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Tables, chairs, and a set of Connect 4 inside Red Bear Brewing Co
Tables, chairs, and a set of Connect 4 inside Red Bear Brewing Co
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

21 Essential Breweries Around D.C.

Where to drink craft beers in and around the District

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Tables, chairs, and a set of Connect 4 inside Red Bear Brewing Co
| Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The past decade or so has produced a revival of craft brewing in the D.C. area, with breweries popping up in the District proper, in the open space of Loudoun County, and in the Maryland suburbs.

DC Brau kicked off the trend in the city when it opened in 2009. The city’s essential breweries include brew pubs like Right Proper in Shaw, large-scale facilities like Bluejacket in Navy Yard, and neighborhood taprooms like Settle Down Easy in Falls Church. Another heavy hitter arrived in NoVa this year, when popular Loudoun County craft brewer Solace took over the Mad Fox brewpub space in Falls Church. Meanwhile, D.C.’s brewery scene got an additional boost thanks to recent arrivals from Brooklyn-born OtherHalf in Ivy City and ambitious beer startup City-State in Edgewood.

Here are 21 essential breweries for beer fans to visit around D.C.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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7 Locks Brewing

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Situated in a 7,200-square-foot warehouse in the heart of Rockville, this award-winning brewery and taproom pours pints or flights of cult creations like a Blockhouse Point Oatmeal Stout and seasonal Grubby Thicket Brown Ale. Like many breweries, 7 Locks hopped on hard seltzer train and released a “Hellter Seltzer” blackberry and blood orange variety this fall. Plenty of food trucks rotate in and out, and Saturday night calls for live music.

Silver Branch Brewing Company

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The downtown Silver Spring brewery’s four flagships are inspired by brewing traditions in Belgium, the British Isles, Central Europe, and the Americas. Visitors can saddle up to its biergarten fire pits to sample its beloved gnome-themed Saisons, a Hopfest Double IPA, and German mulled wine.

Silver Branch’s Quantum Shift flagship IPA.

Crooked Run Brewing (Multiple locations)

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Out in Sterling, Crooked Run separates its beer list into categories like New Releases, the Traditional, the Hoppy, the Funky and Sour, the Dark, and Native Culture (showcasing mixed and spontaneous ferments). The 10-barrel brewery with 12 beers on tap expanded by taking over the former flight school next-door. It used the extra space to add an all-day biscuit counter called Daybreak and to go along with tacos from Senor Ramon. There’s also a taproom in Leesburg.

Denizens Brewing Co (Multiple locations)

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This Silver Spring brewery has lots of space for groups to gather over craft brews, including a large outdoor patio. Beer lovers who aren’t afraid to get weird can always find some experimental and interesting drafts on the list, such as its tequila barrel-aged petite sour. For a more accessible pick, go with the Southside Rye IPA or the Born Bohemian Pilsner. In 2019, Denizens opened its second outpost at the Riverdale Park Station development between Hyattsville and College Park.

3 Stars Brewing Company

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3 Stars is inspired by the iconic D.C. flag design, and its beers are becoming tied to the city’s culture as well. Find beers with quirky and interesting flavor profiles that also pack a boozy punch. Pours of Peppercorn Saison and Southern Belle brown ale brewed with pecans are crowd-pleasers that fit in with the ever-changing lineup of one-offs and rotating recipes. Its versatile Ivy City home also hosts pop-ups with local vendors and calligraphy classes.

Ocelot Brewing Company

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Worth an extended trip from the District to Loudoun County, Ocelot is known for hoppy beers like Gorgeous and Alone, a 7-percent ABV IPA brewed with English Pale and Pilsen malts. The tap list includes plenty of other beers, too, ranging from a You Owe Me triple IPA to a Sunnyside Dwellar German pilsner. Food trucks selling barbecue, Hawaiian-style snacks, and sliders rotate in and out.

Hellbender Brewing Company

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Hellbender takes its name from the endangered aquatic salamander. It also helped inspire the brewery toward conservation through its use of a Meura mash filter, which improves brewing efficiency by using less energy. The Ignite IPA and Bare Bones Kolsch are both mainstays in the tasting room. Events include open mic nights, trivia, and food pop-ups from locals like Bun’d Up and Cider BBQ. Tours are on hold for now, but customers can still enjoy pints on the patio with a dozen drafts to choose from.

