By Debbie Adams
Twin Creeks Brewpub has been hosting soft openings for the general public during selected nights of the Illuminights event at Explore Park.
Andy Bishop, co-owner with Jason Bishop and Barry Robertson of Twin Creeks Brewery and Taproom that opened in Vinton in 2016, said that to keep things consistent, they are calling the Explore Park location “Twin Creeks Brewpub.”
During Illuminights, the new establishment was open on December 19-22 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and will be open the same hours from December 26-29. They are now offering their full food menu along with Twin Creeks beer, local wines, and cider.
Bishop says they plan to announce hours for the winter months leading up to their grand opening in early spring, after New Year’s.
Brugh Tavern was built between 1792 and 1800 near the Great Wagon Road in Botetourt County. According to “The Brughs of Early Botetourt” by George E. Honts III, the tavern was first built as a private residence. It came to serve “as a tavern for thousands of migrating settlers during the early 19th century as they traveled along the Great Wagon Road. The structure is a monument to the German-speaking people who settled in the Virginia’s Blue Ridge region in the late 18th century.”
Honts’ book says, “The original tavern operator Daniel Brugh served in the Revolutionary War in 1782 as a member of the 8th Company, 1st Battalion York Militia, under the command of Captain O’Blain. Sometime after his military service, he married Elizabeth Dierdorff, probably about 1784, and they ultimately produced 12 children.
“On March 2, 1791, Daniel swapped land in York County with Anthony Deardorff in exchange for land in Botetourt County. Sometime between then and October 10, 1792, when he appears as a witness to a Botetourt deed, he moved his family to Botetourt County. His land at the time totaled 550 acres, on which he established a farm and built a sawmill.”
In 1805 he petitioned the Court and the following year built a grist mill. In 1809, Daniel was licensed to operate a tavern, which occupied the lower, or basement level of the building. Sleeping accommodations were maintained on the second floor, and the family occupied the third floor.
In 1996 the historic Brugh Tavern was moved from Botetourt County and reassembled at Explore Park. According to news reports the cost of the project was $1 million with $750,000 of that donated by the Horace Fralin Charitable Trust and $250,000 from the Beirne Carter Foundation.
It was dedicated on April 28, 1998, as an “upscale, historic-ambiance restaurant,” according to newspaper reports at the time. The restaurant operated from early April through November each year but ultimately closed in 2002.
Brugh Tavern was leased to several restaurateurs from 1998 to 2007, when the Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority ceased park operations.
The main body of the building facing the central lawn is original construction, while the back portion of the building and industrial kitchen were added when the building was relocated.
In the spring of 2019, the Twin Creeks owners signed a three-year lease with Roanoke County to provide food, beverage, and retail services at Brugh Tavern. They put in a bid when the county issued a Request for Proposals in November 2018 for food and beverage services at Explore Park, proposing to operate a craft brewery and bistro as their second Roanoke County location.
The brewpub occupies all three levels of the building with the Peach Brandy Room on the lower level and dining on the ground and upper levels. They had initially planned to partner with food trucks, but instead have opted to open a full-service kitchen.
One of the main highlights of the building is a cozy basement area with stone walls and floors, which Twin Creeks has transformed into a rustic wine and cider cellar. They have also installed outdoor fire pits on the lawn. There are fireplaces on each level as well.
The concept of Twin Creeks Brewing at Explore Park originated in the fall of 2018 when the Twin Creeks partners met with Doug Blount, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for Roanoke County.
“We spoke about the amazing space that Brugh Tavern offers and about all of the new and upcoming park amenities,” said Bishop. “Twin Creeks had been looking for an expansion opportunity, and Brugh Tavern and Explore Park will be a great fit to the Twin Creeks Brewing brand and image.”
Keep up with their schedules and events at both locations– in Vinton and Explore Park-– on their two Facebook pages, Twin Creeks Brewing Company and Twin Creeks Brewpub.