(Appalach Lager is 1781 Brewing’s flagship beer and was brewed in honor of the Germans who settled in the Appalachian mountains.) 

By Jennifer Waldera

Spring is the time of year for blossoming — the season’s name itself sparks mental images of renewed life and newness. Nearly six years ago, it was with exactly that kind of energy that 1781 Brewery came to life in Spotsylvania. 

Wilderness Run Vineyards had been brought to life by Robert and Denise Pagan who transformed some of their farmland into rows of vines, eventually reaping the benefits from what they sowed in the form of wine. Then, their son Harry (along with his friend Brandon and dad, Robert), who had helped his parents to bring the vineyard to fruition, began his own blossoming venture — 1781 Brewery.

On the same property as Wilderness Run Vineyards, 1781 Brewery serves new visitors as well as loyal patrons its various flagship brews from a lager or kolsch to pale ales, a saison, and a wheat beer, enjoyed either in the beer lounge or on the sprawling property.

Throughout the year, the brewery also crafts specialty seasonal beers. In January you might find the likes of Golden Sultan, a Belgian golden wheat with a heaping helping of apricot, or in March you could potentially celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Wee Seltzer, a Scotch Ale brewed with a couple teas (Lapsan Souchong and Earl Grey). Pop in during summer and find a berry-flavored Berliner or stop by in September and you might find a Scandinavian Saison. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, you can enjoy seasonal flavors in their seltzers like the Blackberry Peach released in March of 2022 or you can grab a glass of wine produced by Wilderness Run. Feel like drinking at home? You can also get growler fills or take some 4-packs of cans to go.

With a sprawling space, the brewery is a comfortable place to visit for groups, couples, and families. Children can play at the on-site playground, dogs are welcome on-leash, and there are plenty of spaces to spread out or tables to take over for the evening whether covered or not. Bring your own food or support the local food trucks that frequent the spot. Per social media and reviews (and the brewery’s response to comments), the site can also handle RVs camping overnight for up to two nights if they book on Harvest Hope or Hip Camp.

While 1781 can be a comfy spot to settle into any night of the week, they also host events throughout the year from regular live music to celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest. They showed World Cup games featuring the USMNT in the latter part of 2022 and they’ve also hosted a reggae festival as well as a food and beer pairing event for a nominal cost. Additionally, the brewery supports local makers and purveyors like Carrington Farms, Southard’s Seafood, Harvue Cheese, New Frontier Bison, and Shef’s Shop (among others) by playing host to a seasonal weekly farmers market that offers everything from beef and bison to seafood, cheese, and produce. They have even hosted an entertaining event called “Historians on Tap” featuring professional historians who travel to breweries to share eccentric and entertaining local history while guests partake in brews.

1781 Brewing Company also gives back to the community, participating in a number of conservation efforts. But they also contribute in more close-knit ways like brewing a beer (Lost in Traducción) specifically to highlight their relationship with, and pair with the food regularly provided onsite by, Two Brothers Southwest Grill. They also spent the holiday season of 2022 curating a “nice” list (or as they named it “admirable”) from contributors via social media to provide gift boxes to those doing good in the community from the person who “can put a smile on your face on Monday morning” to first responders, military, nurses, and teachers. 

As spring arrives, the daytime light grows longer. That just means there’s more sunshine available to swill some suds at this Spotsy craft brewery.