Heavy Seas Alehouse has expanded into Northern Virginia, opening in Rosslyn last month to much excitement. Fans of Heavy Seas Beer now have a local restaurant where they can enjoy a wide range of the Maryland-based brewery’s beers.
The Arlington Heavy Seas Alehouse, which joins a sister restaurant in the brewery’s native Baltimore, bears the nautical inspiration one might expect from a home to such brews as a Peg Leg Stout that uses a pirate-styled skull-and-crossbones as its logo.
Still, in the restaurant’s décor the theme is understated when it could be woefully overdone. Walls of ashy planks are reminiscent of an aged ship’s hull. Colorful buoys are arranged near the bar. In the dining room at the back of the spacious restaurant, a full wall is transformed with a black-and-white mural of a port city. Decorative portholes abound.
It’s the kind of light touch that elicits a smile when encountering the Arrrrlington Burger on the menu, instead of a groan.
Whatever your maritime inclinations, chances are your visit to Heavy Seas Alehouse has more to do with beer and food than the look of the place. Take a look at the menu and you’ll encounter the restaurant’s motto: Where great beer meets great food. Here, the partnership is thoughtfully made.
A meal here doesn’t start and stop at the plate’s edge. This restaurant serves plenty of festive libations. The restaurant of course has Heavy Seas’ award-winning beers on tap – the popular Loose Cannon IPA and Small Craft Warning Über Pils among them. Interestingly, some cocktails on the menu are crafted with Heavy Seas beers in the recipe. The Sea Shandy, for example, combines the Heavy Seas Gold Ale with blueberry-mint lemonade.
The beers are also directly incorporated into several dishes on the menu. From the onion rings appetizer, dredged in Loose Cannon batter, to the Peg Leg Stout in its ginger cake dessert, the brewery’s flavors are reflected in the restaurant’s cuisine.
For an entrée, there’s the Peg Leg Fish and Chips ($16), the malt flavors of the house stout coming through in the pillowy breading that surrounds pieces of fresh cod.
But the beer isn’t only used in batters. Among the restaurant’s meat-focused wood-fire grilled entrées is the Flat Iron Steak ($22), with well and simply cooked strips of the steak topped in onion strands caramelized with the stout, the treatment bringing out a supreme sweetness from both components. (The smoked-blue-cheese barley risotto served as a side dish with the steak is also worth noting.)
In making selections from the menu, the culinarily curious might enjoy that entrées come with a recommended beer pairing. The Braised Rabbit Garganelli is best with the Cutlass Amber Lager, the menu says, and the Bone-In Ribeye partners with the Black Cannon IPA.
There are also abundant seafood options on the menu, in fitting with the restaurant’s seafaring theme. One might start with the Fried Calamari ($12) appetizer, chewy ringlets and tendrils with a crisp coating ready to be dipped into a light, sweet mango sauce with just a flash of last-minute heat. A selection of local oysters, crab cake, oyster chowder, and three varieties of fish cooked on the wood-fired grill follow on the menu.
If the crowds are any indication, Heavy Seas Alehouse is a welcome addition to Rosslyn and to the Northern Virginia dining scene. The restaurant offers a new way to appreciate and think about the popular Heavy Seas beers, and a new place to enjoy quality cuisine.
Heavy Seas Alehouse is located at 1501 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. For more information, call 703-879-4388 or visit heavyseasalehouse.com.