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Northern Virginia's Ultimate Biking & Brewery Tour

Standing in line at a local grocery store back in 2016, a Washingtonian Magazine article caught my interest – “25 DC-Area Breweries You Need to Know About” and in an impulsive move, I bought the magazine. As I read the article, it occurred to me that several of the featured breweries are on or near the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail. My partner, Kim, and I are always looking for new adventures and the idea of a local brewery and biking tour started to take hold. I jumped onto Google and came upon the Bikeable Brews website, which has a page dedicated to the W&OD! Kim’s birthday was a couple of weeks away, so I decided to plan a weekend trip to celebrate it. The plan: Bike to Purcellville on Saturday while hitting a couple of breweries west of mile marker (MM) 25, stay in a bed and breakfast and head back to Arlington on Sunday, visiting breweries east of mile marker 25.

In total, the trip out and back from Arlington over a two day period is about 90 miles. While not for every rider, this tour is customizable and can be shaped to your riding style and distance preference. To view our photos, visit the end of this post and check out the gallery.

Day 1 Bikes & Brews Itinerary:

MM 0

Best Buns (0.3 mi off trail) – Too early for a beer, but food is essential before biking. I can’t think of a better way to start a ride than an egg sandwich from Best Buns!

MM 20

Great Harvest Bread (0.0 mi off trail) – A must stop when you are on the W&OD. Free slices of bread and when they learned it was Kim’s birthday, they gave her a free cookie!

MM 25

Old Ox Brewery (0.0 mi off trail) – Great vibe! We each decided on a flight of four 4oz tastings. A bold start, especially since breakfast was long ago burned and our free bread slices were all that we had in our bellies. Since this brewery is right off the trail, there were also a bunch of cyclist and runners fueling their workouts with an alternative carb source. Kim’s favorite beer– Transfusion Farmhouse Lager; My favorite beer– Hoppy Place.

MM 34

Crooked Run Brewery (0.1 mi off trail) – This little spot just off the trail has a fun atmosphere that invites you back for more. In fact, we met another group from Arlington, who returned to this spot after experiencing a great time and great beers a couple week prior. Kim’s favorite experience – Hanging out with a big puppy; My favorite experience – Bragging to our fellow Arlingtonian visitors that we biked to Crooked Run!

MM 40

Blue Hill Farm B&B (2.4 mi off trail) – Five stars! You know when you pull up to a place and you know it’s going to be perfect? That’s how we felt when we biked up to Blue Hill Farm After just one night, we consider our hosts, Shirley and Waldo, our friends!

MM 44

Belly Love Brewery (0.5 mi off trail) – There are at least four breweries and one distillery in Purcellville, but the name of this brewery spoke to Kim. Owned by a husband and wife team, they chose the name because they wanted something funand the Buddha logo is pretty awesome too! Bottle labels are designed by a local Purcellville artist, and are definitely conversation worthy. Kim’s beer choice – Narcissist; My beer choice – Flying Unicorn Crotch Kick.

Day 2 Bikes & Brews Itinerary:

MM 26

Lost Rhino Brewery (1.5 mi off trail) – This brewery did not originally make my list because, in my mind, it was too far off the trail. But the ride was flat and easy – so glad we made the detour. Turns out, we learned from the guys behind the bar that the name Lost Rhino is inspired by the surfing term, rhino chaser – someone out to find the best waves, the biggest waves – an adventurer. Seriously, could it be any more perfect for our little adventure? Kim’s favorite Rhino – Final Glide // Hefeweizen; My favorite Rhino – Dawn Patrol // Session India Pale Ale.

MM 12

Caboose Brewery (0.0 mi off trail) – We can’t wait to come back to Caboose – not just for a beer, but for the food too. I opted for a Grease Monkey Pale Ale, which despite being an ale, was crisp with a hint of citrus. Kim elected to go shopping for another t-shirt and pint glass. Kim’s favorite find – Free Caboose Stickers!

MM 0

New District Brewery (0.1 mi off trail) – You know we had to end our brewery tour at Arlington’s own New District Brewery! We live walking (and biking) distance from this brewery and one of our fondest memories is having a drink (or three) during 2016’s Snowzilla blizzard. Still craving a lighter beer – I went with the Ginger Saison and it did not disappoint!

MM 0

Copperwood Tavern (0.2 off trail) – After a long ride and many beers we were ready for our “go to meal” at Copperwood – Farmers Salad and a Tavern Burger to share. Kim, all tapped out on desire for beer decided it was time for whiskey. I went for the Blue Bee cider. When they learned it was Kim’s birthday, they presented a special dessert and toasted her with a glass of champagne.

Tips for Your Brew Tour

  1. Drink Responsibly. This goes without saying, but we’re saying it any way.
  2. Bring hearty snacks. Some breweries don’t serve food! Drinking beer on an empty stomach can be bad news! (See above).
  3. Plan ahead which breweries you want to visit. But be flexible. You may think you can visit five breweries in one day, but if you’re having fun at one and want to stay longer, you should. I personally think three breweries per day was the perfect number. Check which breweries have an outdoor seating area and which may only be offering curbside pickup.
  4. Get as much information as you can from the brewery bartenders. They are an incredible source of information – and they LOVE the beer they serve.
  5. If you don’t make the whole trail, that’s okay too! We originally planned to bike to Purcellville and then double back to the bed and breakfast. But we ended up having so much fun at the first two breweries and spent more time at each than we thought we would, so we opted to go straight to the Blue Hill B&B.
  6. Pack light. Especially if you are celebrating someone’s birthday and she wants a t-shirt and pint glass from every brewery!
  7. This is not a training ride! Kim had to keep reminding me to slow down and enjoy the ride.
  8. Enjoy the people you will meet along the way.

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