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Only an hour’s drive away from Washington, DC is Loudoun County, a land of rolling vineyards, horse farms, mountains, and historic estates. Nestled at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Loudoun County seems light years from the bustle of the city. Loudoun has always been DC’s wine country with over 50 wineries, but over the last few years has also made a mark as a beer lovers’ destination with 17 breweries. Plan your getaway with our day trip guide to DC’s wine and beer country.
Start your morning with a drive out to Dirt Farm Brewing, which is one of the first ‘farm breweries’ in the area. A farm brewery grows most of its ingredients onsite and has brewing and tasting operations set up. Dirt Farm sits atop a hill, providing stunning panoramic views of Loudoun County. As you look over the hops farm, enjoy one of their ales – we recommend the tart cherry or the pumpkin ale.
It might be tough to leave, but make your way over to Bluemont Vineyard, which is next door to Dirt Farm and operated by the same good folks. Enjoy a tasting of their wines, or grab a bottle and a cheese plate and relax in their outdoor seating area.
From there, it’s an easy drive to lunch at Magnolia’s at the Mill, or ‘Maggies’, as it’s referred to by the locals. This restaurant is housed in a circa 1905 restored mill which still houses some of the old mill equipment inside the expansive space, making for a structurally impressive space. The restaurant is known for their wood fired, grilled specialties – the pizza is a must try. Both the food and the drink menu offer a lot in terms of local harvest, wines, and beers.
A short ride away is Otium Cellars, where owner Gerhard Bauer, a German native, has brought a taste of Germany to Loudoun with the introduction of German varietals such as Dornfelder and Blaufrankisch. The wine is as fun to drink as to pronounce, and the log cabin style tasting room overlooks their onsite equestrian facility, which makes for the perfect afternoon.
As you wind down for the day, drive back into the eastern part of the county for a stop at Old Ox Brewery – a family run industrial style brewery that is in the middle of a technology park. Enjoy a tasting of their beers, or settle into the patio with a beer of choice along with the regulars who are just coming off work. Our favorite is the saison – perfect for sunny day sipping!
From Old Ox, it’s a short 45 minute drive back to DC. There’s also the option to stick around for the night and do it all again tomorrow. Book yourself in at one of the charming bed and breakfasts in Western Loudoun, and save the visit to Old Ox for your drive back the next day.