Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Visiting More Loudoun County Breweries #VABreweryChallenge

Loudoun County is the largest and fastest growing craft beer region in the Commonwealth and this past weekend I used theCompass Winery, Brewery, Distillery Locator Mobile App to visit four. Dog Money Restaurant & Brewery (#42) opened recently in the old Vintage 50 location by brewer Dean Lake and Tim Regan. The existing 10 barrel system is used to brew a rotating lineup of 6 lagers\ales with the Loudoun Common Golden Lager spot on. The molasses fused Mo’ Porter was also quite nice with the remaining - Dog Money Red Ale, Hostile Extraction IPA, Belgian-style Tripel, and Dog Money Hefeweizen - all up to style.

Black Walnut Brewery (#43) is also located in downtown Leesburg and opened at the same time as Dog Money. owner Patrick Wilt is\was a passionate home brewer and converted a former salon to a cozy brewery.  The patio is a great spot to sip a pint and my favorite was the Black Lab IPA. This black IPA was flavorful with a balanced and smooth finish. I also tried the Yellow Lab IPA and it was a little weaker in both flavor and hop character. I look forward to revisiting when the brewery's production has settled.
Barnhouse Brewery (#44) reopened this Spring in its new barn-brewery, tightly integrated in the Loudoun Wine Trail with The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek and Hidden Brook Winery within walking distance.  I sampled through a 4-beer flight and loved three quarters.  The Breakfast Bitter was well made, just not my thing that day. On the other hand, the Piedmont Smoked Porter was outstanding with the smoky flavors integrating with the food truck sausages. The Kittoctin Kolsh was spot on, refreshing and minerally. And finally the Barrel Aged Whiskey Shenandoah Stout, aged in used Catoctin Creek Distilling Company Roundstone Rye barrels, is fantastic. The vanilla and rye blends nicely with the stout's mellowed chocolate malt.  Barnhouse is a must visit.

As is Vanish Farmwoods Brewery (#45), a large brewery and hops farm located just north of Lucketts.  On our visit there were 14 beers on tap which makes filling their massive 12 beer flight a little easier.  And these 14 fulfilled many styles: IPAs, an India Pale Lager, a few tasty sours, a delicious Cabernet Stout, a few Belgiums, and even an Oatmeal Pale Ale. There was not one beer where I thought, "don't like that one". There's also regular live music, cornhole, and plenty of picnic tables inside and out. I hope to return during their Oktoberfest celebration the last weekend in September. Cheers.

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