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    Beers and Burgers: A heavenly match made in Loudoun

    BurgerFi Leesburg’s housemade crispy onion rings; B.A.D. (Breakfast All Day) burger, a natural angus burger with American cheese, hickory bacon drizzled with maple syrup, fried egg, hash browns, grilled diced onions, and ketchup; and the 100% Wagyu Kobe beef dog all-natural served with choice of style or toppings. Photo Courtesy/Rebekah Pizana
    Burgers and beer. It's a classic combination that most Americans enjoy – and it happens to be an evolving and growing trend in Loudoun County.

    In the last two years, Loudoun has landed at least eight new “healthy” burger restaurants, with Elevation Burger set to open soon at One Loudoun as the latest addition.

    “Everybody loves a good burger. It is a classic taste when you balance that with unique and specialized diets, people crave it more. It is a natural, classic menu item that people seek out and rely on,” said Marantha Edwards, economic development director for Leesburg.

    With consumers becoming more health conscious and concerned about where their food comes from, there's a rise in the “healthy, fast, casual” restaurants popping up around the area.

    The growth of craft breweries in Loudoun is closely linked to that as well.

    “People like learning and experiencing things and it has taken off in Loudoun. People want more control over what they are consuming, farm to table, it is all connected. They want to know what it looks like, smells like and tastes like,” Edwards said.

    But, according to one expert, it’s not all about taste buds.

    “Food tastes and restaurant markets are closely linked to household incomes and age. Loudoun County residents are richer and older than 10 years ago. The county is maturing,” said Stephen Fuller, professor of public policy and development at George Mason University.

    Dave Landry, owner of BurgerFi in Leesburg, which opened in early 2013, said BurgerFi uses all-natural beef and fresh toppings.

    “People in Loudoun are progressive and upscale, and are conscious about what they are putting in their bodies. Our burgers are as healthy as you can get,” Landry said.

    “People are always going to eat burgers, we try to make it as healthy as possible,” Landry added.

    So far, Landry reports that business is going well, and as a franchise they are ranked one of the top in the country.

    Debbie Hancotte, owner of MELT in Leesburg, agrees that business is “exploding.”

    “We were one of the first out here. Everybody loves a good burger and business is great,” Hancotte said.

    Keeping it local

    Sara Brown, owner of Oakland Green Farm in Lincoln, explains how area businesses are able to work together and “keep it local,” which brings an interesting twist to the Loudoun and burger connection.

    “Our farm uses the leftover fermented rye mash from Catoctin Creek Distillery as a high protein feed supplement for their cattle. Market Burger makes their burgers with our beef. In this one little area of Purcellville, we are all connected,” Brown said.

    Microbreweries are also popping up around Loudoun right now.

    “We are becoming an attraction for more microbreweries, and Leesburg will continue to be a place to come for those craft organizations. The growth in that industry has gone up over the last few years, even the big beer houses are feeling the pressure. It has a lot to do with the sophisticated tastes that folks in this area have. Interest in buying local and knowing what you consume,” Edwards said.

    “Loudoun is becoming a hot spot for the craft brewing world,” said Chris Burns at Old Ox Brewing Co. in Ashburn

    “The local community is receptive and excited about alcohol-related business and has an appreciation for the craft. Local government and consumers are very open to helping make it happen,” Burns said.

    “Because of Loudoun’s wine trail, beer is a natural complement and it will only get stronger as we develop our own beer trail,” Burns added.

    The right mix

    So what’s the brewers bottom-line about our community?

    Loudoun County has the right mix of consumers and available space.

    “There are not many areas in Northern Virginia that are suited for the individual needs of breweries and the population is the right demographic for craft beer brewers,” Burns said.

    Mark Osborne of Adroit Theory Brewing Co. in Purcellville agrees. “The cost of land is clearly less expensive than Arlington and Alexandria. Also, there is the proximity to the vineyards. Most people that drink wine, also drink beer. So it is a natural fit. As more breweries open, the more likely that people will make a trip to visit several Loudoun breweries in one trip,” Osborne said.

    “Breweries are sourcing their products locally, which is also easier to do with the local farms in Loudoun,” Osborne said.

    Androit Theory Brewing Co./ Courtesy Photo


    Jake Endres, of Crooked Run Brewery in Leesburg is one of the youngest brewers in Loudoun.

    He started a kickstarter campaign to raise money for his business right after college. It took a couple of years, but business is booming. He plans to distribute in Whole Foods and Wegman’s in a couple of months.

    Ocelot Brewing Co. is also planning to open their Sterling facility sometime this summer.

    “We picked Loudoun because this area does not have many craft beers compared to other areas of the country,” Adrien Widman, owner of Ocelet said.

