Loudoun offers an unparalleled beer scene where plant meets pint and visitors can sample more than 200 beers at more than 25 breweries on any given week at diverse locations across Loudoun County, Virginia, including everything from farm breweries growing hops on site to industrial-style tasting rooms.
Loudoun’s craft beer scene began in 1989 with Old Dominion Brewing Company. While the business has since merged with another national brewery in Delaware, it gave many local brewers their start in the industry including Matt Hagerman and Favio Garcia, who opened Lost Rhino Brewing Company in 2011 and the Burns family who opened Old Ox Brewery in 2014.
Virginia legislation has also changed over the years, making it easier for breweries to open their doors. In 2014 new legislation specifically paved the way for farm breweries to open in western Loudoun- a region known for its wineries, winding country roads and rural landscape. Today, the agricultural side of beer production is an integral part of Loudoun’s overarching beer story and farmers like the Zurschmeide family at Dirt Farm Brewing are growing not only hops, but peaches, cherries and other products on site as ingredients for their beer.
In 2015 the agriculture side of the industry got another boost when the Mid-Atlantic’s first commercial hops processing operation opened at Black Hops Farm. Located next to Vanish Brewery, the facility features tours by appointment so visitors can truly see how the hops get from the plant, processed and into their pint glass.
Another beer region to explore in Loudoun County is The Dulles Corridor which features more modern and urban breweries and tasting rooms like Solace Brewing Company, Ocelot Brewing, Lost Rhino Brewing Co. and many more.
To help connect the modern tasting rooms in Loudoun’s urban eastern corridor with the breweries situated on farms and pastures in the rolling countryside, Visit Loudoun- the county’s tourism organization- launched the LoCo Ale Trail in 2015. Similar to the DC’s Wine Country brand, the LoCo Ale Trail brand positions Loudoun as a beer destination and promotes Loudoun’s breweries as a trail that provides visitors with numerous ways to experience the craft beer scene. As part of this brand, Visit Loudoun created pocket trail guides, LoCo Ale Trail posters (available for sale in the Leesburg Visitor Center), brewery itineraries and more.
Visitors can check out our website to find other brewery experiences including the brews by bike itinerary featuring stops along the W&OD trail and the farm breweries itinerary connecting people to all the places growing hops and products that are used in their beer.
“From the manufacturing type breweries like Beltway, Lost Rhino and Old Ox to the bucolic farm breweries like Vanish, Dirt Farm and Barnhouse—there’s something for everyone and exploring the different breweries is just a lot of fun,” said Old Ox’ Burns. “And of course, everyone should stop at Old Ox to enjoy one of our beers.”
Sponsored post: This post was provided by our host sponsor, Visit Loudoun.