By Mia Finley and Emily Cook
“Dirt farm, well, it’s kind of our lifestyle. We’re rural farmers and we love it,” says Janelle Zurschmeide, a co-owner of Dirt Farm Brewing. She and sister-in-law Kate Zurschmeide created the name because of a frequent joke, “Oh, I’m just married to a dirt farmer,” they would say.
“It’s always a fun excuse for everything, but it describes our setting too,” Janelle says. “We’re not pristine. You won’t find our lawn manicured. We don’t shop at the mall on weekends. We’re very much a working farm.”
Located in Bluemont, Dirt Farm Brewing is under a four-way ownership between husband and wife Bruce and Janelle Zurschmeide, Bruce’s brother Mark and his wife Kate Zurschmeide. After operating Great Country Farms for over 40 years, the Zurschmeides decided to tackle beer. “As farmers we saw the rise of craft beer, we had breweries coming to us for fresh blueberries or pumpkin,” says Janelle. “We saw the opportunity to do it ourselves.”
Creating a space for hospitality was Janelle’s priority too: their 1940s stone house maintains character with two expansive patios, all-original interior and indoor seating for up to 50 guests. Not to mention the incredible view. “I can see all of Loudoun Valley. I can see the cities of Reston and Tysons from here,” says Janelle, referring to it as a “destination brewery.”
Opened in May, the team is working towards a 10-barrel system with three acres of hops and ten acres of grain. “The sky’s the limit with craft beers,” Janelle says. “We are excited to experiment with vegetable beers, maybe some cucumber and herb blend, who knows.” The Zurschmeides also provide a small menu featuring seasonal flatbreads, pretzel bites, nachos and boiled peanuts.
This past weekend, Dirt Farm released Some-Peach, its second summer seasonal ale made with peaches picked right off its farm; and according to Janelle, a new apricot IPA is not far behind. / Dirt Farm Brewing; 18701 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont