From Rob Fink. Follow him on Twitter @RobDFink or email him at rob[AT]borderstan.com.
Obligatory for this time of year, people with resolutions abound. For craft beer-minded folk, it might be exploring authentic and delightfully crisp German lagers or a venturing out to try a refreshingly acidic gueuze from Belgium. For you beer-minded folk in Borderstan, may I suggest adding an item to your list of resolutions – getting out of the District and heading to Mad Fox Brewing Company in Falls Church.
Located prominently on 444 Broad Street in Falls Church, Mad Fox Brewing Company is a Great American Beer Festival (GABF) winning brewpub that boasts a collection of anywhere from 8 to 10 beers on draft and half a dozen or so beers served via the traditional English beer engine. One step through the door and you’re greeted with glossy, beaming beer tanks flanked on either side with rich tones of mahogany and brass; a warming atmosphere, to be sure. Unfortunately, the service in the dining area is wildly inconsistent and too spotty to be relied upon. However, don’t let that deter you from making the trek – Mad Fox’s beer portfolio is well worth the effort.
If you can swing it, grab a seat at the bar and enjoy the following standouts: (as a brewpub, these beers are subject to a shorter window of availability)
Orange Whip IPA – 7.2% ABV – Arguably the darling of the entire Mad Fox portfolio and with remarkable ease, I can say this is my favorite from them. Orange Whip IPA bludgeons the senses with bright orange, ripe honeydew melon and earthy pine, all emanating from a judicious yet deft use of 100% Citra hops. In other words, if you see this beer on the draft list, please order a pint immediately.
Wee Heavy – 9% ABV – A style nearly indistinguishable from English Barleywine, Mad Fox’s Wee Heavy contains layers upon layers of toffee and deep caramel with the slightest kiss of dark fruit. At 9% ABV, it’s a warming beer meant for the fireside. If you’re lucky, you may run into an iteration of this beer aged in Loudoun County’s own Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whiskey barrels; it is an undeniable treat.
Big Chimney Porter – 6% ABV – Robust and deceptively hefty, Big Chimney Porter carries with it the entire range of traditional Porter flavors. Bittersweet chocolate rests comfortably against notes of biscuit and sweet caramel, resulting in a pleasingly dry finish. If this beer is on when you visit, please order the truffled mac & cheese pizza to accompany it – the beer’s flavors effortlessly latch onto the bacon and the slightly charred crust, with just enough carbonation to cut through the creaminess of the mac & cheese.
For those Borderstan residents too scared to venture into Virginia (it’s really not that bad!), Mad Fox occasionally sends their beers to Borderstan beer spots such as Churchkey and The Big Hunt, so be on the lookout if you’re out and about in the neighborhood. Cheers.