The Veil Brewing Company fires up its brewhouse and coolship in Richmond, Virginia

Published on March 12, 2016.

Last weekend, the ranks of U.S. breweries producing spontaneously fermented beers grew by one.

On Friday, March 4, The highly-anticipated The Veil Brewing Company of Richmond, Virginia, fired up its Premier Stainless Systems brewhouse, and its specially built, 15-barrel coolship.

The brewhouse and some of the fermenting vessels at The Veil Brewing Company.

The brewhouse and some of the fermenting vessels at The Veil Brewing Company.

The Veil Brewing Company is located at 1301 Roseneath Road, in the very popular Scott’s Addition neighborhood. Scott’s Addition is an old warehouse district where meaderies, cideries, breweries, and beer bars have opened in recent years, along with several upscale apartment complexes. The whole neighborhood is not more than a mile in length and width, making it ideally walkable for residents in this new center of artisanal alcohol production in Richmond.

The Maine-built, 15 barrel coolship fills with wort on March 5, 2016.

The Maine-built, 15 barrel coolship fills with wort on March 5, 2016.

At The Veil, The first three batches from of the 15-barrel system were all pumped to the coolship located in a special room on the brewery’s roof, and cooled overnight before being pumped into oak barrels at the brewery’s maturation facility, less than 2 miles from the brewery.

The front entrance to The Veil Brewing Company.

The front entrance to The Veil Brewing Company.

There should be close to 450 barrels at the maturation facility within a few years.

Brewer and co-founder Matt Tarpey looks on as his coolship fills with hot wort.

Brewer and co-founder Matt Tarpey looks on as his coolship fills with hot wort.

Veil brewer and co-founder Matt Tarpey is a veteran of The Alchemist brewery in Vermont, and was a direct assistant to brewer/owner Shaun Hill at Hill Farmstead Brewery for about two years.

Wort being pumped into the koelschip (coolship) at The Veil Brewing Company.

Wort being pumped into the koelschip (coolship) at The Veil Brewing Company.

Tarpey spent a few weeks doing an immersive internship at Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels in 2014, with brewmaster Jean Van Roy.

Tarpey returned to Virginia in 2015 to be near his family, and to open The Veil.

The coolship room on the roof of The Veil Brewing Company.

The coolship room on the roof of The Veil Brewing Company.

Steam rolls out of the brewhouse at The Veil.

Steam rolls out of the brewhouse at The Veil.

Looking into the coolship room at The Veil Brewing Company from the outside.

Looking into the coolship room at The Veil Brewing Company from the outside.

Two of the French built barrels that held California red wine until recently.

Two of the French built barrels that held California red wine until recently.

Close up of one of the French made oak barrels in use at The Veil Brewing Company.

Close up of one of the French made oak barrels in use at The Veil Brewing Company.

The first shipment of nearly 100 freshly-emptied red wine barrels was received from Napa Valley on February 24. The barrels were made in France, by Taransaud.

Barrels being filled at The Veil's maturation facility. Photo courtesy Matt Tarpey.

Barrels being filled at The Veil’s maturation facility. Photo courtesy Matt Tarpey.

Tarpey, along with co-founders Dave Michelow and Dustin Durrance, and others, filled a number of these barrels the mornings after the wort cooled in the koelschip overnight, and the barrels are now at the maturation facility.

The Premier Stainless systems brewhouse at The Veil Brewing Company.

The Premier Stainless systems brewhouse at The Veil Brewing Company.

Richmond, Virginia has a brand new brewery.

Richmond, Virginia has a brand new brewery.

The Veil already has a use for its spent grain: Jules Walker, of Walker Farms in Dinwiddie county, about 50 miles south of Richmond, has already taken the spent grains from the first several batches brewed at The Veil to feed his Black Angus cows and his pigs. “They love the spent grains,” said Walker.

Matt Tarpey, brewer and co-founder, The Veil Brewing Company, outside his brewery.

Matt Tarpey, brewer and co-founder, The Veil Brewing Company, outside his brewery.

About his brewery, Tarpey had this to say: “In addition to our spontaneously fermented coolship beers, I also will do some wild/funky beers fermented with brettanomyces and bacteria here at The Veil.”

The three barrel pilot/small batch system at The Veil.

The three barrel pilot/small batch system at The Veil.

He continued: “We have one main 15 barrel brewhouse and one 3 barrel test batch system. The 3 barrel system’s main purpose will be for tasting room exclusives, experimentation, and collaborations. The flexibility with the smaller system will allow us to experiment with Brett and other mixed cultures on a more frequent basis.”

Double IPA, anyone?

Double IPA, anyone?

Fear not, beer lovers. You won’t need to wait years to drink beer from The Veil. Tarpey commented: “Our three year round beers will be an IPA with citrus, a double IPA, and a robust chocolate milk stout. There will be seasonal beers and one-off brews packaged in 16 ounce 4-pack cans periodically, including a single-hop hoppy Pilsner that will be a semi-regular offering. We will also brew an annual Imperial Stout. We plan on hosting release parties that will include sales of the stainless version of the imperial stout and barrel aged variants, as well as a killer guest tap list of stouts from some of our friends. The imperial stout will age for a minimum of one year in spirit barrels.”

A label for a soon-to-be-brewed Imperial Stout at The Veil Brewing Company.

A label for a soon-to-be-brewed Imperial Stout at The Veil Brewing Company.

The tasting room at the Veil is in the same space as the 11,000 square foot brewery building, and will feature bar seating, tables, and plenty of standing room for thirsty patrons for the busy days ahead. The room has several new garage doors that can be opened during good weather. “We also plan to put in some tables outside for patio seating,” Tarpey said as we toured the space.

Brewer Matt Tarpey looks on as a stream of hot wort fills his coolship.

Brewer Matt Tarpey looks on as a stream of hot wort fills his coolship.

The tasting room itself has a long concrete bar, and its own walk in cooler for kegs destined for on-site tapping. There is another cooler inside the brewery which will be used for storage and distribution.

Look for a lot of special touches and artwork inside the brewery’s tasting room.

Don’t expect to find any of the coolship beers for sale outside the brewery once the first vintages are ready in a few years. “The spontaneous fermentation beers will only make up about 7 to 10 percent of our overall production, and I anticipate that we will do special releases here when we are ready to offer them, so they will likely only be offered for sale to go and to drink on site at the brewery,” Tarpey commented.

Spontaneous fermentation comes to Virginia, USA.

Spontaneous fermentation comes to Virginia, USA.

Barrels undergoing active fermentation at The Veil's off-site maturation facility, just three days after being filled.

Barrels undergoing active fermentation at The Veil’s off-site maturation facility, just three days after being filled.

The Veil has a parking lot that can be roped off to allow up to three food trucks to be parked on site at a time. Look out for the much-loved ZZQ barbecue truck to be a frequent visitor. ZZQ is building a brick and mortar location in Scott’s Addition, as its food truck business had been so good.

Tarpey tentatively plans to officially open to the public sometime in April. See theveilbrewing.com.

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Wort pouring into a coolship is always an exciting sight.

Wort pouring into a coolship is always an exciting sight.

A happy moment at The Veil Brewing Company. After months of hard work, brewing has begun.

A happy moment at The Veil Brewing Company. After months of hard work, brewing has begun.

Another angle of The Veil's coolship filling with wort.

Another angle of The Veil’s coolship filling with wort.

Another shot of the coolship filling with wort at The Veil Brewing Company.

Another shot of the coolship filling with wort at The Veil Brewing Company.

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