While working as army medics on the night shift at a military hospital, Dirtbag’s brewmaster Vernardo “Tito” Simmons-Valenzuela made a bargain with partner Gerald Montero. Tito promised Gerald free beer for life in exchange for a homebrew kit Gerald received for his wedding. That’s when Tito started his path to becoming a brewer. Partner Eric Whealton, a nurse who worked the same shift, attended tasting sessions with Gerard. After lots of stovetop brewing, both Gerald and Eric encouraged Tito to brew professionally.
Dirtbag began as a contract brewery, and brewed at Aberdeen’s Railhouse Brewery. In late 2014, the Dirtbag team moved their brewing operation to their own brewery on Legion Road in Hope Mills.
In Hope Mills, Tito crafts many specialty beers, including pairing an IPA with sauvignon blanc-soaked oak chips and orange blossom honey, and a holiday porter with vanilla, cinnamon and honey. His blood-orange kolsch is the signature item in Dirtbag’s lineup.
Dirtbag Ales is a regional favorite and is distributed widely throughout Cumberland, Moore and Wake Counties.
In December 2015, the three partners opened their Taproom adjacent to the brewery in Hope Mills. Open four days a week, the taproom boasts a handcrafted bar hand-made stools and artsy recycled accessories, cornhole boards and a homey, friendly ambiance. Tours with the brewmaster are availably weekly. See hours and tour schedule: http://www.dirtbagales.com/taproom.
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The Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, not-for-profit organization responsible for positioning Fayetteville/Cumberland County as a destination for conventions, sporting events and individual travel. For additional information, visit www.visitfayettevillenc.com or call 1-800-255-8217.