An update on Northern Virginia’s growing beer scene: Here’s what’s happening in Leesburg. And for a full list, visit the Northern Virginia brewery directory.
Black Walnut Brewery
“I draw my inspiration from my many worldly travels, especially in Germany,” says Black Walnut Brewery owner Patrick Wilt. “I fell in love with German beer.”
The result of Wilt’s inspiration is an international lineup of styles at his months-old Leesburg brewery.
After homebrewing for many years, Wilt decided to share his passion with the community and opened Black Walnut in June. Wilt has brewed everything from American pale ales to German hefeweizens, and to start, Black Walnut will offer a blonde ale, two IPAs, a Belgian tripel and a Russian imperial stout. All of the beers are named after dog breeds—the Golden Lab IPA, for example—and with its spacious outdoor patio, the brewery is dog-friendly.
Right now, the brewery is open Friday through Sunday, with plans to add Thursday hours beginning after Labor Day.
Dog Money Restaurant & Brewery
Dog Money Restaurant & Brewery owner Dean Lake was intrigued by brewing in the early ’90s, but it wasn’t until he met a brewer with the then-fledgling Old Dominion Brewing Company that he made a career of it. In 1995, he started out filling kegs for the Dover-based establishment before making his way into the brewhouse. Old Dominion then sponsored furthering Lake’s brewing education in Chicago, and he returned as the quality control brewer. Lake parted ways with Old Dominion in 2003 to help a former colleague launch a brewpub in Leesburg, where he met restaurateur Tim Regan, but then Lake temporarily left the brewing world only to reconnect with Regan a decade later.
“I returned to corporate life for a few years, directing operations for technology firms,” Lake says. “In 2013 … Tim Regan identified a potential opportunity to take over an existing brewpub in Leesburg—the very same brewpub we had helped build 10 years earlier … and Dog Money Restaurant & Brewery was born.”
Dog Money, in the former Vintage 50 space, had a soft opening in July with daily lunch and dinner hours. It boasts six revolving craft beers on tap and a full menu featuring American, beer-friendly fare. The brewery is engineered and sized to allow for both lagers and ales, which affords Lake and Regan the flexibility to brew traditional English ales, more time-intensive German-style lagers and Belgian ales. The current draft lineup features the Loudoun Common golden lager, the malty Dog Money Red Ale, the robust Hostile Extraction IPA, the Belgian-style Tripel, the Dog Money Hefeweizen and the molasses Mo’ Porter.
Black Hoof Brewing Company
Bill and Nikki Haase have a unique background in homebrewing. After investing in their own brewing equipment, the couple made a pilgrimage to Germany, where they toured microbreweries across the country. That trip serves as the main inspiration behind their forthcoming Leesburg venture, Black Hoof Brewing Company, which will emulate the style of a European neighborhood pub and focus on German-style beers.
Encouraged by friends, Bill Haase submitted his beers in the 2014 National Homebrew Competition in Philadelphia and placed first in the light lager category and third in the European amber lager category. He advanced to nationals, where his Marzen-style beer took the bronze. Now, Haase and his wife—joined by a third partner, Garrett Pierce, in 2016—will take their beers from the competition circuit and give them a proper home in downtown Leesburg.
Black Hoof’s Reh of Sunshine Helles, Island Pond Hefeweizen and Full Quiver Marzen will be complemented by German-style pretzels and obatzda, a Bavarian cheese dip, available to order. The beer menu also promises the White Oak Nut Brown Ale, Tellico Vanilla Imperial Porter and Deep Cover IPA, plus a selection of rotating seasonal beers, upon the brewery’s opening slated for late fall. “Bill and I have dedicated much preparation, planning and hard work to realize this dream,” says Nikki Haase. “All of the pieces are finally coming together.”
Even though doors haven’t yet opened, the Haases are already looking toward the future. In Black Hoof’s first five years, they hope to expand, distributing their beer regionally and launching additional locations.