37 Local Microbreweries to Visit
These brewers know their suds and they're all within 30 miles of Arlington.
Once upon a time there was Budweiser. Then came America’s craft beer explosion as legions of aspiring brewers left their desk jobs to pursue their true passion. Today, Virginia alone is home to more than 200 microbreweries, and it’s never been more fun to be a connoisseur. Better yet, you don’t have to travel far to find good libations and a growler to go. What follows are snapshots of just some of the brewers located nearby. Check their websites and social media feeds for intel about hours of operation, tours and what’s on tap.
This 30-barrel brewhouse, opened last fall in a former dairy barn, is part of the Farm Brew LIVE campus at Innovation Park, which includes a live music venue, a barbecue-and-beer garden and a forthcoming restaurant that will highlight whiskey and wine. Brewmaster and co-founder Forrest Morgan incorporates farm ingredients into flagship brews such as 2 Silos’ NoVa White Belgian and Mason Pale Ale. Also tasty is its Virginia Cream Ale, made with vanilla bean, honey, orange peel and milk sugar—a tribute to the brewery’s former days as a dairy farm. –R.R.
9925 Discovery Blvd., Manassas
When Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey debuted 3 Stars in 2012, their brews quickly landed on area restaurant beer menus, helping to make canned beer cool again. The Peppercorn Saison and Pandemic Porter are two popular ones. On Saturdays, the brewery offers free tours and food trucks roll up outside. DIY-ers will appreciate the on-site home brew shop that sells equipment. –R.R.
6400 Chillum Place NW, Washington, D.C.
Solar-powered beer? Sign us up. Justin Cox’s Ivy City operation in Northeast D.C. has been running entirely on sunshine (thanks to a 67.5 kW rooftop solar panel) since 2015. Taking that eco-conscious model one step further, Atlas packages its beers in cans rather than glass bottles. (The average can contains 40 percent recycled aluminum, whereas glass bottles are typically composed of only 20 to 30 percent recycled glass.) If you’re into heavy metal, check out the brewery’s event calendar, which is stacked with live bands of that ilk, and enjoy the next concert with a draw of District Common (a lager), Ponzi (an American IPA) or seasonal offerings such as a Blood Orange Gose (a German sour brewed with Himalayan pink salt) and La Saison des Fêtes, a farmhouse ale. –L.T.
2052 West Virginia Ave. NE, Washington, D.C.
Jeremy and Sarah Meyers opened BadWolf pHunk House in Manassas in June 2013, following it up with the nearby Kao Circle BrewHouse two years later. The brewery specializes in quirky flavors, such as the best-selling Mother Pucker Raspberry Sour Wit and Clara’s Vanilla Porter. Why BadWolf? Sarah will only say the name was inspired by a TV show. “We want to leave it up to the…customers to guess,” she says. The staff happily give tours and tastings whenever they’re not slammed. Watch for a Strawberry Basil Saison and some new lagers in late spring. –R.R.
8420 Kao Circle; 9776 Center St., Manassas
Longtime Arlingtonians know the name. Bardo—whose name references a Purgatory-like realm in The Tibetan Book of the Dead—gained a cult following after it opened its original location on Wilson Boulevard in the early ’90s. Now in its fourth incarnation, the beloved brewery has been resurrected in D.C. as an urban beer garden near Nationals Park by owner brothers Bill and Andrew Stewart. Bardo is known for its faithful renditions of old styles such as barley wine, Imperial stout, sour mash beer and Viking pine beer. Hopheads will also have some new wild sours to sample soon. –R.R.
25 Potomac Ave. SE, Washington, D.C.
Unlike most breweries, Beltway is essentially a brewery-for-hire. Sten Sellier founded the fully equipped operation in 2011 to help bring newcomers to market and maximize production for established beer-makers. The tasting room features one-off batches of Beltway’s proprietary suds (IPAs, barrel-aged stouts and sours), along with those of other labels. Though the name alludes to I-495, the brewery’s reach now extends nationwide. –R.R.
22620 Davis Drive, Sterling
Neighborhood Restaurant Group—the team behind Rustico, Evening Star Café and a handful of other popular eateries—launched this ambitious Navy Yard brewery with the adjacent restaurant, The Arsenal, in 2013, in part to showcase the talents of its resident beer guru, Greg Engert. Named for a term used for new Navy recruits and housed in a former ship and munitions manufacturing site, Bluejacket boasts 5,600 square feet of brewing space and serves 20 original ales and lagers, plus five Bluejacket casks daily. You can work your way through the options by sampling in 4-ounce tastes, or go whole hog with a full glass. If the Nats have a home game, expect it to be packed. –R.R.
