VIRGINIA BEACH – The windows are still covered with paper and construction is happening everywhere, but for Rhett Rebold it doesn’t take much imagination to envision the brewery that soon will be.
The ViBe District is getting even more… vibrant.
Rebold, a former CIA worker who served as an image analyst but moved on from the agency after the Cold War ended, is the man behind Vibrant Shore Brewing, which is in the works at 505 18th Street just a few blocks from the Oceanfront in the heart of the city’s creative district.
Rebold is the owner/managing member of the Limited Liability Corporation and will also serve as head brewer. He’s somewhat new to the area having lived in Northern Virginia. Barring snags, he said, the plan is to be open before the end of July.
When scoping out locations for a brewery he was drawn immediately to the ViBe District.
“I think what really drew me is the combination of artists and creative businesses. Plus, it’s really close to my home,” he said, adding that he nearly ended up on Shore Drive in the location that now houses Mermaid Winery.
The building he ended up with formerly housed Marlin Motors and then more recently Red Flag Athletics. He calls the location, the structure, and the closing on the purchase a “perfect storm.”
Despite his years as an image analyst Rebold is no stranger to brewing delicious beer. In 1995 he was named North America’s “Home Brewer of the Year” and won first place with two of his beers, one being a Light German Lager. Having already completed a professional brewing course at UC-Davis, one of the prizes was another professional brewing course at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago.
Later, he also brewed a beer for the Smithsonian, “an Archaic American Lager.”
Vibrant Shore will use a 10-barrel brewing system and will have 16 taps behind the bar, while brewing beers ranging from (depending on the season) English and American Ales to Kolschs, and IPAs to Porters.
“They’ll be an emphasis on refreshing beers since this is a resort area,” Rebold said.
In front of the brewery along 18th Street there will be a patio area delineated by planters. Inside is an industrial theme featuring a bar and spaces adorned with reclaimed wood, and areas that Rebold calls “micro-environments” where people can gather and interact.
“Tasting rooms,” he said, “are all about being social.”
But the topper – literally – will be a 22×24-foot rooftop beer garden with railing highlighted by panels painted by artists and “a pretty good view.”
Rebold expects rotating food trucks and perhaps even catering from restaurants in the ViBe District. He also plans to offer non-alcoholic drinks such as cold brew coffee, root beer, and of course water.
Eventually there will be live music, perhaps spoken art, and staples such as trivia night.
For Rebold, July can’t come soon enough.
“I’m looking forward to working with and interacting with other businesses and artists in the area,” he said.