Our 10 fun things to do in Shenandoah County Virginia mix hiking, quaint towns, country flavors, local wine and brews, ...
Virginia’s LoCo Ale Trail offers a range of fun spaces to drink local craft brews while you explore the small towns and country roads of Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County. With 21 breweries on the trail, and new ones popping up regularly, you’ll have enough destinations to warrant repeat visits to the region all year long. Loudoun County is a short drive from Washington DC (except during rush hour), but the open farmland and history-laden towns make you feel a world away.
While Loudoun County is perhaps better known for it’s wineries, craft breweries offer a fun counterpoint, generally offering more rustic and casual spaces to gather. The US craft beer scene is expanding rapidly, with new brewers carving out their own flavor profiles and introducing a steady stream of unique offers.
LoCo Ale Trail locations range from tiny nano-breweries serving a few unique specials to large brewers offering beer in their own spaces and through broad distribution. There is plenty of appeal across beer styles and spaces, and it’s interesting to compare brewers as you explore the area.
We are not craft brew experts, but we love a good beer and another reason to explore Northern Virginia. Here are some of the wonderful craft breweries to visit on Virginia’s LoCo Ale Trail, along with suggestions for things to do nearby. Breweries are listed alphabetically in three geographic areas, and we’ve included pics of the spots we’ve visited so far. We’ll add more pictures as we visit more breweries. Enjoy exploring Loudoun County Virginia’s LoCo Ale Trail!
LoCo Ale Trail Breweries East of Leesburg
Virginia’s LoCo Ale Trail includes a mix of beer-focused and food-focused breweries in the eastern section of Loudoun County. Closest to DC and the beltway, they offer interesting beer in the burbs without a long drive.
Beltway Brewing, Sterling
Beltway is a facility that hosts partner, contract, and private label brewing. “Our Tasting Room is unique because it showcases the different brands brewed right here. Because most of the beer we brew is shipped all over, the Tasting Room is the only local place where some of these beers are available.” Limited Tasting Room hours Friday and Saturday.
Ocelot Brewing Company, Dulles
Ocelot opened in 2015, a welcome addition to the local brew scene. The owners repurposed a warehouse into an appealing mix of industrial and rustic elements that’s a cool place to hang out and escape the summer heat. Their stated philosophy of not having flagship brands is unorthodox, but the changing menu of brews delivers interesting tastes and a reason to come back often. Read more about Ocelot Brewing. Open daily.
Lost Rhino and Lost Rhino Retreat, Ashburn
Lost Rhino has been an Ashburn staple since it was opened in 2012 by two brewers who previously worked at Old Dominion. They have a large selection of delicious beers, including the popular Face Plant, and regular releases mean there’s always something new to try. A locally sourced menu of appetizers and sandwiches is on offer at the Tasting Room, and they opened a second location, Lost Rhino Retreat, next to the theater in Brambleton Town Center. The Retreat has a large indoor bar and outdoor patio, a more extensive food menu, and the same diverse line-up of beers. Taproom open Tuesday – Sunday; Retreat open daily.
Old Ox Brewery, Ashburn
Old Ox, is one of several brewery with excellent bike trail access, located between mile marker 25 and 25.5 on the W&OD. They offer a nice range of beers in a large, industrial interior. We’re particularly fond of the Golden Ox and the creamy Nitro Black Ox. There’s a small patio, a big bike rack, and a lot of space inside for relaxing or playing cornhole (they even field a competitive league). Open Tuesday – Sunday.
Sweetwater Tavern, Sterling
Part of the Great American Restaurant chain, we think of Sweetwater as more dining room than craft brewer, but they do offer their own standards and seasonals brewed in on-site tanks. There’s a large outdoor bar that gets very busy on weekend nights. Open daily.
Leesburg Locations on Virginia’s LoCo Ale Trail
Travel Route 15 north from Aldie to Lucketts, to enjoy country views, a stop in historic Leesburg, and several great breweries on Virginia’s LoCo Ale Trail. Better yet, plan a weekend getaway in Leesburg, and allow more time to explore the area’s history, nature, food, drink, and fun.
Barnhouse Brewery, Lucketts
Barnhouse is “a small limited farm brewery located on our 18 acre property in Lucketts Virginia.” There may be a food truck on hand, but visitors are also welcome to bring their own food. Open Friday – Sunday
Black Walnut Brewery, Leesburg
A casual downtown brewer with picnic table seating in a festive backyard. Check their Facebook page for what’s on tap and opening hours.
