You all know I love beer and that I often choose my restaurants based on the quality of their draft list. But in addition to that, Beer Geek and I love to visit different breweries and check out their setups (and often beers that you can only get there.) Right now, the beer scene in Virginia is exploding. So much so that I need to focus on just one small part of Virginia to stick to 5. (Don’t worry, I’ll work my way around the state.)
- Port City Brewing – This Alexandria brewery makes quite a number of good beers, but my favorite is their porter. You can stop by their facility and drink a pint or get a tour and some tastings. While not a restaurant, they do have Food Truck Sundays or you can join them on Monday nights for their popular Joggers and Lagers (aka fun run).
- Lost Rhino Brewing – This brewery is farther out in the suburbs in Ashburn, but is well worth the drive from DC. They offer tours on Saturdays, but their tasting room has a small menu and live music on Friday and Saturday nights, so feel free to head out there other days. Their Face Plant IPA won a gold medal in 2015, so it’s a great beer to checkout.
- Mad Fox Brewing – Mad Fox combines good beer and good food in a lovely family friendly restaurant in Falls Church, VA. I know putting this on the list comes as no surprise to anyone – a simple search of my blog turns up many posts about events and evenings there. I’ve been following Bill Madden around for years because of my love for Wee Heavy, but I’ve (somewhat) recently fallen in love with another beer – Orange Whip, an IPA made with citra hops. And Mad Fox recently started a run club as well, so yes, it is possible to combine beer and running.
- Fair Winds Brewing- Fair Winds is a fairly new to the scene brewery. We got to know the head brewer when he worked at Mad Fox and just recently got the chance to go out and check out his new brewery. It was totally worth the drive! His Ghost of the Mariner Imperial Stout will knock your socks off (both because it’s awesome and because of the high alcohol LOL) and they recently won a gold medal for the Siren’s Lure Saison. I was also pleasantly surprised to love the Howling Gale IPA. (And if you are feeling really wild and crazy, go across the street and check out Forge Brew Works. I haven’t been there yet…)
- Caboose Brewing – This brewery has a lot going for it, not the least of which is it’s location steps off of the W&OD trail. Want a beer on your bike ride or after your run? This is your place. Add in some yummy snacks and tasty beer and who wouldn’t want to take a pitstop here?
Besides being great breweries, they are all an awesome part of the brewing community. Twenty area breweries (including all 5 of the above) gathered together and brewed a beer that will be served starting January 29th in all the participating breweries. The beer is a Belgian Pale Ale and it’s called Kerri’s Cure. All proceeds from the beer will be going to pay for medical costs for Kerri Rose, the wife of Forge Brew Work’s brewer, as she battles stomach cancer.
I feel like I’ve only barely scratched the surface. There are so many more breweries that have just opened or are about to open that I haven’t had a chance to try. I think I need to make it my mission to try them all and report back on which are the best LOL.
I’m linking up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia for Friday Five since today’s topic is food and drink. (Was there ever any doubt that this would be beer related?)
Have you ever been to a brewery for a tour? Or visited a brewpub for a beer and a meal? What’s your favorite? (I’m always looking for new places when we travel…)
40 thoughts on “Five Northern Virginia Breweries Worth Visiting”
We’ve been to West Ox off the W & OD, but not Caboose – where is it? And I could walk to Port City, although the walk home would be 100% up hill! When they starting sponsoring the GW Parkway Classic beer tent, I was tempted enough to have my first post-race beer and it did not disappoint!
I think it’s in Vienna? It’s literally steps off the trail.
I have never toured a brewery. However, we have one in town called river house brewery that we would stop at after boating trips. I don’t drink beer so I’ve never tried it there but at least the food was good :).
Most brewpubs have at least decent food because not everyone who comes is there for the beer.
Growing up, the ONLY vacations we’d take were to Wisconsin breweries. If it was summer, it was a given that we’d be heading up for a tour or 3. There’s a new brewery opening near me!
Wisconsin breweries are the best. You should meet me at one this summer. ;o)
The Kingstowne Striders of Southern Fairfax County run from Fair Winds during the summer months! 🙂
Fun! It’s just a bit too far away for me to get to on a regular basis.
When this post popped up in my reader I was all like ohh must read now! I am married to a craft beer geek and he’s gotten me on the bandwagon. I haven’t ever been to any of those breweries in DC and maybe I’ll plan a brewery tour for us. Good tips – thanks for sharing!
You should. These 5 are only the tip of the iceberg.
Caboose brewery might be a good one to check out for an MRTT beer run. Fun!
I’m pretty sure there have been a couple of MRTT runs out of there…
I feel like there are more new breweries in the DFW area too. My friends keep talking about more and more popping up. Colorado seems to be the same, and I even found out there’s a running store in Longmont that’s running store in the front, pub in the back, with all kinds of local brews.
Yep, the beer scene is definitely growing.
How fun! My sister just moved down there, so I’ll be passing this post along to her, and keeping it in mind for when I visit!
You should. And definitely hit a few when you visit.
I’ve actually never done a brewery tour. There are two in my city that I’ve been meaning to get to. I’m more of a vineyard fan than brewery overall.
The tours are still cool and you never know, you might find a beer you like.
That’s really cool that they created that beer for Kerri. What an awesome way to come together and help support her!
Seriously, it is. Brewers are a lot like runners in their awesomeness.
Great list! I haven’t tried any of these places yet so I really need to get to it 🙂
You should. They are all awesome in their own way.
I love beer too!!! Loved this post so much, wishing I was closer to northern Virginia 🙂
You should visit! It’s so close to all the historical stuff in DC.
great suggestions! I’m a huge fan of DC Brau, Evolution (Salisbury, MD), RAR (Cambridge, MD), and the new 7 Locks (Rockville, MD).
I haven’t been to 7 locks or RAR yet. I need to…
This is SOOOO interesting! I am a beer idiot (never quite acquired a “taste” for it), though I do like the “hard” apple ciders…are those considered beer? My husband has done some brewing, but it’s been a few years since his last batch. I’m in Iowa, and we have a few breweries cropping up as well. Hmmm….I think I need to give this a whirl (but on a local level);-) Thanks for the info!
You should. Craft beer tastes so different from bud/miller/coors. You may even find one you like.
I did a brewery tour when I visited Colorado a couple years ago, and have been to the Sam Adams facility when I lived in Boston. I’d love to visit one in the DC area! meet you there?? 😉
Name the place and time and I’m there.
Ok, just another reason I need to drag my homebrewer out east for my year of destination races!
Umm, yes. Tell me when and I’ll meet up with you somewhere – race, brewpub or both.
My husband would love this, I am not a big beer drinker but these sound good.
They are all great places.
Kerri’s Cure is an amazing thing! I bet very few people know about this side of breweries. I know I didn’t.
The brewing community feels a lot like the running community. They are always so supportive of each other. And I love love love that the two communities overlap.
Mad Fox has such a great beer selection, as well as a great menu. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a couple weekend brunches there.
We are there a lot. It’s like my home away from home.
Ooh very helpful post! Northern VA has a ton of hidden gems for wine and beer lovers!
There’ve been a ton of new breweries lately. We still haven’t been to them all.