Tysons, VA

This October, beer fans and animal lovers can head over to Lost Dog Cafe to sip Solace Brewing Company’s Rescue Ale and support rescue efforts for dogs and cats.

The charity brew, which benefits the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, will hit shelves at Solace Brewery on Oct. 8 and will start being poured at all Lost Dog Cafe locations on Oct. 9. A portion of all sales of Rescue Ale will be donated to LDCRF.

There are five Lost Dog Cafe locations, with one in Dunn Loring (2729A Merrilee Drive) and one in McLean (1690A Anderson Road).

The brewery will host a distanced adoption event, and an online auction will offer winners a tour of the brewery as well as  pooch and beer-themed merchandise.

Lost Dog Cafe is a long-time supporter of the rescue and donates a portion of its revenue to support the care of animals rescued by LDCRF. Local breweries have brewed a Rescue Ale in support of LDCRF for the last four years, and this is Solace’s second year making the charity beer. Read More

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Jennifer McLaughlin, owner of the Caboose Brewing Company, is just starting to catch her breath and take a look back at the last few months of the local brewery not only trying to survive, but do some good for their communities.

It has not been an easy road for Caboose, which operates Caboose Tavern in Vienna (520 Mill Street NE) and Caboose Commons in Merrifield (2918 Eskridge Road).

“It’s been quite a whirlwind,” McLaughlin said. “Back in March, when this all went down, we had to let go of a lot of people. They don’t have a ton of resources. It was awful. We were letting go of people we weren’t sure would be able to pay rent and buy food and all those things. We lined them up with resources as best we could but that wasn’t really enough.”

As the pandemic worsened, McLaughlin said they began to hear stories about how hard fresh food was for people to come by. It was difficult for people to get to grocery stores and many food banks carried only canned goods, but McLaughlin said it occurred to them that they could access fresh food supply chains through their own vendors.

“So we started a grassroots effort with local schools and a couple of churches,” McLaughlin said. “At one point, we were doing hundreds of grocery donations a week.”

McLaughlin said Caboose was delivering milk, proteins, and produce to families in need. At its peak, the program was delivering hundreds of grocery boxes. In total, McLaughlin said Caboose has put together and delivered 915 grocery boxes.

The grocery boxes were delivered by volunteers and Caboose received donations, though never enough to fully cover the cost of buying the groceries.

“The numbers are way less than they used to be, ” McLaughlin said. “We’re now down to 10 families, which is down from 40 last week.”

Caboose also donated a total of 869 meals to Inova Hospital.

Caboose Tavern in Vienna was closed for a while when the pandemic started. Caboose Commons at the Mosaic district never closed, but it was also not very active during the worst of it. McLaughlin said the space gave management a chance to take a step back and assess the restaurant’s values and priorities.

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tysons Corner Center is working with community members to help those in need by providing an &pizza meal to healthcare workers. Anyone who wants to sponsor a healthcare worker by providing a meal can text #FEEDTHEM to 200-03, the page said.

Those seeking live entertainment can choose to check out 1st Stage Theatre’s Facebook page, where the arts organization posts videos of its talented cast members posting videos of them performing various songs and acts.

Tuesday (May 19)

  • Stuff the Bus — People can drop off non-perishable goods to help community members in need at both the  James Lee Community Center (2855 Annandale Road) Falls Church and the Patrick Henry Library (101 Maple Ave E.) in Vienna from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
  • Virtual Mystery Fiction Book Group — At 7 p.m. people can join a virtual conversation about “My Sister, the Serial Killer: A Novel.” People must pre-register online to receive the link. This event is hosted by One More Page Books.

Thursday (May 21)

Saturday (May 23)

  • Performers in Quarantine — Starting at 2 p.m. 1st Stage Theatre will hold one of its community conversations via Zoom with performances by actors in the upcoming show “The Nance share.” The actors will share what their creative experiences have been like during the pandemic.

Photo courtesy Caboose Commons

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Though many in-person events are canceled, organizations and businesses are setting up digital events to keep people occupied.

Year-round, the McLean Community Center offers courses for adults hoping to pick up other workplace skills. People can take courses on things including digital marketing, computer science, education and even leadership. These online courses range in price but are available online.

