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Craft brewing is a trend that’s flowing through not just Arlington and Northern Virginia, but throughout the nation and beyond. And it’s serious business – new statistics from the Craft Brewers Conference say that as many as two new craft breweries are opening their doors every day. And in Arlington, you can sample those hoppy masterpieces and learn a little about the passion behind each and every handcrafted brew.
New District Brewing Co. in Arlington’s Shirlington neighborhood is the very first distribution brewery in Arlington County in more than a century, and judging from its loyal fan base, it’s a move that was long overdue. The funky warehouse setting makes for a true neighborhood atmosphere, and the brewery itself has become an integral part of the community. It even hosts local runners’ groups, as it’s right at the start of the Washington & Old Dominion rail trail. As for the brews themselves, don’t miss the summery Ginger Saison or the seasonal Follow Your Horizons porter – it’s almost like dessert in a glass!
For hometown brews with a taste of military pride, don’t miss Heritage Brewpub and Roastery in Clarendon. Part brewery, part coffee bar and part restaurant, Heritage was founded by two veteran brothers who bring their patriotic spirit to each and every brew. Don’t miss the Freedom Isn’t Free IPA or the Lincoln’s Hat series of small batch brews. Start your day with a housemade nitro draft cold press coffee or rich espresso. And the brewpub menu is full of hearty pub food that’s locally sourced and seasonally fresh with everything from burgers to brownies (served complete with chocolate stout, of course).
But that’s by no means the end to Arlington’s offerings for craft beer enthusiasts. We’re home to plenty of restaurants and bars that would impress even the most discerning beer aficionado. The aptly-named Crafthouse in Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood boasts 50 different brews on tap and another 250 selections in bottles or cans. Just down the street, Rustico features a menu with more than 400 different beer selections. Courthaus Social in Courthouse prides on forging strong relationships with regional brewhouses so they’re often first in line to receive the newest and most exciting small-batch craft beers.
The seasonal Continental Beer Garden in Rosslyn offers a rotating selection of unique beers as well as outdoor games and picnic tables for an evening out with friends, and Rosslyn’s Hyatt Centric Arlington offers a growler program where customers buy a growler for $15 and refill it with one of 10 local beers.
For a true locals experience, check out the Westover Market and Beer Garden in the residential Westover neighborhood, where you’ll find not only a fun tap list of local and exotic beers, but also the Great Wall of Beer, an impressive selection of more than 1,000 domestic, import and microbrew varieties. It’s easy to see why it’s been a local favorite for years.
Author: Cara O'Donnell