From Small Town Spots to Spacious Farm Breweries
Written by Shayda Windle
Northern Virginia is home to some of the finest and most innovative breweries in the country. From locally sourced seasonal ales to farm-fresh food trucks and breathtaking views of fall foliage, these six breweries have managed to stay afloat through COVID-19 with social distancing in place.
Here are six local breweries offering something different, waiting for you to explore this fall.
Old Ox Brewery
Old Ox, a family-owned and operated commercial brewery, began its operations in Ashburn offering a manufacturing capacity for a 30-barrel brew house. In 2019, the family took a leap of faith and opened a location in Middleburg.
“Prior to Old Ox opening in Middleburg, there wasn’t a brewery within ten miles of this town, so we took our chance and opened our second location here,” owner Chris Burns says.
The Middleburg location features 12 taps in its tasting room, a full kitchen, beer garden, and five-barrel brew house building. During COVID, the brewery’s online shop allowed customers to purchase brews, food, and merchandise (including hand sanitizer) for curbside pickup and home delivery. The tasting room reopened in June with socially distant seating, both inside and out. You can find Old Ox beer on draft in many restaurants and on the shelves of stores in Northern Virginia, D.C., and Maryland.
Old Ox Brewery is located at 4 S. Madison St., Middleburg, Va.
Belly Love Brewing Company
Belly Love Brewing company is the brainchild of Loudoun County native Tolga Baki. “I thought Purcellville could use a comfortable gathering place to share my hand-crafted beers and tasty bites that every belly loves,” he said.
Belly Love boasts just the right amount of indoor and outdoor patio seating with two comfortable lounges for a cozy retro-industrial feel. They offer a mix of unique ales and lagers, including gluten-free beers, so there’s always something new to choose from. The seasonal beer is a double IPA called flying unicorn crotch kick, which is on tap twice per year.
Today, Belly Love is operating under Phase 3 guidelines with social distancing restrictions in place. “We understand that food is an integral part of the brewery experience, so we’re allowing customers to bring in their own food for a limited time,” Baki said. The brewery has also expanded their services, so customers may purchase their favorite brews online
Belly Love Brewing Company is located at 725 E. Main St., Purcellville, Va.
Dirt Farm Brewing
Dirt Farm Brewing offers stunning views overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and the finest selection of “plow-to-pint craft beers.” From the award-winning honey helles brew, a German-style lager with a touch of local honey, to their tart-31 cherry beer, there’s a little something for everyone.
Photos courtesy of Dirt Farm Brewing
The pumpkin ale is a must try seasonal ale made with locally grown pumpkins. Using over 200 pounds of pumpkins per batch, this labor of love is an authentic “plow to pint” pumpkin ale. In addition to craft beers, Dirt Farm offers a diverse menu with a variety of locally sourced ingredients, including Korean pork lettuce wraps and steak tacos created by an in-house chef on location. The brewery is both dog and kid-friendly, and there is plenty of space for everyone to spread out.
Dirt Farm Brewing is located at 18701 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont, Va.
Vanish Farmwoods Brewery
When Jonathan Staples launched Black Hops Farm in 2014, his goal was to provide local hops to Virginia’s thriving alcohol industry in order to support both the beverage industry and local agriculture. Vanish is a 63-acre, family-owned farm-brewery known for good beer, and a “family friendly” laid-back vibe.
Using local ingredients, Vanish Farmwoods focuses on beer that is plant-to-pint and seed-to-sip, with up to 20 beers on tap at a time. The taps include a variety of IPA’s, stouts, and hard seltzers. The brewery hosts food trucks throughout the week.
Vanish Farmwoods Brewery is located at 42245 Black Hops Lane, Leesburg, Va.
Powers Farm Brewery
When husband and wife team Melody and Kevin Powers purchased a Fauquier county farm in 2012, their goal was to use the land for a community supported agriculture program. A few years later, they decided to expand their CSA and began farming hops, which eventually led to their opening of Powers Farm Brewery.
Photo courtesy of Powers Farm Brewery
Powers Farm is not your typical brewery. Grains are milled the day of brewing and mashed in by hand. “Our brewing process provides a different way to appreciate the flavor and quality of the plants grown on our farm,” Melody said. “We brew a new recipe weekly and our lineup is constantly rotating, usually turning over completely every two months or so.”
Customers are welcome to lounge outside at picnic tables and play corn hole while they’re sipping brews, or meander the farm to pick up heirloom tomatoes, hops, corn, and fresh duck eggs. The brewery also hosts a wide range of local food trucks every week.
Powers Farm Brewery is located at 9269 Redemption Way, Midland, Va.
Winchester Brew Works
Winchester Brew Works was started by a group of friends whose love for beer and the community led them to open their own brewery. “It took the better part of two years to locate the perfect piece of property in Winchester, obtain funding, do the buildout, order equipment, and get our brews ready for serving before having our grand opening on May 7, 2016,” said Holly Redding and Bonnie Landy, owners of Winchester Brew Works.
Since its opening, Winchester Brew Works has been voted the best brewery in Winchester every year following. Customer favorites include overlook double IPA, a hazy double IPA made with a “crazy amount galaxy hops,” the Mexican hot chocolate stout, which incorporates mixture of marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, vanilla, and the seven bends seltzer, a refreshing, low-gluten hard seltzer with blueberry and vanilla flavors.
Photo courtesy of Winchester Brew Works.
When Redding and Landy realized COVID would impact the brewery, they improved their online store. “We’ve had great success and managed to stay afloat with online beer orders, delivery options, and curbside pickup,” they said. “Looks like online ordering will be here to stay, despite the fact that our tasting room and patio reopened a few months ago when Virginia moved to phase 3.”
Winchester Brew Works is located at 320 N. Cameron St., Winchester, Va.
With such an array of brews, views, food, and innovative social distancing practices in place at these local breweries, you are sure to find something that’s just your taste this fall. ML
Published in the October 2020 issue of Middleburg Life.