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An in-house operation: Rippon Brewing debuted at Happy Retreat

By Staff | Sep 20, 2019

Rippon Brewing debuted their wares at Happy Retreat's Craft Beer Festival on Sept. 7. Manning the booth were members of the Morgan family. Shown from left are Cricket, Adrienne, Jesse and Rusty Morgan. Toni Milbourne

RIPPON — The Morgan family, owners of Rippon Lodge Farm in Rippon, have founded Rippon Brewing to cement the farm’s agricultural focus in the future.

As Jefferson County’s newest brewery, Rippon Brewing’s goal is to use local ingredients, including hops, barley, wheat and rye grown and malted on the farm, to produce their beer. Although it’s still in its early stages of operation, the brewing company debuted some of its brews at the recent Craft Beer Festival hosted at Happy Retreat in Charles Town.

According to Patriarch Rusty Morgan, the 240-acre farm will also grow grains for purchase by other distillers around the area.

“Our customers have latched onto local grains,” Rusty said.

By definition, a craft brewery or microbrewery is one that produces small amounts of beer, typically much smaller than large-scale corporate breweries, and is independently owned. The movement toward craft brewing developed in the mid-1970s and has increased in popularity in the ensuing decades. The small, independent breweries focus on quality, flavor and technique in their beer.

The establishment of Rippon Brewing falls more to the next generation of Morgans, Rusty said. His son, Jesse Morgan, oversees the new venture.

“The brewery is a value-added product for the farm. The process completes an agricultural cycle,” Jesse said, mentioning the grains grown on the farm are incorporated into the brewing process, and then spent grains are used to feed the cattle. “Nothing leaves the farm.”

The plans for the brewery itself, including the opening of a pub, are moving forward, with plans to open at 2153 Berryville Pike in Rippon in a renovated mill at the corner of Withers Larue Road. A target date for the pub opening is the spring of 2020, Jesse said.

In the meantime, the brewery will continue to produce their original brews, which include three that were available for tasting at the Happy Retreat festival.

One of the beers in the brewery’s pilot batch, Cellared Saison, is defined as a Belgian-styled country ale made with barley grown and malted at Rippon Lodge Farm and aged in an oak chardonnay barrel from a local vineyard in neighboring Loudoun County, Va. The second pilot batch, Rippon IPA, is described as an American IPA, with over three pounds of Azzaca hops per barrel. Slo Daze Golden Ale is a lighter, easy-drinking beer, with a clean finish. This brew was made with a “generous portion” of local Cascade variety hops grown at the neighboring Beverly Farm.