Gone are the days of venturing to Whole Foods to get beer in Vienna.
By Evan Milberg
Last month, Matt Greer stood before the Vienna Town Council with a proposal to create a hybrid gastro-pub/brewery, Caboose Brewing Company. The council’s question to him was simple: Why Vienna?
“I told them the story about how I would call up friends and they would say, ‘Yeah we’re having a beer. Come down to Whole Foods and join us.’ And how sad that was to have my friends drinking beer at Whole Foods—the only place in town to get good beer,” says Greer. The council officially approved the brewery last Wednesday.
Greer and his friend Tim McLaughlin decided to do something about it by starting their own brewery near the caboose of the W&OD Trail. They experimented with brewing in college, but knew they were much better at drinking beer than making it; They hired Chris Mallon from Heavy Seas Alehouse as brewermaster.
“It’s going to be your standard IPA, brown ale, stout, but we also want to do some funky stuff as well,” says Mallon. “We really want to dive into some sours, some ciders. I’m really into smoked beers too, so we’ll have some of those. We’re also going to make our own sodas, root beer and cream soda.”
The vision for the brewery is to make it as family-friendly as possible. Both Greer and McLaughlin have two kids who go to school in Northern Virginia, so it was important to make sure Caboose had something for everyone. “This won’t be a bar where you have to hide the kids’ eyes,” says Greer. “The Vienna demographic [has] a lot of 25-50 year-olds with kids, who still want to get out and hang out but don’t want to abandon the kids at home,” adds McLaughlin.
Food is going to be an important part of the equation as well. Greer says they plan on serving brunch on the weekends and will also have a kids’ menu. Greer is excited about experimenting with different flatbreads. McLaughlin’s wife is a nutritionist and she plans on helping Caboose use locally sourced organic ingredients and grass-fed beef. McLaughlin and Greer are planning on a June opening. /Caboose Brewing, 520 Mill St. NE, Vienna