Posts ByBrian Hennighausen, Author at PorchDrinking.com
The Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., are home to more than 60 craft breweries. Each has its own unique atmosphere and vibe. They produce almost every style of beer imaginable and are winning national recognition for their deliciously creative brews. But it wasn’t always that way. After Old Dominion Brewing relocated to Delaware in 2007, this incredibly vibrant region was without any packaging breweries for almost four years. Then, in 2011, an intrepid team of pioneers reclaimed the Commonwealth’s faltering brewing heritage with the opening of Port City Brewing Co. in Alexandria, Virginia.
With over 8,000 breweries operating coast-to-coast and everywhere in between, there has never been a better time than today to be a beer drinker in the United States. The energy and creativity of the craft beer movement is undeniable. Breweries are producing elaborate takes on venerable beer styles and creating new styles as well. Whether you like Milkshake IPAs or an Italian Pilsner, there is a beer for you in your local brewery. Craft beer is an undeniably popular beverage. However, beer was even more popular in the US before the catastrophe of Prohibition nearly wiped out the alcohol industry from 1920 to 1933.
The 2020 Virginia and DC Best in Beer features a community surviving and even thriving in this most unusual year. It was a time of coming together where local breweries invented new ways to reach their loyal customers, and those customers took their “drink local” mantra to new heights. Together, the local craft beer community weathered the storm with remarkably few breweries closing, and even a few new ones opening.
Local breweries continued to put out some wildly creative and delicious beers and perhaps more than ever proved their worth as creators and sustainers of social bonds. The Virginia and Washington, DC craft beer communities look forward to a more “normal” 2021 while taking pride in their remarkable resiliency throughout the unprecedented global challenges of 2020.
One of the greatest things about the craft beer community is the community itself. Without a large group of like-minded individuals drinking it and bonding over it, craft beer would simply be a liquid with a curious chemical composition. And when tragedy strikes, breweries are often among the first to rally support, most often with a collaboration release.
Which Central European country has a proud brewing tradition of more than 1000 years and is the highest per-capita beer-drinking nation in the world? This country’s delicious beers have also inspired many of the craft lagers brewed in the United States. If you guessed Germany, you would be close. But the answer lies just a little further east on the map and a world apart in the consciousness of the typical American craft beer enthusiast.
In the Czech Republic, beer is not just a beloved beverage, it is a way of life. Stepping into a Bohemian beer hall is an immersion into a rich and ancient brewing tradition that rivals the grandest biergartens in Munich or Trappist monasteries in Belgium. Czech brewing contributions include the first Pilsner, the Saaz hop, the perfection of traditional decoction brewing and many others. It’s a Lager-focused culture and Czechs have long made some of the best lagers in the world.
Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery in Waterford, VA sits on 30 acres of rolling Virginia farmland approximately 50 miles west of the urban bustle of Washington, DC. This working farm is a beautiful spot to enjoy a pint in the repurposed, 200-year-old tasting room and century-old brewhouse barns nestled amidst the charming bucolic countryside. These are the parts of Wheatland Spring most guests experience, but they only hint at the revolutionary approach to brewing that is blossoming within these unassuming rustic walls.