Last summer, I wrote a 7-part series about my summer 2011 tour of Maryland brewpubs. In that same spirit, I offer my Winter 2011-12 DC Brewpub Tour, another multi-part series featuring even more local places to get great beer. I hope these posts encourage you to support the awesome DC-area brewing community and visit more of our local breweries and brewpubs.
Part 7: Sweetwater Tavern, Merrifield, Virginia
When Visited: February 20, 2012
Occasion: A visit to the Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum. We were entertaining an out-of-town visitor and decided to spend a winter weekend day at the Air and Space Museum near Dulles. The Sweetwater Tavern off of Route 50 in Merrifield wasn’t exactly on our way home to Kensington, MD, but we decided to take a short detour for a nice lunch and fresh craft brew.
Whenever I visit a local brewpub that I haven’t been to in a while, I always wonder what has taken me so long to get back. Sweetwater Tavern in Merrifield isn’t really that far from home, but it has been years since our last visit — this is the first Boa Beer Blog post about visiting Sweetwater, and the blog is going on three years old! The length between my visits is no commentary on the quality of the experience – I think it just speaks to all of the great options we have for local craft beer in the DC area.
Beers Sampled: I ordered the five beer sampler:
- Naked River, Sweetwater’s light beer for the masses (4.0%)
- Great American Pale Ale, Sweetwater’s flagship brew won the Gold Medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival (5.4%)
- Last Chance Lager, a steam beer (5.9%)
- Midnight Rider, a west coast IPA meets a Porter in this Black IPA; citrus aroma and rich flavor (6.5%)
- Road Kill Barleywine Style Ale, Sweetwater’s 1000th brew is a rich strong ale with a solid malt profile highlighted by fruit and vanilla flavors (9.6%)
Best Beer: Great American Pale Ale. It’s easy to see why this solid Pale Ale is a Gold Medal winner.
I was most impressed with: The food! The beer is delicious but I love the food at Sweetwater. We started with the Smoked Chicken Con Queso with tortilla chips, which was the perfect starter for a hungry group eating a late lunch. And the Sweetwater Fried Chicken Tenders, served with honey mustard dipping sauce along with fries and cole slaw, is one of my favorite dishes at any brewpub in the DC area.