Brews and Bites

While food trucks provide excellent options for guests at breweries and wineries looking for food to go alongside their beverages, sometimes eating off a paper plate just doesn’t cut it. When you’re in the mood to elevate your food and beer pairings, take a look at one of these local brewpubs with a full-service kitchen that proves great beer deserves great food.
Dog Money Restaurant and Brewery
Leesburg, VA

Dog Money, named after a historical currency unique to Leesburg, aspires to be more than a destination for passionately crafted beer and creative, consistent bar food.

“We want to be a place for families,” said Tim Regan, “that’s the community we live in.”

This space on Catoctin Circle is no stranger to breweries and restaurants, having housed several including Vintage 50 and Thoroughbreds, where Regan and his now wife Kristin as well as head brewer Dean Lake all worked together years ago, and dreamed of one day owning the place.

With their dream-turned-reality, they have created a restaurant that is casual and family-friendly, but still has enough chops for the abundant foodies of Northern Virginia.

Named after Leesburg’s illegal currency – which featured a black spaniel on the bills – during the Civil War era, the name is an ode to the rich history of the town in which the restaurant makes its home. Their passion for their town and their restaurant is apparent as the owners talk about the menu and beers on tap.

While their lager, IPA and red ale are solid and safe choices, don’t hesitate to go big with their sweet and smooth Brown Ale, which is brewed in a Belgian Dubbel style with candy sugar and is immensely drinkable.

Dog Money makes a point of incorporating their beer into their menu as much as possible, said Regan. From their dressings to their chilis to even their desserts, Dog Money is a true harmonious blend of the magic that happens when beer and food come together. Striving to present consistent plates every time, they work to exceed just “pub grub” and serve up cuisine that is fun and inventive.

Come for their happy hour or for a full dinner, but whatever you do, do not skip the starters: order the Bavarian Pretzels, and don’t be shy to ask for a second serving of the house-made IPA mustard! Or, try one of their rotating flavors of deviled eggs – past recipes have included a California Roll, Bloody Mary and even French Toast deviled egg. For an entrée, the steak frites or gouda burger are hearty portions of comfort food that will satisfy any carnivore, but don’t worry vegetarians – the tofu Ruben or tofu tacos will be right up your alley. And if you have any room left, grab a slice of the triple chocolate cake with a glass of their stout to finish off your beer and food extravaganza.

Caboose Brewing Company
Vienna, VA

Situated right on the WO & D trail, Caboose is a welcoming atmosphere for both bikers and craft beer lovers. Since opening their doors in 2015, they have received numerous accolades including gold medals for their Boxcar Brown Ale and Crossroads Vienna Lager. With anywhere from 10-12 beers on tap at any given time, whether you like IPAs, stouts or even ciders, there’s something to wet any whistle.

So what kind of food can stand up to such a varied beer menu? An ambitious one, with Executive Chef David Rabin commanding the kitchen. Originally the Chef de Cuisine at Caboose before becoming the Executive Chef at Brine, Rabin has returned to oversee not only their Vienna location but also lend his expertise to shaping their second location near the Mosaic District, which will open in spring 2018.
Rabin’s focus is to “use as much local ingredients as possible” (including several farms in Loudoun County and beyond) and to “follow the seasons”, blending avant-garde techniques with classic American and French cuisine to present plates that will pair well with Caboose’s beers. Though the menu has plenty of meaty options like a variety of charcuterie boards and a miso pork belly (Rabin’s favorite dish), it also is friendly toward dietary restrictions, offering both vegan and gluten-free options.

The second location will have a slightly different focus, said Rabin, more of a play on street food that changes frequently. While the menu is still under development for the new location, Rabin said it will be a place that serves food “that you want to drink beer with, and not feel too frou frou.” Along with an on-site baker and in-house roasted coffee, Caboose’s Mosaic location will be more along the lines of a casual café during the day that turns into a taproom at night, allowing Rabin to steer the Vienna pub in a slightly more elevated foodie direction.

Mad Fox Brewing Company
Falls Church, VA

CEO and Executive Brewer Bill Madden is no rookie when it comes to beer – he’s been brewing since 1995 for well-established names such as Capitol City Brewing and Founders Restaurant & Brewing Company. So there’s no surprise that the beverages on tap at Mad Fox Brewing Company, which opened in 2010, have a classic and elegant polish to them, not often seen in some of the newer restaurants. His talent for creating thoughtful and award-winning beers have made Mad Fox a raved-about name in the local foodie scene, as well propelled them to open a second taproom in D.C.

Stepping into their Falls Church location, you’ll feel transported into a European gastropub as you take in their polished, wooden bar that stretches the majority of the length of the main dining area. Under the eye of Madden’s wife, Beth, the interior of the restaurant decorated mainly in hunter green and cream, feels warm and inviting.

Given their UK flair, of course the standard pretzels and schnitzel are on their menu – but don’t be afraid to order outside the box and try the fish tacos or calamari.

“The food and beer relationship is very important to this location,” said Madden, adding that they try to serve food that “reflects beer culture.”

Try their hearty Heart of Gold pasta, which pairs delightfully with their Orange Whip IPA, an IPA with a creamy head that doesn’t shy away from its malts. The velvety burrata cheese contrasts with the brightness of the cherry tomatoes, creating a dish with dimension. For the healthier eaters, the grilled salmon is a simple but delicious helping of fish and potatoes with asparagus, with a bright lemon vinaigrette to bring the dish together. And if you’re in the mood for a pizza, the Eggplant Farm is the love child of a vegetarian and Mediterranean pizza – squash, feta, olives, red onions and aged mozzarella cheese. Texturally engaging and with just the right amount of crunch in the crush, sip on their Broad Street IPA to compliment the experience.
 Photos and Article by Traci Medlock