Now pouring Panda Strike Force IPA in the VIP area at Brew at the Zoo. 7% ABV IPA dry-hopped with El Dorado, Amarillo and Aurora. #dcbrews #madeindc #acreativedc #panda

Posted by Hellbender Brewing Company on Thursday, July 19, 2018

Franklins

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Franklins is a Hyattsville destination, serving a slew of homemade beers in just about every style. The small size of the operation means you can expect super fresh beer on its draft tap list, from Bombshell Blonde to the Twisted Turtle Pale Ale to a potent Highland Hugh Scotch Ale (9-percent ABV). The food menu changes frequently to fit the season, with short ribs featured for fall. A cool patio setup sits under a graffiti-covered bridge.

Solace Brewing Company

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Another Loudoun County destination for hop heads, Solace has a spacious taproom full of communal tables inside its brewing facility in Sterling. The Sun’s Out Hops Out Session IPA (4.7 percent ABV) is good for all-day drinking, and the Crazy Pils is a popular pick. The facility also hosts food trucks, bands, and a pinball league. The expansion-minded craft brewer just unveiled its anticipated Solace Outpost inside the Mad Fox brewpub space in Falls Church, and its first D.C. location in Navy Yard is coming soon.

Food truck is here at 1 and we’re open til 10pm! We have snacks and you can always order delivery too!... come join our awesome bar staff and grab a cold one! #solacebrewing #findyoursolace #saturdaymotivation

Posted by Solace Brewing Company on Saturday, January 25, 2020

DC Brau

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When D.C. Brau opened in 2009, it claimed the honor of being the city’s first packaging brewery since 1956. DC Brau is perhaps best known for its flagship hoppy brews: The Public American pale ale, the Belgian-style The Citizen pale ale, and The Corruption IPA. Brewery visitors can get tastes of the rest of the standard lineup as well as seasonal and one-off creations. Swing by the 50,000-square-foot mega facility’s taproom and outdoor beer garden from Fridays to Sundays, with curbside pickup available starting on Thursday.

The Public Option

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This unassuming brew pub doesn’t make many headlines. The roster touches the spectrum of flavors and body. Sip a pint, half-pint, or 4-ounce taster of Oat Pale, Cream Ale, American Amber, or another one of the bar’s featured drafts. Its bar operates Thursday to Saturday night.

Lots to do on a freezing weekend: Nomad Dumplings on Friday - detail: https://mailchi.mp/2eb02f0235da/nomad Capital...

Posted by The Public Option on Thursday, February 13, 2020

City-State Brewing

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Ambitious beer startup City-State Brewing Co. unveiled its much-anticipated Edgewood facility right off the popular Metropolitan Branch Trail this spring. The 13,000-square-foot microbrewery and taproom, almost six years in the making, comes from neighborhood resident and former congressional aide James Warner. Opening D.C.-themed brews on tap include 8 Wards Independent (pale ale); Equal Marriage (dark wheat); Blossom (kolsch); Red Bud (hibiscus kolsch); Featherduster (hazy ale); Trainspotter Green Bullet (pub ale); and NEDC (pale ale).

Go-go legend and actor Anwan “Big G” Glover collaborated with City-State on a new namesake golden ale.
City-State/official photo

Right Proper Brewing Company (Multiple locations)

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This brewpub is known for its rotating selection of artful and experimental brews. Styles tend to be on the lighter side of the spectrum – expect to see plenty of farmhouse ales, saisons, and other rustic styles. Food fits the gastropub model with options like burgers, pastas, salads, and appetizers like beer battered cheese curds and baked mac and cheese. Right Proper also operates a production house in Brookland that includes a taproom with a dozen rotating drafts.

Nathan Zeender, Right Propper Brew Pub’s brewmaster Kate Patterson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Atlas Brew Works

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Atlas Brew Works is part of the growing number of reasons to eat and drink around D.C.’s Ivy City neighborhood. Notable beers include the Ponzi IPA, the Blood Orange gose, and the Dance of Days pale ale. The taproom is open every day except Monday and beer fans can tour its facility on Saturdays at 2 p.m. (reserve tickets here). There’s a vending machine with some local snacks and food trucks are a frequent sight as well. Its newer Half Street brewery and taproom in Navy Yard features fifteen taps, food from Andy’s Pizza, and a huge outdoor beer garden.

Other Half Brewing

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The beloved Brooklyn brewery with a cult NYC following for its hazy IPAs, lagers, and barrel-aged stouts opened its first D.C. taproom and production facility last year in the new Hecht Warehouse. The 5,000-square-foot indoor tasting and taproom offers 20 draft pours at a time. Al fresco beer drinkers have 7,500 square feet of outdoor space to work with, between a patio with a covered pavilion and roof deck. Cans double as take-home art, labeled with wildly eccentric and cartoon-ish designs of everything from food to animals. Curbside pickup and delivery are available, too.

