Frequently asked questions
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture," which was a concept from the early return of farmers selling directly to consumers, in which the "members" pay up front to help the farmer cover the costs of prep and planting, and then share in the risk and rewards of the harvest. Each week every member of the CSA gets a box made up of that week's fresh harvest. For us, our CSA is effectively a weekly subscription program, with members getting whatever is fresh from our farm, with the schedule and quantity of those products dictated by our climate.
Is your farm organic?
Our farm follows all organic practices and then some. We never spray chemicals for pests or weeds, and we never use inorganic fertilizer. At a minimum we follow all of the practices that the USDA requires in order to become certified. We focus on soil health and environmental diversity, not just for it's own sake but also because that diversity and the microbial soil community we promote increases the nutrients and flavor of the crops we grow. Becoming USDA certified organic is a good tool for farmers who are selling wholesale and need to be able to communicate that information to consumers down the line as the product makes it's way through middlemen. Because we sell direct to you all as customers and have the ability communicate our practices, the fees associated with certification seem an unnecessary cost for us, so we don't do it.
What beers are on tap at your brewery?
We brew a new batch of beer weekly at the farm, sometimes retreading on a beer annually as the farm produce we grow for that beer is available. As a result our menu is constantly changing, usually turning over almost completely every two months or so (one exception is that our Lemongrass Pils, which uses fresh and dried lemongrass from our farm, is usually available regardless of the time of year). You can see the beer menu we have in our taproom by clicking here, or clicking the "beers on tap" button on our homepage.
Do you have food trucks? Can we bring outside food?
We have a wide range of local food trucks on site every week, usually with one vendor on site from Friday-Sunday, with plenty of exceptions, and occassional food available Thursday as well. If you're interested in the specific truck for today or an upcoming day, check out the schedule that is listed on our homepage, or check out the full calendar by clicking here. Although the current market for food trucks doesn't allow us to do this in absolute terms, we do focus on scheduling owner-operated food trucks that are doing as much sourcing as possible from local agriculture (or, in many cases, even their own farms!).
Also note that anyone is welcome to bring any outside food and non-alchoholic drinks with them to our taproom at any time. For obvious reasons, and per Virginia ABC law, no outside alchohol is allowed on our property.
Can we book your brewery for an event?
Absolutely! We are happy to open during one of our non-Taproom days (Monday-Wednesday) or any events with some notice. We don't close down to the public Thursdays-Sundays, but if you have a group that needs some space reserved, or we can help in any way with acomidating you on those days, don't hesitate to email or call us.
Additionally, starting in the spring of 2020, we'll have our new "Barrel House" open for rent seven days a week for private events. The event space itself is roughly 800 sqare feet and includes a small kitchen if needed. Email us for details.
Do you make "sour" beers?
We struggle to answer this question. "Yes" is an accurate answer but it's more complicated than that. We usually but not always have at least one sour-type beer, however nothing we make is wickedly acidic.
"Sour" usually refers beers that were either acidified during the mashing process and then boiled to kill all the lactobacillus ("quick souring"), or made via the traditional brewing process and then inoculated with lactobacillus and aged. "Clean" is the blanket way of saying wort is made the traditional way, with all of the liquid and equipment sanitized, and then inoculated with a single strain (or sometimes multiple) saccharomyces strains (often called "brewers strains").
The majority of our beers start out "clean," but many of them don't stay that way. Some don't even start out clean.
Our most common deliberately inoculated lactobacillus beer is called The Greenway Extension, a berliner weisse made the traditional way, which is to pitch the lacto and then give the beer time to drop in pH and develop interesting. The process takes months and is entirely fermented in French Oak barrels we procure from Gray Ghost wintery down Rt. 211. As far as we're aware it's the only traditionally-made berliner weisse in Virigina. Our friend Jasper at Jasper's Yeast likes us to point out that the beer is "living" even on draft, thus making it what is commonly called a probiotic. Our facility expansion is in part to make this a full-time beer in our lineup.
We've also occasionally used cultured lactobacillus in Belgian-style beers during aging, and also use it along with brettanomyces in our Flanders Red project, which is a three year process that hasn't yet yielded any beer for consumption.
Our saisoin yeast is a saccharomyces strain, but was wild captured and acts like a wild yeast, fermenting actively even at cellaring temperatures. We also brew with a saccharomyces yeast that was captured on our farm, and then had cultured by Jasper's Yeast.
The most common "sour" flavor in our beer is from a process that makes us pretty unique as a professional brewery: we add fresh fruit directly to our fermenting beers without any kind of treatment, chemicals, or other sanitation process. Fruit (and vegetables, and herbs for that matter) are loaded with lactobacillus, and while we don't add the fruit to add bacteria, we are adding it directly to still-fermenting beers right in our stainless tanks. The result is varying levels of acidification to these beers, thus making them on the spectrum of "sour."
We should point out that we use this method because we know it's the only way to achieve the fresh flavors we're after. It's incredibly rare and frowned upon in the industry because the results are uncontrollable, and it creates packaging nightmares for products that are shipped, allowed to warm, and sit on the shelf. We don't package, and aren't afraid to dump beer that doesn't meet our standards, and anyway we're incredible happy with the results.