    “Everyone is excited to make Loudoun a craft beer mecca,” he added.

    Sten Sellier of Beltway Brewing has built a business plan around out-source production for other growing breweries.

    “We partner with them to help increase production,” Sellier said. “Business has been very good. We have only been open since January and next week will be at capacity. We are already looking at expanding.”


    Loudoun Brewers:
    Lost Rhino
    Corcoran
    Old Ox Brewing
    Beltway Brewing
    Crooked Run
    Old 690 Brewing
    Adroit Theory
    Ocelot
    Mad Horse Brew Pub
    MacDowell Brew Kitchen
    Vintage 50
    Sweetwater
    Belly Love Brewing
    Bald Guy Brewery


    “Fast casual” Burgers in Loudoun
    MELT
    Five Guys
    BurgerFi
    Kraze
    Elevation
    Burger 21
    Market Burger
    Jake’s Wayback Burgers
    BGR the burger joint

    For more food trend stories, see Local Flavor inside the April 16 edition of the Loudoun Times-Mirror.


    Comments

    I eat at Elevation Burger last night, they were giving away a free burger and fries as a soft opening promotion for earth day. The food was great, you can taste that the meat is grass fed, there is a different flavor grass vs grain and those educated about food know the difference. Also the fries were really good and I was shocked to see they cook them in olive oil, normally its not a good choice for fries as it has to be used at a lower temperature than animal fats or processed vegetable oils. I suspect the use of shoestring style fries is what keeps them crisp. They are cut on site too, I could see them doing it in the back while in line.

    Topping choices include organic bacon, 5 year aged cheddar, and tons of veggies.

    I will go back.


    One last thing to Grandma, its totally funny to talk about red meat being unhealthy then saying we need a buffet; the stuff a buffet servers is far more processed and heart clogging than eating a burger; especially a burger at Elevation. Cheap possessed food is the root cause of increased heart issues in America and its weight issues.


    Grandma is science. I posted links last time but they were stripped out by the editors. Lots of long term studies on heart problems and food and there is a growing body of evidence that Margin not butter, HFCS not sugar are the real problems.

    If your food is manufactured not grown it likely clogs up the bodies natural processes and creates fats that are harder to burn.

    But you keep on believing the myths about red meat if you wish. Means there is more for me to enjoy.

    BTW everyone Elevation’s grand opening is this Saturday the 26th.


    fedupdude, thanks for the health lesson and you keep on believing what you write about what the animals are fed!


    Grandma, red meat is not unhealthy; more and more research on the connection to meat and heart issues is finding the problem to be processed foods and things like diet of the animals not the nature of meat eating itself. For instance grass fed only beef has no saturated fats, can have 90 less calories for a same size cut of steak, and has good fats like omega 3s unlike a cow that has been fed GMO corn to fatten in up and given growth hormones and antibiotics which cause tumors to grow on the animal.

    More and more we study weight issues and health issues regarding the heart the blame for clogged arteries is shifting to processed foods, nitrates in meat products like hotdogs, high fructose corn syrup and other sugar replaces, soy (vegetable) oil, hydrogenated oils, antibiotics and growth hormones, etc.

    That said for caloric intake issues a burger and fries are not the low cal option not matter if they use the good oils and grass fed beef.


    Another burger joint ? No wonder I have been seeing so many larger people around the Dulles Town Center lately. 

    I make most of my meals at home. I know exactly what I am getting and the cost is usually less. My personal trainer at Golds does the same thing, and it has helped him loose weight.


    How can you say healthy when you know red meat is not healthy? All of these positive things being said is just to drum up business. What we really need in the town of Leesburg is a really really good Buffet Restaurant. I go out of the county just to get that!!


    Will have to try BurgerFi; I lover places that local source. I like Kraze and Five Guy (naturally) but BGR is the best of the bunch I tried in Loudoun so far; I miss Good Stuff Eatery and Ray’s Hell Burger from when I lived out that way. I am looking forward to trying Elevation burger when it comes to One Loudoun.


    Burgers are good, but I’m not a fan of the thick-cut onion rings.  Too greasy.  Also, the Chicago-style hot dog looks amazing, but the one I ordered came with a stale bun (discovered after I left with carry out).  Fries are great.


    I’d add O’Faolain’s in Sterling to that burger list. Although it is best known as an Irish pub, I would put their beer list and burger menu against anybody’s in Loudoun. My personal favorite is their lamburger which, for whatever reason, isn’t included in their half-price burger Monday special. (I know that lamb costs more than beef. But the base price of the lamburger is higher, so the half-price would be higher too.)


    That burger looks good. I’m going to BurgerFi for lunch to get one.

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