Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Brewery in Northern Virginia: Mad Fox Brewing Company

We've always lamented the lack of brewpubs in Northern Virginia. Yes there are a few, but with traffic, they might as well be two states away. However, that situation was alleviated this July with the opening of Mad Fox Brewing Company in Falls Church. The brewpub\restaurant is owned and operated by Bill Madden and Rick Garvin, the former a well known brewer, the later a Master Beer Judge in the Beer Judge Certification Program. Nice pedigrees. In fact Madden is mostly known for his work at Capitol City Brewing in Washington DC and Vintage 50 in Leesburg, Virginia. Now he has his own place. The brewpub is located in the middle of Falls Church on Broad Street and features several German beer styles that Madden has mastered.

We arrived this past Saturday to a packed bar - but the brewpub is spacious enough to allow us to grab a seat. There were several families in attendance which was good to note for future outings. Plus the kitchen cooks every meal from scratch - event the cucumbers are pickled in house. However, instead of a food, we stuck to the beers and tried five brews: Altbier, Kolsch, Lindy's Weisse, 80 Shilling, and Wee Heavy. The first and last were our overall favorites - but don't ignore the middle. In order to mimic the flavors from those made in the German Dusseldorf region, Madden uses Munich and Chocolate wheat malts along with Spalt hops to create a perfectly balanced beer. Flavorful and smooth with a slight hop tail. The Kolsch will be our beer of choice when coming off the bike path. It is hoppier than most Cologne versions but the extra hops adds just enough refreshing characteristics to make this more than just a "light" beer. We were glad to see a hefeweisen offered and their Lindy's Weisse is a true Bavarian style Hefe. It is unfiltered, yeasty, and full of wheat flavor that includes an interesting mix of citrus and banana. Next up was the 80 Shilling served from the cask and this was actually a little disappointing. Just no real flavor - and we usually enjoy beers from the cask because the lower carbonation and higher serving temperatures usually enhance the flavor. This beer was soon forgotten when we sipped the Wee Heavy, a Scottish Ale and served in a sifter (8.6% abv). This is a sweet beer - some toffee flavors and is lightly hopped - just a full styled beer. Nicely done.

There is no doubt that the Mad Fox Brewing Company will become a regular stop in our beer adventures. Plus living so close and being less than a mile from the Old Dominion bike path makes it all too easy to become a regular. See you there.
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