300 Tingey St. SE, Washington, D.C.
Opened in fall 2016, the brewery formed by Jeff and Amy Frederick states its mission right there in the name. “The word ‘republic’ was chosen deliberately to reflect our philosophy,” Jeff says, meaning power to the people who want to “enjoy a better beer.” Discerning drinkers flock here for the Vanguard Irish Red, Freestyle Alliance New England-Style IPA and the flagship brew, Patriot 212 Helles Munich Lager. Mondays bring limited-edition releases, such as a Blood Orange New England IPA, with only about 100 glasses available of each. –R.R.
15201 Potomac Town Place #120, Woodbridge
If you ever find yourself feeling parched while biking the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, take a break at this trailside brewpub, named for the trains that traversed the same route back when it was a rail line. The 3-year-old watering hole was formed by two local families—the McLaughlins and the Greers—and makes both old-style and new-fashioned brews. Customers give high praise to the Caboose lagers, says brewer Justin Weems, but fans can also look forward to a soon-to-be-released double IPA aged with habañero and ghost chilies. A second Caboose location (a sustainable brewpub) is currently under construction in the Mosaic District. –R.R.
520 Mill St. NE, Vienna; 2918 Eskridge Road, Fairfax
This revered old-timer welcomed its first guests in 1992. The Shirlington outpost closed this year, but the original Penn Quarter location remains a District go-to for beer lovers, featuring brewing facilities and an extensive menu of dishes developed to pair well with such signature brews as Capitol Kolsch, Amber Waves Ale and Pale Rider Ale. In warm weather, seasonal brews might include a pilsner, a gose (they released a mango one last year) and a summer blonde. –R.R.
1100 New York Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Jake Endres and Lee Rogan were 25 when they opened their Leesburg venture in 2013, naming it after the stream that runs through Endres’ land in Loudoun County. Fast-forward to now and the partners have expanded with a larger Sterling location, along with a wide variety of suds styles, including IPAs, stouts and sours. Customers especially dig the Heart and Soul IPA, the Raspberry Empress Sour IPA and Cruise Control, a hoppy pilsner. This spring brings a golden sour, an aged barley wine made in partnership with Charm City Meadworks and a tropical fruit-infused IPA. –R.R.
205 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg; 22455 Davis Drive, Sterling
Touted as the District’s first packaging brewery since 1956, DC Brau opened on Tax Day 2011—a nod to the push for D.C. Statehood—and used the tagline “Fermentation Without Representation” for several years after. Known for its hoppy ales, the operation founded by Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock has garnered props for The Citizen, a Belgian-style Pale Ale, and The Corruption, an IPA. Watch for a summer seasonal, Space Reaper Double IPA, slated for release on the summer solstice. –L.R.R.
3178-B Bladensburg Road NE, Washington, D.C.
When they opened their doors in 2014, owners Emily Bruno, Jeff Ramirez and Julie Verratti named their Silver Spring brewery Denizens (a word synonymous with “locals”) because they wanted everyone to feel welcome. Brewmaster Ramirez, who learned his craft in Germany, says the Southside Rye IPA and Bohemian pilsner are Denizens’ most popular brews. Stop by in the springtime to enjoy a strong pale German-style lager, Macadocious Maibock, in the dog-friendly beer garden. –L.R.R.
1115 East West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland
If you’re in the mood for a malty oatmeal stout or nut-brown ale in an old-timey atmosphere that feels like a set from Boardwalk Empire, this Chinatown brewpub is the place. As the name suggests, it’s also a full-on steakhouse serving surf-and-turf, prime rib, rack of lamb and the requisite wedge salads. Other notable flagship beers include a highly rated amber ale and an East Coast-style IPA, plus head brewer Barrett Lauer maintains a rotating selection of seasonals like Cheque Please, a hoppy Czech-style Pils. –J.S.
509 Seventh St. N.W., Washington, D.C.
Casey Jones wrote his business plan for Fair Winds when he was a cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, choosing a moniker that references the old sailor farewell, “Wishing you fair winds and following seas.” Try the Howling Gale IPA or Siren’s Lure Saison, and be sure to visit in May for the release of the brewery’s Hells Navigator Maibock Lager. –L.R.R.
