Whether you’re quaffing an IPA or sipping chardonnay, the tasting is elevated from everyday to extraordinary when you’re in the right setting. With landscapes that make you want to cultivate the good life, Virginia’s Cultural Region seems tailor-made for careful production of fine wines, spirits and craft beer. Enjoy it all with a view in our favorite tasting room experiences.
Historic Breweries Walking Tour and Pub Guide, Alexandria
Pick up a guide from the Alexandria Visitors Center and take this self-guided tour of 15 pubs and restaurants. With beer as a staple of 18th-century life, Alexandria’s Old Town has long been a brewing mecca and home to the largest pre-prohibition brewery in the south. The city’s rich beer history reveals itself along the way at local favorites like award-winning Port City Brewing Company, Union Street Public House and Columbia Firehouse, along with “Hops Stops” at top places to pause for a brew or snack. To help you drink responsibly, the free King Street Trolley runs seven days a week.
Port City Brewing Company, Alexandria
When you see the pineapple on top of Port City’s sign, it’s a signal that the brewing geniuses inside are ready for you and open for business. Take a tour of this award-winning craft brewery to learn how its artisanal, hand-made, high-quality beers continue to elevate Alexandria’s brewing scene. Learn about the Hopzooka first hand, breathe in the unmistakable aroma of brewing magic going on and meet the experts. Find out which seasonal brews are on tap and sample your way through a flight menu that includes stouts, porters, pale ales, Belgian whites and more. Whether you leave with a six-pack or a growler, you’re sure to find a favorite.
The Winery at Bull Run, Fairfax County
Take a trip into the best of the 19th century world of gentle Virginia living and finely crafted wines. The Winery at Bull Run sits in the spectacular 5,000-acre countryside setting of the Bull Run Battlefield Park, a working farm vineyard with views that seem unchanged by time. The preserved 19th century farmland gives you a heritage view of winemaking techniques from the Civil War era, giving the secrets of the past a chance to live on in award-winning Nortons, Viogniers, Petit Verdots and more created onsite. Enjoy a tasting in the Main Barn or take advantage of vistas from the front porch, the vineyard or the Stone Mansion House Ruins patio.
Mad Fox Brewing Company, Fairfax County
English, German, Belgian and American brews are on tap at this English-style gastro brewpub, home to upscale casual dining. The Mad Fox bar is 63 feet long and the rotating selection of seasonal beers is equally impressive. True aficionados will appreciate the cask-conditioned proper Real Ales served through water-jacketed Angram beer engines. The rest of us will just enjoy every pint at the perfect temperature.
Capitol City Brewing Company, Arlington
It took a long time after prohibition for brewing to return to the nation’s capitol, but it was worth the wait. Pay a visit to the downtown Arlington location of the first brewpub to open in D.C. since prohibition was repealed, the Capitol City Brewing Company. At this location, you’ll have a view of the pedestrian promenade and a large patio to enjoy craft brews and chef-created regional cuisine. Whether you’re into beer-battered onion rings or Prohibition Porter-infused chili, you can’t beat hearty fare in a lively atmosphere – especially when you have a choice of signature, core and seasonal brews year round.
Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, Arlington
Great food and real beer are Rock Bottom’s stock in trade, offering an unpretentious experience that you can raise a pint to. Try award-winners like Devil’s Thumb Strong Ale, Baltic Gnome Porter, Rudolph’s Red or the Naked Oatmeal Stout. From barrel-aged Sarah’s Two Headed Buffalo to coffee-flavored Dude! Where’s My Vespa, there’s nothing ordinary about Rock Bottom’s seasonal offerings.
Winery at La Grange, Manassas
Head over to Prince William County for year-round tours, seasonal events and wine tastings in the barrel room and 18th century manor house of the Winery at La Grange. The vineyards at the foot of Bull Run Mountain grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Mensang grapes to create part of this winery’s stellar collection of wines. Your tasting experience might only be rivaled by a visit to the restored 1790 manor house, where tales of ghostly apparitions and mysterious piano music fill the air. The winery provides plenty of ideas for nearby outdoor adventures and park destinations to help you make a day of it.
Tin Cannon Brewing Company
More intimate and specialized than even a micro brewery can claim, this nano brewery creates, kegs and serves craft beers on premise, blending traditional styles and experimental brews for a totally unique experience. Tin Cannon’s Belgian Judy, Busted Pipe Black IPA, Unkel Dunkel, seasonals and experimentals always make it worth the visit. Notice a hint of chipotle peppers and bacon? Tin Cannon calls that Breakfast of Champions – check and see what’s brewing now.
Hillsborough Vineyards, Loudoun County
Along the hills and ridges of Loudoun County, winemakers have found fertile ground not just for their grapes, but for the total departure from routine that wine lovers find when they visit. Peace and tranquility set the stage for Hillsborough Vineyard’s old world, French country charm. Promising the sweet smell of roses and lavender, the gentle sound of trickling koi ponds, verandas adorned with wisteria, old stone barns, 36 acres of vineyards and spectacular views of distant mountains, your tasting experience will be one for all the senses.
Breaux Vineyards, Loudoun County
Overlooking the valley between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains, the setting of Breaux Vineyards is enough to capture your heart, even if the winemaking operation weren’t winning raves for impressive results. One of Virginia’s largest growers, Breaux Vineyards encompass 104 acres of a 404-acre estate, giving you both expansive views and an intimate tasting room experience that reveals a passionate commitment to quality. Tour the winemaking facility and sample award-winning varieties and you’ll be convinced that the Breaux family is on the right track.