A festival celebrating southern cuisine — from beer to bacon and biscuits — is returning to Tysons for a fifth year.

“This 5th Annual affair offers up all those pleasures that true Southerners live by — Beer, Bourbon, Barbecue, Boots, Bacon, Biscuits, Bluegrass, and Smoked Beasts,” the festival’s website advertises. “It’s a great day of beer sippin’, bourbon tastin’, music listenin’, cigar smokin’, and barbecue eatin’.”

Admission to the festival is $49 for a three-hour window on Saturday, May 22. Admission comes with a souvenir tasting glass and an all-you-can-taste sampling of beer and bourbon.

A $79 ticket offers a four hour window at the festival along with a BBQ dinner platter.

This year, the festival will be held at The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road).

The festival site advises attendees to bring cash, as many vendors will not accept credit cards, and there might be lines at the ATM. Guests are also allowed to bring their own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

No pets are allowed at the festival and service animals must be registered in advance. No weapons or outside alcohol are allowed either.

A full list of beer and bourbon vendors at the site is available online.

Photo via Beer, Bourbon, BBQ/Facebook

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Virginia-based Starr Hill Brewery announced today (Wednesday) that it will be nesting in The Perch, the skypark atop Capital One Hall in Tysons.

The brewery will lease a biergarten space with more than 5,000 square feet within the 1.2-acre skypark, which is expected to open this summer. Visitors will have access to an outdoor dining and lounge space as well as an amphitheater with lawn seating, which will offer live entertainment managed by Starr Hill.

Starr Hill will serve a biergarten-themed menu and stock a full bar highlighting its beers.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the growing development around the Capital One Center,” Starr Hill Vice President of Finance and Retail Josh Cromwell said. “The Perch is such a unique space and when we were approached about bringing to life a rooftop biergarten and amphitheater concept, we couldn’t turn it down. There will be tremendous energy at Capital One Center and we’re proud to bring Starr Hill into the D.C. metro area.”

Headquartered in Crozet, Virginia, Starr Hill has four locations in Richmond, Roanoke, Lynchburg and Charlottesville. The independent, regional craft brewery has won numerous awards in the U.S. and abroad.

“Capital One Center is thrilled to welcome one of the most-recognized breweries in Virginia, Starr Hill, to The Perch,” Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said. “Starr Hill’s brand and reputation within the craft beer community, as well as their experience in the live music scene, will further establish The Perch as a unique destination for Tysons and the Greater Washington region.”

In addition to the Starr Hill Biergarten, The Perch will feature food trucks, a games plaza, a sculpture garden and a dog park. The skypark is situated above Capital One Hall, a corporate and performing arts center set to open this fall, and adjacent to the Watermark Hotel, Capital One’s corporate lodging facility, opening in late 2021.

Starr Hill is not the only retailer to recently announce it would be setting up shop in the 6 million square-foot Capital One Center in Tysons.

Reston Skylines first reported earlier this month that the boutique nail salon and spa Nothing in Between Studio will be moving into the ground floor of Capital One Center.

NIB Studio confirmed the news to Tysons Reporter. This location marks an expansion for the salon, which also has a studio at 6410 Arlington Blvd in Falls Church.

The studio bills itself as a “healthy and clean nail salon” providing non-toxic nail care. It offers eco-friendly, non-toxic, plant-based, cruelty-free products.

“We are providing full spa services including body massage, body scrub and chair massage,” NIB studio told Tysons Reporter.

An opening date has yet to be announced, Capital One Center Manager of Marketing and Community Affairs Meghan Trossen says.

“Right now we have no other leases to announce,” she said.

Reston Skylines also reported that City Tap House, which has seven locations, including one in Loudoun, would be coming to Capital One Center. However, the brewery told Tysons Reporter that it does not have plans to set up shop in Tysons.

Photos courtesy Starr Hill Brewery

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(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) In one month, the public will get its first taste of The Perch, a 1.2-acre sky park expected to open at the Capital One Center development in Tysons this summer.

