Over the last few years, Roanoke has seen a boom in growth as its list of residents expands and more business pops up, adding a variety of restaurants, small pubs and stores to capture the attention of locals and visitors.
Although there has been plenty of growth and new buildings occupying the streets, there was still one thing that was missing: a brewery. But with only a couple of months of operation underway, Soul Fire Brewing Company has given the residents of Roanoke what they wanted.
A humble beginning was the direction co-founder and head brewer Aaron Bennett and his partner James Brown went. Example: The day they got their certificate of occupancy, they opened their doors without any event planned.
Where the magic happens
“That day we opened up our doors with no real social media push or advertisement, pretty much just word of mouth and still had a good turnout with more people showing up each night,” Bennett says.
Soul Fire Brewing is situated in a setting unlike many breweries that have ample space to utilize and most times are in a building by themselves. Soul Fire's operation is set up within a small food court alongside several restaurants, including Deli Dun Right, Churchill’s Fish and Chips, Famous Fatso’s Burgers and The Hot Potato.
“We’re looking at eventually partnering with the other restaurants with beer and food pairing events to help engage with the surrounding community and help each other,” Bennett says.
The restricted floor space calls for a smaller operation, allowing only a few tanks for brewing and fermenting, but this is by no means slowing Bennett down.
“We currently have three of our beers on tap with plans of releasing a few more here soon, including an imperial stout and even a black IPA,” he says.
Not only do they carry their own brews on tap, but several other Texan and nationally known beers, as well, with plans of bringing on a few home brewers' creations in the future.
“We want to eventually have home brewers to come in and brew with us, and then put their brew on tap for people to try it,” Bennett says.
To help further their reach, they also hope to eventually can their brews to help quench the thirst of fellow craft beer drinkers who are a bit too far away to visit on a regular basis.
“We’re really hoping to start kegging in about six months and canning in about a year, but still have a lot of work to do to reach that point,” Bennett says.
Shield from rain, heaters to keep warm and connect Four: What else do you need?
The brewery is family friendly with several activities for guests of all ages to participate in, including board games, giant Jenga and Connect Four (more or less the expected games of a local brewery). There are TVs set up for viewing and a nice outside patio area with an awesome view of Roanoke’s famous Oak Street.
Soul Fire Brewing Company, 206 N. Oak St., Roanoke. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.