The name “The Old Dominion” is a nickname for the state of Virginia, given by England’s King Charles II in 1663 when he added the colonial state to his dominions of Ireland, Scotland, and France. This regally appointed sobriquet was adopted by the founders of our first featured brewery, the Old Dominion Brewing Company back in 1989, when they officially became the Washington area’s first microbrewery. The company was founded with a mission: produce fresh, full-bodied beers largely unavailable in the US market at the time of its inception. And they’ve done just that, meeting at the same time with mass appeal as far as microbreweries go. They went from producing a very limited amount of hand-crafted ale in 1990 to becoming the 47th largest domestic producer of beer. That may not sound impressive, but considering that there are approximately 1,400 microbreweries throughout the United States, 47th ain’t bad.
Despite their success, the brewery still maintains a vehement commitment to producing beer on the micro scale. One way they’ve managed to do this is by brewing a large variety of beer styles, rather than mass producing a couple of their products. They actively brew a rather robust range of more than 27 hand-crafted lagers and ales, including many traditional seasonal specialties like their acclaimed Octoberfest Lager, their rich, honey-flavored winter brew called Millenium, a full-bodied Barleywine style ale, and a refreshing wheat beer perfect for summer thirst quenching. These beers have been enthusiastically received by a loyal fan base, as well as professional beer judging tournaments. All told, they’ve brought home enough awards from the Great American Beer Festival to fill a few mantles: 5 Gold medals, 2 Silvers, and 5 Bronzes. They were ranked one of the 20 best breweries in the U.S. in 1998 by Gourmet Food and Wine magazine, and Smart Money in 2000 named them as one of the five best breweries in the country!
So, it would seem that they’ve got this business down to a science, that no more need be done to improve upon their beers, that they could just keep doing exactly what they’re doing and let the money roll in. While no one would ever have to ask them to do anything to improve their already delicious malty nectars, this brewing company is not content to rest on its laurels. Boasting with a well deserved air of self confidence, founder Jerry Bailey states, “I don’t know of a single thing we could do that we are not doing to make better beer.”
The brewery is located just 3 miles north of Washington’s Dulles Airport, an easy drive from D.C. And with their on-site brewpub, it is a great place for lunch or dinner if you are ever in the D.C. area. They sell kegs and bottled beer to go including two liter growlers of all their draft beers. They even have pumps and carbon dioxide systems available for take home kegs. And if you are interested in the art of craft brewing (and we know that you are), the Old Dominion Brewing Company offers an informative, free tour which culminates in a beer tasting that is itself worth a trip to our nation’s Capital!
For more information about the brewery, brewpub or scheduled tours, call (703) 724-9100, or visit their website at www.olddominion.com.