Staycation Weekend – February 2014

Hello and Happy Tuesday! So because Kevin had to work last weekend we decided to celebrate Valentines Day and our six month anniversary a week later! Since we’re on a bit of a budget we decided to stay in the area instead of truly “going away” for the weekend. Originally I wanted to stay in a little boutique hotel in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, but then I found a special deal on a hotel in the Dulles area for – are you ready for this? — $56 per night. And this wasn’t just any hotel on sale – this was the hotel that Kevin and I usually stayed at on our layovers in DC when we were in between overseas for work – so it holds some sentimental value. For those who are interested, we stayed at the Hyatt Place Dulles-Herndon East. (For the record, there is also a Hyatt Place Dulles North and Dulles South, but no West. Interesting.) Anyway – this hotel is a complete gem for the price (Usually the cost is typically around $89 or $99 per night). Not only does it includes a hot breakfast, which is a huge bonus for me seeing how much I love food, but it also boasts 24 hour room service, a bar, an indoor pool – (huge in Virginia in February), and a fitness center. Not to mention each room has a separate sort of sitting area which includes a sofa bed, so it’s a total win. The hotel is about a 45 minute drive to downtown DC, so if you’re ever in the area and looking for a deal – I highly recommend it!

hyatt place dulles herndon east

We didn’t really have a plan for our weekend, so after some deliberation and online searching we ended up driving in to DC to check out Union Market DC. Union Market is an artisan market in Capitol City and has a bunch of adorable artisan stands. Parking in the area is free and we scored a spot right outside the building – woohoo! Once inside we did a lap to check out the shops and ended up at the Red Apron Butcher for lunch and beer.

red apron butcher union market dc_eatwriterunrepeat.com

It only just occurred to me that I didn’t take any pictures of the beer or the sandwiches we got, but suffice to say they were awesome. Some more pictures:

cordial fine wine and beers union market dc | eatwriterunrepeat.com

righteous cheese union market dc | eatwriterunrepeat.com

union market dc | eatwriterunrepeat.com

From Union Market we decided to check out Port City Brewery in Alexandria, VA. I’m not going to lie, from the outside it was a little underwhelming:

port city brewery virginia | eatwriterunrepeat.com

But once we got inside it was nice – it was sort of a mixed ambience between modern America and old style Bavaria…at least that’s what I felt anyway. It was pretty crowded when we arrived, so we decided not to take the actually brewery tour and opted instead just to drink. and because the bartender and my husband are both from the same area of California and both have family from the same area in Oklahoma (weird, right?) we scored free flights! Sweet! The flight was pretty spectacular – six different tastings for $9 — and they were all great beers. I’m not an IPA person, I’ve mentioned this before, but I was really impressed with their Monumental IPA, as well the American Pale Ale which I’m also not normally a fan of. Kevin and I decided that there wasn’t one beer we wouldn’t order if we saw it in a restaurant, and that’s saying something!

port city brew house flight | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Anyway – if you ever get a chance to get to Port City Brewery in Alexandria, you won’t regret it. At least, I think you won’t! 😉

port city brew house virginis 2 | eatwriterunrepeat.com

After the brewery we were hungry again, so we checked out restaurants in the area and ended up at Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Company for some barbecue. It was awesome, and that’s all I have to say about that.

rocklands BBQ | eatwriterunrepeat.com

rocklands BBQ | eatwriterunrepeat.com

After the barbecue we pretty much called it a day.

We checked out of the hotel on Sunday morning and brunch with some friends from our Bible Study before returning home and preparing to head back to reality, but it was really nice to spend some time away from our house, but not really away from home. And the best part? The entire weekend cost us about $250! Not too bad for a mini-getaway weekend!

I’m already planning our next one.

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Lost Rhino Brewing Co.

So last Sunday after church, The Man and I were driving down the road, fully intending to go home and begin tackling our to-do list, when all of the sudden I noticed a sign for “Lost Rhino Brewing Co.” I casually commented that maybe possibly we could check it out.

The Man turned off the road so fast my head is still spinning. So much for our plan to tackle our to-do list!

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I had never actually heard of Lost Rhino until a friend recommended it a couple of months ago. (At a wedding in Northern California, no less!) So when we randomly saw the sign we couldn’t not check it out! It took us a few wrong turns to find it – it’s located in an industrial area of VA and doesn’t look like what I would picture a brewery to look like…although I’m not really sure what I did expect a brewery to look like! (Although I guess, to be fair, it’s a Brewing Company and not a Brewery. Are they different? I should probably google that.)

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We decided that we’d each do a tasting and split them. A typical tasting is five 5oz glasses for somewhere around $9.00 – you can’t beat that, right? So originally we would have tasted ten beers…except that the girl doing the pours accidentally poured too many – so we ended up tasting all thirteen beers at no extra cost! Win!

Lost Rhino has a really good mix of pilsners, pale ales, IPA’s and darker beers. We went through the tasting in order of the board.

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(Obviously the above tasters weren’t poured in the order of the board, and clearly from the picture directly above, I forgot to take the picture until after we had already started tasting. Oops.)

With the exception of select few, The Man and I really enjoyed all the beers. (We’re not IPA fans in general, and I’m not much of a pale ale fan myself – I don’t like when the beer is too hoppy).

My favorites were definitely the Holy Brew Brown Ale and (surprisingly) the Wandering Belgian IPA! I wasn’t surprised about the Brown ale as I favor some of the heavier beers but I didn’t expect to like the IPA! I also would have thought my favorite would have been the Final Glide Hefeweizen. I love me some Hefeweizen. Theirs was good, but not the best I’ve tasted. The Man’s favorites were the Sweet Spot (an unfiltered pilsner), and the Alt – a “chocolately German ale.” I have to say – that one was pretty darned good!

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The Kolsch was really good, too – I’d give it a better description, but all I wrote down on my tasting notes was “Great!” So helpful, right?

While we were tasting we perused the food menu:

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I apologize for the terrible picture quality. We ended up ordering a BLT (It was served on a pretzel roll, which pretty much sealed the deal), and a caramelized onion and something something flatbread. I wish I oculd remember what it was called, because it was awesome. It had goat cheese and bacon and potato and arugula – I know that much from the picture below! Both paired really well with the beer as well. We were tempted to also order a curried chicken wrap but didn’t want to overdo it…which was probably smart in the long run.

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All in all our spontaneous trip to Lost Rhino Brewing Co. turned out to be a huge hit, and we will definitely be going again! If you happen to be in the Northern Virginia area anytime soon you should definitely check it out!

*NOTE: I did not get paid for this post…Lost Rhino has no idea I’m even writing this post. All opinions are my own, I just wanted to share what a great place I thought it was!