By Stefanie Gans
Before Barack Obama became president, kale became king and craft beer became ubiquitous, Vintage 50 in Leesburg was one of the few breweries in Northern Virginia. After eight years in business, Vintage 50 is morphing into The Beer Joint Brewing Leesburg.
“The focus is socializing around beer,” says Anthony Cavallo, the owner and Vintage-to-Joint change-maker. “We’re not a restaurant.”
The new concept, which kicked off two weeks ago, will keep the emphasis on the brewery and its catalog of 40 different beers, but also on high-end bourbons−32 of them. Most recently, Cavallo is proud of bringing in Reservoir Distillery and Prichard’s Distillery bourbons. There’s also the meat.
Rejecting reservations and the order-eat-and-out mentality of restaurants, Cavallo wants people to spend hours at The Beer Joint. But, he’s still careful about his menu. Burgers, a combination of beef chuck and short rib from local farms, will be a focal point. There’s 10 set burgers, like the Mac Attack with mac and cheese on a doughnut bun, but guests can combine different toppings (barbecue pork, lump crab) and buns (yogurt, brioche) from Cardinal Bakery in Sterling, in any combination. There’s also a 16-inch beef-pork hot dog stuffed into a lamb casing, made by Lothar’s and a 19-ounce New York strip for $26.
Keeping the same location, the team updated the space with new colors and reclaimed timber. In another two weeks the front area will reopen with bar- and communal-seating. The tasting room in the back, is already open, and will showcase live acoustic performances.
But the name change is what signals a new business and new concept, says Cavallo. If he kept the same name, “people would still be taking us as restaurant.” The V Eatery & Brewhouse in Ashburn, also owned by Cavallo, will remain as is. Actually, it’s The Brew Joint that is moving. Cavallo is already looking at franchising further west, into Purcellville, Winchester and Frederick, Md. / The Beer Joint Brewing Leesburg, 50 Catoctin Circle NE, Leesburg