Monday, April 9, 2012

Vintage 51 & A Lost Rhino Beer

We visited friends in Northern Virginia over the Easter weekend, so broke from our traditional meal at home, and enjoyed a meal out to celebrate. We opted to try out Vintage 51 in South Riding. Sister restaurant to Vintage 50 in Leesburg, Vintage 51 offers family dining in a casual atmosphere. This was a place I've been wanting to try for some time, so was looking forward to our dinner.

Vintage 50 has a brewery onsite. Not so 51, but their online beer menu did list the Vintage 50 Cat IPA. Unfortunately, the house beer was not available. While disappointing, another selection was easy to make. The beer menu at Vintage 51 is well-done, with a wide variety of bottle and draft craft beer choices. I opted for Face Plant IPA, from another Virginia brewery, Lost Rhino in Ashburn. My dining partners also found selections they enjoyed as well. Colleen opted for a draft Allagash White, our friend selected Original Sin Cider.

Lost Rhino Face Plant IPA (Gotta love the name!) pours a hazy copper color with a thin white head. The aroma is stronger on the sweet malt, but with some citrus notes thrown in. It's not heavy in the aroma profile, but pleasing nonetheless. The citrus and bitter hop notes come out more in the flavor. It's still a malt-forward IPA, but with enough bitterness to keep my interest. The bitterness of grapefruit rind lingers in the mouth for a long while. While not extreme in any sense, I found Face Plant to be quite enjoyable. In fact, I finished my glass before we finished our appetizers, and ordered second to enjoy with my meal.

The food menu offers much variety; steaks, sandwiches, salads, pasta, seafood, not to mention plenty of appetizers. We decided to start with a couple of starters, it was a Feast day after all! We selected the Vintage Wings (Buffalo style) and the Onion Rings. The wings were large, meaty and spicy with a nice crispy outside. The Rings were tasty as well; lightly breaded and served with a spicy remoulade. Two winners here.

For my entrée I opted for the Black & Bleu Strip. The streak was coated in Cajun spices and topped with Blue Cheese. I enjoyed the steak very much and the Face Plant IPA went quite well. Colleen ordered the Grilled New York Strip, our son the Pulled Pork BBQ sandwich, while our friend opted for the BBQ Pork Shanks. Every one of the entrées was well-prepared, and no one had any complaints about the food. My son filled up on appetizers so left most of his BBQ sandwich. When he enjoyed it for lunch the next day he remarked that he wanted to back to Vintage 51 soon.

When it came time to think about dessert, we did think about it, but all were too stuffed to make that move. However, we did opt for coffee while we lingered and continued our fun conversations. I am often wary of restaurant coffee. It's very hit or miss I find. Even after a restaurant serves a fine, delicious meal, there's no guarantee the coffee with be any good. I am happy to report that the coffee was hot and very dark French Roast. In fact, it I hadn't had my fill of food and beverage, I would have accepted our server's offer of a refill.

I think the only thing I have not covered is the service. That too was excellent. Justin was attentive and cheerful. We kept him hopping as we lingered between ordering each course. We discussed our experience at Vintage 51 quite a bit after we left. We were unanimous in our opinions. We will definitely be returning when the opportunity presents itself. We've tried a number of local "pubs" while visiting Northern Virginia, and with it's offerings of good craft beer and a well-rounded menu, Vintage 51 might be one of my new favorites.


  1. Hmm...Sounds nice. I'm a dark beer drinker, fond of stouts and porters, but as we move into warmer weather I'll be looking for lighter without being too hoppy. I like the "malt forward" part. And I'm not that far from Leesburg.

  2. Yup. I like Vintage 51. The only problem with it is that it is only 10 minutes from my office.

    1. I used to work just 100 yards from Blue & Gray Brewery in Fredericksburg. THAT was fun.


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