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Friday, September 25, 2015

Caboose Brewing Company - Vienna, VA

Breweries are sprouting up all over Northern Virginia. From Norfolk to the outer reaches of Appalachia, there is just a plethora of new breweries that fit everybody's taste. Even closer in, a few new ones have sprouted up, including in the Town of Vienna. So, I put in a call and made a reservation at one called Caboose Brewing Company.

The Caboose Brewing Company (; 520 Mill Street, NE Vienna, VA  22180 V: +1 703 865 8580) is based on Vienna's long time association with the railroad. Now defunct, Vienna used to host a good portion of Northern Virginia's short haul freight capability. That freight capabilty has now been turned from rails to trails as the W&OD became a suburban trail for bicycles, joggers and walkers.

The address puts the brewery headquarters right at end of the rail line, in a quiet and content spot. As the last building in the rail line, they have a really nice place to service their brand of brew and limited fare.  I walked up to the end of the building, opened the door, and walked up the few steps to the servers table. My table was ready and they escorted me back and presented me with the menu. I selected a four item flight for my drink and ordered up a bowl of duck eggs and miso soup. My meal concluded with a shrimp and grits mix and then concluded with a pulled pork dish. The food was great, but be prepared to order several things at once because they come as small portions.

The four item flight came quickly enough but it container sat rather catty-wompus to the rest of the table. I could never get it to sit straight. 

The flight started off with the Half Wit, a witbier. This hoppy beer quickly takes the drinker into a spicy flavor. A spicy flavor that you just can not get rid of except to take a couple of sips of water. Its almost too much spice to be good and it overshadows the wit. It is interesting that it is not listed as a hoppy beer, but rather as a light beer. The witbier is given a label of 4.7% ABV and the IBU is not listed. The website accords it this way:

Belgian Style White Beer, Sweet & Bitter Orange Peel, Coriander Notes, Grains of Paradise

I scored it as an Untappd of 3.25.

The second entry in the flight was the Sidetrack Saison, a saison beer. This beer is in their fighting for recognition as a good strong saison. It has a nice flavor, but it is just kind of average. Yeah, I had it as average, though I know several other on Untappd had labeled it as good, but it just did not do anything special for me. Its just a saison, special in its own right, but average in the world of saisons.   The saison has a 6.0% ABV and the IBU is not listed. The website describes is this way:

The saison is a classic European style derived from “Farmhouse ales” provided to farm workers during lunch and after their workday. The belgian yeast strain creates a dry, fruity beer with notes of pineapple, citrus and a touch of champagne. The effervescence of the style adds to the champagne comparison, making this one of our most refined beers for the usual wine-drinker.

I scored it as an Untappd of 3.5.

Next up was the Crossroads Lager, which was listed a Vienna Lager. This beer actually struck me as a fresh and moving forward in its taste. Its actually a little heavier than most lagers, like someone had taken the time to measure it out rather than just slapping the label on it. It was good and separated it away from the other beers. The lager has a 5.25% ABV and the IBU is not listed. The website describes it this way:

A light toasted-malt aroma with a medium body. A crisp finish rounds out this brew with a slight noble hop bitterness. This is a well-balanced easy drinking Vienna-style lager perfect for summer.

I scored it as an Untappd of 4.0.

As for the fourth beer, I have to admit, I made a mistake. I had put the incorrect name into Untappd and saved it as Caboose Oatmeal Stout by American Brewing Company rather than as Little Hobo Stout. The Little Hobo Stout, which is a true stout, was really the champion. Warm and wonderful, the stout has a separate flavor that simply sells the taste. That second flavor, which is separate from the stout track, really has a spirited zing. It simply picks up the average beer and pulls it much closer to the goal line. It is neither to coffee or the chocolate but it is a flavoring of the two that brings this one so close. The stout has a 4.5% ABV and the IBU is not listed. The website describes it this way:

A Medium Bodied American Stout with a Roasted Nose, Chocolate & Coffee on the Palate and a Clean Finish

I scored it as an Untappd of 4.25.

I have a pretty good idea that Caboose Brewing Company will continue to ride high as long as the brewing crazy remains in effect. The question become what will happen when the tide runs out and there is a cut back in such places. By 9:30, the place was generally empty on a Friday night and it had not been full. The bar was doing pretty well, but it was not too deep to start with. We will have to see if Caboose Brewing Company has what it takes to stick around.

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