Other Half’s silver tanks
Other Half’s shiny new production facility.
Other Half Brewing/official photo

Red Bear Brewing Co

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This gay-owned, game-filled brewery became a huge boon to the NoMa neighborhood when it opened in the spring of 2019. The partners relocated from Seattle, bringing along a penchant for West Coast-style ales and ciders. Try a Skookum, a Pacific Northwest-style red ale, or a Swampoodle Stout, a nitro brewed in collaboration with Lough Gill Brewery in Sligo, Ireland. Regular events include drag bingo and trivia nights conducted in sign language.

The wraparound bar serving Red Bear Brewing
The wraparound bar serving Red Bear Brewing
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Settle Down Easy Brewing Co.

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This 36-seat nanobrewery in Falls Church is only a couple of years old, but it’s already a destination in Northern Virginia. Standby brews include a dry-hopped kolsch and a jalapeno honey ale. A taco stand inside comes from El Tio Tex-Mex. The brand will expand with a new 4,000-square foot taproom and a petite, one-barrel brewhouse in Oakton next spring.

Bluejacket

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Bluejacket comes from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the local hospitality company that stocks its all of its bars and restaurants (the Sovereign, Iron Gate) full of outstanding beer. Bluejacket always has a staggering number of drafts to choose from, from IPAs to stouts. It’s also a favorite hangout before and after Nationals games. Ticketed tasting tours are offered Saturdays at 1 p.m. for $29 per person. A “Beers and Bites” tour happens Fridays at 7 p.m. for $35.

Bluejacket Brewery DC interior

New District Brewing Company

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The first production brewery in Arlington in one hundred years makes a strong showing of year-round, seasonal, sours, and special release selections. Popular pours include Ginger Saison, National Landing IPA, and Potomac Paddleboarder that speak to the surrounding area. The name New District pays homage to Arlington’s history when the county used to be part of the District of Columbia.

New District’s logo portrays the Key Bridge over the Potomac river.
New District/official photo

Port City Brewing Company

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Alexandria is the place to savor decade-old Port City’s lineup of well-made, straightforward beers. Highlights include the easy-drinking Optimal Wit, the hoppy and fruity Integral IPA, and the malty Port City Porter. It plays a strong seasonal brew game too, with options like Oktoberfest and the holiday Tidings Ale. The tasting room is open daily.

Aslin Beer Company

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Virginia’s Aslin Beer Company moved into its new Alexandria location in 2019. The industrial location includes a sprawling new brewery and taproom decorated with clean white tile, colorful neon art and psychedelic murals. Hazy, hoppy, and fruity beers are plentiful among the 24 tap lines that serve selections like a Blue Starfish IPA and Stating the Obvious Vienna lager.

interior of aslin brewery with a colorful, abstract, geometric back-drop on the wall and black chairs situated around white tables. Katharine Manning/Aslin

7 Locks Brewing

Situated in a 7,200-square-foot warehouse in the heart of Rockville, this award-winning brewery and taproom pours pints or flights of cult creations like a Blockhouse Point Oatmeal Stout and seasonal Grubby Thicket Brown Ale. Like many breweries, 7 Locks hopped on hard seltzer train and released a “Hellter Seltzer” blackberry and blood orange variety this fall. Plenty of food trucks rotate in and out, and Saturday night calls for live music.

Silver Branch Brewing Company

Silver Branch’s Quantum Shift flagship IPA.

The downtown Silver Spring brewery’s four flagships are inspired by brewing traditions in Belgium, the British Isles, Central Europe, and the Americas. Visitors can saddle up to its biergarten fire pits to sample its beloved gnome-themed Saisons, a Hopfest Double IPA, and German mulled wine.

Silver Branch’s Quantum Shift flagship IPA.

Crooked Run Brewing (Multiple locations)

Out in Sterling, Crooked Run separates its beer list into categories like New Releases, the Traditional, the Hoppy, the Funky and Sour, the Dark, and Native Culture (showcasing mixed and spontaneous ferments). The 10-barrel brewery with 12 beers on tap expanded by taking over the former flight school next-door. It used the extra space to add an all-day biscuit counter called Daybreak and to go along with tacos from Senor Ramon. There’s also a taproom in Leesburg.

Denizens Brewing Co (Multiple locations)

This Silver Spring brewery has lots of space for groups to gather over craft brews, including a large outdoor patio. Beer lovers who aren’t afraid to get weird can always find some experimental and interesting drafts on the list, such as its tequila barrel-aged petite sour. For a more accessible pick, go with the Southside Rye IPA or the Born Bohemian Pilsner. In 2019, Denizens opened its second outpost at the Riverdale Park Station development between Hyattsville and College Park.

