MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA
Easily one of the greatest party towns thanks to the cool West Virginia University students cheering on their Mountaineers. Them ‘Eers beat Penn State for the first time in the mid-‘80s when the Nittany Lions were ranked second in the nation. I was there. The goalposts came down while my WVU friend, Dave Delia, and I, finished the last of our four Bacardi rum bottles in celebratory fashion.
On two hazy trips to this pleasant retreat in the ‘90s, I realized hilly antediluvian industrial village had more cheap-priced dingy basement bars and rustic saloons within walking distance than anywhere else. And I salute them. But their one fair brewpub closed ‘round ’07, and the agrarian state of West Virginny is a bit slow on the take when it comes to brewing laws.
Nevertheless, during post-Christmas ’08 trip, hit campus sanctuary, 123 Pleasant Street, draining bottles of imported St. Druon French Abbey Ale as underground legend Hobo Jack kept my family entertained with dinner time road tales.
Across the street at Black Bear, a green and tan cafeteria-styled tavern with laid-back Appalachian atmosphere, L-shaped bar, and appealing Rogue, Bear Republic, and Great Lakes bottled selections, found Mountain State Miner’s Daughter Oatmeal Stout, a nutty bitter with rich hop-charred black coffee souring and recessive black chocolate reticence. As of 2008, only Mountain State Brewing (forty miles East in Thomas) and its neighboring Blackwater Brewing, exist as microbrews in bucolic “Take Me Home Country Road”-inspired territory.