Rocktown Rye

Latest Libation A‚ÄąProduct Of City, Breweries Collaboration

Posted: June 25, 2014

Daily News-Record

A little more than two weeks ago, the team collaborating on Rocktown Rye kicked off the brewing process. (Photo Courtesy of Kim Kirk)
Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, Three Brothers Brewing and Pale Fire joined forces to produce Rocktown Rye, which will launch July 1. (Photo Courtesy of Kim Kirk)

Come July 4, Harrisonburg will have its own beer — not only brewed in the city, but created to represent it and raise money for its downtown revitalization efforts.

Roughly 60 kegs worth of the brew awaits its grand entrance in a fermentation tank at Three Brothers Brewing.

Called “Rocktown Rye,” the libation is a joint effort between the downtown brewery, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and Pale Fire Brewing Company — the city’s second brewery that co-owner Tim Brady hopes to open at the Ice House in November.

Rocktown Rye is the first collaboration of this kind.

“There’s definitely a craft beer culture that’s emerging downtown, and we wanted to create a product that would represent that,” said Kim Kirk, HDR director of promotions.

A Brew’s Beginnings
HDR’s promotions committee, the marketing arm of the organization, came up with the idea for the project and approached Three Brothers Brewing.

Adam Shifflett, co-owner of the brewery, and his team then contacted Pale Fire.

This kicks off what the breweries hope will be a string of collaborations, Shifflett said.

“We thought it was a really great idea, and we were really pleased and excited that we were asked to take part,” Brady said.

About two weeks ago, the team got together for the day-long part of the process that involves adding ingredients and situating the brew into the fermentation tank where it now sits.

“We wanted to keep it light …  for the summer,” Shifflett said, explaining the choice of a rye.

He describes the flavor that should come out of the batch as “slightly drier, spicier, kind of grainy.”

Where Can I Buy It?
The product of the team’s hard work will make its debut at the beer garden at Valley Fourth, Harrisonburg’s July 4 celebration.

The beer will cost $5 at the event, and steel pint cups sporting a “Rocktown Rye” emblem will also be available for purchase for $7 each or $12 for a pair.

They won’t come stocked with beer, Kirk said, but customers can fill up the cups with the brew.

On the same day, the libation will be ready for purchase on tap at downtown restaurants.

The team is also hoping to bottle a batch of Rocktown Rye, so that restaurants and shops without draft lines, such as the Little Grill Collective and Midtowne Market, can offer the brew, Kirk explained.

One dollar from every sale, whether it’s purchased at the Valley Fourth beer garden or in restaurants, will benefit HDR, she said.

The organization will gauge the success of this initial rollout to determine whether to make it a yearly project, Kirk explained.  

“We are hoping that it [will] be an annual initiative,” she added.

Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or

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