HOT SPRINGS, Va. – For the first time in the nearly two years of doing Tasty Tuesday, we took the scenic drive to beautiful Bath County. It’s here that we found not just fresh, mountain air but the smell of fresh hops at Bacova Beer (BAth COunty, VA - Bacova).
Owner, Seth Ellis, says that this is just a small part of what’s been missing from the great food scene in Hot Springs.
He sets the scene, saying, “You’re either paying resort prices, or you’re at a nicer restaurant paying 30 dollars a plate. Or you’re eating at a greasy spoon, which is cool, but there was nothing in between.”
He’s been home brewing for ten years now, trying to perfect each end of the spectrum, “Everything light to dark, malty to hoppy. We don’t try to do anything fancy here. It’s just good, solid beer.”
The vibe I got from a few minutes of being there was that this was the kind of place where everybody knows your name. Ellis echoes that, laughing while saying, “It is like a Cheers vibe. We may not have Norm, but we have Travis.”
Family is key to the mission at Bacova even down to the beer itself.
“We have two beers that are named after our kids. Sally Amber and Harris Porter.”
My personal favorite (for research purposes) is the So Fresh and So Clean IPA, not just for the musical reference to Outkast but because of its fresh and crisp flavor.
Then, there’s the kitchen which continues to evolve. Ellis admits he wasn’t sold on doing the kitchen, but he realized it was needed after two years of being open. Now, they’re slinging “Wood-fired sandwiches - big, thick - nachos, tachos, soft pretzels, flatbread pizzas.”
The flatbread pizzas were literally just added to the menu within the last week, but they don’t lack in quality. (I may or may not have downed one by myself.) Some of you reading may think that the brewery fad is going to fade way, but Ellis says to think again.
He goes back in time and tells us, “Beer is one of the oldest drinks in the world. People have been making it and drinking it in all shapes and forms for a millennium, so there’s really nothing trendy about it.”
“We’re here not only to nourish people with their bodies with good food and good drink, but also to nourish people’s soul by providing community and connectivity with other people.”