7000 Newington Road, Suites K&L, Lorton
Drawing inspiration from blacksmiths and carpenters, owner and brewer Matt Rose, a former NASA employee and home brewer, says he strives for the same attention to craft in the outfit he launched in 2013, where the most popular brew is Blonde Conviction, a Belgian style Blonde Ale. He also has an extra-special release planned for spring: Passionfruit Wit, a beer he is brewing for his wedding day. –L.R.R.
8532 Terminal Road, Lorton
Brewer Michael Bliven, aka the “growling bear,” has at least four dark beers on tap at all times—even in summer—at the brewery he and his wife, Corinne, opened in 2015, where most beers have the word “bear” in the name. But for those who find dark brews too heavy for warm weather, there’s also a Mango/Habañero Pale Ale set for release this spring. –L.R.R.
14051 Crown Court, Woodbridge
The name may sound like a badass biker gang, but it’s actually an ode to the endangered hellbender salamander, a native of the Appalachian rivers and streams just two hours outside of D.C. Even the operation’s mash-filter brewing system—which reduces the brewery’s environmental impact by making more efficient use of the grains in its ales—is designed with the amphibious creature’s habitat in mind. Try the Bare Bones Kolsch, a German-style ale spiced up with American-grown noble hops. –L.T.
5788 Second St. NE, Washington, D.C.
This veteran-owned brewery, which brothers Ryan and Sean Arroyo debuted in 2013, donates 1 percent of the proceeds from every pint sold to The Unquiet Professional, a nonprofit that supports Gold Star families. And it’s now easier than ever for Arlingtonians to quench their thirst with a pint of the microbrewer’s flagship Freedom Isn’t Free IPA or the newly released Civil Works Honey Lager. Heritage opened a spinoff brewpub and coffee roaster in Clarendon last year. –L.R.R.
Editor’s Note: The Arlington location of Heritage Brewing is now closed.
9436 Center Point Lane, Manassas
Located in the historic Lake Anne Village Center along Reston’s Lake Anne reservoir, the brewhouse owned by husband and wife Jason and Melissa Romano keeps the locals quaffed with its Live-Work-Play IPA (named for Reston’s community motto), the Reston Red (a dry-hopped amber) and Lord Fairfax English Pale Ale. Enjoy a fun run or brisk walk around the lake; then reward yourself with a pint of beer and a handmade Nordic-Knot pretzel. The brewery also serves nitro-brew coffee. –L.R.R.
11424 Washington Plaza West, Reston
Matt Hagerman grew up in Maine, spent time surfing in Southern Cali-fornia and then came to Ashburn to work at the now-defunct Old Dominion Brewing Co. He opened Lost Rhino in 2011, borrowing its handle from “rhino chasers,” a surfing term for those fearless souls who go after the biggest waves. He’s since developed a cult following with brews such as the popular Face Plant IPA. On May 12, he’ll be tapping My Imaginary Girlfriend, a West Coast IPA, during the acronymic MIGFest (migfest.com), an afternoon of beer tastings, food trucks and bands on the Lost Rhino grounds. –L.R.R.
21730 Red Rum Drive, Ashburn
Bill Madden had already been brewing in the D.C. market for 23 years—first at Capitol City Brewing Co. and then at Founders Restaurant and Brewery in Alexandria—when he opened Mad Fox in 2010. The Falls Church gastropub has since garnered acclaim for its traditional English-, German- and American-style beers, as well as trendier brews like the Orange Whip IPA. Meanwhile, Madden keeps experimenting. Mad Fox is now teaming up with Falls Church Distillers to produce a dram akin to a German bierschnaps—a clean, dry, high-proof spirit made from beer. –L.R.R.
Editor’s Note: Mad Fox Brewing has closed. Its former space is now occupied by Solace Outpost.
444 W. Broad St., Falls Church
Owner Sean Hunt, a former attorney, is an American Brewers Guild alum. His brewer, Ryan Murphy, a graduate of the World Brewing Academy at Chicago’s Siebel Institute, went on to perfect his craft at California’s famed Lagunitas Brewing Co. The signature beer at their Chantilly brewpub, Article One Amber Lager, is similar to the lager Ashburn’s now-shuttered Old Dominion used to brew, Hunt says. On April 21, Mustang Sally will release the first in a series of specialty IPAs in honor of its two-year anniversary. –L.R.R.
