We headed to Ashburn Sunday afternoon, our targeted destination was Old Ox Brewery. Opened just three weeks now, I've been seeing many references the brewery on various social media and wanted to check them out. We made our way to Ashburn, the "back way," to avoid the interstate. Arriving in an industrial park full of non-descript and similar looking buildings, we drove around for awhile before finding the brewery. Old Ox is located at the end of the street, and is not easily visible until you arrive in front of it.
The Old Ox facilities are quite spacious. There's a large brewing area visible behind the tasting room. Seating is provided both indoors and out. Old Ox is located next to the W&D Trail, and we saw numerous bike riders taking a short break before continuing on their ride.
The brewery offers three serving sizes; 2 ounce toasters, as well as half and full pints. That's a great option I'd like to see at more brewery tasting rooms. Four beers were on tap this day, so Colleen and I both opted to start out with flights of tasters. Our friend "Checkered Flag" made his final beer decision right away and opted for a pint of a Saison.
The first beer in the flight was Alpha Ox, a "session" IPA. This IPA checks in at just 4.5% ABV. At the first sip I struck by the "green" hop bitterness and slightly oily mouthfeel. I asked at the counter and got confirmation that the beer was dry-hopped with Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe hops. The dry-hopped profile is quite evident. I enjoyed this IPA, though my companions found it too bitter.
Moving on to the next beer, Golden Ox, a Belgian Blonde. At 6.5%, this was the "biggest" beer of the flight. The flavor is mild with a pleasing Belgian yeast and sweet malt profile. Despite a more conservative profile than the previous beer, the crisp flavor refreshed the palate and made itself known even after the bitterness of Alpha Ox.
Black Ox, a Rye Porter was next in the lineup. The 6.0% ABV, the Porter has a slight cereal graininess to it. It's smooth with a mild roasted malt base. We all enjoyed this one very much, and especially after it had warmed it evoked exclamations of "Ooh, that's good" from us and others around us.
Finally I moved on to the Saison d'Ox, which "Checkered Flag" had already been enjoying. He was very enamored with the beer. Colleen had also "tasted ahead" and liked it. When I got to my sample, I was impressed as well. Easily drinkable at 5.7% ABV, it had a wild yeast flavor along with a fresh citrus tang. Despite my affection for IPAs, this one was my favorite of the four.
When all the preliminary tasting was said and done, Colleen and I both opted to enjoy a full glass of Saison d’Ox. A half pint for her, a full pint for me. The tasting room sells snack sized bags of chips and pretzels. No other food is served, though delivery from some local food places is available. I grabbed a couple bags of chips for us to munch on while we all enjoyed the Old Ox Saison. One of those snacks was a very spicy, red pepper flavored chip that the beer cut through nicely and made for a very simple but enjoyable pairing.
We had a great visit at Old Ox Brewery and were impressed with all of the Old Ox beers. I look forward to trying more from them when I get a chance. We also appreciated that the beers were all relatively low in ABV. Perhaps that's a nod to all the bicyclists stopping in for a refreshment during their ride. :-) Even on a Sunday afternoon, there was a steady flow of folks stopping by for a beer, as well as growler fills. Last call came at 6:00PM and that's when we headed out in search of dinner before beginning the trek home.