Week 40: Farm to Beer Mug
Farm-to-keg or farm-to-barrel, also known as “land brewing”, is a fairly new trend in the craft beer world. Similar to us Moutoux Orchard devotees, beer makers (and beer drinkers) are also becoming more conscious about the quality and sourcing of their ingredients. Brewers are building breweries on farmlands and sourcing ingredients from their property and other local farms. This includes the main ingredients such as water, hops, yeast and grains. They're also using fruits and vegetables for creative and seasonal brews.
A major change came to Virginia when legislation was passed in 2014 giving freedom to farm-based brewers. As Eater.com nicely summarized, bill SB 430 created a special license for brewers to legally grow, brew, and live on agricultural land (the latter of which had been illegal up until that point). It also authorized beer makers to obtain permanent rural zoning permits, instead of ones that expire after five to 10 years (https://www.eater.com/drinks/2016/1/15/10771376/farm-to-keg-beer). It basically gave beer brewers the same rights as their wine brewing colleagues.
Which brings us to Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery in Waterford, VA (wheatlandspring.com). Wheatland Spring is one of Loudoun County’s newest farm breweries, recently opening in June 2019. Just a few minutes from Moutoux Orchard, owners John and Bonnie Branding and head brewer Austen Conn have re-established 18 acres of farmland in wheat. They are also partnering with neighboring farms to source estate-captured wild yeast, regional malts, and local produce to be used in their beer recipes. This includes our very own Moutoux Orchard sweet potatoes! That’s right, Moutoux Orchard provided Wheatland Spring 450 pounds of sweet potatoes that they smoked and added into a beer.
The brewery currently has 9 beers on tap and are open Thursday and Friday 4-8p, Saturday 11a-8p, and Sunday 11a-7p. They are also holding their inaugural Stark Paddy’s Day Bierfest and Jamboree on Saturday, March 14th! Need I say more!?