Caboose Brewing Review
The hubby and I finally made our way to Vienna’s Caboose Brewing this weekend. I’ve been watching this place since I first biked past their banner flying on the back of their building along the W&OD trail last year. Driving was a slightly different approach, and took us, just like every brewery, through an industrial part of town. Caboose is very close to the main drag in Vienna though, just a couple blocks away from the Whole Foods. As you walk up, there is a nice long patio in front of the main entrance, complete with picnic tables and plenty of places to lock up your bike if you’re coming straight off the trail. There were a couple of seats outside, but with 90 degree heat, I’m an indoor cat.
Inside has both a sit-down area as well as a big open bar area, which is lined with tall ledges perfect for holding beer. The feel was rustic and laid back, with lots of wood accents, chalkboards, and servers in plaid button-downs. The menu showed 8 beers so we decided to start with a “flight of malt/yeast” in the bar area.
The flight consisted of The Conductor Hefeweizen, Sidetrack Saison, Caboose Brown Ale, and Vanilla Hobo Stout. We sampled left to right, as always! The Hefeweizen was a delicious wheat bomb, with great aromatics. The yeast gave the banana/clove character you want in a hefe but this guy stayed light and thin and didn’t let the wheat get too chewy, as hefes are sometimes want to do. The saison was wonderfully classic to style – crisp, bright, just a touch of tartness, and dry on the finish – and excellent for a summer day.
The brown was the most intriguing of the set, because right out of the gate we were wondering if this beer was actually a stout with an identity crisis. It poured very dark, with a big roasty smell. It wasn’t until a couple sips into this one that I really started to feel the brown in it – the malts started to come through with that biscuity, caramel feel I was expecting. So this wasn’t a stout with an identity crisis, it was just a shy brown ale. Last but certainly not least was the stout. Big, sweet, vanilla, creamy…imperial for sure. I was surprised to see it clock in at only 7% ABV, because it tasted enormous and rich.
The first flight was so good that we decided to stay for the second: the flight of hops. This flight was Citra Wheat, Casey Jones Rye Pale Ale, Bandwagon IPA, and Imperial IPA. We started with the Citra Wheat, which smelled a-mazing. This one had a big hop presence and just a touch of wheat. It reminded me a lot of a good session IPA – fruity, bright hops and light malt; a perfect thirst quencher for a hophead. The Rye was next and, for me, was the most complex and interesting beer of the day. With hops on the nose and great malt balance, this one said APA all the way. But the rye, oh the rye! It added a lovely spice to the smell and that light sort of peppery dryness to the finish. It was one of those beers that both reminds me of something good I’ve had before and screams uniqueness at the same time.
The Bandwagon IPA and the Imperial IPA had similar hop profiles, charging in with bitterness all over the back of the tongue. The Imperial IPA was big and toasty, with a malty sweetness, while the Bandwagon stayed lighter. In the end, we decided to stay for another Citra Wheat. What can I say, we love sessionable hop bombs! I know we’ll be back, and by the looks of the brewing operations just behind the bar, I’m sure there will be a whole new lineup for us next time. Keep ‘em coming Caboose!