LOCAL FOCUS Pale Fire Brewing Co.

Tucked comfortably away in the Ice House building across from the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market, Pale Fire Brewing Co. has become a mainstay in the central Virginia brewery scene since opening its doors in 2015.

The brewery namesake comes from the novel “Pale Fire” by Vladimir Nabokov, which is an allusion to the work of William Shakespeare. Pale Fire strives to give its brews a creative twist by naming the majority of its products after songs, artists, literature and art.

“We want to be more than just a taproom — we want to be a community space, a place for people to gather,” Susan Keeler, Pale Fire’s tap room manager, said. “All of our stuff is rooted in weird art.”

Customers here at the Harrisonburg Friendly City Food Co-op can enjoy the citrus-hopped concoction of Pale Fire’s best-seller, the Arrant India Pale Ale, which follows the trend of IPAs with a big juicy flavor.

Other popular offerings include Deadly Rhythm Pale Ale, which boasts a lightly toasted caramel malt as its backbone, and the Salad Days American Saison which offers notes of grapefruit, peach, and bubblegum for a refreshingly tart, dry finish.

While Pale Fire takes plenty of pride in serving its local customers, it welcomes beer-lovers from all over. The brewery offers a large outdoor patio, and often offers live music — making it an appealing summertime destination.

“We see a lot of beer tourism,” Keeler said. “Beer is huge in Virginia, especially in Harrisonburg — we have four breweries. We see a lot of people coming here on weekends from Northern Virginia, Charlottesville, Richmond and kind of all over to check us out.”

The company distributes through most of Virginia and Washington D.C., and is currently in the process of planning to sell bottles, which Keeler believes will keep Pale Fire at full production capacity.

If you like Pale Fire’s products found in the Co-op, check the schedule of events on the company’s Facebook page. Compete with friends in Pale Fire’s Wednesday night trivia, or groove to some live music on Thursday nights. For book-lovers, be sure to check out their monthly “Books and Brews” event, in which Pale Fire collaborates with WMRA radio to bring in an author for a discussion.


Submitted by a student at James Madison University