Here we are at the end of Virginia Craft Beer Month and what a journey it’s been! Loudoun County is home to an incredible diversity of craft beer and craft brewery experiences. From the expansive and scenic farm breweries dotting the western fringes of the county to the intimate and quirky breweries of downtown Leesburg, to the industrial vibe of the Dulles Corridor there’s a brew and a comfortable barstool for everyone.
Now it’s time to visit is our final stop in this adventure — so grab your growlers, and let’s go!
Purcellville is the smallest cluster on the Loudoun County Ale Trail but what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in creativity and fun times! If bold and genre expanding IPAs and Stouts are your thing, you cannot go wrong with Adroit Theory Brewing. Be sure to take some of their bottles home with you; their famous gothic art is something to see! If you want more of a brewpub atmosphere and a nice sit-down meal to go with your craft beer, then Dragon Hops Brewing is the place for you. And if you really want one of those comfortable bar stools and perhaps the most laid back, unassuming and friendly vibe on the entire LoCo Ale Trail then Belly Love Brewing is a can’t miss!
Let’s drop in see how owner and head brewer Tolga Baki works his magic.
Photo by Belly Love Brewing Company
The Baki family has been involved in the Loudoun winery and craft beer scene almost from the beginning. Tolga’s father opened Hillsborough Winery just north of Purcellville in 2003, and both Tolga and his brother Karem were heavily involved in the business from the start. This experience prepared them to eventually open Belly Love Brewing right as the craft beer revolution was gaining steam in Northern Virginia. The Baki family has seen and done it all when it comes to Virginia craft beer and wine, and Tolga is particularly proud of the intimate and community-oriented atmosphere at Belly Love Brewing.
Step through Belly Love’s unassuming front doors and find yourself in the kind of warm and cozy space that is often lacking in our busy and bustling region. The brick walls, varnished dark wood bar and tables, and soft stylish lighting have a calming effect that is intentional according to Tolga, who wants Belly Love to be a “laid back and community oriented place” where customers regular and new can “chill and stay awhile”. Even the name “Belly Love” was conceived of to add a zen-like vibe to the brewhouse.
Photo by Belly Love Brewing Company
Customer response has been excellent, and Belly Love boasts the kind of passionate, loyal and regular local following that is the envy of any community-focused brewhouse. At the same time, it is welcoming to all and has a solid lineup of weekly events to entice new customers including Hump Day Growler Discounts on Wednesday, Happy Hour every Tuesday through Thursday, and Thursday Night Trivia.
Belly Love’s beer lineup focuses on traditional styles with a noticeable and frankly welcome lack of gimmicky and trendy beers like high ABV pastry stouts or milkshake IPAs. Instead, indulge in delicious and expertly crafted classics like their award winning 50 Shades of Gold Belgian Golden Strong Ale, their dark and silky Eye of Jupiter Oatmeal Stout or perfect-for-the-season Narcissist Helles Lager. The seasonal Suspension of Disbelief Belgian Tripel brewed with blood orange, cranberries and hibiscus flowers is also incredible; a near perfect balance of spice, fruit and funk that you would expect from the style.
Almost all of Belly Love’s brews are made with regionally appropriate ingredients and are “true to style”. They are also a welcome love letter to the notion that craft brewers don’t always have to follow the increasingly extreme brewing trends that are dominating the industry today. There is still plenty of room for styles that have proven their worth over decades and even centuries and are expertly crafted with a local and creative twist. At Belly Love that’s exactly what you will find, and it’s delicious. Stop in and stay awhile. Grab a pint and one of their delicious flatbreads and just…. relax.
Can you think of a better way to
spend an afternoon at a craft brewery? I can’t.
We hope you've enjoyed this series of insider information, tips and insights on how you can #ConquertheTrail! Cheers to Loudoun beer!
Guest Blogger and Certified Cicerone Brian Hennighausen is a lifelong Northern Virginia resident and craft beer lover. You can follow him on Instagram @brewscapes or on his website www.brewscapes.org!