of Russian space technology.
This setup, though functional, was very labor intensive for the amount of beer that could be made at once. After constantly reworking the system and repeatedly reinventing the wheel, we were able to use this rig to create quality craft beer that we were proud to share.
The tasting room in Toano was small, but cozy. We served up pints and flights on a bar made out of used pallets and welcomed all who were looking for tasty brews. Toano is about 15 minutes out from Williamsburg, and just outside the population and tourist centers. Despite the distance, we still managed to fill up our tasting room with thirsty Toano and Lanexa locals and folks willing to drive the extra distance for good beer.
Eventually, we decided it was time to step up what we had to offer. We made plans to move into an as-of-yet unfinished building on Mooretown road, which is much closer to the center of Williamsburg, and expand our brewing equipment to handle a growing demand.
Because the building hadn't yet been finished, we were able to partially direct the design and construction to suit our needs.
(The original design included a dividing wall that would have run straight through the middle of the tasting room.)
The result was a purpose built home with a spacious tasting area that we were super excited to host thirsty beer drinkers in.
The Toano tasting room closed in April 2016 and we moved in to the brand new facility the following Summer.
View pictures of the Mooretown Rd construction
Today, we offer a wide variety of delicious craft beers in our tasting room and outdoor patio.
Although we are brewing at a grander scale than we were those years ago, we still love to homebrew and experiment with small batches for our popular langrage line.
Brass Cannon Brewing is proud to be a part of the growing Williamsburg area tasting scene and we are thrilled that we can bring our beery creations to all of you!