By: George DeGarde
Imagine a workshop full of various odds and ends; some of them are recognizable, and others appear to be used for some strange purpose. Inside this workshop are various tanks and hoses, bottles and sacks, all of them a part of some mad scientist’s experimentations. Now imagine that this mad scientist is making a concoction of hops, barley and yeast unlike most other combinations of these same ingredients, in a way that takes the idea of what these ingredients can become and twists it around. This mad scientist is the head brewer/owner of Twisted Ales, Jason Price, and his brewery is his laboratory; every beer is something new and different.
Twisted Ales has been around for almost a year at the time of interview and will hit a year in mid-June. Jason fell in love with craft beer about ten years ago, and after encouragement from his wife, Debbie, who is co-owner of Twisted Ales, Jason entered into various home brewing competitions and medaled in various beer styles through multiple competitions. Through a mutual desire to work together and own a family oriented business, Jason and Debbie put it all together to create Twisted Ales.
The taproom of Twisted Ales is a mix of modern-industrial and Steampunk; imagine exposed beams, LED lighting and a penny-covered bar mixed with sprockets, gauges and pipes located in a turn-of-the-century building. As strange of a combination as it sounds, it totally fits the space and showcases the identity of the brewery. They are brewing an ancient beverage, but in new and creative ways that lend themselves to the ever-changing craft beer scene, but without abandoning the styles that the brewers love. Chasing trends is not their game; instead, they prefer to focus on what they love to brew and to get others to love it as well.
Twisted Ales does a little bit of everything. They brew brown ales, hefeweizens, blonde ales, and the like, but they mainly specialize in West Coast style IPAs. Some of those are brewed to be as hop forward as possible, like the 6.3% Two Rapscallions; whereas, other beers are brewed with that mad scientist mindset. Sleight of Hand, for instance, is an experimental 7% IPA, brewed with local blood orange and mango, as well as local wild yeast captured outside of the brewery itself; truly something different in a field of hazy juice bombs and dank milkshakes.
Both Debbie and Jason work in the brewery, as well as full time jobs outside the brewery, and are lucky enough to employ one of their sons in the taproom and another son helps out in the brewery. Twisted Ales has created a love of craft beer within their own family and are working hard to share their passion with those nearby and in surrounding neighborhoods.
Twisted Ales loves their neighborhood of Manchester and are excited to see it growing. They have been working hard to bring more attention to the area through collaborating with various charities: FeedMore, Richmond’s Daily Planet and conservation of the James River, to name a few, as well as working to create a farmer’s market in the Manchester area, as there are no close grocery options. This is all in order to show that they not only want to make beer for the people of Richmond and Manchester, but that they care about the area they are in and want to see it all succeed. Additionally, they have been working with other breweries to create new and exciting things. Jason Price mentioned a possible collaboration with Legend Brewing, as well as an upcoming collaboration with Stone Brewing, one of the breweries that got him into craft beer.
Twisted Ales is definitely worth stopping through and sampling all they have to offer. Their mad scientists have been hard at work coming up with all kinds of crazy things ready for you to try. Their space is perfectly structured and comfortable, their staff is incredibly knowledgeable and their mission is admirable. Do not hesitate just because they are South of the River. Venture out and try something different!