Nano-Brewery Big Lick Brewing Co. Opening in Roanoke

Big Lick Brewing LocationA new craft brewery is getting set to open in downtown Roanoke, adding to the rapidly growing local beer options in the Roanoke Region. 

The new Big Lick Brewing Company may be Brian Summerson’s first foray into commercial brewing, but he knows something about the art of creating craft beer. Summerson is the former president of the Star City Brewers Guild, a group of region homebrewers and the only club officially recognized by the American Homebrewers Association. He is not only the president, he is also a member, winning the guild’s brewer of the year award four times. 

With such success, he decided it was time to start selling his award winning beer, instead of giving it away. Summerson began renovations on a storefront at 135 Salem Ave., and is in the process of putting together the finishing touches. Along with interior renovations that include the creation of a custom bar, a loading dock on the back of the location was demolished to make way for patio seating. Summerson is also using materials found during the demolition, such as railroad and trolley tracks, as parts of the renovated interior, giving the space a rustic look.

The tasting room will seat about 50 people, who will be able to fill a growler or have a pint on premises. As of now, Summerson says he has no plans to mass-produce, bottle, or distribute his beers, so the tasting room will be the only place to sample the four beers currently being brewed. 

While there is no definite opening date – Summerson is awaiting license approval from state and local entities – Big Lick will most likely be open later in the summer, possibly as soon as July. In the meantime, Big Lick has a website, and a Facebook page with regular updates on the progress of the brewery.  

When it opens, Big Lick will become the eighth brewery operating in the immediate Roanoke Region, joining Roanoke Railhouse Brewery, Parkway Brewing Company, Sunken City Brewing Company, Chaos Mountain Brewing, Flying Mouse Brewery, Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers, and Callaway Brewing Company. Six additional craft breweries operate within an hour’s drive: Bull & Bones, River Company Brewery, Jefferson Street Brewery, Apocalypse Ale Works, Devils Backbone Outpost, and Blue Lab Brewery. 
Stay tuned for more updates on Big Lick Brewing Co.

611 Bicycle Co. Goes Local With Hometown Bikes Line

Six-Eleven Hometown Mfg.The Roanoke Region’s Six-Eleven Bicycle Co. is one of only about 150 custom, hand-made bike makers in the world so it’s no surprise the bikes coming out of the shop carry a heavy price tag. Each bike is made to order, and can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000. That price point is poised to drop, however, with the launch of a brand new line of bikes under the label, Hometown Bikes.

The name is not a coincidence. Six-Eleven owner and founder Aaron Dykstra wants his custom frames to be more accessible to riders everywhere, but especially in his hometown of Roanoke. 

“I want this to be more local,” he told the Roanoke Times. “I want this to be something quality they can get that’s not Taiwanese, but from down the street.”

Two years in the making, the new business plan will make it easier for Six-Eleven to produce more bikes in a shorter time, lowering the price for the average consumer. Dykstra says he will still make each steel frame by hand, but will design one frame and then reproduce multiple copies from that design. The frames will retail for about $1,000 each, significantly lower than the made-to-order variety.

The plan is to have the new line of frames sell in local bike shops to get more Roanoke riders on Six-Elevens. With the robust, and growing, cycling scene in the Roanoke Region, the market for locally-made bike frames is certainly on the rise. 

For more information, check out the article in the Roanoke Times >>>

Julia Boas Joins Roanoke Outside

Julia BoasJulia Boas has joined Roanoke Outside as events manager. She will handle logistics and planning for brand building events such as the Blue Ridge Marathon, Radical Reels Film Festival, and GO Outside Festival. She will also represent Roanoke at events regionally and nationally, promoting the city as an outdoor tourism destination.
Julia has worked in the outdoor industry for almost a decade with experience guiding adventure excursions, planning outdoor related events, promoting, management and customer service.

She comes to the partnership from Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing where she served, most recently, as the director of operations. She spent most of her years there as the Director of Programs, focusing on marketing, group coordination and activity logistics.

Julia moved to the region nine years ago after graduating from The University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism and public relations.

Region’s Food Culture Featured in Destinations Travel Magazine

The Roanoke Region was featured in the May issue of Destinations Travel Magazine in a story titled, “In Search of Stars of the Star City.” Destinations Travel Magazine covers travel destinations, getaways, and recreation around the world featuring photo-centric stories and essays. 

Author Darlene Perrone traveled to Roanoke to take a culinary trek with Roanoke Food Tours, a walking tour of food artisans around the city. Stops on the tour featured in the story include Cedars Lebanese Restaurant, Little Green Hive, Texas Tavern, the City Market, and First & Sixth, among others. 

Although the culinary arts was the main focus of the trip, Perrone also found time to visit, and write about, the Mill Mountain Zoo, Hotel Roanoke, the region’s railroad heritage and the Mill Mountain Star. The article paints a lovely picture of region as both a culinary and cultural destination complete with great photos showcasing the sites.

Here is an excerpt: 

“Our food tour continued as we wove our way through the streets of historic downtown. As we did, we passed bistros, restaurants, cafes…it was a food Mecca.

Shortly after starting on this Historic Downtown Food and Cultural Tour, I decided Roanoke Food Tours was another of Star City’s rising stars.

Our tour guide, Larry, himself, skillfully wove the history, culture, and the food of this city in an adventure. There was no shortage of great food – and fun – on this tour.”

Read the full article and see the photos >>>