“If you draw a circle around our new location in Middleburg, there isn’t another brewery within 10 miles, which is rare in Loudoun County,” Chris Burns, co-founder of Old Ox Brewery, says.
It can feel like there’s a brewery in every Loudoun County town, except in Middleburg, who missed out on the craft brewery boom despite having a distillery, cidery and variety of wineries.
Now, it’s home to the second location for Old Ox, which opened its original location in Ashburn in 2014. Unlike it’s production-focused predecessor, the Middleburg site features 12 taps in its tasting room, as well as a beer garden and five-barrel brew house building.
“Ashburn has a 30-barrel brew house, which is fantastic for producing our core and seasonal beers that we’re sending out to market at large quantities,” Burns says. “But manufacturing always had to come first in the space. So, we built the entirety of the Middleburg location with the customer experience in mind.”
Even the four-legged ones. Dogs are only allowed on the outdoor patio at Ashburn, but they’re permitted inside and outside of the the Middleburg facility, as long as they’re kept within reach of their owners. “I think we would be run out of town if we didn’t allow dogs,” Burns says.
The location also has the space to brew on-site and offer experimental, limited-batches only available in Middleburg’s tasting room.
Two of the taps will be dedicated to Middleburg-only brews in honor of the grand opening on Saturday, July 27, offering a barley-aged apricot blonde ale and a 2017 bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout. Other taps will feature rotating brews from the Ashburn location, such as the popular Hoppy Place IPA and Burns’ current go-to, the Hardway Summer Lager, until other brew productions get underway in Middleburg.
“[Ashburn] doesn’t provide the level of flexibility we need to really work on our smaller batch, experimental products,” Burns says. “This brew house is going to allow us to produce new beers often and get feedback on our ideas. We will only be limited by our imagination.”
Burns initially invited food trucks, but, he says, Middleburg was out of reach for many of the trucks who normally serve Loudoun County. Instead, he bought a food truck and hired a chef to sell snackable and shareable food, says Burns.
“We think beer is a very communal beverage and we want the food experience to be communal as well,” Burns says.
Although the location was set to open earlier this year, Burns is eager to see what the official opening can bring to the community, and how the brand can extend its reach in Loudoun County by putting Middleburg on the map for the craft brewery scene in NoVA.
“We hope it’s been worth the wait,” says Burns.// Old Ox Brewery Middleburg: 14 S. Madison St., Middleburg; Grand Opening: July 27, noon-6 p.m. with live music, food and beer
For more food & drink news, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.