A farm is opening near Round Hill, but you’ll probably go for the beer.
B Chord Brewery has quietly opened on Williams Gap Road, but while the cold weather has delayed putting up fence posts and hop yards, the beer is already flowing for a crowd of locals. The farm brewery’s founders, Rose and Marty Dougherty and Aaron Gilman, say next come the cows and the crops.
“The idea is to just restore the property to agricultural use,” Gilman said. “If you look back at the historical photographs, you’ll see it used to be, I believe, a hay field. It’s a really neat property.”
After protracted regulatory battles with locals around Bluemont that sparked in early 2015, B Chord was forced to relocate to the other side of Rt. 7. Before B Chord bought the 64-acre property on Williams Gap Road, a developer had won approval to build seven houses on it. Instead, Gilman said, as soon as the ground thaws, he’ll be driving in fence posts to bring in a herd of about 25 cattle. They’ll also be growing hops and a butterfly garden.
“We’re focused on being a farm first, a farm brewery first,” Marty Dougherty said. “And so it’d be nice to be able to rent the place out once in a while for a wedding, and it’d be nice to be able to do other things, but in the end what we’re really focused on is our farm aspect.”
The top 40 acres of the property are steep slopes and mountainside, and Dougherty said the plan is to leave that part alone. The lower 20 acres will be used for farming. And at the front of the property, an open-plan, barn-like building hosts music and happy beer fans.
“Our thought was that our longevity in the community and our ability to be accepted in the community was dependent on being part of it,” Marty Dougherty said.
To that end, they plan to use as many local and Virginia ingredients as possible, including hops from their own property, honey from Hamilton, and malt from Berryville processed at Pilot Malt House in Lucketts.
“The brewers in the community need to have something at stake beyond just the economic advantage,” Dougherty said.
Brewing, so far, is happening mostly at Corcoran Brewing Company in Purcellville, led by Lost Rhino Brewing Company co-founder Favio Garcia. But soon, the Corcoran Brewing Company name will disappear, as it merges into B Chord.
“We’re still in the process of getting the regulatory approvals, and we actually think that might be done next week,” Dougherty said.
And there’s plenty of other work to be done. For now, Dougherty said, the cows will be eating spent grain from the brewing process.
“When we make a 10-barrel batch of beer, depending on what kind of beer it is—if it’s an IPA, there would be 1,100 or 1,200 pounds of spent grain, which just means it’s grain that’s been washed of its sugars, but it’s still full of protein,” Dougherty said.
Eventually, people at the brewery might be eating the cows.
“Long term, we’d like to have a farm-to-table menu that would include fresh beef from our own herd,” Dougherty said.
“It’ll keep changing,” Gilman said. “Every time you come out, you’ll see something new.”