Expect big things in local beer in 2016. The year will bring long-awaited openings including Lake Anne Brew House in Reston and Red Dragon Brewery in Fredericksburg. Other breweries are expanding and celebrating anniversaries. Here’s what you need to know in the latest installment of NoVA beer news.
Lake Anne Brew House opening January 2016 in Reston
Jason Romano is a month away from turning his 20-year hobby of home brewing into a bona fide business. He and his wife, Melissa Romano, will open Lake Anne Brew House in Reston next month (11424 Washington Plaza W.). “There’s been a lot of experimenting at home trying to decide which beers to open up with,” Melissa Romano says.
The taproom will have 10 taps, about half of which will be reserved for the brewery’s flagship beers like Reston Red, Live-Work-Play IPA and Quayside Stout. The others will pour seasonal and experimental beers. “Jason is a traditionalist when it comes to brewing,” Melissa Romano says. “Good quality is his prime target, having gone through the beer judge certification process; he’s very in tune to what’s right and what’s not against a style standard.”
While Jason brews the beer, Melissa has been using her design background to create an eye-catching taproom. “We’re laying the taproom out in a mid-century modern style and really paying homage to Lake Anne and the brutalist architecture of the original plaza,” she says. She’s also incorporating work by local artists. They hope to be open by the first of the year.
Adroit Theory Brewing Company expands in Purcellville
Adroit Theory is growing and getting a makeover come January. Owner Mark Osborne shares that the Purcellville brewery is taking over the front area of their building, providing easier access for customers, additional parking and more. “We intend on building a new tasting room bar with considerably more seating and lounge areas,” he says. The expansion also means more beer. “This move will allow us to have up to 37 drafts, and we can separate the styles to fit the space. For instance, lower gravity beers on the front bar, and higher gravity/barrel-aged beers on the rear bar.” He adds that this spring, the brewery will launch a line of low alcohol beers, a major suds trend going into 2016.
Sehkraft Brewing now open in Arlington
Sehkraft Brewing, a brewpub from team behind the Westover Market, is now open in Arlington ( 925 N Garfield St., Suite A). The expansive space includes an outdoor beer garden complete with picnic tables and fire pits giving it a Munich feel. This is appropriate given Sehkraft is a German word that loosely translates to “vision.” The indoor brewpub is large and includes a retail market where customers can fill up growlers of beer and bring home fresh cuts of meat from a butcher. Of Sehkraft’s 40 taps, 10 will be dedicated to pouring the brewpub’s five beers made on-site by head brewer John Peters. Much like Westover Market, the beer lineup could change daily, and Peters plans to work in some collaborations with other small local breweries. The food menu includes an arsenal of local cheese, burgers, sandwiches and salads. Visit Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to close and Mondays from 4 p.m. to close. They aim to launch weekend brunch in a couple weeks.
Port City Brewing Company marks five years
February marks Port City Brewing Company’s fifth anniversary. The Alexandria-based company and 2015 Great American Beer Festival “Small Brewery of the Year” winner will mark the occasion with an anniversary beer called Colossal 5. It will be a British-style old ale brewed with heritage malts and aged at least partially in oak. Marketing and events manager Chris Van Orden says to expect “dark mahogany with ruby highlights, with toffee and dried fruit flavor and enough hops to balance the rich, complex grain bill.” He continues, “This beer style was designed for cellaring, so Colossal 5 will be the first of Port City’s anniversary beers to be put into bottles, enabling customers to age it over a period of months or years.” Stay tuned for updates from the brewery on social media to learn about anniversary events, including the Colossal 5 release party.
Red Dragon Brewery rolls on in Fredericksburg
Downtown Fredericksburg will soon get a dose of Wales when Red Dragon Brewery opens in June 2016. “The red dragon is the symbol of Wales and is reflected on their national flag,” says co-founder and brewer Thomas Evans. “We represent our ancestry and the pride we have in all our Celtic backgrounds, and the pub décor will reflect and embrace that as well.” The project from Evans and his partner, Daniel Baker, has been almost five years in the making. The zoning permits were approved in November, and the team continues to roll toward opening at 1419 Princess Anne St. Beer highlights will include a stout, a Belgium blonde, a peat-smoked porter aged in bourbon barrels and a red ale call Road Rash Red created for the local cycling team, Bike Works Racing. “I specialize in English-style ales, so we will have plenty of those to include a bitter, old ale and some wonderful pale ales,” Evans says. The taproom will have an English pub feel and should fit 75-100 seats if all goes according to plan.
Laura Hayes hails from Philly (but don’t hold it against her). She’s been covering the local dining scene for three years, and her work has been published in the Washington Post, Food Network, Washington City Paper, Arlington Magazine and more. Having lived in Japan for two years, she finds herself in a constant state of craving sushi. Laura always orders her favorite savory dish again for dessert and keeps her gut in check through lots of CrossFit classes.