Drinking top-notch craft beer at its source is one of my favorite activities. Not only is the beer delicious, but in this era of political division microbreweries are one of the few places at which people from all walks of life tend to come together and have a great time.
While many of our region’s best brewers have set up shop in outlying areas offering affordable rent, you can still get to them without any driving. Here’s a few of my favorites:
Caboose: This establishment is located along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail in Vienna, making it the perfect ending point for a bike ride. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten a personal bike since moving here a year ago from the West Coast and there are no CaBi docks nearby. So I get there by taking Metro to either Tysons Corner or Vienna and transferring to Fairfax Connector’s 463 bus route.
After exiting Route 463 at Maple Avenue and Center Street, I take a delightful 10 minute walk westbound along the bike trail and the Vanilla Hobo Stout, one of many brews with rail-themed names, awaits. The bus runs once per hour on weekends, when I normally go, departing Vienna on the hour and Tysons at 30 past each hour. It is of course more frequent on weekdays, operating every 20 to 30 minutes.
Getting to Caboose on weekends was a little easier before the recent WMATA service cuts cost us Metrobus Route 2T, which ran between Dunn Loring and Tysons Corner stations. A quick look at Caboose’s website shows that their well-deserved growing popularity has led to parking difficulties severe enough that the establishment has begun offering valet parking to and subsidizing Lyft rides for customers.
If only more of those customers had known the 2T existed (the drivers probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel after consuming this establishment’s powerful ales anyway), maybe it would still operate!
Caboose is located at 520 Mill Street NE in Vienna.
DC Brau: With its only-in-DC slogan of “Fermentation without Representation”, this is perhaps our region’s most iconic brewery. While pints of Corruption IPA can be pricey in regular bars, on Fridays one can head out to DC Brau’s taproom in Woodridge and enjoy a variety of tasty brews for just $2.75 a glass, including tax. (Beers are $5.50 on other days.)
The brewery is located on the back side of a strip mall on Bladensburg Road near the DC/Maryland border, right next to the CSX tracks that carry MARC’s Camden Line (sadly, there is no special DC Brau Station for the trains). The auto-dependent look of the neighborhood could easily fool someone into thinking they had crossed into an outer suburb. But fear not, plenty of Metrobuses – including the B2 from H Street and Anacostia, H6 from Brookland Metro, and B8/B9 from Rhode Island Metro – pass very close by. Numerous other bus routes, including the MetroExtra G9 from Farragut Square, operate on Rhode Island Avenue, located about a 15 minute walk away.
If you have room for more beer after leaving, hop on the H6 to Right Proper Brookland, the Shaw brewery’s tasting room, located between the Brookland and Rhode Island Avenue Metro stations, or the B2 to one of H Street’s many streetcar- and bus-accessible bars.
DC Brau is located at 3178 Bladensburg Road NE Unit B. Right Proper Brookland is located at 920 Girard Street NE.
Denizens Brewing Company: This brewery really isn’t that far off the beaten path, located about a 10 minute walk from Silver Spring Metro. But taking an out-of-the-way route – specifically, a two hour hike along Rock Creek from my place in Cleveland Park – makes the beers seem more deserved and more enjoyable.
I enter Rock Creek Park at one of many transit-accessible trailheads, and part of the adventure is choosing the many different possible hiking routes to take. On the weekends, much of Beach Drive is open only to cyclists and pedestrians, meaning as I walk northward, everyone I encounter is in the park to exercise or appreciate the scenery, lush in summer and haunting in winter. Exit the trail at Juniper Street NW on the east side of the creek, and after about a 20 minute walk through neighborhoods, the inviting Denizens patio comes into view.
After relishing a couple beers it’s time to take a relaxing, if somewhat circuitous Red Line ride through Downtown and back home. Once the Capital Crescent Trail’s true friends prevail and the Purple Line is built, return trips to the Red Line’s west side will be a bit more direct.
Denizens Brewing Company is located at 1115 East-West Highway in Silver Spring.