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Sweetwater Tavern & Brewery

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Beer Stats:
Active Beers: 16
Beer Ratings: 67
Beer Avg: 3.79

Taps: / Bottles:
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
very good

24 Ratings
Ratings: 24
Reviews: 23
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 7.42%
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Eatery ]

3066 Gatehouse Plaza
Merrifield, Virginia, 22042
United States
phone: (703) 645-8100

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 24 | Reviews: 23 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cjgiant

District of Columbia

3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$

The Merrifield location has a decent bar area, but can get quite crowded. It is also fairly loud in the place. The clientele are middle-class professional for the most part, and it fits as a decent HH place, sans specials.

The other reason to come is that it is a fine restaurant, offering well-cooked meals that are more of the reason I come than their beers. The beers are generally well-made but are on the safe side, in style, flavor, and ABV. Overall, they have a selection of about 30 rotating beers, but only 5 at a time (and 2 are mainstays). They also offer mixed drinks and some standard non-craft bottles. The limited options at any one time is the reason for the low selection rating (would be lower save for the broader portfolio).

The service is generally very friendly. The place does get quite busy, and service speed sometimes slips because of this, but overall I am pleased on almost every occasion.

07-25-2014 20:59:42 | More by cjgiant
Photo of countrybat


3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

05-20-2014 20:44:23 | More by countrybat
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3.25 | food: 4.75 | $$$

Over in the Fairfax/Vienna area and damn near close to where the hospital where my dog died. RIP: Gordon... 2012

Atmosphere: Located in a nice strip mall/restaurant district, with a nice outdoor patio and amazing atmosphere to boot.

Service: First of all, the service here is IMMACULATE! My wife and I both have a friend who used to work for "Great American Restaurants" who shudders in terror about the prospect of working there again based on their Draconian employee standards. The hell my friends, I personally LOVE those standards!

Selection: In terms of beer, they pretty much have all the popular styles, all done decently, with the occasion gem in there as well.

Food: OMG! The wife and I are a huge fan of this restaurant company and we'll continue to give them business as long as they keep churning out the gems. The salads and flourless chocolate waffle is to die for!

Value: If you're used to McDonalds, then this is an upscale place and those places have higher asking prices for their food. Trust me: The food is worth it.

02-20-2013 08:30:35 | More by Chaney
Photo of jayhawk73


3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$

Sweetwater Tavern in Merrifield is a huge rectangle w/ a bar in the middle. It can get loud and crazy w/ a long wait on the weekend. The beers range anywhere from mediocre to pretty good. Service is hit or miss based on who your server is. I've had both good and bad service in my visits there. The food is fairly outstanding.. in fact, that's probably the highlight of Sweetwater. Everything I've had has been outstanding. Prices are fairly reasonable as well. Sweetwater is a good place in N. Virginia, and recommended to stop by if your in the area.

07-31-2011 21:37:00 | More by jayhawk73
Photo of ICCULIS


3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 5 | $$$

The is the OG of the 3 area Sweetwater brewery/restaurants in VA. This was my local haunt for many years and I recently went back while on a trip to see the family.

Big space with dining indoors and outdoors. Beers are better than average and always fresh. I do really enjoy the style growler they use - ceramic cap w/ rubber stopper. Very quality!

I would say that the food outshines the brews simply for the fact that everything the kitchen turns out is outstanding. I've tried it all and love the food. It can get very crowded on the Thur/Fri/Sat early evening but nothing out of hand.

I really enjoy it here and look forward to a return visit!

07-15-2011 13:27:26 | More by ICCULIS
Photo of CuriousMonk


3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$$

This is situated in merrifield right of Rt. 50. I come here whenever I am in the area (and when hungry). This place is very large, modern, and chic yet gives you an all-american feel. From steak to ribs to fish the menu at Sweetwater is fantastic. They brew their own beer and usually have several year-round selections. Of the year round selections the Pale Ale is definitely a crowd pleaser and its definitely a solid beer. The seasonal selections can be hit or miss. There is no outside seating here. In summary its not a cheap place to eat and drink, but its also not going to break the bank. Overall, good in all categories.

