What’s Brewing Down in Northern Virginia?

Loudoun County, Virginia, has no shortage of local breweries, combining water, barley, yeast and hops in ways that are sure to please anyone’s palate. With the 7th annual D.C. Beer Week bubbling up Aug. 9 to 16, it’s the perfect time to try some of the crispest, most authentic and best-crafted beers in the region.

Pinpointing a single top-notch brewery in Loudoun County is nearly impossible given the 19 contenders. But, to get you started, the following establishments are well worth checking out:

Lost Rhino Brewing Company offers an extensive selection of year-round and seasonal beers to visitors, who can tour the brewery on Saturdays. Tours run every hour from 1 to 5 p.m. For $8, participants get a souvenir tasting glass and four sample fillings. Those unable to trek to this Ashburn establishment aren’t out of luck, since Lost Rhino is among the 25 regional breweries participating in D.C. Beer Week’s Blind and Bitter event on Aug. 14. Scion Restaurant, at 2100 P St. NW near Dupont Circle, will host the event, in which patrons blindly taste a hoppy brew from each of the breweries and vote for their favorite. Lost Rhino opened a second Ashburn location this year, the Lost Rhino Retreat, with a full food menu. Both have live musical entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays.

Another Ashburn establishment, Old Ox Brewery, utilizes over 9,000 square feet of its building space for beer production. Old Ox has three core beers that are brewed year-round, plus a rotating selection of seasonal and experimental drinks. Tours of the production space take place Saturday afternoons on a first come, first served basis. The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday. Though no food is served at Old Ox, visiting food trucks are on the premises most weekends.

In Fairfax County a selection of 22 local and regional craft beers are in store for those who visit Barrel and Bushel, an American-style restaurant and bar located in the Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner. Barrel and Bushel’s drink menu consists of lagers, stouts and ales, as well as wines and bourbon. For those looking to sample a variety of brews, flight trays are offered with four glasses of beer. Choose from one of five flights on the menu or create your own from the beers on tap.

If hard cider, with its crisp, smooth taste, sounds more appealing than beer, Loudoun’s latest micro-cidery is not to be missed. Wild Hare Cider, which officially opened its Bluemont doors last month, specializes in transforming the ripest apples from Shenandoah Valley orchards into a fresh drink to be enjoyed any time of year. Wild Hare’s tasting room is open on weekends; Saturday hours vary and Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m.

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