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.
Pubcrawls.com arranges safe, lively walking treks to popular, bustling watering holes in dozens of cities across the United States and Canada. The jovial jaunts have earned ample press for shepherding revelers to multiple bars and clubs throughout the course of a day or evening. At each venue, bartenders regale participants with exclusive drink specials and conversations with sentient beer mugs. Many events are tailored around holidays, such as Christmas and Halloween, or costume-friendly themes such as Michael Jackson and superheroes.
Each Capitol City Brewing Company location comes equipped with an in-house brewing system. It allows brewmaster Kristi Mathews Griner to monitor every step of her process and start serving her latest handcrafted batches within hours of completion. The system is a point of pride for Capitol City, whose Arlington eatery prominently displays its brewing technology for visitors.
Capitol City's set-up yields four signature beers year-round, including Amber Waves Ale, winner of the Great American Beer Festival's bronze, silver, and gold medals on three separate occasions. Inspired by English-, Belgian-, and German-style brews, Kristi also creates a rotating selection of seasonal beer such as golden ale made with real fruit, rather than the tempting fruit snacks she found in her lunchbox.
Beer not only fills up at least seven or eight Capitol City taps year-round, but also finds its way into the kitchen. Chefs marinate grilled breasts of organic chicken in Amber Waves Ale and flavor juicy bratwursts with Prohibition Porter. Though beer-free, other regional dishes—such as crab cake sandwiches served with house-made Old Bay tartar sauce—are specifically made to complement the bar's pours.
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.
The culinary artisans at Lee’s Retreat Brew Pub stack platters of pub cuisine as well as original twists on traditional alehouse fare. Barflies can turn their stomach rumbling into thunder by perusing a menu rife with seafood nibblers such as coconut calamari escorted by a spicy dipping sauce ($7.99). The bar’s honey-colored wood paneling and electric wall sconces in gold cages set the scene for sandwiches such as the gorgonzola and bacon burger ($8.99), which—like all of Lee’s Retreat’s burgers—travels via english muffin rather than by bun. Pulled-pork sandwiches lathered in Stonewall stout barbecue sauce and crowned with homemade coleslaw ($8.99) attempt to outbid the beer-battered cod with wasabi mayo and homemade fries ($12.99) for limited stomach real estate, while the baby back ribs ($15.99) cooked with house Stonewall stout crowd the market.