3 Stars Brewing Company

3 Stars is inspired by the iconic D.C. flag design, and its beers are becoming tied to the city’s culture as well. Find beers with quirky and interesting flavor profiles that also pack a boozy punch. Pours of Peppercorn Saison and Southern Belle brown ale brewed with pecans are crowd-pleasers that fit in with the ever-changing lineup of one-offs and rotating recipes. Its versatile Ivy City home also hosts pop-ups with local vendors and calligraphy classes.

Ocelot Brewing Company

Worth an extended trip from the District to Loudoun County, Ocelot is known for hoppy beers like Gorgeous and Alone, a 7-percent ABV IPA brewed with English Pale and Pilsen malts. The tap list includes plenty of other beers, too, ranging from a You Owe Me triple IPA to a Sunnyside Dwellar German pilsner. Food trucks selling barbecue, Hawaiian-style snacks, and sliders rotate in and out.

Hellbender Brewing Company

Hellbender takes its name from the endangered aquatic salamander. It also helped inspire the brewery toward conservation through its use of a Meura mash filter, which improves brewing efficiency by using less energy. The Ignite IPA and Bare Bones Kolsch are both mainstays in the tasting room. Events include open mic nights, trivia, and food pop-ups from locals like Bun’d Up and Cider BBQ. Tours are on hold for now, but customers can still enjoy pints on the patio with a dozen drafts to choose from.

Now pouring Panda Strike Force IPA in the VIP area at Brew at the Zoo. 7% ABV IPA dry-hopped with El Dorado, Amarillo and Aurora. #dcbrews #madeindc #acreativedc #panda

Posted by Hellbender Brewing Company on Thursday, July 19, 2018

Franklins

Franklins is a Hyattsville destination, serving a slew of homemade beers in just about every style. The small size of the operation means you can expect super fresh beer on its draft tap list, from Bombshell Blonde to the Twisted Turtle Pale Ale to a potent Highland Hugh Scotch Ale (9-percent ABV). The food menu changes frequently to fit the season, with short ribs featured for fall. A cool patio setup sits under a graffiti-covered bridge.

Solace Brewing Company

Another Loudoun County destination for hop heads, Solace has a spacious taproom full of communal tables inside its brewing facility in Sterling. The Sun’s Out Hops Out Session IPA (4.7 percent ABV) is good for all-day drinking, and the Crazy Pils is a popular pick. The facility also hosts food trucks, bands, and a pinball league. The expansion-minded craft brewer just unveiled its anticipated Solace Outpost inside the Mad Fox brewpub space in Falls Church, and its first D.C. location in Navy Yard is coming soon.

Food truck is here at 1 and we’re open til 10pm! We have snacks and you can always order delivery too!... come join our awesome bar staff and grab a cold one! #solacebrewing #findyoursolace #saturdaymotivation

Posted by Solace Brewing Company on Saturday, January 25, 2020

DC Brau

When D.C. Brau opened in 2009, it claimed the honor of being the city’s first packaging brewery since 1956. DC Brau is perhaps best known for its flagship hoppy brews: The Public American pale ale, the Belgian-style The Citizen pale ale, and The Corruption IPA. Brewery visitors can get tastes of the rest of the standard lineup as well as seasonal and one-off creations. Swing by the 50,000-square-foot mega facility’s taproom and outdoor beer garden from Fridays to Sundays, with curbside pickup available starting on Thursday.

The Public Option

This unassuming brew pub doesn’t make many headlines. The roster touches the spectrum of flavors and body. Sip a pint, half-pint, or 4-ounce taster of Oat Pale, Cream Ale, American Amber, or another one of the bar’s featured drafts. Its bar operates Thursday to Saturday night.

Lots to do on a freezing weekend: Nomad Dumplings on Friday - detail: https://mailchi.mp/2eb02f0235da/nomad Capital...

Posted by The Public Option on Thursday, February 13, 2020

City-State Brewing

Go-go legend and actor Anwan “Big G” Glover collaborated with City-State on a new namesake golden ale.
City-State/official photo

Ambitious beer startup City-State Brewing Co. unveiled its much-anticipated Edgewood facility right off the popular Metropolitan Branch Trail this spring. The 13,000-square-foot microbrewery and taproom, almost six years in the making, comes from neighborhood resident and former congressional aide James Warner. Opening D.C.-themed brews on tap include 8 Wards Independent (pale ale); Equal Marriage (dark wheat); Blossom (kolsch); Red Bud (hibiscus kolsch); Featherduster (hazy ale); Trainspotter Green Bullet (pub ale); and NEDC (pale ale).

