Loudoun County, Virginia’s third most populous county, is home to more breweries than anywhere else in the state. Running from Dulles, west to Harper’s Ferry and the West Virginia border, Loudoun County has over 30 breweries, among them such DC Beer favorites as Ocelot, Rocket Frog, Vanish, and Solace. If that alone isn’t enough to warrant a trip out to Loudoun, their upcoming inaugural beer week, running from June 22 to 29, offers yet another great excuse. There will be events through the week highlighting the area’s best brewers. In addition to its many world-class breweries, Loudoun also offers many great restaurants, spas, and other attractions.
We recently spoke with Richard Hartogs, co-founder of Rocket Frog Brewing, and Chris Riley, General Manager and Beer Director at King Street Oyster Bar in Leesburg, about Beer Week and what the craft brewery scene has meant to the county. According to Hartogs, Beer Week came about as an alternative to the LoCo Beer Fest that has happened in the spring in the past two years. “I felt that having the spring festival was causing some scheduling issues for the brewers since so many of them host events at their taprooms and travel to other festivals already during the late spring and summer.”
Beer Week, which is co-sponsored by Visit Loudoun and the Loudoun County Brewers Association (LCBA), will instead serve as a substitute to highlight the breweries in the area through a more dispersed set of events, and also promote the big fall festival/Halloween party that will be taking place on November 2nd.
Hartogs hopes that the Beer Week will draw more visitors to Loudoun, “People in DC think that Sterling or other areas of Loudoun are too far. By creating a single beer week, we can encourage people to come for a weekend trip, and it allows us to highlight all the great beer in the county.” From June 22-29, every brewery will have an Instagram frame you can take a picture with to promote the events on social media, and many breweries will feature discounts and events at their taproom. Also, several bars and restaurants across the DMV will be hosting LoCo beer week events. Rocket Frog is putting on a beer & yoga event at their brewery on June 22.
For DC residents who want to find something closer to home, Roofers Union will be hosting an exciting event on June 26th, from 3PM to close. Ten to twelve brewers from Loudoun County will be sending staff, and the entire tap list will be taken over by Loudoun brewers. Roche will be live broadcasting the event on DC101.
Loudoun County offers great restaurants for Beer Week
In Loudoun County, Chris Riley of King Street Oyster Bar will be hosting the main event of the Beer Week on June 26th, Beer & Oysters. There will be 16 draft lines, all featuring local brewers (many of whom do not typically distribute) and 12 different kinds of oysters to choose from, with both beer and oyster specials. In addition, many of the brewers in Loudoun County will be present to hang out with guests and talk about their beer and whatever other topics you might be interested in.
Riley is really excited about the explosion of breweries in the county, “I have noticed a big time the impact of breweries on Loudon County. It has revitalized King Street and really created a boom in the county. We’re a local neighborhood bar in Leesburg, and the growth of breweries has attracted people to our bar.” Chris is a mentee of Greg Engert, Beverage Director at the multi-award winning Neighborhood Restaurant Group, and that relationship has helped him a lot.
King Street Oyster Bar, while only being open its second year, is regarded as having of the best beer programs in the DMV and will soon be opening a second location in the District at 22 M Street NE, near the New York Avenue/NoMa metro station. For Riley, the hope of Loudoun County Beer Week is to, “showcase breweries in the county, especially from breweries that don’t really distribute. Leesburg is developing and the beer week will hope to bring along that development. It is our honor to be picked to host one of the showcase events.”
For more information on visiting Loudoun County and the accompanying Beer Week events, please visit the LoCo Beer Week website.