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.
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.
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