Tuesday (May 12)

Thursday (May 14)

  • Limited Beer Release + Virtual Happy Hour — Caboose Brewing Company is offering a free evening of trivia while people enjoy a new beer that they can pick up and drink at home. People can find the event link on Zoom and log in using the meeting ID: 211 500 5344 and password: 2DdDa4.

Saturday (May 16)

Photo courtesy Caboose Brewing 

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Black Dog Beer Shop has been open for less than three months in Merrifield, but already its owner has seen a recent uptick in sales — partly thanks to a federal loan.

As craft brewers face coronavirus challenges and many breweries pivot to making hand sanitizer, Tyler Cohen says he thinks his new local craft beer store is faring well, all things considered.

While he doesn’t have months and months of data to compare, he said sales grew 10% from March to April: “That’s a good thing, I guess.”

Cohen, who lives in the Mosaic District, opened the store in February at 2672M Avenir Place near the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station.

Before the coronavirus pandemic prompted the governor to enforce restrictions on businesses, Cohen said 10-15 people would be at the store “at all times” on Fridays and Saturdays.

When businesses started to close or switched to delivery, take-out and curbside pickup services, Cohen said most of his customers initially ordered online, but now he’s starting to see more and more people trickle into the store.

“This last weekend we had to stop people from coming in,” he said.

What the Federal Loan Process Was Like

Receiving a loan during the first round of funding for the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program made a big difference to the store’s finances and ability to keep growing, Cohen said.

“We were getting close where we could probably survive another month and then need to pay payroll out of my own pocket, but as soon as we got that [loan], we were able to breathe a sigh of relief,” he said.

Cohen said M&T Bank was “awesome” with telling him what he would need to submit before the application became available and then communicating with him — even on weekends — about the process.

“It was a pretty quick process,” Cohen said, adding that it took about a week after he submitted the application to hear that he was approved for the loan and then another week to receive it.

Cohen said he’s been able to keep all of his staff employed. One employee, who used to work part-time, now has longer shifts and is covering for another employee, who is over the age of 65 and decided to stay home, he said.

As for rent, the store’s landlord offered delayed rent payments for a few months, but Cohen declined. “I think we can afford rent now.”

COVID-19 Changes 

The store already had a stockpile of personal protective equipment, but Cohen still teamed up with a friend to make homemade hand sanitizer when his supply got low.

“We went from cleaning a couple of times to cleaning all of the surfaces constantly,” he said.

Another change has been allowing people to buy single cans and bottles of beer.

“Instead of buying a four-pack on something they haven’t had, people will try one or two,” he said.

And the store’s growler fill-ups are less popular too now that customers “want to avoid the touching and contact,” he said.

Speeding up some of his longer-term plans has been one of the biggest challenges Cohen’s faced due to the pandemic.

“The online store was something I was planning on rolling out later,” Cohen said. “[The pandemic] forced my hand.”

But, the pandemic did cause one positive thing Cohen’s black dog, Ash, who inspired the shop’s name — there’s now more time for hour-long walks.

“It’s been an interesting time with him because we’ll both get stir crazy,” he said.

Local Community Support 

To get ideas for how to manage the store during the pandemic, Cohen said he and his team talked to local businesses including nearby Inca Social and listened to podcasts about the beer industry.

“The store manager is constantly trying to come up with new ideas,” Cohen said.

Local businesses in the community are trying to show support, he noted.

“I probably buy more beer and take out food to support local businesses,” he said. “We’re trying to help each other.”

Photos via Black Dog Beer Shop/Facebook

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Now that winter is over and spring is finally here, people looking to sip on a cold beer or alcoholic drink outside can order from these local breweries and distilleries.

Sweetwater Tavern (3066 Gate House Plaza), a microbrewery in Merrifield, is offering curbside pick-up for growlers and carry-out beer and wine orders from 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., according to its website. The online menu includes all-day lunch, kids meals and seven growlers to-go.

Over in Falls Church, Audacious Aleworks Brewery and Taproom (110 E. Fairfax Street) is open 2-7 p.m. daily for only carry-out cans and growlers, according to its website. The small craft brewery specializes in small batch ales, and the taproom has up to 20 beers on tap.

