Monday, June 9, 2014

Cruising for Beer & Wine Along the W&OD Bike Trail: Falls Church to Ashburn

With the harsh spring and winter, I've been hitting the bike trail any chance I get and taking every opportunity on the trail to enjoy craft beer and wine - via our theCompass Winery Brewery Distillery mobile app. My most frequent rides along the W&OD Trail present opportunities to visit three local breweries: Mad Fox Brewing Company, Beltway Brewing Company, and Lost Rhino Brewing Co. There are also a couple nice beer/wine bars to mention if you can't reach ant of these.

Mad Fox Brewing Company is about a half mile off the trail in Falls Church. Between mile markers 6 & 6.5, hop on Great Falls Road, and then take an immediate right onto Pennsylvania Avenue. Just before you get to W. Broad Street (Route 7) turn left into the plaza.  MyJoogTV has a nice presentation on the brewery's background and this weekend I stayed long enough for their Kellerbier Kolsch and Kirsche Weisse - both light and low in abv. The former is an unfiltered version of their Great American Beer Festival Gold medal winning Kolsh and is a clean, piney, slightly citrus, hoppy, and refreshing ale. The cherry weisse is even more refreshing - tart and sour - but not overwhelmingly so. There's also plenty of food options at Mad Fox - so eat up.

Moving westward into Vienna (mile maker 11), the Vienna Inn and Whole Foods are right off the trail. The Vienna Inn has expanded their beer menu - but still heavy centric on the big guys - Boston Beer Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - but usually have two Virginia breweries ontap - Devils Backbone Brewing Company & Starr Hill Brewing. I frequent Whole Foods more often, primarily because of their more expansive craft beer offerings as well as their decent wine selections - all offered at their Pub which now provides outdoor seating. The best part of this store is that if you don't see a beer or wine that you like at the Pub, just purchase a single or six-pack in the store's general beer or wine section and they will open it for you at the Pub. Nice.

Just after or before mile marker 18, there are several restaurants in the Reston Town Center with decent wine and beer options - but my recommendation - the World of Beer. The name says it all.

The most convenient brewery on this route is Beltway Brewing Company (Sterling), which backs up to the trail around mile marker 22 - near Sterling Blvd. The inconvenient truth is that the brewery is a contract operation so is seldom open on the weekends with standard hours Thursday and Friday evenings from 4-7 pm. You never know what's on tap - kegs depend on contract schedule - but a stop is recommended.

Lost Rhino Brewing Co (Ashburn) is the furthest off the trail, about 2.5 miles west of Beltway Brewing. Turn onto Smith Switch Road towards Ashburn and proceed about a mile (cross over Waxpool Road) and take a right onto Red Rum Drive. The brewery is located in the second set of warehouses 921730 Red Rum Drive) - just look for the silo. Lost Rhino will have several beers available to quench your thirst as well as a local Virginia wine. On my last biking visit, I once again chose lower abv beers: Steam Punk & Smokey & the Rhino. The later was my clear favorite - just a hint of mesquite smoke, unique and refreshing. For those less adventurist, their Rhino Chasers Pilsner should do the trick. And don't worry about leaving hungry.

My next trip will feature wineries and breweries between Leesburg and Purcellville. Cheers and safe travels.

Update: I was just reminded that Caboose Brewing Company will be opening in August just steps off the W&OD Trail in Vienna at mile marker 12. I also should mention Jimmy's Old Town Tavern in Herndon (Eldon Street), located a very short distance off mile marker 20. The have a similar beer list and character as the Vienna Inn.

Update II: Old Ox Brewery opens June 26th in Ashburn; after turning on Smith Switch Road from the bike path take a left on Guilford Drive.

Update III: I've been asked to include area bike shops available for emergency repairs. In Falls Church, Tri 360 is closest to the Trail with Bikenetic, LLC on Route 7. In Vienna, both Spoke, Etc and bikes@vienna are yards off the trail. In Reston, Performance Bicycle and The Bike Lane (in the town center) are available for repair services; in Herndon, Green Lizard Cycling is steps from the trail.

Update IV: Check out Bikeable Brews in the comments section below for another resource for beer along the W&OD.



Don't forget the Capitol City Brewing Company, just off the W&OD at its start in Shirlington.

WineCompass said...

I hope to do a Falls Church -> Alexandria route soon. Thanks Thomas.

pqjulie said...

We at PubQuest love biking and brewery visits. Check out for every craft brewery in the U.S. and Canada - and get biking directions via the interactive map. Cheers!

Bob McArthur said...

I'm a cyclist who likes good beer, and I've compiled a list of businesses within 1.5 miles of the W&OD that serve beer on tap with a craft brew emphasis. I've posted this information to a website I'm building called Trail riders might find it a helpful complement to Todd's blogs. I'm a newbie at website design, so please pardon its current appearance.

WineCompass said...

Thanks Bob, I updated the post to display your link. Hope you've had a chance to check out theCompass Mobile App. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

THIS SPRING...Sweet Signatures will be opening at the 22.5 mile marker...lookout for signs along the trail! Wine and beer are on the future menu...until then enjoy a large selection of chocolates, treats and gourmet sweets...and beverages.