Capital One Center opened registration this morning (Tuesday) for its upcoming “Pups & Pints” event, which will transform the McLean Metro station parking lot into a pop-up dog park with a beer garden, food trucks, and live music — amenities that will all be included in the sky park.

Pups & Pints will take place from noon to 7 p.m. on May 1, 2, 8, and 9. While the event is free, attendees are required to register in advance for two-hour time slots so organizers can control the site’s capacity, which will be limited based on Virginia’s COVID-19 public health guidelines.

Capital One Center Manager of Marketing and Community Affairs Meghan Trossen says the development decided to bring another pop-up event to the McLean Metro parking lot, which it owns, after the success of the drive-in movie series that it hosted last summer to support the nonprofit Second Story.

“I think a lot of people are looking at pop-ups or repurposing of parking lots as different ways to elevate and build a sense of place,” Trossen told Tysons Reporter. “I think Tysons has struggled with creating a brand and identity…and we really want to help with that mission and ensure that Tysons develops in a way that has a sense of community.”

According to Trossen, about 5,000 people attended the 12 drive-in movie screenings at Capital One Center. The development is expecting over 1,000 attendees over the four planned Pups & Pints days in May.

Capital One Center used the McLean Metro station parking lot to host drive-in movie nights last summer (Photo courtesy Capital One Center)

Like it did with the drive-in movies, Capital One Center is encouraging Pups & Pints visitors to donate to a nonprofit that it has partnered with for the event. In this case, proceeds will go to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a nonprofit based in Arlington that rescues abandoned and neglected pets and helps them find new homes.

The event will also showcase local businesses that offer dog-related products or services, such as training schools, dog daycares, and stores that make dog treats or toys. There will be between four and six vendors each day, Trossen says.

“We’re really trying to focus on local small businesses or local nonprofits to try to elevate those,” Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said.

The emphasis on the local community will extend to the three food trucks that will change each day as well as the musical acts, which will all come from the D.C. area.

Pups & Pints will also feature a “Mutt Strutt” contest where dogs will compete on stage in front of a panel of judges. The first panel will consist of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, former Chairman Sharon Bulova, and Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.

“I am honored and excited to serve as one of the “Mutt Strutt” Judges for Capital One Center’s Pups & Pints Program,” Palchik said by email. “…This is a perfect opportunity to bring our community together safely, to create active spaces, and to highlight the work of a non-profit in the greater Tysons community.”

As for the “pints” aspect of the event, the beer garden will be run by the same brewery that will operate The Perch Biergarten when it opens in July, though Griffith told Tysons Reporter last week that Capital One Center is not yet ready to announce who that tenant will be.

While Pups & Pints was designed as a sneak peek of The Perch, Griffith says Capital One Center sees events like this and last summer’s drive-in movies as essential to Fairfax County’s long-term goal of turning Tysons into “America’s Next Great City,” a place where people will want to live, not just work or shop.

“The event alone won’t stand on its own and radically transform Tysons overnight,” Griffith said. “But it’s through these types of events, these types of activations that we can show that Tysons is a community, that there is more than those two definitions of the mall and of the office that have historically been defining Tysons.”

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(Updated at 11:15 a.m. on 4/5/2021) Springfest is coming to Caboose Commons (2918 Eskridge Road) in Merrifield, rain or shine.

Caboose Brewing Company will host the event at its Mosaic District venue on April 17. This year’s lineup of local breweries includes Alewerks, Right Proper, Väsen, Honor, Sinistral, and Rocket Frog.

This is Caboose’s second attempt at organizing a spring beer festival after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down what was supposed to be the inaugural Springfest last year.

Caboose instead put together a socially distanced Hop Harvest Festival in September based on feedback from customers about how to create a safe festival experience.

“We had a great time bringing breweries together with beer lovers and got some great feedback to make Springfest even more successful,” Caboose Brewing Director of Marketing and Events Courtney Beazell said.

Building off its experience with the fall festival, Caboose is expanding Springfest with a take-home option as well as more options for tasting at Caboose Commons, including more table sizes and different seating times.

