By Megan Marconyak Special Envoy
As summer draws to a close, you may be looking for another getaway. Trapezium Brewing Co. offers Camp Trapezium for a drink-focused getaway in Amherst, Va., plus a new outdoor event space in Petersburg and a soon-to-open bar in Church Hill
Camp Trapezium (140 Union Hill Road) in Amherst, Virginia is just under two hours away and offers an Airbnb farm and on-site brewery/restaurant, as well as a central location for area activities.
This is the second location of Trapezium Brewing Co. which has been open for about a year. After opening the flagship brewing facility in Petersburg in 2016, the owners acquired Amherst Milling Co., which was originally built in 1890, along with a farm and approximately 100 acres in Amherst, Va. 2017.
“The mill was in horrible shape,” says co-owner Emily Sanfratella. “It was infested with termites and structurally unstable.” But it was also one of the last flour mills still standing in Virginia. After being a mill, the space was also used as a food store and became a community gathering place for the Ameherst community. The Trapezium team wanted to preserve it while making it once again a hub for the Amherst community.
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“It was a massive undertaking to make it look like we had done as little as possible,” Sanfratella says. “We recovered as much as we could and wanted people to recognize the space.”
Restored wooden beams, an industrial extractor fan and antiques from the old mill are incorporated alongside a new bar and tables and chairs in the warm decor, making it easy to imagine the purpose of the building while sipping a barrel-aged beer made on site with local ingredients. At the back, the wheel that powered the mill is still visible from the panoramic patio.
Indoors, Trapezium produces limited production, small-batch beers, experimenting with techniques such as barrel aging, blending of cultures and spontaneous fermentation. Due to small production, many beers brewed at the Amherst site can only be found there, although a few are also available at the Petersburg Brewery.
“The process is more like winemaking where each time it’s a little different,” says Sanfratella. The spacious property is also home to a farm and the harvests are incorporated into the beers. For example, every year the brewery makes an Orchard series. Right now, they pour a golden Petite Blueberry beer brewed with second-use blueberry skins for a dry, tannic finish. Orchard Series: Strawberry is slightly tart and jammy with a funky finish and a light carbonic bite. One of our favorites was Birds of a Feather: Henry, a blend of two distinct barrel fermentations of Amarillo hops that almost tastes like a white wine with notes of grapefruit zest, fresh pineapple juice and an earthy, dry finish.
Camp Trapezium products also make an appearance on the brasserie menu. The charcuterie platter includes farm-fresh hard-boiled eggs and various house-grown pickles, as well as meats, cheeses, and flatbreads. Pesto and many pizza toppings also come from the farm. When you visit, try the seasonal pizza, which is a changing creation showcasing the current harvest. Other signature pizzas, all made to order in a Neapolitan oven and served hot and bubbly, include the Dearborn with red sauce, prosciutto, five-cheese blend, goat cheese, figs, and honey drizzle; and the Crazy Nessie with olive oil and garlic, prosciutto, lemon, farmhouse pesto and fresh mozzarella. The menu also includes wings, a Bavarian pretzel, cookies and milk, and other brewery bites.
After a bunch of funky beers and pizza, you might not want to go back to Richmond. Fortunately, when purchasing the property, the owners also acquired a farmhouse which they converted into an Airbnb comprising eight suites which can be rented individually or as the whole house. Each room features clean, mid-century modern-inspired decor with its own bathroom. Camp Trapezium is also adding a primitive camping area where visitors can register, pay a fee, and set up a tent for actual camping.
Trek: Camp Trapezium is about 30 minutes from Crabtree Falls, the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi, as well as the James River Foot Bridge, an abandoned railroad bridge that is now a pedestrian causeway with a view impregnable on the river. like several other trails. See visitamherstcounty.org for details on nearby trails, parks, and other attractions.
Wine and beer: Blue Mountain Barrel House & Smokin’ Barrel Restaurant (495 Cooperative Way, Arrington) and Wood Ridge Farm Brewery (165 Old Ridge Road, Lovingston) are located nearby and often feature live music. There are also several vineyards. Lovingston Winery (885 Freshwater Cove Lane, Lovingston) has a year-round inviting tasting room, scenic views, flights of wine, cheeses and cupcakes to snack on. Mountain Cove Vineyards (1362 Fortune’s Cove Lane) is one of Virginia’s oldest vineyards, and its patio is a soothing respite. Co-owner Al Weed has managed the vineyard since 1974 and is actively working to gain state support for agricultural vineyards in Virginia. If you’re lucky, he’ll serve your tasting and tell you part of the story.
orchards: The only thing you can’t get at Camp Trapezium is breakfast (unless you keep some of your pizza in the room fridge, of course). Along the way, stop at Drumheller’s Orchard (1130 Drumheller Orchard Lane, Lovingston) for peach or cider donuts, depending on the season, as well as freshly picked produce, jams and soft serve ice cream. U-pick fruit is also available.
Another grinder: If you’re heading to Amherst through Charlottesville, Virginia and want to extend your factory history tour, stop by The Wool Factory (1837 Broadway St., Charlottesville) and have lunch at Selvedge Brewing . Located at the historic site of Woolen Mills in Charlottesville, founded in 1868 and producing military fabrics, uniforms and fabrics, you can now enjoy a selection of culinary-inspired small-batch beers and dishes to go with it. .
St. Petersburg and Church Hill
The Petersburg Trapezium Brewing Co. (423 3rd St., Old Towne Petersburg) is the brewery’s original 30-barrel location where the flagship beers are brewed. There is also a tasting room with a Neapolitan pizza oven and a large patio. More recently, the owners acquired land and a harbor adjacent to the brewery for use as event space: “It’s a gathering space for Petersburg to hold its own events and celebrations,” says Sanfratella.
And, the Church Hill location in the former Richmond Masonic Lodge Association building continues to progress with an expected opening date of October or November, which is slightly delayed from the initial projection of the end of summer due to lack of staff. Sanfratella says they are currently finalizing the interior design and converting old benches into tables and benches.
PHOTOS: Camp Trapeze
Megan Marconyak has been devouring all the fresh flavors she can find and capturing them in writing for over 15 years. Drool over her culinary adventures and send her your #RVADine tips on Instagram, @MeganMarcoStyle.