Places to Go – The Chubby Squirrel Brewing Company, Fairfax City, VA

Word had come across the beer channels that a new brewery was going to be opening in the near future in Fairfax City. Stylish and functional, it was going in near the Safeway in Old Town Fairfax and so I scheduled a time on the calendar to go after they had their soft opening the week before last.

The Chubby Squirrel Brewing Company opened to fanfare in Fairfax City. It claims to be the first nanobrewery and brewpub in the city. (What makes it a nanobrewery when they have six of their own plus Right Proper Brewery and another brewery is a mystery…) When I arrived the second night (I will explain), they had a good crowd, mostly runners and it took a while of waiting to belly up to the bar and put in an order for a Black Squirrel Oatmeal Stout. When it came, it was the right color and it was a bit cold, so I looked for a place it could work my magic on the elixir.

I guess I did a little too good of a job, because it had a notably flat taste that comes from being too dependent on oatmeal and a little weak in its stout configuration. The flat taste just kind of ruined it.

Black Squirrel ABV: 4.7 Chubby Squirrel Brewing Co.

On top of that, it was not particularly cold, which is OK for a stout, but it came out of the same tap as all of the other beers and I am wondering if all them are held at the same temperature.

The decor of the place is pretty good for a brewery. They have a long lot and I had a feeling they had a more of a design that was equal sides. Just the way certain things were arranged, like the register (it is tucked into the corner in the rear), the big chalk board (this thing is really big and you can’t ready the whole thing) and the restrooms are more arranged for a square rather than a long rectangle.

Some of the things they got right…
…And some of the things they did not.

Now, why did I go there two nights instead of one, you might be asking yourself, if I had successfully scheduled a time to go? Well, because the first time I went, it was closed on Tuesday at 9:00pm. Locked tighter than a drum. It was also closed on Monday and Wednesday, so Thursday (the day I scheduled) was the first night I was able to go. It is not unusual for a brewery to be closed on Monday, or even on a Tuesday, when they are in a quiet area (rural or suburban, it is kind of expected) but a brewery that is in a busy area, a busy beer drinking area, that is closed three of the seven days is not a good indicator that they have thought this out.

Like so many businesses, this one has a couple of hills to surmount before it will be successful. I will be going back to sample the rest of their beer, but I don’t think it will be much better than the Black Squirrel Oatmeal Stout. I will give this brewery two years on my calendar and if they can turn it around, then we will have a good brewery in town. If not, they will be looking to let the space.

Chubby Squirrel Brewing Company

Monday – Wednesday: Closed

Thursday & Friday: 2-9PM

Saturday: 11AM-9PM‍‍‍

Sunday: 12PM-6PM‍‍‍

The Art of Science and the Old Ox Brewing Company

OK, I admit it, I am a scientific enthusiast, or at least those are the guys and gals I root for in the movies. (Hey, I blew up plenty of stuff in my study of Political Science!) So, when someone advertises marrying up science and beer, you know I will be there.

This was the situation on Tuesday night.  After dropping off my sons at the Dulles Airport, Old Ox Brewing Company  was hosting The Science on Tap which is partnership between Loudoun County Library and the brewery. The presentation that evening was by Peter Wilcyznski who provide an overview of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) to include updates in Planetary Science, Astrophysics, Heliophysics, Earth Science and NASA’s reimbursable program mission areas. He is a Program Executive in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.

Old Ox Brewing Company

The presentation was well received by the crowd of mostly scientists, engineers, science enthusiasts and science teachers. NASA has 46 program and project areas that they are either responsible for or they are the main source of the research.

Before the presentation got underway, I decided to grab a beer from Old Ox’s tasting room. I tried a Festivale Cherry Saison which has a ABV of 5.5% and 7 IBU. The beer had a pleasant cherry smell and it tasted of having a sour cherry base with a nice saison flavoring. It was a nice combination of the two.

Think I will go with the Festivale Cherry Saison…
…mmm that is good beer! ABV: 5.5% and 7 IBU.

The presentation ended, we had a few questions, and then we broke up. The room emptied pretty slowly so I made a quick exit and headed for the door.  It was a really a nice presentation that overcame the fact that my boys were gone and the house had the empty feeling upon my return.

You could at least see the tasting bar
The audience is waiting.

 

Old Ox Brewing Company

44652 Guilford Drive, Unit 114
Ashburn, VA 20147
(703) 729-8375

Tues – Thurs: 4pm – 9pm
Friday: 2:30pm – 10pm
Saturday: 11am – 10pm
Sunday: 11am – 7pm

Fairfax Beer Garden presented by High Side Craft Brewery

The Fairfax Beer Garden was just the ticket to unleash the opening beer weekend of the post-school season.  Held on 24 June from 12pm to 6 pm, it was the idea of the High Side Craft Beer and a few of their local business partners in Fairfax City. The idea was to take just a basic weekend and turn it into a beerfest and they succeeded.

