If you own a hop farm, doesn’t it make sense to brew some beer too? Family-run Dragon Hops is going in that direction, planning to open the doors to an 8,000-square-foot brewery in Purcellville early this summer. The brewery, about 15 minutes from the hop vines, will takeover the former Purcellville Marketplace space, which closed in 2015.
Dragon Hops Brewing will use its own USDA-certified organic hops, starting with over 800 pounds reserved from last year. They span five different varietals, including industry-standard Galena and Cascade hops. President James Horris remains tight-lipped as to what beers will be brewed but indicated they are most interested in brewing standards. “A lot of craft breweries have … a dozen different brews…. but we want to focus on five. So if we are going to make a lager, we want to make the best one.” The brewery is concentrating on bottling and distributing what Horris calls their “bread and butter” beers but will also be playing with some specialty flavors.
Horris says recipe testing will begin in the coming weeks, as will the delivery of the 10-barrel system. While Horris is in the midst of what he calls “courting” potential brewmasters, the team has already selected recipes, including family ones. Says Horris, “It’s a few hundred years old, from an English family member who liked beer. I didn’t know we even had this until several months ago.”
Because the hops are already certified organic, Horris is looking into creating some fully organic beers. The No. 1 question Horris is asked, though, is if he’ll sell gluten-free beer, which he’s looking into. Dragon Hops CEO Marilla Coryell—Horris’ mom—also plans to make mead for the brewery.
There will be a tasting room, private event space, lounge area, a market area selling local products and space for live entertainment. As the Marketplace used to be home to the old City Hall, the original dais and open courtroom layout remains. A rotation of local caterers and restaurants will provide food.
Dragon Hops hopes to open in early June. // Dragon Hops Brewing, 130 E. Main St., Purcellville