Northern Virginia is for beer and wine lovers — some tasty places to spend your holidays

November 27, 2013

At Vintage 50 in Leesburg, the beers on tap are solely their own craft brewed beers and Fritz Hahn says it’s “one of the most affordable brewpubs you’ll run across.” (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

Here at the State of NoVa we’ve been cheering the rapid growth of microbreweries and brewpubs in our area, and provided an expansive list here back in the spring. But now The Post’s Fritz Hahn, a man who knows his bars and beers, has ventured into the State and found that Leesburg is particularly rich in breweries and craft beer bars.

Hahn found that the growing scene in turn attracts more beer makers (and drinkers), and he focused on six Leesburg establishments: The breweries Crooked Run and Barnhouse, the popular brewpubs Vintage 50 and MacDowell Brew Kitchen, and the beer bars Tuscarora Mill and Leesburg Brewing Company. Each place seems to keep growing in popularity, Hahn found. His Leesburg round-up is here. Hahn also notes that Dogfish Head Alehouse, on Route 50 in Chantilly, is opening at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, so that’s also an option.

LEESBURG, VA., NOVEMBER 3, 2013: Beer samples are offered at Crooked Run Brewery, a tny brewpub and bar with outdoor patio owned by Jake Endres. After being unable to find a job after graduating from college with a BA in political science, Endres founded the brewery through Kickstarter. (Photo by Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)
Beer samples are offered at Crooked Run Brewery, a tiny brewpub and bar with outdoor patio owned by Jake Endres. Endres founded the brewery through funding from Kickstarter. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

But that’s not all. For you wine connoisseurs, Post political columnist Dana Milbank has toured many of Northern Virginia’s finest wineries and wrote a very extensive piece for Sunday’s Post Magazine. Most of the top wineries cited by expert Jay Youmans are outside the strictly defined boundaries of the State of NoVa, but he does list Sunset Hills Vineyard in Purcellville and Tarara Winery in Leesburg as two of the top Virginia wine producers. Many of the rest are in Fauquier County, which is just one county away from NoVa.

Milbank also pointed out that Decanter magazine last summer declared that “Virginia is tipped to be the next big thing in American wine” and that “Virginia wines are coming of age at the moment when American palates are doing the same.” The article counted 24 wineries in the Northern Virginia/Middleburg area, many of them also cited in Milbank’s piece.

So now you have a detailed guide to the best beer and wine in our area. Your holiday weekend is set. Have a delicious Thanksgiving.

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998. In 2011 he launched The State of NoVa blog, a state strictly defined as the boundaries of four counties and one city: Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Alexandria.
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Mark Berman | November 26, 2013