Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Harpers Ferry Brewing - Overlooking the Potomac and Maryland Heights

On September 13th, 1862 Confederate units under Brig. Gens. Joseph B. Kershaw assaulted the lightly defended Maryland Heights, the highest mountain overlooking the strategic transportation hub of Harpers Ferry. This town was strategically significant because it was built at the point where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac River with a junction of the Baltimore-Ohio Railroad. Thus Gen. Robert E. Lee sent Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson to capture the town to buttress his supplies while he marched into Maryland prior to the Battle of Antietam. Harpers Ferry was virtually indefensible as it is surrounded on all sides by higher ground. Yet the Union commander, Col. Dixon S. Miles refused to strongly fortify any of these positions and instead concentrated his forces near the town.

By mid-afternoon, the inexperienced and overmatched Union soldiers had abandoned Maryland Heights and escaped across a pontoon bridge into the town. Col. Miles, compounded his previous misjudgment and refused to press a counter-attack. With the Confederate capture of Maryland Heights as well as the Confederate positions in Loudoun Heights to the east and Bolivar Heights to the west, the fate of 12,000 Union troops were sealed. On September 15th, the largest surrender of United States forces during the Civil War took place.

Late last year Harpers Ferry Brewing opened on Loudoun Heights (the northernmost point in Loudoun County) providing generous views of Maryland Heights and for those with a keen eye, Harpers Ferry itself. The brewery is located next to the Harpers Ferry Adventure Center whose owners J.R. and Holly Heffner teamed with Old 690 Brewing Company's owners Darren and Tammi Gryniuk and Mark and Ronda Powell to launch this destination brewery. It houses a 15-barrel brewing system, a 40 tap inside bar, a 20 tap outside bar, and ample seating. Besides the views of Maryland Heights to the north and west, the east provides scenic views of the Potomac and Maryland countryside.

 And expect plenty of beer options. During our visit in late April, the brewery was pouring a dozen beers with multiple styles represented. Our flights consisted of the Tri-State Tripel, Oatmeal Stout, Baltic Porter, Wake Up Call White Stout, River Daze Berliner Weisse, and Potomac Pale Ale. The most intriguing were the Tripel, Berliner Weisse, and White Stout - the later a lactose enabled, creamy, and coffee noted brew. Use theCompass Craft Beverage Finder to guide you to these delicious beers and scenic views. Cheers.


Unknown said...

I think you may have the wrong date in the first sentence!

WineCompass said...

Thank you for noticing.