Black Hoof Brewing, Leesburg
Black Hoof is located in downtown Leesburg, though we don’t see them on on the LoCo Ale Trail brewery list yet. “We’ve taken a great deal of care to ensure that our taproom offers a welcoming atmosphere. The space is modeled after German and English beer halls and pubs, and we’ve worked hard to make every guest feel comfortable.” Open Wednesday – Sunday
Crooked Run Brewing, Leesburg
Crooked Run is a farmhouse nano-brewery creating delicious cocktail inspired brews in a small space in Market Station. Founders Jake and Lee, who funded their brewery with a Kickstarter campaign, are known for their tasty IPAs, sours and fruit infused beers. Crooked Run has been a success since opening, and a new, larger location is planned for 2017. Open Wednesday – Sunday.
Dog Money Restaurant and Brewery, Leesburg
Dog Money serves a range of brews crafted on site in their 10 barrel brewing system, along with a selection of salads, sandwiches and entrees. Open daily.
Loudoun Brewing Company, Leesburg
Loudoun Brewing opened in 2015 and quickly became a home away from home for locals. With five or six home brews on tap, live music on the weekends, relaxed spaces inside and out, and easy access to the W&OD bike trail, they attract a steady stream of appreciative fans. Open Wednesday – Sunday.
MacDowell Brew Kitchen, Leesburg
Another dine and drink choice in the downtown Leesburg area, McDowell’s has both an upstairs bar and an outdoor “beach,” plus a full pub menu. Visit MacDowell’s on a warm day and rest your toes in the sand as you sip their own and other Virginia craft brews. Open Tuesday – Sunday.
Mad Horse Brewpub, Lovettsville
Quattro Goombas, Aldie
A bit of an outlier due to it’s location in Aldie, “Quattro Goombas Brewery offers a changing line-up of custom craft beers. They also have a pub menu and an outdoor space with country views. Plus, there they have a winery just steps away. If you’re making a day of it, consider a scenic drive on the Snickersville Turnpike, which starts in Aldie. Open Wednesday – Sunday.
Vanish Farmhouse Brewery, Leesburg
As you travel from Leesburg north on route 15, keep your eyes peeled for the turn to Vanish as the sign is small and the tasting barn is set back from the road. The large industrial space features a strong line-up of brews created from hops grown on the farm. Open Wednesday – Sunday.
Purcellville and Western Loudoun County
West of Leesburg, as you reach the foothills of the mountains, you’ll find a wonderful collection of craft breweries in and around the town of Purcellville. Since there are many fun things to do in Purcellville, it’s an ideal destination for a craft beer day trip to Virginia’s LoCo Ale Trail. You could also build up your desire for that tasty brew with a pre-beer hike to Raven’s Rocks.
Adroit Theory, Purcellville
Craft beer aficionados will find a great deal to love about Adroit Theory, “a nano-brewery located in Purcellville, Loudoun County, Virginia. We make esoteric beers with an emphasis on barrel aging… Even though we are small, we typically have 24 beers on draft at any time, plus a dedicated Cask line.” Open Wednesday – Sunday.
Belly Love, Purcellville
With 6 regulars plus seasonal additions on tap, you’ll find some tasty beers and wacky names in the Belly Love taproom. Try a Weisse Weisse Baby or a malt forward Shut the Fook Up, and relax in the eclectic indoor seating or small outdoor patio. Belly Love is very close to the W&OD in Purcellville, and they serve an evolving menu of tasty food, so it’s a good destination on bike or by car. Open Monday, Thursday – Monday.
Corcoran Brewing Company, Purcellville
Originally operating in a small barn next to the Corcoran Winery, the growing brewery later moved to a larger space in downtown Purcellville. “We strive to create both traditional beer types as well as creating unique experiences with experimental beers.” They generally have at least 12 beers on tap. Open daily.
Dirt Farm Brewing, Bluemont
Opened in Loudoun County in 2015, Dirt Farm Brewing sits high on a hill next door to sister site Bluemont Vineyard. Dirt Farm has a huge patio with an incredible view and a comfortable indoor tasting room, plus a back area with a large fireplace. Their focus is small batch hand crafted beer from fresh ingredients grown on the owner’s family farm, Great Country Farms. The brewhouse delivers traditional brewing style ales and many seasonals, including an excellent pumpkin ale. Open daily except Wednesday.
Jack’s Run Brewing Company, Purcellville
New in 2016, Jack’s Run is “a veteran owned and operated microbrewery…[in a] 2 story brick building offering a natural and rustic atmosphere to microbrewery enthusiasts.” The beer list looks diverse and interesting, and the downtown location is a perfect start for exploring Purcelville. Open Thursday – Monday.
Old 690 Brewing Company, Purcellville
One of the first craft breweries to open in the state of Virginia, Old 690 serves 10 or more nice brews by the pint, flight, or growler to go. The Old 690 Amber Ale and the Oatmeal Stout are both delicious, and the casual taproom and huge outdoor patio are welcoming and relaxing. Old 690 is a fun dirt road, weekend destination. Open Friday – Sunday.
Do you have a favorite stop on Virginia’s LoCo Ale Trail? Share your recommendation in the comments below.