A week and a half ago, just ahead of its 9th Anniversary celebration, Mad Fox Brewing Company’s Bill Madden announced that the Falls Church brewpub would close its doors this coming Sunday, July 21.
With more breweries opening than ever, closings are also becoming more frequent, but the loss of Mad Fox has reverberated throughout the D.C. and Northern Virginia beer scenes like… well, a loss for the local beer scene.
Madden is a D.C. area legend, a mentor to brewers who can be found all over the area, and a brewer whose recipes at Mad Fox ranged from a world-class Keller Kolsch and excellent Pilsner and American Pale Ale, to robust Barleywines, to some future-forward IPAs — the Citra hop laden Orange Whip was years ahead of its time.
I always admired Two Hemispheres: A Wet Hop IPA featuring a blend of Citra and Galaxy that debuted in 2011. Galaxy was already out there, but that beer felt like a harbinger of things to come.
We’re also losing a hub of activity for local beer enthusiasts. Mad Fox’s festivals were well run, well-staffed and always featured a great selection of beers and breweries. The Spring Bierfest, Barleywine Fest, the Cask Ale Fest; lovely lecture/tasting evenings with Bob Tupper; the Festivus release parties. All gone.
So, what happened? Mad Fox’s closing announcement cites the proliferation of taproom breweries among the challenges it faced in staying afloat. Opening in 2010, Mad Fox didn’t have the option of opening a brewery with a taproom; SB 604 wouldn’t become law until 2012, allowing on-premise retail sale and consumption at Virginia breweries. The rise of strong craft beer programs for restaurants has made tougher competitors of them, as well.
As a brewpub, Mad Fox was walking the tightrope of running two high-risk, high-overhead businesses under one roof. The irony, I think, is that as you see taprooms focusing more on food features or planning to add kitchens, it feels like we’re just a few years away from a brewpub renaissance. Alas.
Running a little early on my way into Arrowine on Wednesday, I detoured into Falls Church to drop in on the Fox. Bill was at the end of the bar, spinning all the necessary plates to keep everything running through Sunday’s last service. He noted that the lunch run was the busiest he’d seen in a while, which, of course, right?
He’s obviously had a hard few weeks but was as kind and gregarious as ever, with high praise for the staff sticking things out with him. We caught up and ended up swapping stories, which is impossible not to do with him. I’m hoping to have an interview with him up for you soon. Not before Bill gets some deserved and needed downtime, though.
This will be the last weekend for Mad Fox; if you’re around at the right time on Sunday you might just catch me enjoying a last beer or two.
Upcoming Arrowine Events:
Friday, July 19, 5-7 p.m: Sean Michaels of The Bruery
Saturday, July 20, 1-4 p.m.: Laura Boyle from Three Notch’d Brewing
Saturday, August 10, 1-4 p.m.: ANXO Cidery!
Friday, August 16, 5-7 p.m.: Rafael Mendoza of Hardywood Brewing Company
Friday, August 30, 5-7 p.m.: Stephanie Boles from Old Ox Brewing
Take a tour of the Courthouse neighborhood and explore two local favorites of Sallie Seiy, your guide in the latest Neighborhood Spotlight.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
The Arlington County Board and the Human Rights Commission are at odds over whether commissioners had the right to request an investigation into possible human and civil rights violations at…
Expanded renovated 4 BR 3 bath with garage in Cardinal Swanson Yorktown pyramid
The Potomac Roasting Company is a local micro-roaster specializing in artisan coffee. We precision roast high-quality specialty beans sourced from small farms in Latin America that are owned and operated by women. Your coffee will be roasted the way you want it and delivered fresh.
As two former Peace Corps volunteers who served in Guatemala, we founded Potomac Roasting to pursue our passion for great coffee and purpose-driven work. In addition to ethically sourcing our beans, we also donate a portion of our profits to Laila’s Legacy Animal Rescue, a DC-based nonprofit that finds homes for homeless dogs and cats.
Our current roasts come from prime coffee-producing regions of Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. We will be adding new roasts soon. If you are local, there’s a good chance we can deliver to your door. Look for us at local farmers’ markets beginning this spring. In the meantime, check us out now for better coffee and good karma in a cup. You can use the code Community and save 10%.
🎉 Tonight, we invite you to the French Riviera, one of the most exciting places on earth – without ever boarding a plane! And celebrate Mardi Gras and the Carnival of Nice on French soil as we welcome you to a special evening at the Embassy of France!
From the elegance of classical French culture to the most celebrated Rivera nightlife of the 21st Century, experience a special evening of fantastic French food, wine, music, and ambiance.
Enjoy the flavors of Nice, Monaco, and St. Tropez in the beautiful and festive Maison Francaise at the French Embassy.
🍽️ On the Menu: Delicious French food
Cody Chance and Dick Nathan of Long & Foster are hosting a free workshop on the topic of “down-sizing” at their office on Cherry Hill Rd. (formerly Lee Highway) in Arlington on Thursday, February 29 from 5:30PM-7:00PM.
Every great endeavor