Around Town

New brewery hopes to bring beer, ‘eclectic’ food to Old Town Fairfax on Labor Day weekend

Something new is brewing in Old Town Fairfax.

Expanding operations from Virginia Beach, Commonwealth Brewing Company is gearing up to join the neighborhood with an anticipated Labor Day weekend opening at 10426 Main Street.

In honor of its opening, which will ideally come on Sept. 1, the brewery will offer a “pie and a pint” special associated with its participation in Fairfax City’s upcoming Restaurant Week. Customers can choose from one of Commonwealth’s eight signature pizzas and a draft beer for $25.

Fairfax visitors can expect “an even bigger implementation” of Commonwealth’s offerings in Virginia Beach (2444 Pleasure House Road), where the brewery serves 25 to 28 styles of beer crafted in house, owner Jeramy Biggie says.

The new Fairfax location will boast a 4,800 square-foot tap room with 48 taps, five of which will be dedicated to draft cocktails that are currently exclusive to Fairfax. It will also eventually add the coffee brand that Commonwealth recently launched in Virginia Beach.

“It’s a great, great spot right on Main Street, and it has a pretty expansive patio with outdoor seating where dogs are welcome,” Biggie told FFXnow. “I’m just really excited to see how people can respond to the beer.”

Along with specialty alcoholic beverages, Fairfax’s Commonwealth Brewing will serve freshly made food, like its signature Neopolitan wood-fired pizza, and it will experiment with “eclectic concepts” and “interesting ingredients,” such as Korean short rib and kimchi, Biggie says.

He plans to maintain a rotating menu by introducing three to five new beer styles every week and new food items every month.

“I think our ethos is all about being creative and trying to really foster an environment where people can come together and have a really enjoyable, hopefully world class product,” Biggie said.

Also new with the Fairfax location is a dedicated beer production space for Belgian-style, long-term, barrel-aged sour beers — the very beer that Biggie says first sparked his passion for becoming a commercial brewer. This particular style of beer is aged on wild bacteria for a year to three years, so it’s “a labor of love,” Biggie says.

“They’re not profitable at all, but they’re delicious, so we like to make them,” Biggie laughed. “…It’s a really small percentage of our total volume, but it’s a really important part of it.”

Beers have long since been a labor of love for Biggie, who began home-brewing around 13 years ago as a hobby while working full-time as a structural engineer.

“When I met my wife, she was studying abroad in Germany, and I flew over to Europe to spend Christmas with her over 20 years ago now, and she took me to all the hot houses and European beer gardens, and I was blown away by the food and the quality of the beer,” Biggie said. “That’s where it all kind of started for me. I came back and started seeking out more interesting beers and then that turned into home brewing.”

After a decade of home-brewing, Biggie and his wife Natalie decided to liquidate their retirement savings and “make the huge jump” into their “first-ever entrepreneurial endeavor,” Biggie recalls.

“I found I had a pretty natural ability to make recipes and really loved doing it,” Biggie said. “I loved all the social inspiration that I got from it, being able to invite the neighborhood over to come try the beers and just really got into it and got super passionate about it — basically filled my entire house with fermenters. After making all different styles over a decade and passively researching, we made a decision to open a brewery.”

Formerly based in Alexandria’s Del Rey neighborhood, the couple found no better place to break ground on their brewery than where they first met: Virginia Beach.

Now, after experiencing success by the ocean for the past eight years, the Biggies are heading back to Northern Virginia, where they hope to “create a bigger and stronger nightlife scene” in Old Town Fairfax, Biggie says.

“We know the area, we know that people up there really appreciate high-quality products,” Biggie said. “We came across the Fairfax property, and it was just amazing, and we really liked the building owner, and we loved it being in a really cool main street.”

As Commonwealth prepares to open in Fairfax at the beginning of next month, Biggie says he’s focused on integrating the brewery into the Fairfax community and involving George Mason University students, who he hopes will become regulars.

His goal, he says, is to make Commonwealth a close-knit community hub that promotes interpersonal connection.

“We want to be a community center. We want to be a place where people can come every week and meet and see each other,” Biggie continued. “…We’re the antithesis of a sports bar. We have no screens anywhere, and we really want you to focus on the beer you’re enjoying, the food you’re eating and the people you’re with.”