Sunday, September 29, 2019

Soul Fire ready to bring robust offerings to Roanoke

Soul Fire, Roanoke's first brewery, anchors the city's Oak. St. Food & Brew
brewery and food hall concept (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

The first official brew day is in the books at Soul Fire Brewing Co. of Roanoke, as the company starts to build inventory ahead of a planned grand opening event on Saturday, October 19.

Aaron Bennett and James Brown form the team behind Soul Fire, the only known brewing operation to exist in Roanoke. The brewery is part of a food hall concept called Oak St. Food & Brew, located in the city at 206 N. Oak St.

Within the confines of that venture, Soul Fire will be joined by a variety of food providers, with barbecue, burgers, fish & chips, and deli sandwiches all set to be on the menu. And, as is the case with similar setups elsewhere, the property is licensed as a whole to allow patrons to enjoy a beer wherever they like - whether that be on the patio, in the food court, or while sitting at the bar in the taproom.

Speaking of the taproom, Soul Fire has 20 taps it will work to stock with house brews crafted by head brewer Eric Hilliard (Audacity Brew House, Denton County Brewing Co.). Guest beers will fill a number of slots to start, but most will be phased out as production picks up over time.

On that, Bennett offered the following perspective, "We'll have other options, but when I go to other breweries, I want to drink that brewery's beer, so I hope people come here because they want to drink Soul Fire beer."

Soul Fire's space inside Oak St. Food & Brew consists of 3100 square feet. The brewery's taproom adjoins a patio out
front, with a production area housing a 15-barrel brewhouse set up in the back (Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

As for how they'll approach their product and style mix, Soul Fire's founders intend to draw inspiration from a popular Austin brewpub.

"We want to model our selection like that of the original Pinthouse Pizza on Burnet Rd. in Austin," says Bennett. "They have four beers that are always available, but everything else rotates. Plus, we like IPAs and stouts - styles Pinthouse is known for, so we'll have those types of beer tapped on a regular basis."

True to that statement, Soul Fire featured a SMaSH IPA and a New England-style IPA during a soft opening this weekend. Similar offerings are expected to be part of the brewery's initial lineup, along with a double IPA with West Coast influence making an appearance as well.

Beyond those, a Belgian witbier will add variety at the outset, while a coffee stout targeting the brewery's nitro tap is also in the works. Then further out, look for Soul Fire to roll out barrel-aged brews, as a run of spent barrels is already on the way.

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