The Washington, D.C./northern Virginia area has hit the trifecta for new good beer bars.
Just last week, Dogfish Head opened its third Ale House location in northern Virginia.
Now, open this week, only a few miles further west along Route 50 in South Riding, is Vintage 51. A beer bar/restaurant with a strong wine emphasis, Vintage 51 is owned by the same group that operates Vintage 50 Restaurant and Brew Lounge in Leesburg.
Vintage 50 combines brewpub with wine bar and restaurant. Vintage 51 has the same beer and wine aspect, but, for its food, less of a formal dining room and more of an American pub small plate aspect. Vintage 51, however, is not a brewpub.
And, it cannot, by law, buy beer brewed by V-50.
The Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) forbids a holder of a brewery license in Virginia from selling his/her beers to another bar/restaurant that is owned by that person or group ... even if the beer is first sold to a distributor, its price marked up, and then sold to the 2nd location. In other words, if you own a brewpub in Virginia (or brewery) and you own a pub, you are forbidden from buying your own beer. (Virginia law does allow one person or group from operating several breweries; that is forbidden in neighboring Maryland.)
Bill Madden is the brewer at Vintage 50. On August 4th, he'll turn over the brewing reins to Dean Lake. He and Dean put together the beer list for Vintage 51. Since they can't bring in their beers, they're doing the next best thing. They have arranged the draught list to reflect the styles for which Vintage 50 is known.
Kölsch? They have two on tap: Gaffel from Germany and Full Circle from New Holland in Michigan.
Wee Heavy? They have Dirty Bastard from Founders Brewery, also in Michigan.
The conceit only goes so far. Rounding out are the 14 taps and 20+ beers in bottle are local stalwarts Dogfish Head Brewery's 90 Minute (IPA) Ale, Clipper City Brewing's Loose Cannon (Hop3 Ale), Flying Dog Brewery's Old Scratch Amber Lager, and other 'craft' beers from further afield.
The third (!) new good beer bar opens tomorrow, Saturday, in Washington, D.C.
Here from the Washington Post's Going Out Gurus comes word of the re-opening of the 2nd Pizzeria Paradiso —actually the first, but in its new digs.
Here's the news Dupont Circle pizza and beer fans have been waiting for: Pizzeria Paradiso opens tomorrow at 2003 P St. NW -- just down the street from its original location.
The biggest change is a bigger space -- more than 80 seats in the new building as opposed to 35 in the old townhouse. This means there's also room for a 15-seat bar that will mimic Birreria Paradiso, the popular beer bar at Georgetown's Pizzeria Paradiso. Bar manager Greg Jasgur says there are 180 bottles, 12 draft lines and one English-style cask ale. Here's the cool part: "Right now, there's no overlap [between the beer lists in Georgetown and Dupont]," he says.
The draught beer list might be a bit more 'exclusive' than that at Vintage 51. At opening, it will include Bear Republic Nor Cal, Allagash Fluxus 2009, Founders Breakfast Stout, De Dolle Dulle Teve, La Trappe Isid'or, and more.
- As of today, there is no website for Vintage 51. The address is 25031 S. Riding Plaza #150, Chantilly, Va., next to the Home Depot.
- In 2010, Bill Madden will open his own brewpub, called Mad Fox, in Falls Church, Virginia.
- Dean Lake, a long-time brewer at the now-closed Dominion Brewing Company, is returning home in a way. He was the original designer and brewer of the brewhouse at Vintage 50. When it opened in 2005, it was known as Thoroughbreds.
- Dogfish Head Brewery does not own the Ale Houses. It grants the license to use its name.
- There is yet a fourth new beer bar and restaurant scheduled to open, in D.C., in September: Birch & Barley/Churchkey.
- Photo of Pizzeria Paradiso by permission of PJ Coleman. Thank you!