The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Brew Pubs






Falls Church








Virginia Beach



Dog Money Brewpub
50 Catoctin Circle NE
Leesburg, VA  20176

Dog Money Brewpub is the lastest brewing operation to make its home in this lovely setting at 50 Catoctin Circle, just minutes from historic downtown Leesburg.
If you had visited either Thoroughbreds or Vintage 50, than you can picture the layout of Dog Money.
The bar seats about a dozen, with seating for about 20 more in the barroom at tables.
Dog Money has another dining room in the back, with another bar...a more secluded location.
The building is attractive and well landscaped...the staff was friendly and informative.
Dog Money had 6 of its beers on tap at the time of our visit, including Loudon Common, hefeweizen, red ale, IPA, porter, and a Belgian-style tripel.
These can be purchased in pints or flights.
The brewery equipment, presided over by brewmaster Dean Lake, is visible.
Both beers that I had were tasty, full-bodied, and true-to-style.
Although Leesburg, as of the summer of 2016, has numerous microbreweries, Dog Money is the only true brewpub.




Wharf Hill Brewing Company
25 Main Street
Smithfield, Virginia
Phone: (757) 357-7100

Wharf Hill Brewing is a brewpub in historic downtown Smithfield, VA.
Located a block from the Smithfield Ham world headquarters, Wharf Hill is the only bar or restaurant in town, thus it gets quite crowded.
The building dates from 1906, and at various times has housed an Inn, a Pool Hall, and a Dentist's Office.
Once inside the door, one goes up about 6 steps to the working level, although there are two tables by the door.
The bar fills most of it's room and there is a separate dining area.
Wharf Hill currently makes 2 beers and have 6 very nice guest taps.
The food is mostly pub grub, but the portions are large and quite reasonably priced.





Wasserhund Brewing Company
1805 Laskin Rd
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
(757) 351-1326

Wasserhund Brewing is a brew pub in a strip mall far from the beach in Virginia Beach.
Wasserhund offers 8 of their own mostly German-style beers on tap.
According to the mission statement, Wasserhund " aspires to bring the German beer culture to Virginia Beach in the best way... by brewing the highest quality ales and lagers and providing the environment to enjoy them with family, friends, and strangers."
They make pizza, but have an otherwise limited menu.
The 2-barrel brewing operation is in the back room.
However, on the day of this visit, the brewer was busy climbing the rafters in the next room installing a 15-barrel system.
The beers were good and apparently there will be more to come.




Home Republic
328 Laskin Rd
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Phone: (757) 226-9593

Home Republic is a brewpub just off the beach in the tourist area of Virginia Beach.
Owner and brewer "Joe" Curtis is a 20-year marine veteran whose mission " is to make every customer feel at home by sharing our passion for good beer, wine, and food."
The venue is located in one storefront-sized room.
The kitchen is on one side of the rear, the brewing on the other. There is a small bar up front, and perhaps a dozen tables.
Home Republic's food is unique, for example jalapeno cornbread with bacon jam, and quite tasty. They have 2 or 3 of their own beers on tap, and a very nice guest list of both taps and bottles.

Home Republic also specializes in "beertails" such as the Pineapple Grenade and the Michelada.
Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 3-7 PM.






Battlefield Brewing Company
4187 Plank Rd
Fredericksburg, VA , 22407
phone: (540) 785-2164

The Battlefield Brewing Company is a brewpub about a mile from I-95 near Fredericksburg, VA.
This small bar in a strip mall gives no indication that there is a brewery inside. One gets nostalgic for the past on entering, mainly because everyone there is smoking.
The regular-sized bar sits 12 with a half dozen booths opposite.
Beyond, there is hallway going back to the kitchen, with restrooms on one side and the brewing operation on the other. There are 20 taps. Except for their own beer, they serve B M/C exclusively.
The food is good, and quite inexpensive, as are their beers, which are actually quite good.
At 2:00 on a Saturday, the bar was mostly full with older neighborhood alcoholics enjoying each other's company.



Legend Brewing Co.
321 West 7th Street
Richmond, VA 23224
(804) 232-3446

Legend brews up quite a variety of standard and seasonal beers.
Since they have an in-house bottling plant and distribute their beer regionally for retail sale, all of their previous seasonal beers are always available in bottles.
This is a nice feature that other brewpubs could well emulate.
The pub is large and comfortable, and there is just as much outdoor as indoor seating, so in decent weather the customer really has a lot of seating options.
Also worth noting: a dedicated smoking room, keeping smokers and non-smokers (but not the Nicotine Nazis) happy.
The menu features lots of standard pub fare - sandwiches, fries, burgers, nachos - all done well.
Legend taps a firkin (in our case, a Belgian Quad with whiskey barrel chips) every Friday evening.
Richmond has a very vibrant downtown, and the Legend brewpub is a great example of why it is so popular.



