Brewer Spotlight – Heliotrope Brewery

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Brewer: Erik Jones

How long have you worked at the brewery? The brewery opened just after Thanksgiving. It’s been a multi-year, joint effort with my super talented wife, Jenny, who’s a professor of theater and dance at Washington & Lee. None of this would have happened without her.

How did you get involved in brewing? I’m from Portland, Oregon. It’s kind of an unspoken rule there that everyone has to brew at some point in his/her life. It’s probably something in the water – or possibly in the beer. I started home brewing in 1994, worked at a couple of breweries along the way, then went through the American Brewers Guild’s Brewing Science and Engineering Program and apprenticed at Deschutes Brewery.

Tell us something people don’t know about your brewery: Virtually 100% of the grain we brew with is Virginia-grown, and locally malted by Murphy & Rude Malting in Charlottesville.

What’s your favorite food and beer combo? Our chefs at the brewery just came up with a new brick oven pizza that’s a deconstructed version of a jalapeno popper. I think it goes particularly well with our Quotidian Pils, slow-poured and topped with a big, fluffy head.

Tell us about your pets: I’ve been a Labrador retriever guy my whole life. We currently have two: Juniper, who’s 8; and Kumara, who’s 6. They’re shameless attention seekers, so I’m sure they’ll be fixtures on our patio once the weather gets warm again.

What is your favorite thing to do in the Shenandoah Valley? I think a pretty perfect night out in Lexington would include a romantic dinner at the Red Hen and tickets to hear the Rockbridge Symphony.

What’s the best way to spend time in the outdoors in the Shenandoah Valley? You absolutely can’t beat watching summer sunsets from the Adirondack chairs at Great Valley Farm Brewery in Natural Bridge.