"I was fascinated on that tour. When we got home I kept reading about beer and breweries in the Encyclopedia Britannica. I couldn't get enough."

That fascination lasted through college. In 1988, he went to Munich, Germany, to attend a school that was founded in 1895 and is one the oldest brewing schools in the world.

His first job was in Baltimore at the G. Heileman Brewing Co.'s lab. From there, he was hired to help start the brewing operations at Capitol City Brewing Co. in Washington D.C.

A few years later, he left to start his own brewery, Ellicott Mills Brewing Co. in Ellicott City. He sold his interest in that company in 2004.


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Virga currently works full time in Towson as manager of a medical group headed up by gastroenterologist Mark Noar. Every spare moment of his days and nights is spent at his brewery.

He said he picked Gunpowder Falls as the brand name because it clearly identifies the region where the beer is brewed.

"Since New Freedom is at the headwater for the Gunpowder Falls and since water is one of my primary ingredients, I thought it would be appropriate to use Gunpowder Falls for the branding," he said.

Virga asked his friend, Jed Jenny, who works at Wine Source and is a graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art, to create the logo that features a waterfall and trees.

Gunpowder Falls Brewing is located at 15556 Elm Drive, New Freedom, Pa. The tasting room is open Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Food is also available and tours of the brewery can be given.

For more details, go to http://www.gunpowderfallsbrewing.com, call 717-759-0330 or email info@gunpowderfallsbrewing.com.