Brewery Name: Fair Winds Brewing Company
Type of Brewery: Retail Brewery
NOTE: As this is the first brewery post, a brief explanation of how we categorize breweries:
Production Brewery: A Production Brewery is solely focused on producing and selling beer. You only go to these breweries to fill growlers and/or buy packages of beer. They do not serve beer on site, and the most that they offer is maybe a sample so you can try a beer before you buy it. They can sell merchandise but the goal of these breweries is to get you in and get you out with beer; you are not supposed to linger at these locations. These breweries are fewer in number, but they also tend to be the highest rated (see: Tree House, Trillium). Don’t be discouraged. Just take the beer somewhere else to enjoy.
Retail Brewery: The most common type of brewery offers a location to buy beer but also to enjoy a glass of it. It is called retail because they want you to come, spend time, and spend more money there. Many of these breweries will partner with food trucks to offer food, have games to play, and generally offer the kind of calm environment that you expect at a bar.
Brewpub: The main difference between this and a Retail Brewery is that Brewpubs have on-site kitchens to serve hot food. They function as a restaurant and a brewery.
Anyway, back to Fair Winds!
Location: Lorton, VA (about a mile off exit 166A off 95). Not public transportation accessible.
All very responsive, and posts all updates.
Growlers: Bring your own or buy there.
The Beers: While there, I was able to try:
They do some really solid hoppy beers and dark beers too. They also have firkins of special casks (including their Howling Gale IPA with Blueberries which was perfect for the weather), and they also have special keg releases of small batch beers.
Vibe: This place is the exact setup that I love in a brewery. Everything that they have is perfect for a low-pressure, enjoyable drinking experience. They have a great bar setup, plenty of seating, and at least 10 beers on tap. They have nice high ceilings, which don’t make you feel cramped. The location has a nice open feel that is perfect for bringing kids and pets out to watch a game. The brewery is also sectioned off so you don’t get that brewery smell. Some people like it, some hate it. I say it's nice but during the summer it can be harsh because you can sometimes get that skunked beer smell. They have nice garage doors to open during the summer so you get that sense of being outside. There is a cordoned off location to drink outside, they have board games for kids and adults to play which is awesome. They have a chalkboard battleship game set up, can this be any more perfect? I know it's kid-sized but that doesn’t stop me. There is plenty of seating to sit and enjoy food. The staff has always been wonderful and attentive every time I have been there. The only drawback is that they don’t bottle or can outside of special releases.
Dogs: Hell yeah.
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$$. The growler price is pretty standard and doesn’t change based on the beer. Pints are reasonable and the flights are a great value. They also do half-priced growlers during the week.
Food: They have restaurants that deliver and food trucks that come by, in addition to the crawfish boils and other food related activities they do to get people out.
Final Thoughts: If there is a better setup for a brewery, I haven’t found it.
Drink With Us
Three friends. Three corners of the country. One passion for beer.
The Cat is Out of the Bag: Ocelot Brewing Company is one of Virginia's Best Breweries
Bidding a Fond Farewell to Virginia's Sehkraft Brewing
Become a Regular at Denizens Brewing Company in Silver Spring