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We first made this list of Northern Virginia craft beer and breweries in August 2015, proclaimed Virginia Craft Beer Month, when summer weather seemed like the perfect reason to sample delicious local brews. But let’s face it, we crave beer all year long and it’s always fun to try something new.
Fortunately for us, Northern Virginia has a growing list of local brewers offering a constantly changing menu of beers to enjoy. Here are a few of the great breweries we’ve visited this year, with a nod to a few still on our list to try.
Ocelot Brewing Company, Ashburn
Ocelot opened in April, 2015, a welcome addition to the Ashburn 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. Open Thursday – Monday.
Caboose Brewing Company, Vienna
Caboose Brewing Company, next to the W&OD bike trail in Vienna, combines wonderful craft beer with delicious, locally-sourced food in an inviting space. Brewed in steel tanks visible throughout the space, brewmaster Chris Mallon generally has 8 – 10 beers on offer in a wide variety of styles. Caboose Brewing is fortunate to have tasty brews and food under one roof, and the location next to the bike trail in downtown Vienna draws a steady crowd on two wheels, by car, and on foot. They have been very busy on our visits, but we’ve always scored a nice spot at the bar, a table, or the patio. Taproom open daily; restaurant open Tuesday – Sunday.
Aslin Beer Company, Herndon
Aslin Beer Company opened in September 2015 and is quickly becoming a popular stop for Herndon and Reston locals. We sampled all 8 brews on offer during our first visit—served in cool Virginia-shaped boards—and can pronounce them all delicious. We especially liked Mind the Hop, a double IPA, and the Hoppy Brown. The interior is clean and open with a mix of bar seats, stand-up tables, and a few regular tables. The TV at the bar is ready for football, so this is a great destination on game day. Aslin doesn’t serve food but you can have take-out delivered from next door Taste of the World, or bring your own. Open Wednesday – Sunday. Learn a little more about Aslin and Lake Anne Breweries from our friends at What’s Brewing DMV.
Old 690 Brewing Co, 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. We arrived near closing one Saturday, and only had time to try the Old 690 Amber Ale and the Oatmeal Stout. Both beers were very good, and the casual taproom and huge outdoor patio were welcoming and relaxing. Old 690 is a fun dirt road, weekend destination, and we will definitely return to sample more of their offerings. Open Friday – Sunday.
Mad Fox Brewing Company, Falls Church
Close to DC and convenient to the W&OD bike trail, Mad Fox has been concocting award-winning beers and delicious food since 2010. The Orange Whip is a hoppy, citrusy favorite and we really like the English Summer Ale. Mad Fox collaborates with other local brewers, and is a popular destination for special events like the annual Oktoberfest. The European style interior includes a long bar and a lot of booth and table seating, though it does fill up on weekends. Open daily.
Old Ox Brewery, Ashburn
Old Ox, another brewery with excellent bike trail access, just celebrated their first anniversary in Ashburn. Located between mile marker 25 and 25.5 on the W&OD, Old Ox offers a nice range of beers in a large, industrial interior. We tried a flight of 4 beers, and were 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 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.
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 recently 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.
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 offers a huge patio with that same great 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 10bbl brewhouse delivers traditional brewing style ales and many seasonals.
Lake Anne Brew House, Reston
Reston welcomed the April 2016 opening of Lake Anne Brew House with open arms. Taking over the space previously occupied by Singh Thai, they have a nice patio overlooking the lake and an interior space with a lot of style. Grab a patio spot on a nice day and enjoy beautiful views while you sip.
Taprooms On Our List To Try
Crooked Run, Leesburg
We hear wonderful things about this microbrew, opened by a UVA graduate who raised initial funding through a Kickstarter campaign. Crooked Run is located in the Market Station in Leesburg; open Wednesday – Sunday.
Forge Brew Works and Fair Winds Brewing, Lorton
Again, we hear great things about the beer, and we know this could be the perfect after-hike destination the next time we visit Mason Neck State Park.
There are so many breweries creating unique and delicious Virginia craft beer, with new taprooms opening frequently. We’re very fortunate to live in an area so rich in fantastic artisanal beer, wine, and farm-to-table dining.
What’s your favorite Northern Virginia craft beer? We’d love some tips on taprooms to visit and beers to try next.
Looking for more W&OD destinations? Check out Bike to BBQ on the Western W&OD.