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.
Hailed by The Washington Post and The Washingtonian, Mad Fox Brewing Company marries carefully brewed libations with toothsome cuisine served amid rich wooden décor and along a 63-foot-long bar. Mad Fox's succulent menu twists traditional pub fare into nuanced and hearty noshes. Patrons perched atop cushy leather barstools can tuck into entrees lovingly crafted with fresh ingredients that are often locally sourced. Inhale a breath of Louisiana with Shrimp & Grits, which blends smoked gouda and Cajun-spiced tomato fondue ($18) or savor the aquatic aromas wafting from the blackened tuna ($22), which ducks under cover of lemon-butter sauce so it may use potato straws to shoot spitballs at its rival entrees. Arriving in 11-inch and 16-inch, and gluten-free disk form, pizzas support toppings that include apple-wood-smoked bacon and black mission figs ($12+), and sandwiches nestle burgers ($10+) and herbivorous bundles ($8) in their bready embrace.
Brothers and business partners James and Adam Roth fill their store with a cornucopia of curated artisan foods, from cheese and chocolate to wine and beer. A chalkboard outside the shop's modern colonial windows introduces visitors to the featured cheese of the week. As visitors enter, wine racks and displays sprawl before them, cradling more than 500 different bottles from across the world. The shelves of vino lead toward the back of the store, where cases of artisan cheese and meats lie in tantalizing splendor. The selection spans the cheese spectrum. Goat's-milk cheeses give tenderly beneath knives, and the tissue-like bloomy rinds of soft cheese split aromatically. Crimson wax cloaks firm wheels of cheddar studded with mustard seeds or Cajun spices, and the resident cheesemongers also marinate their own sheep-milk feta with herbs. Salami and pâtés beg to flesh out cheese plates along with a weekend selection of crusty bread and pastries. An ever-rotating stock of beers generally includes more than 300 varieties of local and international brews. Tartness leaps from lambics, traditional Belgian beers fermented with wild yeasts and aged in barrels, and dark-roasted malt lends a chocolate hue to Duck Rabbit Schwarzbier crafted in North Carolina. On weekends, the tasting room fills with the chatter of patrons learning to detect grassy notes in samples of wine or guess when a sommelier has been rolling around the in the grass.
Though some of Virginia Wine Tours’ staffers swear by Argentinean Malbecs and others favor New Zealand Rieslings, one thing’s certain: they’re all passionate about Northern Virginian wines. These aficionados conduct tours through a sweeping array of vineyards across the region, including the intimate Bluemont Vineyard in Loudon County, the sprawling Gray Ghost Vineyard in Rappahannock County, and the mountainside Naked Mountain Winery in Fauquier County. During these full- and half-day trips, they enlighten groups with local area viniculture facts and anecdotes, as well as encourage them to mix and mingle amongst their fellow wine enthusiasts. Virginia Wine Tours provides tour groups with transportation to and from wineries, sparing customers the inconvenience of having to worry about parking their cars or mastering the art of vehicle levitation.
When The Vineyard's wine curators determine whether a bottle is eligible to join the company's collection, they weigh three factors: quality, origin, and value. During tasting events and weekday meals, they uncork bottles and suss out age, flavor profile, and suitability for food pairings. When considering origin, The Vineyard's wine connoisseurs seek out family wineries, which generally devote more personal attention and goodnight kisses to their grapes. Additionally, family wineries tend to operate with lower costs, thereby fulfilling The Vineyard's third pillar, value.
Although the selection continually evolves, the shop currently stocks domestic and international wines from locales as distant as Australia, which only exists in our imaginations. They complement wines with gift baskets of cheese and chocolate, as well as accessories such as olive wood corkscrews and chrome champagne stoppers.
Cecile's Wine Cellar stocks a wide variety of wines, from inexpensive dinner pairings to lavish varietals, in an atmosphere of grape-loving camaraderie. Staff members' brains are chock-full of facts about food pairings, wine regions, and bottles to meet any need. For a month-long impromptu barbecue, pick up a pair of quality bottles such as a Monte Degli Angeli 2008 Sangiovese ($8.99, on sale for $6.98) with a 2009 Chateau La Roche S. Jean Blanc ($9.99), or celebrate a job that you invented with a bottle of Guillon Cremant de Bourgogne Blanc De Noirs ($24.99), a sparkling wine with notes of fresh berries and earthy expressions. If you're looking to splurge on a fresh young wine to adopt and care for until it matures into beautifully blushing Bordeaux, check the regional varieties for investments in oenophilia such as the Château Pape Clément Pessac-Léognan, which matures from 2012–2030 and was produced from the winery's 700th vintage in 2006 ($129.99).