Go-go legend and actor Anwan “Big G” Glover collaborated with City-State on a new namesake golden ale.
City-State/official photo

Right Proper Brewing Company (Multiple locations)

Nathan Zeender, Right Propper Brew Pub’s brewmaster Kate Patterson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

This brewpub is known for its rotating selection of artful and experimental brews. Styles tend to be on the lighter side of the spectrum – expect to see plenty of farmhouse ales, saisons, and other rustic styles. Food fits the gastropub model with options like burgers, pastas, salads, and appetizers like beer battered cheese curds and baked mac and cheese. Right Proper also operates a production house in Brookland that includes a taproom with a dozen rotating drafts.

Nathan Zeender, Right Propper Brew Pub’s brewmaster Kate Patterson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Atlas Brew Works

Atlas Brew Works is part of the growing number of reasons to eat and drink around D.C.’s Ivy City neighborhood. Notable beers include the Ponzi IPA, the Blood Orange gose, and the Dance of Days pale ale. The taproom is open every day except Monday and beer fans can tour its facility on Saturdays at 2 p.m. (reserve tickets here). There’s a vending machine with some local snacks and food trucks are a frequent sight as well. Its newer Half Street brewery and taproom in Navy Yard features fifteen taps, food from Andy’s Pizza, and a huge outdoor beer garden.

Other Half Brewing

Other Half’s silver tanks
Other Half’s shiny new production facility.
Other Half Brewing/official photo

The beloved Brooklyn brewery with a cult NYC following for its hazy IPAs, lagers, and barrel-aged stouts opened its first D.C. taproom and production facility last year in the new Hecht Warehouse. The 5,000-square-foot indoor tasting and taproom offers 20 draft pours at a time. Al fresco beer drinkers have 7,500 square feet of outdoor space to work with, between a patio with a covered pavilion and roof deck. Cans double as take-home art, labeled with wildly eccentric and cartoon-ish designs of everything from food to animals. Curbside pickup and delivery are available, too.

Other Half’s silver tanks
Other Half’s shiny new production facility.
Other Half Brewing/official photo

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Red Bear Brewing Co

The wraparound bar serving Red Bear Brewing
The wraparound bar serving Red Bear Brewing
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

This gay-owned, game-filled brewery became a huge boon to the NoMa neighborhood when it opened in the spring of 2019. The partners relocated from Seattle, bringing along a penchant for West Coast-style ales and ciders. Try a Skookum, a Pacific Northwest-style red ale, or a Swampoodle Stout, a nitro brewed in collaboration with Lough Gill Brewery in Sligo, Ireland. Regular events include drag bingo and trivia nights conducted in sign language.

The wraparound bar serving Red Bear Brewing
The wraparound bar serving Red Bear Brewing
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Settle Down Easy Brewing Co.

This 36-seat nanobrewery in Falls Church is only a couple of years old, but it’s already a destination in Northern Virginia. Standby brews include a dry-hopped kolsch and a jalapeno honey ale. A taco stand inside comes from El Tio Tex-Mex. The brand will expand with a new 4,000-square foot taproom and a petite, one-barrel brewhouse in Oakton next spring.

Bluejacket

Bluejacket Brewery DC interior

Bluejacket comes from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the local hospitality company that stocks its all of its bars and restaurants (the Sovereign, Iron Gate) full of outstanding beer. Bluejacket always has a staggering number of drafts to choose from, from IPAs to stouts. It’s also a favorite hangout before and after Nationals games. Ticketed tasting tours are offered Saturdays at 1 p.m. for $29 per person. A “Beers and Bites” tour happens Fridays at 7 p.m. for $35.

Bluejacket Brewery DC interior

New District Brewing Company

New District’s logo portrays the Key Bridge over the Potomac river.
New District/official photo

The first production brewery in Arlington in one hundred years makes a strong showing of year-round, seasonal, sours, and special release selections. Popular pours include Ginger Saison, National Landing IPA, and Potomac Paddleboarder that speak to the surrounding area. The name New District pays homage to Arlington’s history when the county used to be part of the District of Columbia.

New District’s logo portrays the Key Bridge over the Potomac river.
New District/official photo

Port City Brewing Company

Alexandria is the place to savor decade-old Port City’s lineup of well-made, straightforward beers. Highlights include the easy-drinking Optimal Wit, the hoppy and fruity Integral IPA, and the malty Port City Porter. It plays a strong seasonal brew game too, with options like Oktoberfest and the holiday Tidings Ale. The tasting room is open daily.