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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Callaway Brewing Company is focusing on producing ale
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Photo by Morris Stephenson: Sterling White, right, founder and owner of Callaway Brewing Company, stands with his longtime friend Kevin Burroughs in front of the large company logo.

Monday, June 2, 2014

By MORRIS STEPHENSON - Special to the News-Post

Micro-breweries are springing up across the nation and the ale-producing Callaway Brewing Company held an open house and "sampling" in the community Friday.

Sterling White, 28, founder and owner, is a 2004 graduate of Franklin County High School who earned a chemical engineering degree from Virginia Tech in 2009.

The gathering attracted more than 325 family members, friends and residents of the area. The all-woman band "Canned Biscuits" provided the music from a make-shift stage. The "Harwell Grice Band" and "Mavis and the Dawgs" also shared the musical spotlight.

Brewing ale is a part-time job for the two men involved. White works for a start-up company in Danville, while longtime friend Kevin Burroughs, also 28, is employed by NAPA.

The pair is currently waiting on the legal paperwork to be completed so Burroughs can head up the Green Creek Distributing Company.

White also has another responsibility in addition to his full and part-time jobs. He and his wife Katie, whom he met while at Virginia Tech, have a 4-month-old daughter, Ellie.

Callaway Brewing Company will sell its ale to potential businesses throughout the area in the large 22-ounce "bomber" bottles or in 8-gallon kegs. A label used on the bottles is in the process of being designed.

The center of attraction was the tasting booth where well-wishers and curiosity-seekers stood in line to taste 4 different types of ale produced by the company.

The percentage of alcohol in White's ales range between 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 percent.

White said he will focus on brewing three ales of the four available to guests Friday night.

Callaway Brewing Company will be producing 5 Mile Mountain Amber, with 4 1/2 percent alcohol; Eastern Divide Pale, ranked 5 percent alcohol; and Blackwater Porter, an ale that contains 6 1/2 percent alcohol. White said a fourth sample available was a "surprise, just a mix we added to the tasting," White said with a smile.

Behind his mother Betsy Sterling's house is a former 60 x 20-ft. garage building that houses everything needed for production, including plastic fermenting tanks and a refrigerated room for storing the product.

The wide door at the front is painted with the company's large black and white logo.

White said he began "fooling" with the art of brewing ale while in college. He gained additional knowledge on trips to Oregon.

White had headed west to visit his cousin, Matt Croxford, who was at the open house.

"All he wanted to do was visit the micro-breweries in our area and, believe me, we got a bunch," Croxford said.

On Sunday, the men attended the NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

White and Burroughs started cleaning out and getting the building ready to put their plan into operation in May 2013.

"We had to empty the building, clean and paint it before we could start making what we needed to hold supplies," White said.

They started experimenting making various types of ale once the garage was ready.

White had to clear three hurdles before he could go into business: get the okay from the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade (ATBB), the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) and finally the Virginia Department of Consumer Services.

White said that all beer is either an ale or lager, which is a crisp, easy to drink beer, such as Budweiser. "

They are basically brewed the same but it takes more time to produce lager," he said. "We started out small with four fermentation tanks using 10 different types of barley. Also used is a 55-gallon mash turn and a similar boil kettle. All of our supplies are stored in the building or in the refrigerated area where filled kegs are stored." The mash tun is filled with water and the desired type of barley is added. The contents are heated until the contents become a sugar liquid known as "wort."

The ingredients are put into the boil kettle and hops are added, which gives the contents it bitterness and aroma.

It is then boiled and quickly cooled and pumped into the fermenting containers. The ingredients are kept at a temperature of 60-65.

"We let it work for a week or it can take up to a month depending on the type of ale we're making," White said. "When this process is completed a person can drink it, but it's flat. We have to chill and carbonate it to get the final product and this takes up to a week."

White and Burroughs will continue to produce ale while they wait on the distributorship approval. With the growing popularity of ale and micro-brewed beer White hopes to find his niche with his trio of blends.

"Of course, we'll start out small to begin with," White said. "There are a lot of people out there who don't know about us yet."

Then there's a dream that one day both men can devote their full time to brewing ale in Callaway.

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