Editor’s Note: This story was reported before COVID-19 temporarily closed breweries and restaurants for normal service. As of press time, we are entering phase three of reopening. Most of these businesses are now open for regular hours, but please call ahead to make sure the brewery of your choice is operating before you hit the road.
Rub shoulders with master brewers during behind-the-scenes tours and beer-making sessions at these immersive spots.
First Stop: Lost Rhino Brewing Company
Start the day at this Ashburn company, launched in 2011 to fill the gap in Loudoun County’s craft brewing scene left by Old Dominion Brewing when it moved operations to Delaware. The name is a reference to a surfer on the hunt for the best waves, a parallel to the team’s philosophy of releasing award-winning year-round and seasonal options and the Genius Loci line, a series of limited runs, barrel-aged, one-offs and rare beers. Learn about them all during a Safari Brewing Tour, a 30-minute tour with a beer tasting held the first Saturday of every month from 1 to 5 p.m. and priced at $11 per person. You may even be able to chat up Head Brewer Mike Hastings and learn the inspiration behind Alphabrett, a funky Belgian-style brown ale aged two years in wooden barrels inoculated with brettanomyces. // 21730 Red Rum Drive, Suite 142, Ashburn
Next stop: 6 minutes, 2.5 miles
Bring Home the Beer: Rhino Chasers Pilsner. Tasting Notes: “Like an early morning dive into crisp waves, [it] packs a quick, hoppy bite to wake up your senses, topped with a dense, creamy head,” according to the brewery’s website.
Second Stop: Old Ox Brewery
A short drive away is this 12,440-square-foot, family-owned, 30-barrel brewhouse that’s been a staple in Ashburn since 2014. (It opened a second location in Middleburg in 2019.) Owners Chris and Graham Burns hope to offer visitors the same sense of connection as the namesake road built to connect Loudoun County’s agricultural producers to the region’s markets. The four core beers in the brewery’s lineup—including pale ale Alpha Ox, Belgian golden ale Golden Ox, West Coast-style IPA Hoppy Place and rye porter Black Ox—are joined by seasonal and specialty brews. Sample those and other distinct liquid creations outside in the beer garden. // 44652 Guilford Drive, Suite 114, Ashburn
Next stop: 5 minutes, 1.7 miles
Bring Home the Beer: Alpha Ox American Pale Ale. Tasting Notes: “Amazing hop character, satisfying malt backbone, smooth finish, light malt sweetness gives way to dazzling citrus and pine, hoppy goodness,” according to the brewery’s website.
Third Stop: The Craft of Brewing
Step up your homebrewing operation at this brewery offering hands-on sessions for all-grain kettle brewing—no experience necessary. Bring your own recipe or brew a copy or a modified version of one of 130 recipes, then personalize bottles with hand-designed labels or take the beer home in growlers or kegs. A three-hour session on a 20-liter brew station costs $199 and yields approximately two cases (48 bottles), while a 50-liter session costs $210 and yields five cases; bottling, kegging and dry hopping cost extra. If you don’t have the time yet, you can start with a free tour of the brewery, cellar, gourmet brew area, grain area and tasting rooms. // 21140 Ashburn Crossing Drive, Suite 170, Ashburn
Next stop: 7 minutes, 2 miles
Bring Home the Beer: T COB Wit Witbier. Tasting Notes: “Very pale and cloudy … spiced generally with coriander, orange peel and other oddball spices. The crispness and slight twang comes from the wheat and the lively level of carbonation,” according to the brewery’s website.
Meal Stop: Ford’s Fish Shack
Call ahead to get your name on the list of this wildly popular New-England-coast-inspired restaurant that’s always bustling. Start with an order of Angry Mussels steamed with garlic and tomatoes, which get a touch of heat from slices of chorizo, and crispy Rhode Island Calamari served with “lobstah” ginger sauce. The crab cakes here have no filler (no joke) and you won’t care if you get messy tucking into overstuffed handhelds like blackened fish or grilled shrimp tacos topped with chipotle-lime sauce. Don’t forget to save room for the creamy, shareable banana pudding. // 44260 Ice Rink Plaza, Ashburn
Adventure + Brews
Pair bursts of adrenaline and enviable ales with this itinerary combining outdoor pursuits and suds.
