Northern Neck Brewing Co., Montross, Virginia

We have been fans of the Northern Neck craft beer scene, and as quasi-locals (my mom has lived in Cabin Point for 12-plus years) we often drop by Montross Brewery during our visits. But it closed for the winter season this year (2023-24). So what’s a beer lover to do?

Fortunately, our trip down last weekend coincided with the grand opening of a new brewery in Montross, the Northern Neck Brewing Co. With a resident chef and a full range of beer styles, the new project certainly looked promising. So we “sprang forward” and joined the crowd in the newly reno’ed space at the curve in the Kings Highway in the center of town across from the Westmoreland County Courthouse.

While still spartan inside, the patio area was spruced up and ready for humans and canine companions—but a slew of showers kept folks ducking into the main taproom to escape from the wet. We found one of the last tables—a Saturday night, after all—and ordered from the bar my first flight, and a No Neck Lager for Stephen. Mom had a non-alcoholic Athletic Brewing pale ale that she enjoyed (along with watching the Iowa Women’s Basketball team make it through to the finals of the Big Ten championships).

The flight included the Farmhouse ale first, with its clove and coriander aromas, deep golden color, and light to medium body. Lots of clove and hay flowers on the palate. The West Coast IPA stayed pretty true to form, with a rich golden hue, medium body, and stone fruit and resin on the nose. Very piney and more of a stone fruit pit on the palate with a hit of mango to lighten it up. The British brown ale showed a molasses aroma, and deep brown color, along with a medium body and slightly bitter back end. The Porter came in dark brown and clear, with a medium body and cocoa aromas, with caramel macchiato on the palate.

We ordered food from the line, with mom getting a rockfish sandwich, and S a burger, while I chose the shrimp tacos—I had hoped for the Mahi tacos, but they were already out as a special by the time we got to the front of the queue. Pretty tasty all around, with the rockfish sandie the big winner.

For a second flight, I made my way through the rest of the brews in the lineup. Starting with the Saison, I enjoyed its lightly coriander aroma, and pale golden color, with nutmeg and lime peel on the palate and a dry, bitter finish. The Apfel was a golden hazy tone, with windfall apple aromas and dry, crisp Galas on the finish—definitely one for cider fans! The Irish Red was amber with a light body and a waft of molasses on the nose, then a even-keeled, malty flavor and lightly bitter back end. Finally, the Belgian Tripel gave me tropical banana aromas and a mild passionfruit streak on the palate.

All told, the space is still a bit spartan (and could use a bit of soundproofing in the ceiling and more art on the walls to help the acoustics). But the folks behind the bar are very friendly and eager to succeed—and we’ll be back to help them do just that. It’s a great addition to the Northern Neck craft scene.