For the Love of the Beer
Brass Cannon is a Veteran owned craft beer brewery and tap room, called The Cannon. We try to focus on the community in which we live while recognizing that community also comprises visitors to Williamsburg from far and wide. All are welcome!
We try to strike a balance between local haunt, venue for fun, and community out-reach. Our beers navigate a course true to classic beer styles while also being willing to take adventurous side trips with small batches and a new release about every other week. This approach seems to resonate with the old and new friends and families (and pets) that come through our door.
We DO NOT DISTRIBUTE our beer. We are the only brewery in town and perhaps the only brewery in the region that does not distribute its beer.
If you want Brass Cannon beer you have to come to the brewery. That approach, while seemingly against any spreadsheet driven business model, has allowed us to be uncompromising with what we put in your glass and to be able to experiment more freely.
Today, the craft beer market is saturated and many “craft” breweries have been gobbled up by corporate giants corroding the renaissance spirit that was the craft beer movement. It is now at the point where you just don’t know what you are getting.
And Brass Cannon has decided not to participate in that race to the bottom. We are private and locally owned and managed. We don’t filter our beer removing all the natural nuance. We don’t pasteurize killing nature’s variance worth drinking just to extend shelf life so the beer can be loaded on trucks or stored.
At Brass Cannon, nature and our exacting adherence to her rules define what you hoist in your glass.
Brass Cannon was started for the love of the beer and we have simply decided to be true to that.
“We lay down the gauntlet for others to join us, for the love of the beer.”
So, come on by The Cannon Tap Room at Brass Cannon Brewing and enjoy something truly different in craft brewing right here in Williamsburg VA, near where beer was first brewed in the new world back in 1587!
Our Friendly Staff
Phil is an original founder of Brass Cannon and is now the General Manager.
A local guy originally from Newport News and now living in Williamsburg with his wife, who Phil met at a book club meeting.
Phil is one of those guys not easily pigeon holed. He tried college…. a few times…. didn’t like it… any of those times! He is a movie fanatic, estimating that he has some 1700 titles notched into his viewing belt. He finds himself drawn to the creative arts in a broad way and Brass Cannon makes use of those talents from sculpting our Tap Handles to making our High Top Tables, or the Giant Logo that hangs in The Cannon Tap Room, all of which were lovingly hand crafted by Phil.
Tap Room Manager
Sarah is a charismatic 30-something who loves craft beer and hanging with her family and friends. Don’t we all??
Sarah has been the Tap Room Manager at Brass Cannon for more 3 years, but was formally moved to the position when the brewery changed ownership on July 1, 2018. So since then, the changes you have seen and the creation of The Cannon Tap Room at Brass Cannon Brewing has in large part been due to Sarah’s passion about bringin
We are still trying to get Emily to release any kind of Bio! What we do know is she is one of the hardest working and dedicated people ever to darken our door and she always brightens the place up with what seems to be a never ending smile.
She knows beer and knows people and while she brightens your day, keep in mind she is also a high school biology teacher who is coming back to work for us for the summer. No slouch this one!
Her positivity is infectious, her love for craft beer is out of this world, and anytime she is behind the bar its impossible to not have a great time.
Amber is one of the hardest workers we know! Starting out as a regular trivia and bingo player, this Ohio native became a part of The Cannon family in 2020 while also working at Great Wolf and Starbucks.
Not only does she sling beer and make her customers smile, she also hosts Trivia night on occasion. There’s never a dull moment when Ambers around.
Sylvia was a regular at The Cannon before jumping behind the bar. She is a Cannon Battalion member and beer connoisseur.
Originally from Germany, she puts the fire in fire cracker and is a jack of all trades, master of all of ’em.
She was already family before jumping into the role of beertender and now she’s stuck with us.
Matty is the newest member of our team and has made a big splash since his arrival. He’s charismatic, always smiling, and ready to jump in with a quick witted joke.
He’s knowledgeable about the brews and ready to offer a helping hand any time its neede
Louise is a bit of a sports fan as you can see from her death grip on the Stanley Cup above. But in the rest of her life she is a graphics artist and marketing specialist.
Louise has managed the graphics department of a major newspaper, was the marketing manager for the largest booze distributor in the Caribbean, and was a bar tender and lived on St Thomas for nearly 20 years and “all that that entails”.
Louise is the indispensable person and part of the fire behind the scenes at The Cannon and Brass Cannon Brewing.
Matt is the CCABW making sure the resources are there for us to deliver a quality product and experience. Matt is a home brewer and got ruined by drinking good beer as early as…. well let’s just say the 70s!!
He was into craft beer before there was such a thing and he knows good beer when he finds it. That is what drove Matt to be an early investor in Brass Cannon back in 2013 and to acquire the brewery out-right mid-way through 2018.
Principles and Practices
The Cannon Managers and Staff Embrace the Following:
Treat ALL people the way you would like to be treated.
All people are created equal and will be treated equally.
We will not condone or practice discrimination of any kind.
We will strive to surpass customer expectations of service and cleanliness.
We are here to help, and will try to help in any way that we can help.
We will be respectful and expect our respect returned.
