A lexandria’s historic breweries =
A Walking Tour & Pub Guide
Portner Beer Returns to Alexandria after 100 year hiatus.
The Robert Portner Brewing Company, the South’s largest pre-Prohibition brewery, shuttered its doors in 1916. Now, a century later, his great-great grand-daughters are launching a
Brewery Restaurant & Craft Beer Test Kitchen® in Alexandria’s West End. — Coming Fall 2016 —
Where Brewing Began In Alexandria & D.C.
On this self-guided walking tour, explore Alexandria’s rich beer history while sampling brews at your choice of 11 pubs and restaurants along the way. The map on pages 7-8 will guide you through a comprehensive history of brewing in Alexandria, while designated “Hops Stops” highlight top places to pause for a brew or snack. Hops Stops are denoted by and points of interest are denoted by markers. As always, please drink responsibly!
Old Presbyterian Meeting House 323 S. Fairfax Street. Built in 1775 and rebuilt after an 1835 fire. Alexandria and DC’s first brewer Andrew Wales (c.1737–1799) and his wife Margaret were members of this historic church and are interred in the burial ground. George Washington had his local memorial service in the OPMH three weeks after Wales died.
Share photos of your tour experience on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook by using the hashtag #ALXBrewTour.
History of Beer in Alexandria
Established in 1749, this bustling port town brimmed with Scottish merchants and Irish immigrants. Because public drinking water didn’t yet exist, people quenched their thirst with beer, a staple of 18th-century life and the preferred beverage of dockworkers, shipwrights, sailors and families alike. Alexandria was home to the largest pre-Prohibition brewery in the south, and one of the most historically relevant breweries in U.S. history, the Robert Portner Brewing Company. Also known as the Tivoli Brewery, which brewed from 1862-1916, the brewery closed when statewide Prohibition was declared in 1916. Only in 2011 would production brewing return to Alexandria, with the arrival of Port City Brewing Company.
Cheers from Alexandria!
The Old Presbyterian Meeting House Burial Ground, where some 300 people are interred – including Alexandria’s first brewer, Andrew Wales.
Operated 1794–1797 at Union and Wolfe Streets, southwest corner. The original building is no longer standing.
Entwisle (1805– 1831) Irwin’s Brewery (1831–1854) Stood on S. Union at Wolfe Street, southeast corner. It was the only brewery in Alexandria during the War of 1812. The original building is no longer standing.
Free King Street Trolley Hop on and off the free King Street Trolley, which runs from the King StOld Town Metrorail station to the waterfront seven days a week. See www.DashBus.com/Trolley for schedule.
Stop by the Alexandria Visitor Center at 221 King Street for expert tips on restaurants, shops and things to do in Alexandria, or see VisitAlexandriaVA.com. Visit Alexandria would like to thank Mr. Garrett Peck for his many contributions to this brochure.
Library of Congress
A Civil War-era hand-copied map of Old Town’s waterfront, showing Irwin’s Brewery (lower left), which had actually burned down in 1854.
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CHADWICKS, 203 The Strand. The friendly neighborhood restaurant, a little off the beaten path. Come find us for over 75 unique craft beers and the best bar food in town. Grab a seat and eat like a local. UNION STREET PUBLIC HOUSE, 121 S. Union Street. Features the best of the area’s local and hand-crafted brews along with fillet sandwiches, Bay oysters, steaks, chops, fresh cocktails and more. Happy Hour, 3-7 p.m., Monday to Friday in the oyster bar and tap room.
Scottish-born Andrew Wales became the first commercial brewer in Alexandria in 1770 in the Town Warehouse on Point Lumley at the foot of Duke Street. He Wales Alley is named for Alexandria’s brewed for a remarkable first brewer, Andrew Wales. The Warehouse (c.1795) stands 28 years, which also Fitzgerald along it. made him the first brewer in the District of Columbia when Alexandria was incorporated into the district in 1791. Wales Alley is named for him. Early brewers such as Wales produced English-style ales.