The craft beer business is taking a serious turn for the good and tastiness of its charge.  Fairfax City has been waiting for a fun event and good time that fell during the summer months when time is relaxed and school is out.  It proved to be just the ticket toward making that weekend just the spark to kick off the summer.

Boosted by the World Cup, the Beer Garden featured 12 beers from 6 breweries and eight brews from High Side (20 beers in all). Those from outside breweries included:

Ocelot Brewing (Home IPA and Ole Pilsner);

Old Bust Head Brewing Company (Manga Grafitti House IPA and Table Talk Belgian Wit);

Solace Brewery (2 Legit to Wit and Juice Head IPA);

Crooked Run Brewing (Without You and Cherry-Lime Double Vibes);

Old Ox Brewery (Hardway Lager and Hoppier Place); and

Fairwinds Brewing (Hells Navigator and All Hands Anniversary Barley Wine Ale).

They also had a corn hole tournament, music from Mobius Records and a charity event for Fairfax CASA.  In addition, there were 250 beer glasses that were provided to the event. Though the weather proved less than friendly, the crowd turned out. A good time was had by all.

Beer_Garden, Fairfax City,
Fairfax Beer Garden – 24 June 2018, 12-6pm
Beer Garden, Fairfax City
Fairfax Beer Garden – 24 June 2018 12-6pm
Fairfax Beer Garden – 24 June 2018 12-6pm
Fairfax Beer Garden – 24 June 2018 12-6pm

The Corridor

Craft Beer Makes Its Entrance into the Mainstream

Lately, I have been taking the train (or driving) down and back up on a section of I-95 that I have been referring to as “The Corridor.” From Washington, DC down to Richmond, VA and finally down to Fayetteville, NC, it is pretty much a straight shot. As you can imagine, there are some pretty boring sections and there are parts that make you sit up and say “hmm.” Remind me to tell you that part about three big Confederate flags sometime…

So, one Monday morning, I got out my electronic beer map and decided to see what breweries had been developed along with the interstate. Surprise! Outside of the section from Washington to Richmond, there was not much developed at all. (Raleigh, NC will be covered separately because I do go that way on occasion) So, with that in mind, I am going to lay out all of the breweries along the Corridor and give a brief glimpse of those that I have been able to visit on my journeys. Some are pretty interesting, and some I have a hard time qualify as breweries.

The Oracle of Beer!

Where she likes to be when she not on the front lines!

“That boysenberry tastes like it is a kid’s drink!” “Whips! That is what they should use because they are not using cutting blades!” “Happy wenches!” This is just some of the referring comments I work with at All That’s Brewed.com, courtesy of one person and one person only – my girlfriend Candy Scott. So, in true to form fashion, Candy has earned herself an honored place in All That’s Brewed.com lore – she is getting a name.

So, Candy Scott, you shall be officially annointed the “Oracle of Beer.” Long may you reign. Oh, you may contact the Oracle of Beer at OracleofBeer@allthatsbrewed.com. 🙂

High Side is the New Pub in Fairfax City

Fairfax City is undergoing a rapid change in its craft beer bars. The turn over has been fast and furious. That is why when we saw the latest announcement of a bar coming to town, there was a collective sigh among the established store fronts. But this one is different and it represents a new look and feel to having a drink after work.

High Side is the name of this new pub, moving into the area occupied by Villa Mozart, at 4009 Chain Bridge Road, (Voice: 703-304-0674; www.highsideva.com) and it specializes in high end craft beers. The soft opening is closing this Wednesday and the grand opening is Friday, 9 February 2018. Expect that this cozy little corner lot will be full for the opening, but it should relax a bit on the days that following. The brewers will be known to those who follow craft beer:  Epic Brewing, Hardywood Park Brewing, Aslin Brewing, Solace Brewing, Ocelot Brewing, Crooked Run Brewing, Port City Brewing. A host of other breweries that will be making appearances over the coming months.

The co-owner and general manager is Jinson Chan (jinson@highsideva.com), who is Malaysian Chinese and his wife is Taiwanese, got the idea for High Side when they could not wrap their heads around why there was so little Taiwanese street food. So rather than lament, they did something about it, and now there is a place to feed your inner Asian! They also brought in a local expert on the beer by hiring one of the young go-getters from Craft Works who knows a thing or two about serving beer. (Hey there, Chevy!)

I had an Master of Karate by Aslin Brewery (Herndon, VA). An 8.4% ABV IPA – Imperial, this brew brings three dry hop heavily (Mosaic, Galaxy and Amarillo) together and produce a gentle blend of what could be best described as a mango flavor. It was intense and mixed beautifully with the food.

I also ordered a small plate of six pot stickers, which were freshly made by hand and put out with an excellent sauce. The food is freshly made Taiwanese inspired street food and it has a decidedly nice taste when compared to the usual bar food. It was light and inviting and it held up while I was engaged in conversation The only thing I noticed is that on the small plates, they had only one vegetarian option, the house salad. If they had a constant vegetarian option, they would match their competition.

So on your way home or when you are out, swing by High Side and indulge yourself. You will be glad that you did.