02-24-2011 19:12:17 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of BeerSox


3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$

Located just outside of the innner loop (I-495). I've been to the other two locations, and this one is a carbon copy. Tons of room, with lots of benches available. In the middle of the place there is a large bar, where apparently smoking is available because something lit up a ciggy.

The selection, like at any other location, is usually 5-6 beers. They always range average to good, but never excelllent. The food is good, and they have just about any type of American food you want.

The service was attentative. I got the wrong food delivered and they fixed it right way. In fact, it was so fast I'm sure they gave me someone elses's order of chicken tenders and just game them their food later. Oh well, that's exactly what I would have done!

The place gets noisy during peak hours. But it's good food and okay beer, and a good family place. Recommended.

08-03-2009 02:25:13 | More by BeerSox
Photo of blackie


3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$

atmosphere: well hashed out already, very spacey with a primarily wooden interior, pretty crowded and quite loud on a Saturday night, short wait for the deck, which was quite nice and raised above the level of the parking lot

quality: the beer was okay, generally average and unimpressive but with nothing off, the Chipotle Porter carries a misleading name, as I got no or very little peppery smoke or heat, the Great American Pale was also a decent beer but no different than the hundreds of standard pales out there

service: service was excellent, but the beer knowledge was untested

selection: 5 taps on for my visit, a pale, hefe, pale wheat, chipotle porter, and perhaps a lager or some other standard selection...the menu lists all the beers produced by this brewery, and some look interestingly enough, but the chalkboard was quite tame on my visit, though I do like that they list when each beer was tapped

food: I had the crab fritters appetizer (very good) and the roasted chicken salad (good)

07-29-2008 02:02:49 | More by blackie
Photo of 86sportster883

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$

Updated 3/30/09. The Sweet Water Tavern in Merrifield is a very large, comfortable restaurant with good food, good service and a number of respectable beers. I had been to this location a couple of times before and have always enjoyed both the food and the beer.

On this night I opted for the Red Tape Ale (an Irish Red) - served in a pint glass with a tan head and red copper body. Moderate carbonation and medium to light mouthfeel, this beer is malty w/some hop bitterness to balance it out ($4.50). Also on tap this night was the Naked River Light, Great American Restaurants Pale Ale, Roadkill Barleywine Style Ale, Black Stallion Oatmeal Stout, Snakebite Black & Tan (a mix of their Stout and Pale), or a round of samplers for $8.

As for the place itself, the Sweetwater is one very large rectangular room separated by a good sized bar in the middle. Two big flat screen TVs face either side of the center bar which offers a brewpub like refuge from the restaurant itself. I would have sat there, at the bar, but there were too many smokers so I asked for a table. The entire place has an elaborate Southwestern motif and all-booth seating that gives it a uniquely American feel. The 15 barrel copper kettle and mash tun are proudly displayed at the front of the restaurant, although you could walk right past it and not know it's there.

Overall, a real decent restaurant that makes some pretty good beers. I find myself going here often when staying in the Tyson's Corner area of Northern VA.

In the past I've had other beers here that were mostly very drinkable:

Naked River Light - Described as a low carb beer, this lager was brilliantly clear w/ moderately high carbonation, light body, soft malt nose and clean finish. Not bad.

Great American Restaurant Pale - This ale had a pleasant fruit aroma and overall was very enjoyable.

Paleface Summer Wheat - This unfiltered wheat had a tremendous banana nose and went well with the pan seared tuna salad.

Double Barrel Ale - A pleasantly fruity beer, but not like any other Belgian double that I've had. Big on caramel malt flavor but that's about it.

Chipolte Porter - This is a beer I thought might have been better w/o the chipolte.

06-18-2008 14:38:48 | More by 86sportster883
Photo of ubermick


3.95/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$

I'm a big fan of Sweetwater, although certainly more for their food than their lineup of brews. The beers on offer tend to be decent, but nothing that makes you crave them - Sweetwater Pale Ale was my weapon of choice when I stopped in.

It tends to be exceedingly busy during dinner hours on the weekends, with over an hour wait par for the course. But once you're at a table, order up a drunken ribeye with the garlic mash, much on some ozzie rolls while sipping a pint, and thank God the work week is over.

And, your trivia nugget of the day, I designed their logo! :)

04-08-2008 02:16:12 | More by ubermick
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Sweetwater Tavern & Brewery in Merrifield, VA
89 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.