Taverns, Markets, Museums,
Wales relocated his brewery in 1774 to Lots 57 and 58 near Water Street (now Lee Street) along the south side of Wales Alley on what is now the garden behind the Athenaeum. After the brewery burned down in 1788, he moved it one block east to Lot 56. The brewery operated until 1802. The original buildings are no longer standing.
VIRTUE FEED & GRAIN, 106 S. Union Street. Records from 1786 tell of beer being sold in Wales Alley, home to one of the earliest breweries in the area. Virtue Feed & Grain proudly carries on that tradition today. From gold medal winning Vienna Lager by Devil’s™ Backbone to local gem Port City’s Monumental IPA, everyone will find a brew worth pairing with our delicious food and rich history.
Today, part of the Wales property is the Bryan Hampson House (120 S. Fairfax), built c.1805. The house is sometimes referred to as the Wales House, though it was built after Andrew Wales’ death.
100–104 S. Union Street. John Fitzgerald, an Irish immigrant and aide-de-camp to George Washington during the American Revolution, built this warehouse c.1795 for the bustling trade in Alexandria. It is the oldest surviving building along Alexandria’s waterfront.
Alexandria Archaeology Museum
105 N. Union Street - #327 in the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Includes a broad collection of objects excavated from Alexandria breweries and taverns. FISH MARKET, 105 King Street. We have 50 beers to choose from including 24 premium craft brews from the likes of Lost Rhino, DC Brau and Port City. Home of the 32 oz. Schooner! Old Town’s best happy hour. Monday-Friday 4-7 p.m. with fresh raw oysters, top neck clams and our famous Peel n’ Eat Spiced Shrimp.
PIZZERIA PARADISO, 124 King Street. The Rammy award-winning beer program at Pizzeria Paradiso features 14 rotating draft lines and 200 carefully curated bottles of the best craft beers and ciders the world has to offer. We focus on small and niche producers with an eye to esoteric and bold flavors that complement our classic wood fired Neapolitan-style pizza. Join us for happy hour MondayThursday from 5-7 p.m.
A 1789 advertisement in the Virginia Gazette and Alexandria Advertiser for the Wales Brewery, which offered English-style ales such as Strong and Small beers.
George Steuernagel’s Brewery
Operated on the north side of the 200 block of King Street 1865–1868. The original building is no longer standing.
Tivoli Brewery Bottling Plant #1
Tivoli Brewery Bottling Plant #2
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
134 N. Royal Street. The c.1785 tavern and 1792 hotel were the center of hospitality in early Alexandria. Named for Englishman John Gadsby who operated them until 1808, the City Tavern was known for its “large stock of good old liquors” and for hosting the first five presidents. Today, guests can tour the tavern as well as attend many beer, wine and rum events and explore the 1793 ice well, which chilled beverages, preserved food and provided ice cream. Ice became an important element in the beer brewing process.
Operated 1792–1807 at the foot of Oronoco Street. The original building is no longer standing.
The Pride of Alexandria Robert Portner Brewing Company
The Robert Portner Brewing Company, also known as the Tivoli Brewery
Robert Portner opened Alexandria’s largest brewery in 1869, encompassing an entire city block until statewide Prohibition closed it on November 1, 1916. The massive brewery in Old Town North briefly became a wholesale feed business. By World War II, it was demolished. The brewery is now the site of the Trader Joe’s on N. Washington Street, though three surrounding buildings — an ice plant and two bottling plants — survive thanks to preservation efforts. The brewery became the city’s largest employer including other members of the Portner family, such as Carl Strangemann, Robert Portner’s nephew. The original building is no longer 1907 advertisement for the Robert Portner Brewing Company. standing.
515 N. Washington Street. This four-story columned building has a long and prosperous history in Alexandria. It was built in 1847 as the Mount Vernon Cotton Factory. In May 1861, the Union Army seized the building for use as a hospital and logistical center during the Civil War and eventually converted it into a prison for captured Confederate soldiers. The Robert Portner Brewing Company purchased the building in 1903 for use as a bottling plant. During the twentieth century, it served as a spark plug factory, an apartment house, an office building, and finally as the headquarters for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). “The Mill” was converted into apartments in 2015. Overseeing much of this history is Oscar, the dedicated but decaying mannequin that has kept watch from the cupola of the building since a murder mystery unfolded at the location during the 1860s.
