Crooked Run Brewing, that nanobrewery that’s been luring thirsty crowds to its micro-size tasting room in Leesburg’s Market Station, is expanding its operation to Sterling.
Co-owners Jake Endres and Lee Rogan announced today that they will open a 10-barrel brewery and tasting room at 22455 Davis Drive in Sterling in early 2017. The new location will allow Crooked Run to brew bigger batches of its classic beers, to continue developing new styles, and to begin commercial distribution.
Endres and Rogan started Crooked Run Brewing at 25 years old in 2013, before Loudoun became a beer-lovers’ destination.
“When I opened, this was not a proven business model. I had a shoestring budget and an idea for a nanobrewery,” Endres said. “I didn’t necessarily know what I was doing, but I knew what I wanted to do.”
The duo has since grown quite the local following. The small patio in front of Crooked Run’s 600-square-foot tasting room is packed most evenings and weekends with fans of its chili IPAs, sours, and Belgian-style ales, all made with fresh, local ingredients. Their work earned a big kudos at the prestigious World Beer Cup in May when their saison Supernatural won a gold medal, a notable win for the tiny, three-barrel brewery.
Now, they’re eager to share their beers beyond the tasting room.
Its new location, at 6,800-square-foot, will include space to allow for distribution throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. In addition to distributing on draft, the plan is to also release 25-ounce bottles. “We want to make sure we get some good stuff out there and support the small bottle shops that have been supportive of us,” Endres said.
The original Leesburg location will be used to produce sour beers, helmed by brewer Brad Erickson, but will continue to have all styles on tap in the tasting room.
While the taps at both locations will rotate a selection of seasonal beers, the owners promise to keep three of customers’ favorite beers year-round: Red Kolsch, a light red ale served on nitro; Cherry Cayenne Storm, a chili and fruit IPA with chilies grown hydroponically at the new Sterling location, and Verdant Force, a double dry-hopped IPA.
While Crooked Run’s team embraces creativity and experimentation in brewing, Endres stressed that he and his team are not about trying unique styles “just to be weird.”
“Everything has to have a good balance and use the best ingredients,” he said. He often hears from customers who were initially hesitant to sip on a chili IPA or a sour saison, but they say they really liked it and it was really well balanced.”
Crooked Run has also become known for its warm, family atmosphere, like the Cheers bar of downtown Leesburg. A typical visit can include a slobbery greeting from one of Endres’ dogs, Logan and Teddy, and a pint filled by his mom, Kathie, or one of his buddies.
He wants to maintain that welcoming feeling as the brewing operation expands, and customers who visit the Sterling location can expect to see some familiar faces, including his English Setter, Teddy.
“What I want to do is offer a unique brewery experience,” Endres said, mentioning that the plan is to hold special events that pair well with good beer, like electronic dancing music on Saturday nights and others he’s not quite ready to announce. “We want to have something for everybody.”