Birthday Brewery and Hope

Strange title but, let’s face it, my mind and the paths it takes when thinking are a little…well, strange.

Adam planned Dez’s b-day spectacular and it included a tour of West 6th Brewery in Lexington, KY.  Spending time with Dez and Adam, Brad and Sara, is always great but this part of the plan – the tour – was an unexpectedly fantastic thing.

After driving through the craziest St. Paddy’s day traffic, we finally arrived at the West 6th Brewery.  Once parked, it became clear to me that this place wasn’t what I had thought it would be: it was far more interesting, and wonderful, than I had hoped for.  The beer was great, seeing how the beer was made was interesting, but it was the people who worked there and their sense of community that really made the visit worth while.

Outside of West 6th

Outside of West 6th

West 6th is located in a building that once held a large bakery.  The brewery itself only occupies a small portion of the space.  Along with the machinery behind a glass wall, people can come to West 6th and enjoy the brews on tap.  It’s almost like you have stepped into a biergarten on some street, in some random European town.  Other businesses/groups that surround West 6th include Cricket Press, – an excellent graphic design company – a bicycle shop, space for roller derby practice, and soon a tilapia farm and fish and chips stand. They are all about giving back to their area, working with locals, recycling and making sure nothing is wasted, community development.  It’s also just really cool (totally just an opinion, but yeah, it’s just cool there).   I know for me it’ll become a hang out destination when I am in Lexington.  The business model they use, and being so community oriented, has got me thinking about what can be done in my area – the Tug Valley region.

I could see this in Williamson, WV

I could see this in Williamson, WV



Where the magic happens...

Where the magic happens…










I moved back to eastern Pike County to be nearer my family and to reclaim myself.  To say I’ve been lost is probably an understatement.  The move has been wonderful for me and I feel more like myself than I have in a very long time.  Since I’ve settled in my life here, I’ve sadly realized I’ve come home to an area where jobs are being cut, people are having to leave, and the dark shadow of drug abuse and criminal activity threatens to overtake all the good that is here (unfortunately, this doesn’t unique – probably makes us downright common).  Thankfully I have a job this year, but it doesn’t look good for the coming year.  I teach Art which is the first position cut because, you know, anyone can do it.*  It hasn’t helped that people who I consider friends seem to treat what I do as less than anything else – but that’s another rant for another time.

*Please note that this is sarcasm ….it’s been a long week/few weeks

Back to topic…..

I can see this area, an area in which people are trying to promote tourism and outdoor adventuring, becoming something different from a coal mining town/area.  I can see people who live here maintaining mountain trails and serving as guides.  I can see the people here developing former strip mines into shopping/dining/entertainment areas.  I can see the people here opening micro-breweries and distilleries and making a unique brand and experience for those traveling through our lovely area.  And it is lovely here…..


These outcroppings are EVERYWHERE!

These outcroppings are EVERYWHERE here!




Still, these improvements/developments cost money, would take time, and, more importantly, would require support that I am not sure exists.  There is something to be said about “its who you know” mentality.  For me, it feels as if I belong to an underdog group of individuals that so desperately want to be taken seriously or to help/do something but aren’t  for whatever reason – choice of profession, idealism, not being in the “right” group (I mean, when “friends,” pooh, pooh on EVERYTHING you say)….I don’t know.

I do know that I like – no, I love it here, but I’m not afraid to go elsewhere.  How sad is that, that I have to be prepared to leave my home, my family, a life I’m working on, in order to make it in the world on my own?   What kind of life would that be?  Hopefully I won’t have to make that decision this year.  Hopefully I’ll be hired back on to teach and I can work towards developing a micro-brewery/gallery where young people can come and unwind.

Hopefully…..I’ll stay hopeful.

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