601 N. St. Asaph Street. Built in 1912, this bottling plant served the Tivoli Brewery until statewide Prohibition in 1916. Today, the original building has been extended and converted into the Tivoli Passage condominiums. When facing the building from Trader Joe’s, you may detect the difference in the old original brickwork to the new brick used. At the junction, see if you can find this plaque.
BILBO BAGGINS, 208 Queen Street. Family owned Bilbo Baggins Global Restaurant provides good food, spirits, and a cozy atmosphere for all types of hobbits. With 13 drafts and over 120 bottled beers from around the world, we have something different every time you visit. With food items like Spicy Cilantro Fries, Pork Butt Bruschetta, and our Bilbo’s Burger you will not leave hungry either!
The 1912 Portner bottling plant still stands at 601 N. St. Asaph. Tivoli Passage, the alley behind it, harkens back to Portner’s Tivoli Brewery.
Tivoli Brewery Ice Plant
705 N. St. Asaph Street. Two of the Tivoli brewery’s flagship beers were lagers — Vienna Cabinet Lager and Tivoli Hofbrau. Brewing lagers requires cold temperatures and traditionally the beer was aged in caves. Robert Portner invested significant resources into improving the quality of his lager by erecting this ice plant which produced more than 50 tons of ice per day. Eventually further technological advances led to the first refrigerated rail cars and the beginning of air conditioning as we know it. He used this same technology in his summer home in Manassas and built the first home in the U.S. with central cooling! 6
Walking Tour of Alexandria’s Historic Breweries
1. 2. Union Brewery 3. Entwisle & Irwin’s Brewery 4. Fitzgerald Warehouse 5. Alexandria Archaeology Museum 6. Wales Brewery 7. George Steuernagel’s 8. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum 9. Potomac Brewery 10. The Robert Portner Brewing Company, Old Presbyterian Meeting House
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John Carlyle St.
Reinekers Ln. d.
Prince St. . St rce me Com Duke St.
S. West St. S. Payne St.
10a. Tivoli Brewery Bottling Plant 10b. Tivoli Brewery Bottling Plant
S. Fayette St.
known as the Tivoli Brewery
S. Henry St.
10c. Tivoli Brewery Ice Plant 11. Portner & Recker’s Grocery Store 12. The Lyceum 13. Christian Pogensee’s Brewery 14. Portner & Company 15. Alexandria Ale Brewery/ Martin’s Ale Brewery 16. Shuter’s Hill Brewery/ West End Brewery 17. Virginia Glass Factory 18. Alexandria National Cemetery 19. Port City Brewing Company (not shown on map) 20. Portner Brewhouse (not shown on map)
Official Hops Stops 7. Jackson 20
8. Columbia Firehouse
2. Union Street Public House
S. Patrick St.
S. Alfred St.
9. Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub
3. Virtue Feed & Grain
10. Hard Times Café
4. Fish Market
5. Pizzeria Paradiso 6. Bilbo Baggins
S. Columbus St.
N. Fairfax St.
N. Royal St.
N. Washington St. 10a 10 10b 10c N. St. Asaph St. N. Pitt St.
11 King St.
S. Union St.
S. Lee St.
S. Pitt St.
S. St. Asaph St.
S. Washington St.
JACKSON 20, 480 King Street. Jackson 20 is about bringing people together around outstanding food and drink. Named for Andrew Jackson, the notoriously sociable president who insisted on inviting the public to his inaugural ball, you’ll find Jackson 20 perfectly located in Old Town Alexandria and serving up the legendary comfort food of the region.
