Warrenton’s family-grown, family-run, and family-friendly brewery
Matt and Ashley Rose, owners of Barking Rose Brewing Co. + Farm in Warrenton, aren’t new to the brewery scene. Matt opened Forge Brew Works in Lorton — the first production brewery to exist in Fairfax County — in 2012 after deciding that he was “done with office work” as an Aerospace Engineer for a consulting firm. At that time, Virginia had recently passed legislation that allowed breweries to open on-site taprooms, whereas previously all beer had to be sold through a distributor. This law made smaller taprooms feasible, says Matt.
But after the two married and moved to Warrenton, the commute to Lorton wasn’t contributing to their quality of life. So when the lease was up, Matt and Ashley found land here, built a barn, and transformed their business to Barking Rose. The name change was made to more accurately represent their farm location and philosophy. Combining Ashley’s maiden name, Barker, with their family name, Rose, gave the brewery its unique new identity.
Ashley (whose titles include Co-Op Manager and Cat Herding Expert) and Matt (Brewmaster and Chief Farmhand) held their grand opening for Barking Rose Brewing Co. + Farm in October of 2019. The farm brewery sits on 11 acres of land where fruits, spices, and hops will be grown and used in their beer-making process.
‘An endless Spring Saturday’ is what Ashley and Matt want visitors to feel when they visit. Their desire was to make the farm brewery a place where people like to just hang out, have a beer, watch a game, sit on the porch, have a picnic, or enjoy food truck food — “relaxed, friendly, open, and happy.”
The big red building is “country” on the outside and “industrial farmhouse” on the inside. The ceiling beams, metal chairs, and huge shiny brew tanks contrast with the beautiful red rose logo that welcomes visitors to the brewery.
When it comes to the brews that are offered at Barking Rose, Matt says it really depends on what inspires him to create a new offering. “I normally will take a look at the board and think to myself ‘is there anything I want to drink that I don’t have available on the board?’ and work from there.” While he leans mainly toward Belgian ales and German lagers, he tries to ensure there are at least one or two hoppy beers, one or two easy drinkers, and various seasonal styles. “My summer beers tend to be lighter and crisper; winter more hearty. I brew beers like pumpkin beers, oktoberfests, maibocks, and dopplebocks in their traditional season, but I also brew a number of new brews every year to make sure I am growing and experimenting as a brewer.”
The brews at Barking Rose often will have a personal connection to the Rose family. Nana’s Stout and Nana’s Morning Cup, the latter brewed with coffee beans from Vint Hill Roasters, are named for Ashley’s Nana and brewed in honor of her. By Any Other Name, a beer brewed for Matt and Ashley’s wedding, is a Belgian Strong Ale with peaches and strawberries. There is a yet-to-be-named Imperial Witbier for son Charlie, and Daywalker, a Belgian Tripel named after son Lance that has a different red fruit in it every year.
Future beers will include sours, more farmhouse style saisons, and more beers using flavors with what they are growing at the farm.
When the pandemic hit our area, Barking Rose immediately closed its doors for on-premise service and switched to curbside, but since things have slowly opened up, outdoor seating is available for the community to enjoy brews safely. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages, or enjoy the food trucks, which rotate on the weekends.
When normality returns, says Matt, there will be many activities to enjoy at Barking Rose, including Wednesday evening trivia, discounted growler Thursdays, music on Fridays, food trucks on Saturday and Sunday, and yoga on Sunday. The second Sunday of every month, the brewery hosts a board game day, a collaboration with The Game Store.
There are also plans for cornhole tournaments, more outdoor seating, drive in movie nights, and more. The couple is open to more possibilities with their charming 11 acres to provide a place for relaxation and fun.