When I come across Forrest Morgan at the site of the soon-to-open Farm Brew Live in Manassas, he’s got a fresh coat of dirt on his hands. Standing beside a row of hops slowly winding themselves around trellises of reusable coconut twine, he briefly shakes my hand and then leaves to grab a bottle of water for a parched co-worker. The air is soupy, and it’s only 10:30 a.m.
Morgan tapped into the beer business after years of homebrewing. “There were a lot of late nights with my wife at the kitchen table when I told her I wanted to quit my comfy engineering job and dive into this. So it’s that old story: engineer turned brewer-entrepreneur,” says Morgan, head brewmaster and co-founder of 2 Silos Brewing Company.
The venue is a sort of Wolf Trap-meets-Port City Brewing, only with local artists, mostly free admission and poutine on the menu. Just off Prince William Parkway, the campus features three large structures—an angular brewery with ample windows and a covered patio, a modern outdoor stage (The Yard) and beer garden and a rehabbed 1929 dairy barn with twin silos that will serve as full-service restaurant The Black Sheep. An additional event space near the brewery is in the works.
“You can’t talk about Farm Brew Live without talking about farm, the food; brew, the beer; and live, the music, all in one piece,” says Meredith Arnest, director of brand development for the venue operator and owner, Villagio Hospitality Group. “Bringing that all together is [that] a lot of our shows are not ticketed. They’re just available to you.”
In addition to five flagship beers—cream ale, Belgian white, black IPA, pale ale and imperial stout—2 Silos will offer seasonal options, using pumpkins, blueberries and hops grown on-site, Arnest says. Campus gardens will also help stock the kitchen at The Black Sheep, whose menu features whiskey selections and an eclectic mix of tacos, oysters and lobster pot pie. There’s also a barbecue pit on The Yard and lighter fare in the brewery.
In 2015, property co-founders Morgan and Silva Holdings’ Marcus Silva aimed to set up shop in Clifton, but Prince William County proved to be a more welcome location. “It was a better opportunity here,” Morgan says. “We’ve got a ton of space, a great county supporting what we’re doing and the location—you can’t beat it.”