COLUMBIA FIREHOUSE, 109 S. St. Asaph Street. Built in 1883, Columbia Firehouse now stands as a historic, beautifully preserved American brasserie and bar in the heart of Old Town. The dining rooms, atrium & outdoor patio are devoted to familiar comfort foods, raw oysters, steamed mussels, small plates for sharing, salads, steaks and nightly suppers, while the barroom features regional craft beers, stylish wines & classic cocktails.
Portner & Recker’s Grocery Store
Southeast corner of King & St. Asaph Streets. Robert Portner’s first venture upon arriving in Alexandria in 1861 was to open a grocery store with one of his German friends, Frederick Recker. The address then was 146 King Street. The original building is no longer standing.
201 S. Washington Street. Built in 1839, the Lyceum serves as Alexandria’s history museum. It houses a variety of artifacts including a permanent exhibit of items from the Robert Portner Brewing Company. MURPHY’S GRAND IRISH PUB, 713 King Street. Located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, this authentic Irish pub opened in 1978 by friends and family with a passion for their Irish heritage and the desire to bring traditional Irish food and entertainment to their community. Daily live music, with food and drink specials. 17 drafts and 20+ bottles available.
Beer for The Troops
An 1885 letterhead for the Robert Portner Brewing Company’s Tivoli Brewery in Old Town North.
Alexandria Gazette advertisement for Portner & Recker’s grocery, June 1862.
Civil War Era Breweries
Christian Pogensee’s Brewery
Portner & Company
1865–1866 at the west end of King Street. The exact address is unknown, but at the time, the area near Patrick Street was considered the “west end.” The original building is no longer standing.
King and Fayette Streets, northeast corner. During the Civil War, Robert Portner opened his first brewery directly opposite the Alexandria Ale Brewery. It operated from 1862-1869. The original building is no longer standing.
With the Civil War came a wave of thirsty Union soldiers and brewers like Robert Portner, who opened a brewery in 1862 and eventually became the largest brewer in the South, shipping beer in refrigerated rail cars as far south as Georgia.
A rare beer bottle label for Robert Portner’s Army and Navy Export lager.
Alexandria Ale Brewery/ Martin’s Ale Brewery
King & Fayette/Commerce Streets. The brewery operated from 1856–1871 by Henry S. Martin and was one of four Alexandria breweries at the time of the Civil War. The original building is no longer standing.
HARD TIMES CAFE, 1404 King Street. Celebrating 35 years in Old Town, Hard Times Cafe is a hometown favorite. In collaboration with the Starr Hill Brewery, we are featuring Jomo Vienna Style Lager on tap. Jomo is crisp and clean and pairs fantastically with a bowl of our world famous chili. We are also the only place on King Street that serves Shiner Bock on tap. So come on in and get some chili and beer, we’ve got both kinds of music on the jukebox.
THEISMANN’S, 1800 Diagonal Road. Theismann’s features a wide variety of craft beers from around the world. Local favorites from Port City and Starr Hill Breweries highlight the all-American cuisine. Stop by for the house “Broken Leg Lager” or your favorite draft beer on Happy Hour.
Shuter’s Hill Brewery/ West End Brewery
Duke Street opposite Diagonal Road, opened in 1858 in the West End. Brewing grew dramatically after the 1850s once German immigrants introduced lager, a more palatable beer for the area’s hot, humid summers. John Klein and Alexander Strausz were the first to produce lager in Alexandria at the Shuter’s Hill Brewery in 1858. After John Klein’s death, ownership of the brewery went to Francis Denmead who then hired Henry Englehardt as the brewer. Beer barrel excavated at the Shuter’s Hill Brewery site. Englehardt bought the brewery from Klein in 1872. The brewery burned down in 1892. The site was excavated in 1993–1994 prior to the construction of the Carlyle complex. Many of the artifacts can be seen at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. The original building is no longer standing.
Virginia Glass Factory
A major bottle producer for local brewers, including Robert Portner, it burned down in 1916 and was excavated prior to the Carlyle complex development. The original building is no longer standing.
Library of Congress
A few of the young boys working the night shift at the Virginia Glass Factory.
Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex
West end of Wilkes Street between Holland Lane and Hamilton Avenue. Opened in 1806 on the then-outskirts of town, it is the final resting spot for many Alexandria brewers, including Henry Englehardt, Isaac and James Entwisle, James Irwin, John Klein, George Steuernagel and Carl Strangemann. Robert Portner is buried in Manassas, Virginia.
Port City Brewing Company — OPEN TO THE PUBLIC — 3950 Wheeler Avenue. Since 2011, Port City Brewing Company has been dedicated to bringing great quality, innovative, handmade craft beers to the DC and Mid-Atlantic market. The 11,000-square-foot craft brewery produces world-class quality beer, brewing five year-round beers along with rotating s e a s o n a l selections. Port City’s name is derived from Alexandria’s rich and colorful history as an important colonial seaport. The diamond in the logo honors the legacy of Portner Brewing Company and the lighthouse represents Jones Point Lighthouse, one of the oldest structures in the area. Port City was founded by Bill Butcher, whose family has been in Alexandria for more than 100 years, and Jonathan Reeves is the founding brewer, with more than 25 years of experience. www. portcitybrewing.com 12
Portner Brewhouse — COMING FALL 2016 — 5770 Dow Avenue. Opening in the fall of 2016, sisters Catherine and Margaret Portner will launch a brewery restaurant and Craft Beer Test Kitchen® inspired by their great-great grandfather’s brewery—the Robert Portner Brewing Company. The restaurant will showcase classic German and contemporary American cuisine paired with house-brewed craft beers from the past and present including four original beers from the South’s largest pre-Prohibition brewery. www.portnerbrewhouse.com
Alexandria Brewing Timeline $
1770- - - - - - - Wales Brewery opens. Andrew Wales is the first commercial brewer in Alexandria 1774- - - - - - - Wales Brewery relocates closer to the water 1775- - - - - - - Old Presbyterian Meeting House built 1785- - - - - - - Gadsby’s Tavern named for John Gadsby 1792- - - - - - - City Hotel named for John Gadsby 1792–1807- - - Potomac Brewery years of operation 1794–1797- - - Union Brewery years of operation 1795- - - - - - - Fitzgerald Warehouse built; it is the oldest surviving building along Alexandria’s waterfront 1805–1831- - - Entwisle Brewery years of operation
1806- - - - - - - Alexandria National Cemetery opens; it is the final resting place of many Alexandria brewers, including Henry Englehardt, Isaac and James Entwisle, James Irwin, John Klein, George Steuernagel and Carl Strangemann 1831–1854- - - Irwin’s Brewery years of operation 1835- - - - - - - Old Presbyterian Meeting House rebuilt after it was destroyed by a fire 1839- - - - - - - The Lyceum, Alexandria’s current museum to its own history, opens 1856–1871- - - Alexandria Ale Brewery/Martin’s Ale Brewery — one of four Alexandria breweries operating during the Civil War 1858- - - - - - - Shuter’s Hill Brewery/West End Brewery opens 1861- - - - - - - Portner & Recker’s Grocery Store opens 1862–1869- - - Portner & Company, first Portner brewery operates 1865–1866- - - Christian Pogensee’s Brewery years of operation 1865–1868- - - George Steuernagel’s Brewery years of operation 1869- - - - - - - Tivoli Brewery (Robert Portner Brewing Co.) opens; Alexandria’s largest brewery 1872- - - - - - - Francis Denmeade purchases Shuter’s Hill Brewery 1892- - - - - - - Shuter’s Hill Brewery burns to the ground 1912- - - - - - - Tivoli Brewery Bottling Plant #2 opens 1916- - - - - - - Robert Portner Brewing Co. closes due to statewide prohibition 1916- - - - - - - Virginia Glass Factory, a major bottle producer for local brewers, burns to the ground 2011- - - - - - - Port City becomes the first production brewery in Alexandria since Prohibition 2016- - - - - - - Portner Brewhouse projected opening, reviving the rich heritage of Portner brewing in Alexandria