14140 Parke Long Court, Chantilly
New District made its debut in 2016 in an industrial warehouse near Shirlington, becoming Arlington’s first distribution brewery since 1916. Trading one love for another, owner Mike Katrivanos, formerly of the band Sematic, says he swapped his guitar to launch the beer business with friends and family members. Located just off the Four Mile Run Trail, New District is a favorite hangout for cyclists and runners who pop in to partake of its signature brew, a Belgian-style Saison called 1821. (Named for Greek Independence Day, it’s made with special ingredients imported from Greece.) On Thursdays, the Shirlington Running Group holds a weekly Run ’n’ Quaff, a non-competitive 5K with beer at the finish line. The brewery’s logo features a familiar local landmark: Key Bridge. –L.R.R.
2709 S. Oakland St., Arlington
Jam-band devotees will immediately get the wildcat reference in the brewery Adrien Widman introduced in 2015. (Phish has an ode to the same nocturnal animal.) A music and beer lover and home brewer, Widman has a penchant for naming his beers after tracks by that band, as well as The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin. IPAs are a particular focus for brewer Mike McCarthy, who switches up the offerings weekly. “The best-selling IPA for us is whichever one is freshest,” he says. Also popular: a German Pils called Sunnyside Dweller. –L.R.R.
23600 Overland Drive, Dulles
Loudoun’s Old Ox Road was originally built to connect agricultural producers with markets in Fairfax and points east. This congenial brewery aims to foster similar connections, albeit between people and beer. Family owned and operated by Chris Burns and his dad, Graham, it’s just the spot for board games, corn hole and new releases like the Port Barrel Aged Sir Oxelot and FestiVALE, a seasonal ale. The 30-barrel brewhouse is also a popular pit stop for bikers on the W&OD Trail. –L.T.
44652 Guilford Drive, Ashburn
Translated in Hawaiian as “delicious,” Ono, the brainchild of husband and wife Scott and Cyndi Hoffman, was created to bring some laid-back island vibes to the overworked souls of Northern Virginia. No need to wait for a bartender to pour you a pint here. It’s a self-serve brewery, so you can just pick up a beer card and sample what you please. For a true taste of the Pacific islands, try the Paradise Pineapple IPA; it’s infused with 100 percent Dole pineapple juice and may forever change the way you think about fruit in beer. –L.T.
4520 Daly Drive, Chantilly
Crowned as Prince William County’s first brewpub, Ornery Brewing Co. was unveiled in August 2015 as a “polished pub” venture by Mad Fox investor Randy Barnette. Beermeister Ferdinand McAdoo now mans the brewing operation, and the kitchen turns out dishes that are a step up from the usual bar food. Order a light and fruity Blackberry Gose paired with blackened salmon, or an Austrian Dreams Vienna Lager and a heaping plate of spicy Jambalaya pasta. –L.T.
14389 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge
Known as the D.C. area’s oldest packaging brewery, Port City was originally founded in 1866. Today, selections from the resurrected brewery’s 12 rotating taps can be purchased in tastes, pints, flights, growlers, six-packs, cases or kegs, whether you’re thirsty for something along the lines of its Colossal Seven Scotch Ale, the Integral IPA, or its award-winning Optimal Wit Belgian-style white ale. –L.T.
3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria
Beer patriarch Robert Portner put his Portner Brewing Co. on the map in the 1860s and served as the United States Brewers Association’s first president. The brewery closed in 1916 and reopened a century later. Today, the founder’s great-great-granddaughters Catherine and Margaret Portner are carrying forth his legacy with brews like the Vienna Cabinet Lager—a customer favorite made from one of Robert Portner’s original recipes. As a member of the Craft Beer Test Kitchen Program, Portner Brewhouse also produces and features beers by independent or novice brewers who are tinkering with new stuff—so there’s always the opportunity to sample something completely new and underground. –L.T.
