Introducing Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery, an estate brewery in Virginia that’s using 100% craft malt. Proudly the first Craft Malt Certified™ brewery in the state, Wheatland Spring hosts the annual Land Beer Fest and leads the Hope Grows project to support barley breeding research in the Mid-Atlantic growing region of the Eastern US. Their Founder, John Branding, hosted us at their idyllic location in Waterford to tell us more about his malt-focused concept. 


Tell us about your location. 

Wheatland Spring is an estate brewery.

Family founded, owned, and operated by first generation farmers and brewers, we work our farm to grow grains, capture native yeast, draw water from a natural source below our fields, and host honey bee hives for the sole purpose of offering the highest quality beer we’re capable of making.

Wheatland Spring sits on 30 acres of rolling Virginia farmland in the Piedmont region. Named for its natural water source, the property was established circa 1832 as a working farm, as it is today. We understand the soil in this region to be some of the finest around for growing.

As an estate brewery that’s Farming for Fermentation, we have the opportunity through ingredients and methods to create beer unique to Wheatland Spring that reflects the agricultural character of our farm and growing region. We call this Land Beer.

What’s your definition of Land Beer? 

Land Beer is real local beer. Beer is an agricultural product and it has the capacity to reflect the agricultural character of the farm, surroundings, and region where the ingredients are grown.

We’re focused on making the highest quality beer possible, so our approach is to grow on our farm the finest ingredients we can and carefully source the remainder from trusted farmers and partners. Most often that means regional farms. For many beers we offer, the result is a reflection of our farm, surroundings, and growing region’s agricultural character. 

Land Beer Fest is our annual event just before harvest to celebrate truly local agricultural products, centered around our estate beer offerings. 

Craft malt is part of your mission. Tell us why. 

We have more info on our website, but the main drivers for our commitment to craft malt are: 

  • Transparency
  • Highest Quality Malted Grain that Tastes Like Here
  • Unique Malt That’s Focused on Flavor
  • Money Stays Small and Local
  • Reduces Traffic and Lowers Emissions

How do you collaborate with local maltsters?

We grow acres of barley on our farm, using regenerative practices, right next to the brewhouse. This turns into our Estate malt, with each batch custom craft malted by Murphy & Rude in Virginia. Beyond growing grain ourselves for our beer, we purchase craft malt from Murphy & Rude, as well as Epiphany in North Carolina using local grain from Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. 

What is the Hope Grows project? 

The Hope Grows project was created to support tomorrow’s small farms, today. One of the central ways a small farm can empower itself to thrive is growing high-value crops that are in demand. Proceeds from Hope Grows goes toward testing new barley types bred specifically for the Mid-Atlantic growing region to find the best of the best for farmers, maltsters, and brewers alike. Learn more here

What’s on tap right now? 

Return is an Estate Piedmont Pilsner, made with 100% estate-grown barley. 

East Crib Farmhouse Lager has been a yearly release, highlighting east coast craft maltsters: Hudson Valley Malt from New York, Murphy & Rude Malting Co. from Virginia, and Epiphany Craft Malt from North Carolina.


Feature photo courtesy Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery