The Mad Fox Brewing Company is on its way to Washington.
The Falls Church brew pub has signed a purchase agreement for the former Mayfair and Pine restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park. A 2014 opening is planned, with one caveat: No beer will be brewed in the District.
Though the bar's official name will be the Mad Fox Brewing Company Tap Room, all brewing will take place west of the Potomac at the original Virginia brew pub, which opened in July 2010. "We brew about 1,600 barrels [50,000 gallons] a year in Falls Church," says brewmaster and CEO Bill Madden, a number that includes sales at the pub as well as kegs sold to a dozen Washington bars. "I figure our capacity is about 3,200 barrels on this system. That size was built in ... I built this place big in anticipation of opening a tap room in D.C. at some point."
The arrangement is a familiar one for Madden. He spent a decade with the Capitol City Brewing Company, which brews its beer in Shirlington and ships it downtown. Mad Fox will serve as both the manufacturer and distributor of its beer, thanks to D.C.'s famously permissive alcohol laws.
Madden says the Tap Room will evoke "a European pub," with 12 to 14 beers on tap. There will also be a rotating selection of cask-conditioned real ales, which have become firm favorites at the brew pub and make frequent guest appearances at ChurchKey and Meridian Pint. "I was surprised how well received real ale was in Falls Church," Madden says, "I hear we have a lot of people from the British Embassy coming to Mad Fox, and we'll be even closer to them [in Glover Park]." The food menu hasn't been finalized, but should resemble Falls Church's pizzas and pub grub.
Mad Fox spent almost 20 months looking for a D.C. location, and Madden says he's pleased with the space. "Glover Park is a bit like Falls Church," he explains, "very similar in demographics and well built up." (We should note we're a little skeptical that Falls Church has as many group houses of recent college grads as Glover Park does, but hey, everyone loves freshly brewed beer.)
If all goes well, "we're looking [at] four to five months of renovations, and opening in the first quarter of next year," Madden says. If you'd like to try more of Mad Fox's brews without heading out to Falls Church, 13 of them will be available at Smoke and Barrel on Tuesday as part of DC Beer Week. It's the official launch party for the Ambassador, a new low-alcohol IPA created with Smoke and Barrel bartender and homebrewer Erich Streckfuss.