First Stop: Harpers Ferry Adventure Center
Grab your sneakers and sunscreen and head to this recreational center in Purcellville where you can pretty much do it all. The aerial adventure park’s ropes course offers three levels of difficulty and more than 50 cables and ropes bridges while the Zipline Canopy Tour features seven zip lines and a 100-foot skybridge. Thrill-seekers can speed down the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers in a whitewater raft or kayak, while groups that prefer a more mellow experience can raft up and lazily meander on tubes—complete with a floating cooler for mid-ride refreshments. Oh, and did we mention there’s a brewery right next door? // 37410 Adventure Center Lane, Purcellville
Next stop: 12 minutes, 9 miles.
Second Stop: Hillsborough Vineyards & Brewery
A scenic 15-minute drive away is this family-owned winery and brewery. Winemaker Kerem Baki produces terroir-driven vino from estate-grown grapes, while his brother, Tolga, focuses on classic beer styles. Order a pint or pitcher of Hillsbräu, a crisp, light and refreshing German-style Pilsner with notes of rose, melon and lychee, or Rusty Silo, a farmhouse ale conditioned with petit manseng grapes in freshly emptied wine barrels, then grab a table in the circa-1840s stone tasting room and take in the sweeping views over the Shenandoah Valley. On weekends, the kitchen serves shareable flatbreads, cheese-and-pretzel boards and spinach artichoke dip. // 36716 Charles Town Pike, Hillsboro
Next stop: 10 minutes, 5.7 miles
Bring Home the Beer: I.P.A. lot Brut IPA. Tasting Notes: “Bone-dry and effervescent like a Champagne … a smorgasbord of hops in the finish for a tropical nose of pineapple, starfruit and plum,” according to the brewery’s website.
Third Stop: Adroit Theory Brewing
The industrial Purcellville brewery remains unapologetically nonconformist, amassing a cult-like following of clientele really “into their beers” rather than the casual visitor. You won’t find flights, live music, tours or food beyond bagged snacks and the staff blasts death, black and doom-metal music. The team produces 16 constantly rotating, esoteric beers on draft, often for only one fleeting run, and a recent focus on lower-session beers in addition to higher ABV options means there is something for every taste. A new taproom added televisions, a sound system and more indoor and outdoor seating. It’s admittedly a different experience, but worth the trip. // 404 Browning Court C, Purcellville
Next stop: 6 minutes, 2 miles
Bring Home the Beer: Beers are generally not re-brewed, so check the offerings during your visit.
Fourth Stop: Belly Love Brewing Company
Its strip mall location belies the warm, welcoming vibe of this brewery and taproom, which husband-and-wife owners Tolga and Katie Baki named for the skin-contact peace offering they give to one another after an argument. Settle into a sofa over a flight or at the tasting bar that’s decked out with a Happy Buddha logo for one of five classic expressions like Eye of Jupiter oatmeal stout and My Bitter X IPA, or select one of the barley-based beers that has been enzymatically treated to be suitable for guests with gluten sensitivity. Casual bites on the menu include vegan meatballs with tzatziki sauce and pepperoni flatbread. // 725 E. Main St., Purcellville
Bring Home the Beer: Narcissist Munich Helles. Tasting Notes: “Clean, bright, crisp [with] notes of lemon,” according to the brewery’s website.
When the weather is nice, why leave your cute pooch at home? These breweries welcome your four-legged friends.
First Stop: Settle Down Easy Brewing Co.
Take your group and your dog(s) to this five-barrel Falls Church brewery, established in 2018, whose name comes from a lyric in the Grateful Dead song “Ramble on Rose.” Furry friends are allowed on the patio, which is set up for guests when weather permits. Head Brewer Henry Jager got his start as an avid homebrewer and has also made beer at Twisted Pine in Boulder, Colorado and Heavy Seas in Baltimore. Award-winning Sweet Scoville Sting, his take on a honey-and-jalapeño ale, is one of four flagships, along with eight rotating offerings like Funkadelic, a mixed-fermentation farmhouse ale. Hungry? On-site stand El Tio dishes out Mexican and Tex-Mex tacos. // 2822 Fallfax Drive, Falls Church
Next stop: 6 minutes, 2 miles
Bring Home the Beer: No. 1 Dry Hopped Kolsch. Tasting Notes: “A sessionable, balanced beer with a unique hop aroma. Clean, crisp and very enjoyable,” according to the brewery’s website.
