Caboose Brewing, which opened a brewery and restaurant in Vienna one year ago, has signed a lease to open a 6,000-square-foot brewing facility in the Mosaic District in Fairfax. Construction will begin this fall, and an opening is expected in early 2017.
"We were trying to expand our distribution capacity, but we didn't have a whole lot of space for putting [the beer] in bottles," explains co-owner Matt Greer. Greer and partner Tim McLaughlin looked at various sites in Fairfax that they thought might be suitable for a larger brewery, but Greer says the county told them that "what you're looking at isn't zoned correctly." It turns out that a warehouse owned by Edens, the developers behind the Mosaic District, would fit the bill for industrial use.
The new brewery, which will be located at the intersection of Lee Highway and Eskridge Road, should be able to produce about 15,000 barrels a year, similar to the output at the existing Vienna location. The difference is that it's big enough to hold either a commercial canning or bottling line. ("We're still making our mind up about that," Greer says.)
Caboose's Vienna and Mosaic District locations will sell similar beer in their tasting rooms, at least at first, Greer says. "Because our system in Vienna is so big, we're still selling quite of our beer out of the door" by way of growlers and pints, and they don't want to disappoint regulars. Eventually, though, if the Mosaic brewery becomes more of a production facility, the beers in Vienna might become "more playful."
Beer's not the only attraction at the original Caboose, where the menu includes crispy Virginia pork belly, line-caught Atlantic salmon, sliders with grass-fed beef and sweet red onion marmalade, and butcher boards filled with local meats and cheeses – a far cry from the usual fried brewpub food. The new brewery does not yet have a license to serve food, however, and if it does get one, Greer thinks "it will be more brewpub oriented," such as pizzas and flatbreads.
Caboose celebrates its first anniversary this weekend, and is marking the occasion with a tasting in the Mosaic District's Strawberry Park on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. "It's really about introducing the Mosaic District to us," Greer says. "Mosaic has so many great restaurants and great retail, and no one on the street knows we exist."
By this time next year, there shouldn't be many people in the neighborhood who don't recognize Caboose's beers.
Caboose Brewing: caboosebrewing.com. The brewery's anniversary party takes place on Sunday, May 15, in Strawberry Park at the corner of Strawberry Lane and Yates Way. More information is available at mosaicdistrict.com.