A New Nation of Beer: Brew Republic Bierwerks

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By Marianne Weaver | Photos by Sacha Khan

Two Montclair couples—Jeff and Amy Frederick and Ryan and Darcy Heisey—pulled their talents, passions and resources together to create a new republic for craft beer lovers right in the heart of Woodbridge.

“Brew Republic Bierwerks is a brewery by the people, for the people,” states the website. “The Republic is built on three pillars: great beer, great people, and great location.”

This republic of beer is unlike any other. For starters, the owners have claimed unique titles. Jeff Frederick, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Prince William County and chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, assumed the position of prime minister. His wife Amy, whose father was an executive with Pennsylvania-based D.G. Yuengling & Son brewery, is the minister of citizenry. Ryan Heisey, an Army veteran who fell for craft beer while stationed in Arizona, has taken the title of minister of operations. His wife Darcy, who attended culinary school at Stratford University, honed her brewing skills at Forge Brew Works in Lorton, Mad Fox Brewing Company in Falls Church and Adventure Brewing Co. in Fredericksburg before claiming the titles of minister of beer and brew master. Staff members are agents of the republic, and patrons are citizens. And for the monthly fee of $17, citizens may join the Beer Commission, which entitles them to a taller pour, a quarterly 64- ounce growler fill, 5 percent discount on all food, 10 percent discount on all Brew Republic merchandise and the coveted opportunity to taste each new beer when it is introduced.

All joking aside, Ryan Heisey said the owners are focused on creating high-quality craft beers that appeal to a wide range of customers.

“The beer is the focal point,” he said. “Most are traditional, but we have plans to do some experimentation. We always have one light, one medium, one dark and one hoppy. Our mantra is to have something for everybody, and we go out of our way to appeal to as wide a range [of people]as possible.”

The Beer

Nina Benedicto of Woodbridge said she frequents many local craft breweries throughout the region, so she was intrigued when she learned of the new brewery opening in Woodbridge.

“I ordered the flight of six beers: The Mother Ship (Amber Ale), Patriot 212 (Helles Munich Lager), Abide (American Blonde Ale), Requiem (Baltic Porter), The Night Mare (Oatmeal Stout) and William the Butcher (Wee Heavy Scotch Ale),” she said. “All of the beers were good, but the standout was the Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. It was 9 percent [alcohol by volume], but it was incredibly smooth, and the flavors were well developed. I asked for another!”

Heisey said they brew more than two dozen different styles of beer per year, and at least six different beers are on tap at all times. Based on sales, he said the lighter beers are most popular. The top seller, Patriot 212 Golden Lager, was created as a bridge between industrial American pale lagers and craft beer. It is a Helles Munich golden lager with a prevailing sweet malt flavor that has just enough noble hop bitterness to provide balance. In March, the tap room re-introduced another top seller, Vanguard, a traditional, balanced, easy-drinking, red-copper-colored ale with a subtle hoppy bitterness and a dry finish.

“We have some seasonal and rotating beers. There’s always something different, which gives people a reason to look for something new,” he said. “We are all about celebrating beer, and we make it the right way. We want people who are craft beer devotees to get into it, and we want others to realize beer is fun and good. Not to scare people away, but we do make a 15 percent alcohol content beer. We try to make something for everybody.”

Beyond the Beer

“We are proud to be a veteran-, woman- and minority-owned business,” said Heisey. “We are community-oriented, and we are trying to make a difference in Woodbridge. We want to provide people with a place to go.”

He said the partners wanted to find a location near their homes. After conducting some market research—Amy Frederick was a senior adviser for strategy and outreach for 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina—they set their sights on Stonebridge. Most craft breweries in the region, Heisey said, are housed in former industrial complexes. But Brew Republic has found a home in the upscale Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center.

“I like the neighborhood vibe,” said Amber Farris of Dumfries. “I feel totally comfortable just dropping in by myself and grabbing a beer while shopping at Stonebridge.”

That’s exactly what the partners were going for when they picked the town center to house their 4,000 square-foot headquarters, which features a 10-barrel brewing system that turns out 20 barrels of craft-brewed beer each week.

“On any given day, there are hundreds of people here shopping,” said Heisey. “They are here, so we succeed just by being here and having our doors open. We’re not just a brewery, but a cool place to hang out.”

There’s always something going on at Brew Republic. In addition to the typical beer tastings and big screens for popular sporting events, they also host Tuesday night trivia, Detox to Retox beer and yoga, and live music.

Matthew Fitzsimmons of Alexandria said he tracks new local breweries and tries to visit them shortly after their openings. “After seeing all the breweries set in out-of-the-way industrial areas, it was nice to have one in a more hospitable location,” Fitzsimmons said.

And they’re serving a lot more than just beer. After all, the brew master studied culinary arts. Heisey described the menu as highend comfort food. He said the chef and brew master hash out food items to pair with the changing tap options.

“We have the typical bar food–pretzels and cheese, mozzarella sticks and fries,” he said. “But we also have garlic-truffle fries and spicy mac and cheese nuggets, which are addictive.”

Trisha Kaprielian of Woodbridge gave the food a favorable review on Yelp. “The food really is good, better than what you’d expect from a typical brewery,” she said in an interview. “The food and brews work well together, and it makes for a solid pairing overall. You’re not disappointed because you had a bad meal or beer. And now they serve wine, so for the non-beer drinker, everyone can eat, drink and be merry.”

Brew Republic Bierwerks is located at 15201 Potomac Town Place #120, Woodbridge. For more information about current beer selections and events, visit brewrepublic.beer.

Marianne Weaver (mweaver@princewilliamliving.com) is a freelance editor and writer. She earned a BA in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MJ from Temple University. She lives in Gainesville, Va., with her husband and two children.


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