Second Stop: Audacious Aleworks Brewery & Taproom
Drive 2 miles north on Route 29 for a visit to this brewery, whose staff members love dogs, own many of their own and welcome yours on the outside seating area. It specializes in small-batch ales and pours more than 15 beers on tap at any time on the frequently changing menu. Try tropical, hoppy Mango IPA; fruity, tangy Raspberry Berliner Weisse or light and crisp Beach Body Lager. Guests are invited to bring in food or have it delivered, but grilled Cajun andouille sausage, Bavarian bratwurst and create-your-own sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty tempting. // 110 E. Fairfax St., Falls Church
Next stop: 18 minutes, 7.2 miles
Bring Home the Beer: Campfire Sweet Stout. Tasting Notes: Creamy, malty and chocolatey, like the liquid version of s’mores.
Third Stop: Caboose Brewing Company
Dogs are permitted on the patio all year long at both locations, Caboose Commons in Fairfax and Caboose Tavern in Vienna. The latter is located right off the W&OD trail, so visitors can walk, bike, run or skate here. Bring your dog on select Tuesdays for happy hour pricing, homemade pup-cakes dog treats and a visit from the Woofbowl, a food truck selling doggie dishes like burgers, nuggets, ice cream doughnuts and sweet potato fries. Humans can partake in Bienvenidos, a Mexican-style lager brewed with salt or Hop on Board, a citrus- and pine-tinged pale ale. There’s a full food menu, including a mean cheeseburger and chicken katsu sandwich. // 520 Mill St. NE, Vienna
Next stop: 13 minutes, 4 miles
Bring Home the Beer: Citra Session IPA. Tasting Notes: “Light-bodied, citra-hopped, tropical aromas,” according to the brewery’s website.
Meal Stop: BlackFinn Ameripub
End the day at the Merrifield location of this lively gastropub, which allows dogs on the patio and hosts Fido-friendly events like Yappy Hour and Mutts & Mimosas, during which BlackFinn typically partners with a local animal shelter to allow for adoption opportunities. Beer offerings vary from well-known favorites to local and regional crafts and are served in Lil Guy pint and Big Boy growler formats. Menu favorites include crisp Ying Yang Shrimp with Sriracha and chicken-fried chicken with black pepper gravy. Fairgrounds-style funnel fries with dipping sauces are a sweet and decadent way to wrap up dinner. // 2750 Gallows Road, Vienna
Sing and Sip
Many local breweries also offer live music. Grab a brew and check out an up-and-coming local act.
First Stop: Bear Chase Brewing Company
Make the scenic drive to Bluemont for this brewery set on 35 secluded acres overlooking Loudoun County. Outside, you’ll find three fire pits and plenty of seating or space for a blanket to enjoy the live entertainment offered every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Grab a beer from one of several bars like Bear Cave, where you can check the TVs for your team’s score. Fan favorites include High Point Helles Lager and Mr. Blonde, a refreshing blonde ale. Each September sees the release of Bear Chase’s gold-medal-winning Oktoberfest. Pizzas, Bavarian pretzels, subs and snacks make up the casual food menu. // 33665 Bear Chase Lane, Bluemont
Next stop: 5 minutes, 3.7 miles
Bring Home the Beer: Thunder Ridge Cherry Chocolate Stout. Tasting Notes: “Rich notes of chocolate and coffee accompany the subtle hints of cherry on the finish for a silky-smooth mouthfeel,” according to the brewery’s website.
Meal Stop: More Better Restaurant and Beer Hall
Grab lunch at this welcoming spot in Round Hill. Roasted Brussels sprouts come to the table tossed with bacon and a balsamic reduction, decadent fries are heaped with pulled pork, cheddar, scallions and sour cream and the signature burger is a half-pound patty with fried onions, Swiss and Thousand Island dressing. Lighter fare includes a black-bean veggie burger served with lettuce and avocado, a quinoa bowl with spinach and mustard vinaigrette and bronze-seared salmon. Wash it all down with a German brew. // 35246 Harry Byrd Highway, Round Hill
Next Stop: 4 minutes, 2.3 miles
Third Stop: B Chord Brewing Company
A stone’s throw away is this 66-acre farm brewery in the Blue Ridge Mountains whose name is an old bluegrass term for “the best of its kind.” That’s fitting, as owner Marty Dougherty’s philosophy is to offer the best beer, experience and live music in the area. Since the brewery launched in 2017, it has hosted hundreds of local and regional performers on a tasting room stage that’s rigged with professional sound engineering. Bring your own blanket or lawn chairs to watch acts while enjoying Working Man’s Amber Ale or The Juicy Garcia IPA and wood-fired pizzas. During set breaks, challenge your friends to shuffleboard or cornhole. // 34266 Williams Gap Road, Round Hill
Next stop: 7 minutes, 3 miles
Bring Home the Beer: The Summer of Love Honey Wheat Ale. Tasting Notes: “Light, crisp and refreshing American wheat ale with local honey, slightly sweet, hazy and no bitterness,” according to the brewery’s website.
