HAMPTON, Va. – Just off Commander Shepard Blvd. near Langley Air Force Base is a small street called Exploration Way. That’s where you’ll start seeing signs advertising “great beer this way.”
Follow the signs and find great beer…at Capstan Bar Brewing Company.
Sure, it’s off the beaten path, but that’s part of the charm of the three-year-old brewery, run by the Connolly family. Brothers Adam and Jonathan operate the place and their mom, Charlene, is the third owner.
“It’s like the Yin and the Yang,” said Adam Connolly of he and his brother’s approach to running the business.
Adam, who had a career in environmental science prior to opening the brewery, runs things in the taproom up front with his ‘gift of gab.’
Meanwhile, Jonathan, a former lead archaeologist at Yorktown Battlefield and Jamestown Plantation, keeps the focus on brewing. When News 3 visited, he was quiet, his attention strictly on creating.
Adam says his brother began brewing beer at a young age.
“He is a master at what he does. There is not a thing on that board of our offerings and coming out of our taps that is not just fantastic,” he said.
At Capstan Bar Brewing, named for the rotating machine used for heavy lifting on historic ships, roughly 90 percent of new customers walk through the door as a result of word of mouth.
That’s created challenges during COVID-19, Adam Connolly says.
“A large proportion of our great customers are military. When certain restrictions came down as to what their ability was…there has been an impact, (but) we have definitely a solid fanbase that has stuck with us throughout,” he told News 3.
To help fight pandemic losses, the brewery has tried to schedule events throughout the week. It’s also added curbside pickup and delivery. A canning machine at the bar lets customers take home any beer from the tap.
Current offerings include the Coconut Delight Solstice Imperial Stout, Raspberry Hibiscus Kolsch and Oatmeal Raisin Brown Ale.
With new, loosened COVID-19 restrictions allowing for later alcohol sales taking effect in Virginia this week, Connolly hopes it’s a sign of good things to come.
“One less regulation to enforce is always a good thing. It also shows that what we’ve been doing has helped,” he said of efforts to mask up and social distance.
Capstan Bar Brewing Company is open seven days a week. It’s located at 2036 Exploration Way in Hampton.