Guests comfortable attending in-person can reserve two-hour time blocks starting at 12 p.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. Reservations can be made for tables of four (for $200) or eight (for $360) people. Each seating will include “14 beer tastings per person and exclusive presentations with representatives from each brewery,” according to Caboose Commons.

Along with the beer tasting, Caboose Brewing is hosting its second annual Community Hops Project, which lets customers grow their own hops from April through September.

The harvested hops are then brought back to Caboose Commons and brewed into a Community Hops Pale Ale that is returned in cans to the customer. There will be a virtual instruction series about how to care for the hops plants.

For $25, Caboose is offering one hop rhizome, access to the virtual instruction series, and a four-pack of the Community Pale Ale. Packages can be purchased through the brewery’s website.

“Our Community Hops project invites everyone to participate in the creation of one of our beers. It is educational and unique, and way more fun than making sourdough!” Beazell told Tysons Reporter.

Photo courtesy Caboose Brewing Company

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The ShipGarten, a long-anticipated food and drink experience in shipping containers from the team behind Tysons Biergarten, is slated to open in “early spring.”

“As many can tell, the tent’s been put up, the shipping containers are being built as we speak, and everything is pretty much moving forward rapidly,” former Tysons Biergarten CEO and managing partner Matt Rofougaran said.

ShipGarten plans to be a pop-up for three years at the Scotts Run development in Tysons. It will be six times larger than Tysons Biergarten space, which closed in November 2019.

The pop-up will feature four specially-designed shipping containers where food and drinks will be prepared, along with three year-round tents where guests will sit at tables.

Originally, the new bar was slated to open in the spring of 2020, but it was pushed to the third quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic. Rofougaran also attributed the delays to the long processes involved in trying to do something this new.

“Our contractor has never cut up shipping containers before and converted them into bars,” Rofougaran said. “Fairfax County has never seen anything like this.”

Finding the right tent took a while too, and ultimately, they had to be ordered from Germany.

“Overall, everything about it is different than your normal restaurant-bar,” Rofougaran said.

The experience completely diverged from the process for Hops N Shine in Alexandria, which took six months from getting permits to opening, he said.

At ShipGarten, customers can choose from four mini-restaurants that will each operate in a shipping container: Salamati (which Rofougaran describes as “Persian-style Chipotle”), Tysons Biergarten (German fare like the old establishment served), Rollbär (Asian fusion) and Chalkboard (barbecue).

Customers will order from kiosks outside the containers and pick up their food from one of a half-dozen windows that are being cut into the containers. They will be able to sit at tables, spaced 10 feet apart, under the tent or in the field.

During non-COVID-19 times, Roufgaran says customers would be able to sit at the bar section of the shipping container.

“This will be the safest place for you to do social distancing because of how much land we have,” Rofougaran said. “We’re providing very good social distancing.”

For now, people can try offerings from Salamati and Rollbär at Hops N Shine. Kitchen staff will be preparing the Persian food for a pop-up on Feb. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m., and Asian fusion food will be served from noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 13.

“The pop-ups are the best,” Rofougaran said. “We get people from Tysons showing up to these all the time.”

Images via ShipGarten/Instagram

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Eating outdoors may not sound especially appealing when temperatures are hovering in the 30 to 40-degree range, but that is exactly what some local restaurants are urging patrons to do so they have a chance of outlasting a grueling winter.

With COVID-19 still limiting people’s ability and willingness to dine inside, Caboose Brewing Company, which runs Caboose Tavern in Vienna and Caboose Commons in Merrifield, joined forces with Reston’s Lake Anne Brew House in December to launch the #BundleUp campaign.

The grassroots initiative encourages customers to don blankets and winter clothing so they can eat and drink outside. It is open to all restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, and other food establishments, though the organizers are not keeping a tally of everyone who’s participating.

“A lot of people feel safer when they’re outside with people, so I think it’s catching on,” Caboose Events and Marketing Manager Courtney Beazell said. “It’s getting the response that we wanted. We’re hoping that more people will continue to promote it and continue to use it.”