Fourth Stop: Dirt Farm Brewing
Nearby and with equally stunning views is this working farm and brewery founded in 2012 on the site of a 1940s weekend retreat that’s an extension of the owners’ 400-acre produce-bearing Great Country Farms. (The name is a nod to the family’s farming roots spanning three generations, and the original stone structure is now the home to their taproom.) With musicians performing every Friday night, it’s a fitting spot to end a late summer evening. Order a plow-to-pint brew like Fluster Cluck, a seasonal estate fruit ale in the Homegrown Series made with fruit that’s picked, peeled, cooked and pressed by hand, and check out local fare from resident food truck the Kitchen Workshop. // 18701 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont
Bring Home the Beer: Red Merl Irish Red Ale. Tasting Notes: “Toasty and smooth with notes of caramel and chocolate,” according to the brewery’s website.
‘Cue and Brew
Embark on a beer-and-food crawl at one of these breweries with memorable eats.
First Stop: Ono Brewing Company
Start the day the island way at this tropical-inspired brewery in Chantilly. “Ono” is Hawaiian for delicious or tasty (co-founder Cyndi Hoffman’s mother was born on Oahu and Cyndi and her husband, co-owner Scott, spent their first years of marriage living in Hawaii), which definitely describes their food made by Odd BBQ. Order both the smoked beef barbecue and chicken thighs served in a sandwich or rice bowl; don’t forget sides like mac and cheese, ginger-sesame slaw and kimchi, which round out an authentic Hawaiian plate lunch. Beers are dispensed by the ounce from the self-serve wall, like Banana Hammock Hefeweizen and Manako Mango Wheat. // 4520 Daly Drive, Suite 102, Chantilly
Next stop: 5 minutes, 1.2 miles
Bring Home the Beer: Black Pearl Irish Stout. Tasting Notes: “Brewed with roasted barley and brown malt to bring out the coffee-like taste and aroma while also producing a dry-roasted bitterness in the finish,” according to the brewery’s website.
Second Stop: Mustang Sally Brewing Company
Come for the brews; the 4,000-square-foot tasting room with seating including tables, counter seats and comfy lounge areas; cornhole and other games, and stay for the arepas. Not familiar with the South American cornmeal-stuffed pocket that’s described as a taco-slider mashup? You’re in for a treat, with options like chicken, beef, bratwurst, pork shoulder and vegan fillings, as well as tequeños (Venezuelan fried cheese sticks), sweet plantains and black beans. Core beers include Potomac Pils Pilsner and pHreak of Nature, a kettle sour brewed with tart cherry, milk sugar and hibiscus. // 14140 Parke Long Court A-C, Chantilly
Next stop: 4 minutes, 1 mile
Bring Home the Beer: Article One Amber Lager. Notes: “A balanced, full-bodied, malty lager with a toasty finish,” according to the brewery’s website.
Third Stop: Honor Brewing Company
Founded by veterans, this brewery, winery and barbecue joint in Chantilly honors American military heroes and supports charities dedicated to the fallen and injured. (Submit a tribute about your own honoree and it’ll be featured on its website and maybe even on a tribute tap handle.) You can’t ignore the aroma coming from on-site Honor BBQ: smoky, dry-rubbed, fall-off-the-bone ribs and tender, succulent pulled pork. Tear into them with a pint of Desired Effects, a double IPA hopped with mosaic hops that offsets all that rich, meaty deliciousness, or sweet and malty Night Vision Maple Porter. // 14004 Willard Road A, Chantilly
Next stop: 4 minutes, 1 mile
Bring Home the Beer: Cherry Wheat. Notes: Tangy, tart and fruity, with a subtle cherry flavor.
Fourth Stop: Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
The DMV’s first location of the casual chain flaunts design elements reminiscent of a Rocky Mountain lodge—think wood-burning fireplace, ledge stone, Aspen log chandelier and artwork inspired by the Cowboy State—and brings elevated comfort food and a wide selection of beers from local breweries. The menu highlights seasonal dishes and house favorites like jumbo coconut shrimp, kung pao tofu, barbecue bison meatloaf, campfire pot roast and seared ahi tuna salad. Try one of the house beers like Huckleberry Haze IPA, or a handcrafted cocktail, such as the Spiked Homemade Pink Lemonade. // 14333 Newbrook Drive, Chantilly