Bull & Bones Brewhaus and Grill
1470 South Main Street #120  
Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 953-2855

The Bull & Bones Brewhaus is a large, modern brewpub in an upscale "Avenue" shopping area of Blacksburg, Virginia.
The large bar is built around the brewing operation with a large dining area further back.
The brew works actually separate the dining section from the sports bar area containing TV's and pool tables.
There are six full time beers on tap as well as a seasonal. The 10 bbl. system also produces beer for their other location.
The food was tasty and inexpensive.


Lost Rhino Brewing Company
21730 Red Rum Drive, Suite 142
Ashburn , Virginia 20147
P: 571.291.2083

Lost Rhino Brewing Company sits in an industrial park in subrural Ashburn, Virginia, not too far from where Old Dominion used to craft their beers.
The pub is actually more of a tasting room, where one can get samples, fill growlers, talk with friends, and get something to eat.
Becky, the chef, was extremely hospitable and a great source of information on the operation of the brewery.
The Tasting Room is spacious, and had a good crowd at about 2:00 PM on a Friday. The patrons seemed mostly made up of professionals on holiday, or those who had skipped out of work early on this glorious Friday afternoon.
There is room to seat about 25 patrons, with lots of rail room for leaning and drinking Lost Rhino's tasty brews.
At the time of our visit there were at least 8 taps pouring, and three beers offered in bombers.
Lost Rhino plans to set up a canning line soon.
As of this time, Lost Rhino is open to the public Wednesday thru Saturday from 12:00 noon to 8:00 PM. Tours are given on Saturday until 6:00.
Lost Rhino is a great stop along the Route 7 brewing corridor on the way to the beertown of Leesburg.




Mad Fox Brewing Company
444 West Broad Street Suite I
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 942-6840

Mad Fox is located in the charming yet bustling center of downtown Falls Church. When you enter you are greeted by the hostess, and 6 large stainless steel serving you know they are serious about the beer here. The long bar seats 30, and a variety of stools, tables, and booths provide for a total of 300 thirsty patrons. Mad Fox features 18 taps and 6 hand pumps, but at any given time they most likely offer 6-10 draft beers and 1-3 cask beers. They offer exclusively their own brews, crafted by owner/brewer Bill Madden, formerly of Vintage 50 and Capital City. Mad Fox also fills growlers.
The food menu was imaginative as well as provocative, and features many local Virginia products. Our sandwiches were delicious.
As expected, the beer I had was excellent, and I wish I could have stayed for more.



Gordon Biersch
7861 L Chain Bridge Rd
McLean, VA 22102
phone: 703-388-5454

Gordon Biersch is a successful chain of brewpubs across the U.S. We visited the McLean, VA location and found their lagers to be crisp, tasty, and true to style. There were 8 beers on tap, and the selection was comprehensive, including marzen, hefeweizen, and Czech lager. The place had a corporate feel to it, and was populated by an upscale crowd. Nevertheless, Matt, the bartender, made us feel at home and was willing and eager to answer a vast range of questions. There is also a location in nearby Washington, DC, as well as in Annapolis, MD.



Hops Grill and Brewery
3625 Jefferson Davis Hwy.
Alexandria, VA

Located in a suburban shopping center, HOPS offers four standard brews and two seasonals. A few macro bottles are available. The Bold Gold was good and clean as a whistle. At lunchtime, the bar was mostly manned by businessmen eating and drinking their lunch. The bar is rectangular and spacious, and the bar staff helpful. Kristi, the brewster, showed me the seven-barrel system and explained that she is required to brew the four standards, but has more choice in brewing the seasonals. The Fun Zen Bock was tasty with body. HOPS also has a location in Richmond, but I would not hesitate to return to this one.


Sweetwater Tavern

45980 Waterview Plaza
Sterling, VA 20166
(571) 434-6500

There was nothing not to like about our visit to Sweetwater Tavern in Sterling, VA. The outside bar afforded a beautiful view of the lake and was a cool place to sip a hand-crafted beer on a very hot day. Brewmaster Nick Funnell has a repertoire of about 35 beers, of which 5 were on tap. The Wild West Fest was possibly the best beer I've had this summer. Inside, the spacious bar area has seating for about 60 Questors, and is surrounded by a large dining area. Their beer is fresh and popular; manager Chris informed us that they fill about 250 growlers per week. Much, but not all, of the talk around the bar was beer-related. Our bartender, Sandi, was a gem...attentive, professional, and personable. Sweetwater has two other locations in Northern Virginia but I see no reason not to return to this one.