A nearby destination with many options for beer enthusiasts
Annie Arroyo and her husband Ryan have been married for about a year. While they were dating, Ryan and his brother Sean were passionate about home beer brewing and had a dream of starting their own brewery.
Heritage Brewing Co. opened in Manassas in December of 2013. “Ryan and I are both veterans and very patriotic,” shared Sean. “We wanted to be able to incorporate our love of country into our brand. We’re very close, so it was a natural fit for us to go into business together.” Sean has always been interested in the craft beer culture. “I knew when I got out of the military I wanted to do something I loved, so this was a perfect fit,” said Sean.
The brewery truly is a family business: Annie works for the company handling taproom events and marketing. Previously, Annie was the events coordinator for Historic Manassas, Inc., and it was through that position that she met her husband.
“Both my husband and Sean have poured their heart and souls into this place,” described Annie. Their patriotism is shown not just by following their dream of owning a business but also by the decor of the facility. An enormous wooden flag was constructed by the team and now adorns one of the large walls within Heritage Brewing.
Dominic DiGiovanni, COO of Heritage Brewing & co-founder of Veritas Coffee, is also a veteran, having served in various leadership positions during his eight years of service as an engineer officer in the U.S. Army. “Heritage Brewing’s focus is on quality and serving our customers while paying homage to our country, veterans, and, of course, the beer lovers in the area,” DiGiovanni explained.
DiGiovanni said, “We make beer that is appealing to all palates.” With five flagship brews always on tap, seasonal offerings, experimental beers (released on Saturdays), and the “Firkin Friday” option offered on Fridays, beer lovers will enjoy the myriad of options. A “firkin” is a cask that’s used to contain a smaller batch of beer. The team at Heritage often infuses their flagships in the firkin with new and unique flavors. In October, a Firkin Friday offering included a porter beer infused with a coconut porter, and in the summer they provided beer lovers with fruit infusion options.
DiGiovanni noted, “Our experimental beer is created in small batches to test, and if they are popular enough [they] will be produced more and turned into a seasonal rotation.” Every Saturday, brewery patrons are able to sample the experiment of the week. October featured the release of an Old Ale brewed with organic plums, figs, and dates.
Now is the transition season from fall into winter, so you may have one or two options for seasonal tastings, depending on when you stop by Heritage Brewing. In November, Heritage Brewing offered Bradford as their seasonal beer. If you are lucky and stop in early enough in December, you may still have a chance to try this brew. Otherwise, you will have to try the Battle of White Marsh during your visit, which, according to DiGiovanni’s description, is a good option. “My favorite beer for winter is The Battle of White Marsh, a Belgian spiced ale that pairs well with a nice fire,” described DiGiovanni. Annie divulged that her favorite beverage isn’t the same as DiGiovanni’s but is always available on tap and is called American Expedition. “I love how light and refreshing it is,” noted Annie.
What makes Heritage Brewing so appealing? Josh Moon, director of brewing operations, and other staff members utilize their talent and desire for mastering a delectable end product in the methodology they use to brew their beer. “Heritage Brewing offers a robust barrel aging program for beer enthusiasts,” explained Annie.
Thoughtfulness and careful attention goes into every brew created at Heritage. “We use organic ingredients whenever possible, and give one percent of every pint sold to charity (specifically organizations that benefit Veterans and Gold Star families),” Sean explained. “We also focus on sustainable practices,” explained DiGiovanni. They donate grain that has been used in the brewing process to Round Hill Farm and the water used for chilling is recaptured and reused. “Spent grain is also used in the food production (granola and bread) at the Brew Pub in Arlington,” explained Annie. “We not only repurpose ingredients, we also repurpose materials, like the pallets used in the construction of the bar, to create the aesthetics here at Heritage.”
Not a beer lover? “We also offer other beverages for those that may want to try something different,” said Annie. If you are a coffee enthusiast, you too will enjoy a visit to Heritage Brewing as they roast their own coffee on site and sell cold coffee beverages for all to enjoy. Coffee products include a bold and a blond variety and are sold in cans and on draft. Heritage even makes and sells their own sodas.
If visitors are hungry, food offerings include snacks — all produced by Virginia companies — such as Route 11 chips and ice cream from Loopy Scoops. Additionally, the tap room offers patrons food via the Department of Smoke, a barbeque food truck that is also owned by a veteran.
“Heritage is continuing to grow — our vision is to expand our distribution and to open more Heritage Brewpubs (they opened one last April in Arlington) that bring together a farm-to-table menu with our handcrafted ales and merges with our coffee company, Veritas,” said Sean.
The love of their business and the pride the Arroyo family has for this country shows in every little nuance of Heritage Brewing. From the handmade bar — including the top — to the benches to the carefully designed and built taps, the Arroyo brothers have truly put their sweat equity, creativity and enthusiasm into every aspect of the business.
Five Flagship Offerings by Heritage Brewing Co.
A light bodied American wheat ale with flavors of local farmer’s honey and spiced with ginger.
A malty amber ale brewed with organic oranges, this ale gives a strong malt note finished with orange rind crispness.
A robust Scotch ale with the smooth malt flavors of caramel and brown sugar.
An East coast pale ale that balances a clean malt backbone with earthy and tropical citrus hop flavors.
Freedom Isn’t Free
A classic American hopped IPA with a powerful malt body that is woven with notes of candied citrus and conifer.
Heritage Brewing Co. News
Learn more about this business by following them on social media or visiting their website. Also, watch their growth in the next 18 months as they are constructing a new facility at The Landing at Cannon Branch, a new mixed-use development in Manassas near the DMV off Route 28.
Photos by Kara Thorpe