5770 Dow Ave., Alexandria
This homegrown brewing enterprise (Rocklands Barbeque founder John Snedden is a part owner) has two locations in the District. Its Shaw Brewpub & Kitchen, which serves a rotating selection of house suds paired with Southern-influenced eats, maintains a five-barrel, small-batch brewing system that allows for constant experimentation, so head there if you’re intrigued by the tweaking process. At the Brookland Production House & Tasting Room, you’ll find classic brews made in stainless-steel tanks, as well as funkier, oak-fermented varieties like White Bicycles, a rustic wheat beer made with black limes, Mandarina Bavaria hops and a house-mixed culture of wild yeasts. –L.T.
624 T St. NW (Shaw); 920 Girard St. NE (Brookland), Washington, D.C.
When Blane Perry, a former chef, moved to Virginia from Portland, Oregon, he made it his mission to bring that city’s fabled “beervana” energy to the Commonwealth. His taphouse in Historic Downtown Manassas is a family-friendly spot where brews with monikers such as Jackson’s Fish Taco Lager and Camryn’s Poker-Faced Porter are named after the partners’ kids. Open Fridays and Saturdays only. –L.T.
9419 Main St., Manassas
If you’re seeking solace after a rough week, make a pilgrimage to this airy tasting room in Loudoun County. It’s the antithesis of a cramped, dark bar, and you’ll often find food trucks outside, serving everything from Peruvian-style wings to Thai fare. Known for its Super Dope IPA, Solace’s brewing operation is manned by Drew Wiles, a former medical researcher, and Bridgette Turner, who holds a diploma in “British brewing technology” from the U.K. Both brewers, along with operations director Jon Humerick, previously worked at Beltway Brewing in Sterling. Coming soon: a bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout. –L.T.
Editor’s Note: Closer to home, you’ll now find Solace Outpost in the former Mad Fox space in Falls Church City.
42615 Trade West Drive, Dulles; 444 W. Broad St., Falls Church
This Western-themed member of the Great American Restaurants family (which also includes Carlyle in Shirlington and Coastal Flats in Tysons, among others) makes its own brews on the premises in Merrifield, with options ranging from the low-carb Naked River Light lager to the potent High Desert Imperial Stout, and a signature cream ale. Master brewers Joe Schineller, Jonathan Blake and Aaron Emery also turn out a prolific (more than 30) selection of seasonal brews, from Crazy Jackass Ale (a German-style amber with a “spicy banana aroma”) to the hopped-up Kokopelli IPA, made with English hops. –L.T.
3066 Gate House Plaza, Falls Church
National Geographic veterans Bill Perry and his wife, Cathy Huben, opened this homey brewpub in D.C.’s Langdon neighborhood in 2015, and its utter lack of pretention is almost as refreshing as the beer. Look for a seat among the hodgepodge of café tables inside (or, if it’s nice, at one of the picnic tables out front) and just hang. The eight rotating taps usually cover a spectrum—dark, malty, hoppy, experimental—so there’s something for everyone. You might find the occasional guest chef in the kitchen or a food truck out front. Or you can bring your own snacks, or order a pizza for delivery. The Public Option pays a starting wage of $15 per hour and has a “no tipping” policy. –J.S.
1601 Rhode Island Ave. NE, Washington, D.C.
Maha Majdoub and Antonio Maradiaga reset their sights on Loudoun County and opened their small-batch nanobrewery in August 2017 after a two-year battle with Fairfax County regulators left them in need of a drink. Their venture’s cheeky name is a shout-out to their twin sons, whom they affectionately refer to as their “monkeys.” Grab a bite from one of the rotating food trucks in the parking lot and try a flight of, say, Toasted the Coconutz Brown Ale, Dunk’d Dipp’d & Drank’d Gingerbread Milk Stout, 98% Human Fruit Ale (their best-selling brew) and Rye So Punkee? Pumpkin Ale. –L.T.
101-D Executive Drive, Sterling
Picture a world where you can sip a fresh one in between dropping off the kids at tae kwon do and picking up your dry-cleaning. That’s the vision of Water’s End, a taproom and brewery nestled inside the decidedly suburban Dillingham Square Shopping Center in Woodbridge. It may seem like an outlier in a land of fast-food joints and nail salons, but that’s what brewers and longtime friends Zach Mote, Josh Fournelle and Ryan Sharkey intended. Inspired by the translation of the Native American word Occoquan (“end of water”), the brewery serves six beers on tap and encourages guests to bring their own grub (there’s no kitchen). Go ahead and order a Damn Beer, a light-bodied golden ale that may become your summertime staple. –L.T.
12425 Dillingham Square, Lake Ridge