The Falls Church Distillers (442 S. Washington Street, Suite A) has closed its restaurant for right now, but the on-site ABC store is still open, according to a Facebook post. The distillery produces several small-batch spirits including vodkas, gins, rums and whiskeys.

Settle Down Easy Brewing Co. (2822 Fallfax Drive), a nano-brewery in Falls Church, is offering pick-up orders from noon-7 p.m. daily, according to a Facebook post.

The Caboose Brewing Company, a 15-barrel-brewhouse is behind Caboose Commons in Merrifield and Caboose Tavern in Vienna, is accepting to-go orders for both locations.

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant (7861 Tysons Corner Center) in Tysons Corner Center is temporarily closed.

While not a brewery, the newly opened Black Dog Beer Shop (2672 Avenir Place, Suite M) is offering curbside delivery and pick-up for beer and groceries. Near the Dun Lorring-Merrifield Metro stop, the shop is open from 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, from 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays.

Photo courtesy Caboose Commons

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Just weeks after its official opening, the owner of the Bear Branch Tavern in Vienna made the “particularly heartbreaking” decision to temporarily close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To help the restaurant’s employees, who are now temporarily jobless, owners Chris Lefbom and Adam Lubar created a GoFundMe page on Sunday (March 22) that has already collected roughly $1,200 and counting.

The page has a goal of $5,000 right now and the description said that the proceeds raised from the page will get split between full-time and part-time employees.

“We had to seriously consider our hourly (both in the Front and Back of the House) team members who rely on their paychecks and tips to live,” the owners wrote on the GoFundMe page.

It is unclear at the moment when Bear Branch Taven will reopen but an announcement on the eatery’s Facebook page said that the owners will do so when they feel the time is right — with respect to the health and safety of the community.

“The team at Bear Branch is a new family and we want to help make sure the family is taken care of and is there for you when we open our doors again,” the page said.

Photo via Bear Branch Tavern/Facebook

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(Updated 3/3/2020) Ahead of International Women’s Day this Sunday, Caboose Commons plans to host a market on Thursday where shoppers can support female-run businesses.

This will be the local brewery’s second year hosting the market, which will feature more than two dozen businesses. The market will be open from 5-9 p.m. at 2918 Eskridge Road.

Shoppers can find the pop-ups in Caboose’s lofts, according to the event page. Some of the stores are:

In addition to the market, Caboose Commons will be canning a new IPA made with the 2020 Pink Boots blend from Yakima Chiefs Hops on Thursday morning, the brewery said on its website.

“This blend will create tropical, citrus and piney aromatic qualities,” according to Caboose Commons. The beer will be available for purchase at the market.

“For every one pound of hops sold, $3 goes back to the Pink Boots Society,” according to the event page.

Image via Caboose Commons/Facebook

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Updated 10:50 p.m. — Corrects proposed performance times.

British music enthusiasts may soon be able to enjoy food and drink at an upcoming restaurant in Vienna.

The Hawk & Griffin Pub wants to offer guests a place to listen to live music while grabbing something from the bar or kitchen at 405 W. Maple Ave, according to town documents.

Currently, a brick building built-in 1988 occupies the site.

The owners are hoping to include options for indoor and outdoor performance space on a patio for both solo and small group acoustic performances, the documents said.

“Musical performances will be a way to help create the authentic British public house atmosphere,” the application for zoning approval said.

Proposed performance times would be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 9 p.m. or 9 p.m. to midnight, depending on the season.

The proposal is set to go before the Vienna Planning Commission tomorrow (Feb. 26).

Photo via Google Maps

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A craft beer store inspired by the owner’s dog has delayed its grand opening near the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station.

Owner Tyler Cohen, who lives in the Mosaic District and has been blogging his tours of breweries across Virginia, previously told Tysons Reporter that his black dog, Ash, inspired the name Black Dog Beer Shop.

The store is now set to hold a grand opening at 2672M Avenir Place on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14), according to the website.

More from the website:

Black Dog Beer Shop has a robust selection of craft beers from around Virginia as well as regional and national craft brands. We have 16 taps for growler fills and tons of cold refrigerator space. Whether you’re looking for a good, local cider of the newest double dry-hopped DIPA, we’ve got you covered.

The store plans to be open from 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays, according to the website.

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