Over the campaign’s two months of existence, it has evolved to include a “collaboration brew” that Caboose is offering to other restaurants and bars, along with a Bundle Up bike ride.

According to Beazell, Lake Anne Brew House owner Melissa Romano proposed developing a brew to spread the word about the Bundle Up campaign. Caboose was already planning to sell a “Wee Heavy” scotch ale for the winter before realizing that the new brew would be a perfect fit for the campaign.

The brewery started canning the ale on Jan. 5, producing 36 cases to sell to restaurants, breweries, and bottle shops. Wee Heavy is also available to customers on tap at Caboose Tavern.

Caboose sold out its supply, with buyers coming from across Northern Virginia and even as far away as Richmond, but the recipe is available on the company’s website for any breweries still interested in participating.

Caboose Brewing Company owner Jennifer McLaughlin says the collaboration brew has helped create a sense of community within Fairfax County’s craft beer industry.

“We’re all in this together, and everybody’s suffering right now,” McLaughlin said. “Just knowing that there are other restaurants and breweries out there that are going through the same thing and that you’ve got friends out there going through the same thing, that helps.” Read More

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Since COVID-19 arrived in Fairfax County in March, creativity and community support have become critical for the many local businesses hustling to survive in a world where crowds and social interactions carry public health risks.

The Caboose Brewing Company hopes to harness both forces – innovation and the loyalty of its regular customers – by introducing beer, soup, and coffee subscriptions in time for the holiday season.

Owner of Caboose Tavern in Vienna and Caboose Commons in Merrifield, Caboose officially announced this morning (Wednesday) that customers who buy a Souper Sunday Subscription will get two quarts of soup delivered to them for free every Sunday for the next four weeks.

A subscription purchase will include discounts on packer and growler beer glasses. The soups will also be available for sale a la carte.

However, Caboose’s centerpiece offering is the 2021 Caboose Barrel Club, a year-long subscription that will give buyers access to eight brand-new barrel-aged or barrel-fermented beers developed by the brewery.

“We’ve been wanting to do more exciting releases and really cater towards kind of our number-one fans, the people that are buying all of our new releases and the real beer nerds out there,” Caboose Head Brewer Matt Furda said. “…This subscription really caters toward those people.”

Club subscribers will receive a four pack of beer roughly every other month throughout 2021, along with perks such as virtual tastings with Furda for each new release, 10% off dine-in draft beer at Caboose Commons and Caboose Tavern, and a fee waiver for a space reservation for a party of up to 30 people.

According to Caboose’s website, the eight beers in the series will be:

  • Rum barrel-aged tiramisu stout
  • Bourbon barrel-aged cherry pie Maibock
  • Cognac barrel-aged barleywine
  • Barrel-fermented mixed berry sour
  • Wine barrel-aged caraway rye strong ale
  • Scotch barrel-aged wee-heavy
  • Bourbon barrel-aged coconut vanilla wheatwine
  • Barrel-fermented Flanders red ale

The brews are all completely new for Caboose and will be produced in limited quantities. Barrel Club subscriptions will be available for purchase throughout December for $300.

According to Furda, the idea for the Barrel Club grew out of Caboose’s other efforts to adapt its business model to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

In addition to offering grocery deliveries and opening up its parking lots to allow for socially distanced seating, Caboose started hosting virtual happy hours and developed a community hops program where people helped grow hops that were then used in one of the brewery’s beers.

“This barrel club again is kind of a way to connect with our community, with our most dedicated fans,” Furda said.

Courtney Beazell, events and marketing manager for Caboose, says the brewery will also offer a coffee subscription that will run similarly to the Barrel Club with subscribers getting a certain amount of coffee delivered regularly.

The coffee subscriptions will roll out within the next week, according to Beazell.

“It’ll be another gift-able option for people,” she said. “…We have a lot coming up to keep people busy and keep everything running on our end.”

Photo courtesy Caboose Brewing Company

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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.

Read More

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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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