By Chelsea Rose Moore
Photos by Joanne Maisano
Middleburg’s first brewery opened its doors and is ready to pour. Old Ox Brewery, a family-owned brewery in Loudoun, opened its second location in the heart of Middleburg.
“Our mission is to be a staple within the community,” said Jason Cannan, director of operations at Old Ox. “Everything we do is about [fostering] good relationships. That’s the beer community within itself: It’s a relationship-based community. Getting to know everybody here is really important to me.”
The inaugural location in Ashburn is home to a 30-barrel brewhouse. With the capacity for such large batches, Old Ox has been able to take their signature beers to Wegman’s, restaurants and hotels throughout the region, and Nationals Park. They’ve built a large and successful brand beloved by locals, but with the Middleburg location, they have a slightly different focus.
The Middleburg space has a separate brew-house, giving Old Ox the opportunity to do small-batch and experimental brews that will be served up exclusively in the tasting rooms. They’re growing an herb and vegetable garden on-site to use in their brews. With small batch production, they’ll be able to test unique brews and gauge customer feedback.
Middleburg’s location has 12 beers on tap, with two rotating beers served exclusively at Middleburg. Old Ox is rolling out a series of events, including trivia and board game nights at the brewery. The large space behind the building is perfect for outdoor events, and the staff already has a few ideas up their sleeves. They are planning to host outdoor movie nights, farmer’s markets, and obstacle-course races. Their Ashburn location hosts a run club, with runners starting at the brewery, running together, and then finishing with a beer social at the brewery. Similarly, the Old Ox team is hoping to host races at the Middleburg location by challenging other brewery partners to compete in beer Olympics and complete a series of obstacles.
“Any event we can do that brings tourism to the town and supports other businesses…at one point, we were considering having a shuttle from our Ashburn location to Middleburg, to bring [people] out to eat at the brewery and shop in Middleburg, and then hop back to Ashburn. We really want to embrace and promote Middleburg,” said Cannan.
With a soft opening on June 21, the brewery’s grand opening was held almost a month later on Saturday, July 27. They opened their doors to the town of Middleburg for a “Neighbor Night” in late July, giving a locals an opportunity to experience the new location for themselves and take advantage of a 30 percent discount. According to Cannan, they are planning to offer discounts to educators and service members.
“We are very community oriented,” said Cannan, “We are very family-oriented, and we are pet friendly. We want to see people out with their families enjoying the space.” The Middleburg location even has a service window outside, so groups sitting outdoors can order without going back inside.
Because good beer and good food are synonymous with each other, Old Ox purchased a food truck to keep on location. Their long-term plan is to have a kitchen space in Middleburg and move the food truck to Ashburn, but for now the food truck is home in Middleburg.
Manuel Alvarez, the former chef of the Middleburg Tennis Club, is cooking delicious eats for customers. He’s serving up burgers, sandwiches, and brats, in addition to small plates, charcuterie platters, and appetizers. Soon, they’re planning to roll out a weekend brunch menu, which will include Monte Cristo sandwiches, breakfast tacos, and French toast sandwiches. Everything on the menu will be made to order. Order chips and guacamole? The chips will be made fresh for your order.
They are looking to build relationships with farmers to source produce locally. “We want to have fresh produce, fresh cheeses, fresh eggs. We want to know the people and know where [our food] is coming from,” said Cannan.
Tasting room manager Abigail McIntyre has been working with Old Ox for four years and is enjoying getting to know Middleburg locals. Her vision for the new location is to create an environment where guests feel comfortable bringing their families and staying for the afternoon. “It means you don’t have to drive all the way to Leesburg for a beer,” she said.
Find Old Ox Brewery at 14 S. Madison Street, Middleburg. Learn more about events and brews on Facebook at @oldoxmiddleburg.