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October 8, 2019

County’s 3rd farm brewery opens near Warrenton

Photo/Don Del Rosso
Matt Rose left his job with a McLean-based consulting firm six years ago to brew beer full-time.
Contributed Photo
The brewery hosted a “soft opening” on Sept. 24. The grand opening will take place the weekend of Oct. 19.
I like to play a lot. It’s half the fun of being the brewer and the owner; you get to screw around.
— Matt Rose
Barking Rose Brewing Co. and Farm
• Owners: Matthew and Ashley Rose.

• What: Craft farm brewery and tasting room, focused on Belgian ales and German lagers. It also will produce American and India pale ales.

• Where: 9057 Old Culpeper Road, near Warrenton.

• Taproom hours: 2 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

• Employees: 1 full-time and 7 part-time, including two owners.

• Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

• Website:

• Facebook: Click here
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The veteran aerospace engineer wanted a new career.

As Matt Rose took on more administrative duties, he did a lot less hands-on work for clients of Booz Allen Hamilton, the large McLean-based management and information technology consulting firm.

That started to get old.

“I don’t have a degree in aerospace to do admin,” explained Mr. Rose, who earned a bachelor’s in the discipline from Virginia Tech in 2005. “I did it because I love outer space. What’s the point of working at NASA if you don’t actually get to do more and more outer space stuff? I just got frustrated with less and less playing with satellites.”

So in 2012, he opened Forge Brew Works near Lorton in Fairfax County. A year later, he left Booz Allen to operate the brewery full-time.

For lifestyle and business model reasons, Mr. Rose in the summer renamed and moved the brewery to 11 acres off Old Culpeper Road just south of Warrenton. He and his wife Ashley, a Fairfax County Police Department lieutenant, paid $200,000 for the undeveloped, wooded site.

Barking Rose Brewing Co. and Farm on Sept. 24 had a “soft opening” that drew about 25 people, he said.

“We did the soft opening on purpose,” said Mr. Rose. “We wanted to make sure we could work out all the little kinks. There’s no point trying to learn when you’ve got 200 people knocking down the door.”

Fauquier’s third farm brewery, Barking Rose will hold its “grand opening” the weekend of Oct. 18.

For about three years, Mr. Rose commuted from the family’s home near Warrenton to the Fairfax brewery.

Depending on traffic, he spent two to three hours a day driving to and from work.

He grew to “hate” the routine, Mr. Rose admitted.

Knowing the lease for the Fairfax operation would expire in June, the couple searched for a piece of land that would allow him to open a farm brewery in Fauquier.

“The hope had always been to kind of buy land and make this our own place,” Mr. Rose said.

So far, the couple have invested $1 million to $1.5 million in business, according to Mr. Rose. That includes land purchase, a new taproom and brewery space under one roof, site development and equipment — principally the Fairfax business’s 10-barrel production system — and moving expenses, he said.

The brewery has eight employees and initially expects to produce 330 gallons of beer per week and generate about $775,000 in revenue annually, he said.

The brewery will bottle beer (22- to 25-ounce “bombers”) for limited retail distribution and sale to customers, Mr. Rose said. It also will fill growlers and sell kegs.

The sole brewer, Mr. Rose will focus on making Belgian ales and German lagers marked by spice and fruit flavors and a “clear, crisp finish,” respectively. He also will produce American and India pale ales.

Barking Rose’s 24 taps — twice the number at the Fairfax brewery that shut in June — will allow him to experiment more freely.

“I like to play a lot,” said Mr. Rose, who made beer at home for about seven years before turning the hobby into a job. “It’s half the fun of being the brewer and the owner; you get to screw around.”

He plans to offer eight beers by the grand opening.

The brewery should feature about 18 selections by January.

But, “as with all things fermentation-wise, we have to wait on the yeast,” Mr. Rose said. “I’m not going to rush it just because I want another beer on tap. If it’s not done, it’s not done.”

Finished in August, the site “build-out” includes a 4,000-square-foot, red steel barn that houses the brewery and a taproom that can accommodate up to 110 people, Mr. Rose said.

Barking Rose’s agricultural component will include two acres of hops and three acres of apricot, peach, pear and plumb trees, which he hopes to plant next spring. Fruit from the trees, which will be installed in phases, will be used to flavor beer.

Mr. and Mrs. Rose, who have two young sons, hope to buy about 30 more acres where they would live and “do more of the same,” he said.

Planned improvements to the brewery site call for a stamped concrete patio, chairs and tables with umbrellas and an outdoor fireplace.

Open fields will encourage visitors to wander the grounds, Mr. Rose said.

Entertainment and activities will include live indoor music on Fridays and Saturdays, Wednesday night trivia and Sunday yoga through a local studio, he added.

Food trucks “primarily” will visit the brewery on Saturdays, Mr. Rose said.

He hopes Barking Rose will create the “kind of feeling you get at a winery.”

The brewery’s move from Northern Virginia to Fauquier warranted a name change, Mr. Rose said.

Forge Brew Works had occupied about 4,600 square feet of space in a Fairfax County industrial park — “next to a bunch of high-end car shops doing custom work,” he said.

“Forge Brew Works is a not great farm name,” said Mr. Rose, laughing. “As much as I love the name and the brand, it felt a little weird.”

Holding no particular meaning, the Barking Rose brand combines a variation of his wife’s maiden name (Barker) and his last name.

“I tell people I just like the way it sounds,” Mr. Rose said. “We just liked the feel of it and tying our families together for the name of the place.”

Fauquier has five other craft breweries: Altered Suds Beer Co. in Warrenton, Barrel Oak Farm Taphouse near Delaplane, Old Bust Head Brewing Co. at Vint Hill, Powers Farm & Brewery near Casanova and Wort Hog Brewing Co. in Warrenton.

The couple had no qualms about entering the Fauquier market because “nobody here’s doing the same thing,” said Mr. Rose, who believes more and diverse breweries will generate more traffic for all of them.

Kevin Powers, who with his wife Melody, opened their craft farm brewery in 2017, agrees.

About 6.5 miles separate Barking Rose and Powers Farm & Brewery

“I’m excited that he’s opening this place up,” said Mr. Powers, whose 21-acre operation uses a community-supported agriculture (CSA) model that sells produce, flowers and beer. “I think there’s plenty of room out here for businesses like that.

“If you look at the growth of breweries in Virginia, they’re oftentimes really concentrated. And, they all seem to be fine.”

Contact Don Del Rosso at or 540-270-0300. 
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