If you’re thinking of spending a weekend day brewery- and pub-hopping with friends, we’re sure there are some usual suspects in Northern Virginia that are likely on your list. But you might not be as familiar with the hidden gems in Warrenton, or close by. Here are five that are worth the trip.
Self-described as a brewery built for “not only beer, but for music, art, and all things strange,” Altered Suds truly is a hidden gem; if you didn’t know what you were looking for, you just might miss it. Nestled in between Hartman Jewelers and Black Bear Bistro & Brick Oven, the only indicator of the brewery below is a mural of a woman with long pink hair and a small green sign with the establishment’s name. Once inside, you are welcomed with a relaxed atmosphere and a list of uniquely named brews such as Thoughts of the Mad (a Schwarzbier) and Realm Drifter (a gose). The head brewer and owners grew up in town, and with their desire to see Warrenton become a brewery destination, Altered Suds is quickly becoming a local staple. 36A Main St., Warrenton
While Barking Rose now resides in Warrenton, the brewery’s history goes back to Fairfax County in 2012. Owner and brewer Matt Rose’s first project was Forge Brew Works in Lorton, which was the first production brewery in the county. Fast forward a few years and Matt and his wife were now residing in Warrenton, and their Lorton brewery’s lease was up. The two decided to purchase an 11-acre farm on the outskirts of town, move Forge Brew Works to the land and rename it Barking Rose. While the name and location have changed, the beer has not. Belgian ales and German lagers still dominate their beer list with an added touch of farm-grown ingredients. 9057 Old Culpeper Rd., Warrenton
Death Ridge is just a quick 15-minute scenic drive from Old Town Warrenton. Named after the streams that flow through the farm, Death Ridge now sits on what used to be a Civil War campsite. The owners, whose family has long resided in Jeffersonton, have even found relics from back when soldiers passed through the area. Small nods to the land’s history are also reflected in the beer list; enjoy a Warhorse Wheat or a Great Wagon Road Hazy IPA while gazing at the mountains from the historic ridge. 5393 Higher Ground Trail, Jeffersonton
Less than 10 minutes from Old Town, Powers is a farm brewery through and through. What started as a passion for gardening and cooking eventually grew into a farming business and brewery. Each brew focuses on a different ingredient grown on the farm, everything from cones and vegetables to flowers and fruit. Their passion for home-grown doesn’t stop there. They use local yeast from Jasper’s Yeast to ferment their beers, as well as malt from Murphy & Rude Malting Co. in Charlottesville. With their unique-to-the-area ingredients, Powers brews just about every traditional style of beer with new brews produced weekly and an ever-changing lineup of pours. 9269 Redemption Way, Midland
It’s not a brewery, but Wild Hare is well worth a visit while in Old Town Warrenton. One of three locations, the Warrenton pub resides in an 1830s historic row house, offering cozy indoor seating and a private garden for guests to enjoy drinks outdoors. Using apples picked from its orchard in the Shenandoah Valley, Wild Hare prides itself on fermenting authentic, simple cider. You will notice their ciders err on the drier side compared to other sweeter versions. But simple does not mean boring — a variety of creative flavors can be found on tap, including the lime and ginger Saxby and the pineapple and coconut Coba, to name a few. 63 Main St., Warrenton
Feature image by Matthew Rose.
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