Alcohol By Volume
Pretty self explanatory and oh so important because it determines pretty much how “heavy” the beer is or how many you can drink before you give up your keys or schedule an Uber/Lyft/Taxi–or the brewers favorite–how much tax must be paid!
In the end ABV (Alcohol By Volume) is a measure of how much space (volume) of the beer in the glass you are drinking is taken up by alcohol.
We brew beer for flavor, but let’s not be cheeky about it, we also brew it because a pint or two makes us feel good and it is a highly social thing to share a beer with a friend!
That alcohol is made by the yeasty-beasts which are live organisms that we introduce into the fermentation tank and which eat the sugars creating the by products of alcohol and carbon dioxide (the bubbles). See… carbon dioxide is our friend and with more of it, we could extend the hops growing season or at least extend the fields north.
All that aside, Brass Cannon asks that you respect the ABV, as a well crafted and balanced beer may very well have near 8% ABV and not taste that way. Please drink responsibly.
How Do You Brew Beer?
You start with grains, typically barleys or wheats, that have been partially germinated and then dried and/or roasted to stop further germination and to create certain flavor profiles in a process known as “malting”. Malting creates the enzymes necessary to convert starches to sugars during mashing.
The malted grain is milled (cracked open) and stirred with hot water, typically for about an hour and typically at a temperature of 150-160F. This temp is optimal for activating the enzymes to convert available starches to sugars. This unfermented sugary liquid is now called “wort”.
Filter the wort from the mashing grains and boil it. Boiling sterilizes the wort and during the boiling you add hops. Bittering hops typically boil the longest and aromatic or finishing hops are added toward the end of the boil.
Cool the wort to below 78°F and transfer it to a fermenting tank fitted with an airlock. Throw in the yeast. aka “pitch the yeast”, and let the yeast convert the sugars to CO2 and alcohol. Fermentation will take between 10 days to 3 weeks (or longer) depending on the beer you are trying to make.
When the fermentation process is done you now have beer! What you do with it then is up to you, as it can be filtered or unfiltered, further conditioned, bottled, canned, or kegged–but in formats it should be enjoyed!
Only Two Types of Beers–Ales or Lagers
Ales use a yeast that is “top fermenting” forming a protective cap over the beer and is happy working in warmer temps not requiring refrigeration or cooling during fermentation. It was the original beer because there was no refrigeration back in the day.
Lagers are made with “bottom fermenting” yeast and the yeast is happier at lower temperatures and takes longer to do its work.
Ales are unbelievably varied in color and flavors and ABV and IBU. From Amber Ales to Golden Ales to Stouts to Wheat Ales to Imperial Stouts and Barley Wines–we are talking Ales.
Lagers tend to be lighter in color and lighter in flavor, but not all. Some of the early Lagers or Pilsners (a type of Lager or arguably just another word for Lager) were light brown or darker straw colored and were quite flavorful.
But in the end, beer is beer and we don’t stand on ceremony or get too caught up in styles and terminology. Find what you like by tasting them all and then go with the ones that make you say, “I’ll have another!”.
Brass Cannon endeavors to make traditional Ales and full flavored Lagers, the way they really were meant to be.
IBU (International Bittering Units)
IBU is supposed to advise you of how bitter a beer will taste. But no two people in the world taste beer the same way. And after a certain point, most people will acknowledge that it is not possible to taste more intensity of bitterness.
Technically, IBU is the measure of the isomerized and oxidized alpha acids, polyphenols, and “a few other select bittering chemicals” that make you taste what we humans call “bitter”.
Most beers are made with IBU ratings of between 15-80 with IPA typically in the 40-80 range. But we all know that some beers that are still called or sold as IPAs are available with much higher IBU and some light beers can have IBU ratings as low as 5.
So in general, the higher the IBU the more bitter the average person (if there is such a thing) will perceive the beer, but it is crucial to understand that a higher IBU may not taste as bitter to you as a lower IBU beer, as it is all about you the individual and the balance achieved in the beer.
A well balanced beer with good malt profile balanced against strong IBU might very well taste less bitter than a lower IBU IPA.
Brass Cannon focuses on the malt first and then tries to craft balanced beers. “Craft” being the operable word!
Not all beers age the same, so know what you’re drinking. Unfortunately, there’s no real timeline for when a certain beer will age into the “not fresh” category. But there are a few good rules of thumb you can use to know whether you should be worried about a beer’s freshness or if you can stash it and still have a delicious beer one year down the road.
First, check the ABV: if it’s higher than 8%, you generally don’t need to worry about rushing to drink it (more on cellaring beer later!).
Next, check the style. If it’s a sour or a smoked beer, then it falls into the same category as high-alcohol beers. However, if it’s an IPA or another hop-centric beer, like Amber Lagers, American Pale Ales, or American Strong Ales, you’re holding a beer that’ll age quickly (IMPORTANT: this even includes some of those 8+ percenters that fall into these styles!). These should be consumed fresh because of their hop aromatics, which add to the distinctive flavor of the beer and fade over time.
Lastly, look for pasteurization. Most craft breweries in America don’t pasteurize their beers, so their shelf-life is shorter than mass-produced lagers, which are pasteurized.
From guidance on storing beer from The Brewers Association’s Julia Herz.