Jerry Bailey began homebrewing with friends in 1989, hopeful that the craft would bring fulfillment that his 9-to-5 failed to provide. Fulfillment it brought, along with numerous batches of tasty brew. Bailey couldn’t keep his inventions to himself; he quickly decided to open his own brewhouse as well as distribute his goods to other local establishments.
Today, Bailey proudly stands at the helm of both Old Dominion Brewhouse and Old Dominion Brewing Company. In the pub, chefs add variety to liquid meals with food such as burgers, crab cakes, and thin-crust pizzas while 30 flat-screen televisions keep patrons entertained with sports. The chefs also exhibit flair for Asian cuisine, slicing and rolling sushi and offering create-your-own mongolian stir-fries. At the bar, eight handles remain perpetually reserved for Old Dominion's craft beers, such as the award-winning Baltic porter and the Oak Barrel stout, which is loaded with flavors of vanilla and the color brown.
Heart of Virginia Wine Trail honors its home state by guiding guests through six wineries—James River Cellars, Cooper Vineyards, Lake Anna Winery, Weston Vineyards, Mattaponi Winery, and Grayhaven Winery. Although not included with this Groupon, the wine ambassadors proffer passports that award patrons tastings at each of the wineries and encourage them to enjoy the scenic countryside while navigating the path in between. Both regular tastings and special events typically include food pairings and a chance to talk to knowledgeable enophiles.
Kybecca Wine Bar, a slow-food restaurant set within a converted 1860s general store, freshens up palates with a gourmet menu of small plates and entrees crafted from locally grown ingredients. Parties start the gustatory revelry with a cheese platter, festooned with three or four artisan offerings such as Cherry Glen chipotle chevre and fromage d’affinois brie. Guests pass around tapas-style bites of pistachio-pesto gnocchi ($9) or four bison blue-cheese sliders ($12) made from humanely raised meat. Spend quality time with full-plate entrees, including the brace of lamb ribs ($21/full) accompanied by pesto gnocchi and roasted tomatoes or the truffle-buttered beef tenderloin ($17), which rests, like a spectacularly successful and eccentric truffle trader, on a bed of wild-mushroom risotto.
Grape and Grain tours bestow imbibers with a whirlwind six hours to sip and savor a kaleidoscope of diverse beverages. A chauffeur from Prime Transportation begins the day by whisking patrons to a brewery, distillery, and winery, each of which grants samples of their unique brews and vintages while instilling educational tidbits about their creation. At the Mediterranean-style Potomac Point Winery, patrons explore the wine cave and tour the cellar, dining on a bistro lunch and stopping at the olive oil bar to tend jaws creaky from chewing. At Blue and Gray Brewing Company, samples of seasonal beers emerge straight from the tanks to wash down a complimentary dessert, and the tour of family-owned A. Smith Bowman Distillery—a Fredericksburg mainstay since 1934—imparts tricks of the brewing trade that toe the line between tradition and innovation. Discounts on return visits and gift-shop merchandise urge tours to return, and patrons depart with souvenir glasses from each venue that will always remind them not to drink out of the brewer's tank.
An evening at Tokyo Japanese Steak House generally includes dinner and a show, but it’s not live music or dancing, and each group of diners gets their own performance. Guests sit down at U-shaped tables built around grills, where chefs theatrically slice, toss, and sizzle teppanyaki dishes. Guests can choose a single protein or a combination—including filet mignon and shrimp—which are seared amid plumes of steam and fire before their very eyes. More mellow meals take place at the sushi and noodle bar, where patrons look on as chefs meticulously build smoked salmon nigiri and Japanese lasagna, a baked California roll with secret sauce. The dishes pair perfectly with their slew of Asian-inspired drinks. In addition to pouring sake and Sapporo, the bartenders mix specialty cocktails, such as the Tokyo sunrise with tequila, plum wine, and pineapple juice.
Recently opened in 2009, the tasting and hospitality center at Sweely Estate Winery boasts scenic vineyard views from the attached open-air terrace. As guests take in the sights of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains, Sweely’s winesperts pour a medley of fine French-style wines, including reds aged in French oak barrels and whites enhanced by premium grapes in gravity flow. Compare and contrast the fermented flavors with the accompanying cheeses, then apply the included $10 credit toward a bottle of memories such as the refreshing Sweely Estate pinot gris ($16), graced with palate-tickling notes of green apple and citrus, or the Sweely Estate merlot ($20.95), swirled with mixed berry and minty overtones.