Harpers Ferry Brewing: Beauty and the Beer

Ronda and Mark Powell, managing partner/co-owners of Old 690 Brewing Company in Purcellville, VA, were approached two years ago by the owner of Harpers Ferry Adventure Center about opening a second brewery on 68 acres to be shared with the Adventure Center. Taking on a second brewery wasn’t in their scopes at the time. A year passed while they meditated on the idea before they took a look at the property and considered its offerings. They were swept away.

Harpers Ferry Brewing lives in what Ronda calls “the forgotten part of Loudoun”. They hope the Brewery will be a new gateway enticing Loudouners to explore this lesser known outer rim of the county, its peacefulness, its dramatic natural scenery, its history and inspiration. According to Ronda, the view from the Brewery is “flowing” – Visually, from mountains to canyons to rivers to the Appalachian hiking trails and the sky. A quiet trail of cars flows into and out of Harpers Ferry. From the Brewery is an exceptional view of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers flowing into one another. Ronda speaks of this part of the county with affection and the intimacy of a native given her fifth generation Loudoun heritage.

“Brewers are like chefs,” Ronda says and the brewery business is a merging of art and chemistry. Harpers Ferry Brewing aims to grow an abundant selection of ingredients to use as source for their craft beers. They are currently offering a brew called Pawpaw Wheat made from the fruit of pawpaw trees. To some a lesser-known fruit, pawpaw is native to eastern North America and might be described as somewhere between a mango and a banana. Trees are on order. She will be planting American Chestnut Trees, once the most prevalent trees in the eastern United States, were wiped out by an airborne blight before 1900. Ronda found a local person who grows chestnut trees from seed and has ordered five to start. The Brewery’s hops field is Ronda’s “baby”. She personally refuels there and while digging into her newly established garden of cut flowers.

Today, Harpers Ferry Brewing which just opened for business on September 27th of this year, offers a craft beer for everyone with flavor varieties like nuts, cherries, pomegranates, or tangerines and texture varieties from light to creamy to hoppy and more, always in kegs and in their taproom only. They have added a Pina Colada Berliner Weisse and a West Coast-style IPA and are actively brewing more. There’s a Pumpkin Pie beer offering the pumpkin season in a glass. Harpers Ferry Brewing features live music on Saturday and Sunday, though Sunday is moving to Friday as football season Sunday is underway. On weekends, a popular food truck is an attraction. As homage to the outdoors and their natural surroundings, blue is their predominate color and natural subtlety their theme. Their logo is a hand drawn river. They name their beers after hiking trails considering six to eight miles of the meanderings of the Appalachian Trail are part of their visage.

Ronda notes how the brewing industry is no longer about straight up beer drinking for drinking’s sake. Customers are smart, sophisticated about the process and the intricacies of production. They know what they like. That’s why the Brewery prides itself on offering something for everyone. What a chill way to spend a fall afternoon or an evening or a special occasion or any occasion, any time of year – savoring a glorious view of native Virginia beauty from a mountainous perch with a unique favorite local craft beer in hand.

Harpers Ferry Brewing is located at 37412 Adventure Center Lane, Purcellville, Virginia 20132. Open: Monday 12-7 p.m.; Closed Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday through Saturday 12-9 p.m. and Sunday 12-7 p.m. (Dog Friendly Outside of Brewery and on leashes.)


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Suzanne Peterson

Suzanne is a serious fan of the late writer, Pat Conroy, who once confessed that he handed his editor, Nan Talese, something like 1,000 pages of text to edit down to something like 250. Suzanne graduated from Crouse College School of Music, Syracuse University, with a degree in music - piano, flute and voice - which ideally prepared her for her work on the staff of U.S. Senator Walter Mondale’s Subcommittee on Children and Youth in 1975. Her military childhood traversed her horizontally across the country and beyond to Hawaii and Alaska. Several adult family relocations took her away from Capitol Hill in DC and carried her vertically up and down the east coast. She does love dogs and lives with one named Potius McPee. She resides in Ashburn on a lake surrounded by a pollinator garden where she paints all those dogs that she loves and more.
Category: Drink, Featured