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Crooked Run: Catching up with the Leesburg brewery eight months after being kickstarted

This Saturday Crooked Run will have three beers on tap that are heavily influenced by Cinco de Mayo. - Times-Mirror/Ben Hancock
Jake Endres, the owner and brewmaster at Crooked Run Brewery, began his brewery operation less than nine months ago after a successful Kickstarter funding campaign.

He operates out of a small basement space at Market Station in Leesburg.

This Saturday the brewery will have three beers on tap that are heavily influenced by one of the grandest beer-drinking celebrations in America: Cinco de Mayo.

Endres speaks about the beers he chose for the event in what seems like a mixture of reverence for history and brewmaster jargon.

He explains that there was a German and Austrian contingent of immigrants who moved to Mexico during the 19th century and brought with them many different techniques for making beer. The Vienna Lager he will serve Saturday comes from that influence.

The Lime and Chili Blondes on the other hand seem to be more of an influence from a popular cocktail in Mexico called a Michelada, which is a mixture of beer, lime, clamato juice, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and other assorted ingredients.

His 1.5-barrel system has pumped out all types of beers since he started. Some of them have had an alcohol content as low as 3.5 percent by volume and as high as a forthcoming beer which will be 14 percent.

Endres runs the place almost exclusively, with help from Buster, his bartender.

"I do everything. I mop the floors, I keep the books, I brew the beer," said Endres.

In February, Endres began contract brewing with Beltway Brewery in Sterling to get his beer to a larger market.

Shadow of Truth, a beer he developed, is currently on tap at MacDowell Brew Kitchen, King's Court, Alamo Drafthouse and many other locations in the area.

Endres does special events because it's a way for him to challenge himself to make new and different types of beers.

In the past he has had a Belgian Beer Night, a St. Patrick's Day event with all English and Irish-style beers and an IPA tap takeover day, which was his busiest day to date.

This Fourth of July he hopes to serve classic American pilsner beers, and on the occasion of his one-year anniversary July 19, he will release four new beers. One of those beers will be a Tripel IPA called Natures Wrath, which will have 14 percent ABV.

When he started his brewery the aim was to create esoteric beers which offered people something different.

Funding the place entirely on Kickstarter put him in a position to appreciate the people he received help from along the way.

"I came up with a list of start-up costs and looked up brewery Kickstarter groups," said Endres.

He explains that he had no clue whether or not his idea would get anywhere near the money he needed, but he hit a quarter of his $10,000 goal by week one.

Kickstarter, like many crowd-funding websites that have recently popped up, allows people to support projects through donations.

Often the person hoping to receive the donations will provide different levels of rewards to incentivize donors.

Endres gave rewards like bumper stickers, a downloadable e-book with many of his recipes, hop plants and his most popular reward – a credit card bottle opener that slipped right into a persons wallet.

He even gave to any person willing to donate $1,000 their own beer on tap, selling all three to people he didn't know.

His bar was fashioned by a neighbor. A welder friend helped him build the kettle and other equipment.

Speaking of other brewers he knows Endres said, "All of us got help along the way, you want to give back.”

He believes he should share his techniques and knowledge with anybody who wants to know.

It's a bit like open-source brewing, with each brewer learning from the next.

Endres estimates that about one- quarter of his clientele are home brewers.

"It's a very supportive community," said Endres, explaining that he feeds off others' enthusiasm.

"It's cool how many people have given me a chance," he said, going on to say that people are always looking for something different.

Endres seems happy enough to oblige his customers.


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