Capital Beverages Primer: Wine, Beer and Spirits in Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland
Known as “Capital Region USA,” Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia are home to more than 350 wineries and more than 200 breweries, cider makers and distilleries. From award-winning wines to full-flavored brews, check out these can’t-miss spots to sample the tasty and unique selections that this region has to offer.
Capital Region Wine Country
In Virginia, which was called one of the world’s best new wine destinations by Travel & Leisure Magazine, some 30 wineries around Charlottesville celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s wine-making vision with their diverse grape cultivations. Enjoy a picnic on the beautiful and historic grounds of Barboursville Vineyards. Take in the splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains with a visit to Early Mountain Vineyards, known for its commitment to biodiversity and sustainable farming. Or, relish a wine tasting in the former horse stable at scenic Jefferson Vineyards.
The Frederick Wine Trail encompasses six Maryland wineries, with around 36 hectares of grapes growing on rolling hills. On the trail, visit Linganore Winecellars, Frederick County’s oldest winery, which first planted grapes in 1972. Or, view the magnificent Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery, a 53-hectare private estate dating to 1765.
Beer lovers rejoice all across the Capital Region! In Washington, DC, head to DC Brau Brewing Company, which has been brewing its hit beers since 1956 (be sure to try “The Public,” the most-popular variety). Or stop by Atlas Brew Works – an entirely solar-powered brewery. In Baltimore, Maryland, check out Heavy Seas Alehouse for comfort-food dishes that pair well with their home-brewed ales, IPAs and stouts. Baltimore’s Union Craft Brewing offers traditional favorites and seasonal ales, as well as a rotation of food trucks outside the taproom.
Heading to Virginia? The Travel Channel named this state one of North America’s top beer destinations. In Richmond, Virginia, check out Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, which relies solely on renewable energy and tests each new brew in 75-liter batches. Or hop on the RVA Trolley for one of their beer tours and experience several of Richmond’s hopping brew spots, like Legend Brewery perched right on the edge of the James River.
You can even sample craft brews from around the region as you’re traveling to and from the area at Washington Dulles International Airport’s DC Craft Brews. Located in Concourse D, DC Craft Brews features the best local craft brews from DC, Maryland and Virginia along with wine and traditional pub fare.
Celebrate Spirits and Hard Cider
Washington, DC, is becoming a distillery superpower. New Columbia Distillers, DC's first distillery in 100 years, focuses on premium gin (try the seasonal varieties). Head to One Eight Distilling for tours and tastings of their gin, whiskey and vodka. Or, enjoy some sips at Jos. A. Magnus & Co., DC’s “newest oldest” bourbon and gin distillery, famous for its pre-prohibition heritage.
On Maryland’s eastern shore, head to Blackwater Distilling and Lyon Distilling for small-batch spirits. Catoctin Creek, Loudoun County, Virginia’s first distillery since Prohibition, sources local grains and produce. Be sure to try the absinthe at Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery in Middleburg, made using all-natural ingredients in the old-world style.
Getting Here: Washington Dulles International Airport is centrally located in the Capital Region and convenient to all destinations and activities across DC, Maryland and Virginia. Nonstop flights to Washington Dulles International Airport from major destinations worldwide make getting here easy.