Virginia Lightning, Belmont Farm Distillery

Virginia Lightning
Originally uploaded by AlphaHokie
Recently, the Mrs. Alphageek's parents stopped by for a visit. We found ourselves with a little time on a weekend and wondered what to do with that time? Mrs. Alphageek found something exciting for everyone: let's visit a distillery! We loaded up the car and took a scenic drive to a location near Culpepper, VA.

When we arrived, we were given a generous welcome by Chuck and Jeanette Miller. They run the Belmont Farm Distillery. As best someone like me can tell, it is really a farm too. At least there was corn growing nearby. The Alphageek may know gadgets, but farms are a tough one. When we arrived, we took a few minutes to look around the interesting items that are on display outside the distillery. It was quite an event to open a distillery in Virginia, and be able to sell the product right there too. I am still amazed it happened.

After a few minutes, we were given a personalized tour by Mr. Miller himself. What makes this fine site amazing is its size: it is the smallest distillery I have ever seen. Perhaps an illegal still is smaller, but I have never seen one, except on television.

We took the generous tour and got to see the fermentation tanks, the aging tanks and the aging room. The Alphageek does not know his moonshine, so I will just take Mr. Miller's word for it that moonshine is best drunk fresh. Judging from the small size of the barrel room, that is probably true. I'll bet Wild Turkey filled more barrels while I visited than Belmont Farms Distillery has in the entire production area.

We started in the fermentation room with the fermentation tank. Apparently, it was made in New York somewhere, out of copper. We moved on to an aging tank which was very interesting. Some moonshine is aged with charred oak and applewood chunks. The chunks are wrapped up and just placed in the tank, which works for me! The charred chunks provide a flavor similar to aging in charred oak barrels.

We then saw the facilities that are used to filter and purify the water that is added to the moonshine. This is a rather impressive operation. Apparently, this part of Virginia has that kind of lime water that is good for making whiskey, and Mr. Miller certainly knows his water.

Finally, we moved to barrel warehouse. As I mentioned there really are not very many barrels here to observe. Mr. Miller did mention that the used barrels are shipped off for rum makers to use. I say stick with whiskey.

Mr. Miller posed for a picture with, my Fater-in-law, Big Dick. Regular readers will know it is okay for me to call him Big Dick. This is the picture over tot the side of the article. Big Dick seems to be becoming a regular guest here on Alphageek's Thoughts having penned a guest review and posing for pictures.

After the tour, we purchased some used wood chunks for the smoker. Now, I have to figure out how to get the chunks into smaller pieces for the smoker.

Stop by the Belmont Farms Distillery for a tour at this great piece of Americana. It belongs on Roadside America, except that it is too cool for that. As always, you can see all of the pictures here.