When the pineapple’s on the sign, you know they’re open! Port City Brewing Company takes their name from Alexandria’s history as a colonial seaport and their use of the pineapple stems from a colonial tradition as well. Opened just over 3 years ago, Port City was one of the first in a now-large group of D.C.-area breweries. Their beer is among the best in the region and can be found throughout the mid-Atlantic.
While their flagship beers are quite excellent, Port City’s seasonal and limited releases add character to the selection. Peruse their chalkboard lineup of what’s on tap and keep an eye out for the Maniacal Double IPA, or anything numerical (One, Two and Three are anniversary beers), among other treats. On our recent visit, Port City tapped a firkin of their Porter with ginger and citrus that I found quite intriguing.
Port City has two bars, several cocktail tables and recently added a few hightop wooden tables for much-needed additional bar space. The bartenders will take orders for growler fills and swag (shirts, growlers, glassware, tap handles, etc) as well as kegs; however if ordering a keg, you should call ahead and give them advance notice or ask when the tasting room isn’t full of customers. They give an excellent tour of their constantly expanding brewery, explaining how the brewing process in general works as well as specifics for their facility or special beers (Ask about the Derecho Common or Revival Oyster Stout!).
Port City Brewing Company (Alexandria, VA)
3950 Wheeler Ave
Alexandria, VA 22304
Total Beers Tapped: 12
Tours: Yes (free)
Growler/On-Site Sale: Yes, PCBC sells growlers, bottles and kegs
Food: No food served by brewery, but food trucks often park outside for various brewery events
Beer Selection: Port City always has a great beer selection on tap in the tasting room. Their flagship beers (Essential Pale Ale, Monumental IPA, Optimal Wit, Porter and Downright Pilsner) are always available, plus various seasonals and limited releases.
Amenities: Free brewery tours. Brewery often holds events such as “Heavy Metal Night” or release nights for a newly tapped beer. Parking is limited. If crowded, you’ll most likely have to find a spot on the street.
Atmosphere: Early on a weekday afternoon, you’ll find the bar quiet, but as the night darkens, it can grow quite busy. Weekends are busy throughout the day. On weekdays you’ll find more of the beer nerd crowd, who are familiar with the brewery personnel and are experts in beer overall. Weekends have a more raucous crowd.
Overall: If you work along the Beltway, Port City is a great place to stop for a couple beers after work. Even if you don’t, you’ll find Port City a very welcoming and tasty spot during your visit to the D.C. area. Check out nearby Old Town Alexandria and catch the Metro into D.C. You’ll find beers for most tastes, but my favorites are the Optimal Wit and the Essential Pale Ale. If you’re not sure what to try, ask. The bartenders are quite knowledgable and the brewmaster himself is often mingling in the tasting room. Look for reviews of Port City’s beers here as this is a favorite place of mine to visit!