Tucked behind a seemingly ordinary suburb of cookie-cutter castles is a grilling, growler-filling duo in Waterford, VA. About an hour from D.C., Corcoran Brewery & Monk’s BBQ serves flights of local brews and plates of fresh-smoked barbecue every weekend to visitors who make the trek down the twisty two-mile trail of pesky potholes and dirt that ends at the sight of a large brown lake, and the foot of a gravel parking lot.
Up the rocky hill is Corcoran’s beer tasting room that pours a selection of house brews listed on the back wall in yellow and red. Expect each brew to range in taste from light to dark, left to right. A few steps away is an on-site barbecue stand that fires up a massive smoker every weekend to serve tender brisket, juicy pulled pork, smokey pastrami (reminiscent of Katz) and fall-off-the-bone ribs with sides great enough to eat alone–like smoked gouda macaroni and cheese, beans and bacon, potato salad and pasta salad. If you’re into sauces–check out the lineup of house blend dressings to coat each meat with a sweet, tangy or spicy kick. Blackberry Whiskey, Raspberry Merlot, Angry and Stout were a few of my favorites.
Favorite brews: Wheatlands (butterscotch, light-bodied ale that’s easy on the hops), Slainte Stout (sweet, rich and dark, like carbonated shots of espresso) and Hops The Bunny, because it’s a citrusy IPA… but also because it’s named after an adorable orange bunny (Corcoran’s tiny mascot) that lives under the shed at the brewery.
BBQ Must Try’s: Everything we tried was a hit (including the ribs, pulled pork and pastrami), but if there’s one thing you need try before you leave-it’s the tender, buttery brisket.
P.S. I didn’t get a chance to check it out (I was a little preoccupied playing with the Corcoran labradors that needed belly rubs and someone to play fetch with after all the beer and bbq), but a short drive down the street is the Corcoran Wine Tasting room where you’ll find bottles of their very own Meritage, Viognier, four different dessert wines, and an apple wine I’ll have to try next time I visit.
Cocoran Brewery & Monk’s BBQ: 14635 Corkys Farm Lane, Waterford, Virginia 20197; (540) 882-9073; www.corcoranbrewing.com; Open Saturday & Sunday.