By Ben Byrnes
February is, to many, the inverse of the dog days of summer, when a cool beer seems as fitting as shorts and flip-flops. But for area breweries, this month’s cold winter days bring their own reasons to imbibe in refreshing brews during what the industry calls “Febrewary.”
After all, when pronounced correctly, it is a month that sounds like it is made for beer. With Valentine’s Day in the middle, the natural thing for beer lovers to do is devote the entire month to their love of the beverage—not to mention an extra day in February this year to sip suds.
Febrewary is a month-long celebration highlighting the local craft beer scene. In addition to rolling out a full schedule of events, Loudoun breweries are tapping their liquid reserves, releasing a slew of new flavors, reintroducing seasonal favorites, and ensuring their patrons won’t miss a drop.
Many breweries are concocting the kind of tantalizing flavors that even Aphrodite may be inspired to stop in for a pint. Breweries are expressing their love of beer and good food with Valentine’s Day events, beer dinners, and chocolate and beer pairings at various breweries.
Old Ox Brewery will hold Beer My Valentine on Sunday, Feb. 14, when it will serve beers infused with aphrodisiacs.
The idea started with a Mexican Hot Chocolate Porter called Kristin’s Passion last year, according to Old Ox Brewery President Chris Burns. “The beer is named for my wife and is designed to be rich, smooth, and sweet with just a little heat.”
Since chocolate and chilies are aphrodisiacs, Burns said the beer seemed most suited for a Valentine’s Day release. With great success last year, they decided to add three additional aphrodisiac infused beers to this year’s lineup.
“As for the infusion process, we add the ingredients after the beer has been brewed and fermentation is complete,” Burns said. “Adding the ingredients on the cold side of the process ensures that the delicate aromas and flavors are preserved and make it through to the finished beer.”
The Ashburn brewery will also play host to DJ Roche, from Washington, DCbased alternative rock station DC101. He’ll air his show live from Old Ox on Thursday, Feb. 11, from 3 to 7 p.m.
Belly Love Brewing in Purcellville sees Febrewary as a perfect reason to reintroduce a seasonal favorite, the double IPA Flying Unicorn Crotch Kick. Across town, Corcoran Brewing Company will release Ragnar, a Viking ale inspired by the History Channel show “Vikings.” Meanwhile, Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn will release War Red Wagon, in collaboration with the Ashburn Fire Department. And Lost Rhino Retreat in Brambleton will premier spirits from MurLarkey, a Gainesville, MD-based distillery.
Undaunted by the task of creating their own lasting and crafty names and flavors that will make their beers unforgettable, Leesburg brewers reached out to one another to create even greater concoctions. MacDowell Brew Kitchen is combining forces with Loudoun Brewing Company and Crooked Run Brewery to introduce its Saison, a beer that celebrates Leesburg breweries.
For Adroit Theory Brewery, February is the pregame to the main event. In addition to releasing 15 new beers during the month, Mark Osborne, owner of Adroit Theory, says they’re working on a second tap room with 12 additional lines for brews on tap, which he hopes to open in midMarch.
Feb. 11 – MacDowell Brew Kitchen with Old Ox Brewery (Details: macdowellbrewkitchen.com)
Feb. 11 – DC101 DJ Roche airs live show at Old Ox Brewery (Details: oldoxbrewery.com)
Feb. 29 Belly Love Brewing (Details: bellylovebrewing.com)
Chocolate and Beer Pairings
Feb. 14 Belly Love Brewing (Details: bellylovebrewing.com)
Feb. 1314 Quattro Goomba’s Brewery (Details: goombabrewery.com)
Feb. 14 “Beer My Valentine” at Old Ox Brewery (Details: oldoxbrewery.com)
Feb. 21 One Love Loudoun Cornhole Tournament in support of Love Shack Dog Rescue at Old Ox Brewery (Details: oldoxbrewery.com)
Feb. 27 – Febrewary finale at Lost Rhino Retreat (Details: lostrhinoretreat.com)
Ben Byrnes has worked in the food industry for 11 years. He lives in Leesburg with his wife; they are expecting their first child in March.