1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sweetwater Tavern & Brewery

Not Rated.
   No picture uploaded.
   Have one? Upload it now.
BA SCORE
88
very good

17 Ratings
Ratings: 17
Reviews: 12
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Active Beers: 13
Beer Ratings: 38
Beer Avg: 3.58
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask:
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Eatery ]

45980 Waterview Plaza
Sterling, Virginia, 20166
United States
phone: (571) 434-6500

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: NeroFiddled)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 17 | Reviews: 12 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by gixxerman:
Photo of gixxerman
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Nice location, outdoor area and bar right on the water is a nice touch on a warm night. Outside was really crowded, so I opted to take it indoors where plenty of seating was available.

I settled inside at the bar and ordered a 'chipolte porter'. It was more like a smoked porter, tons of smoke, not even a hint of chipolte. I like smoked beer, so it suited me just fine.

For dinner I had the lump crab cakes, they were awesome. the fries that accompanied them were not great, but the coleslaw was ok.

The barmaid was very friendly and pleasant. she made it a point to know everyone's name, and address them by it.

The beer list is huge, but as others have stated there are only about 5 or 6 available of the 20 or so listed.

A place I would not hesitate to return to, for drinks and food.

gixxerman, Jun 10, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev +5%

Boone757, Sep 25, 2014
Photo of RobertHolley
3.64/5  rDev -4.5%

Sweetwater is a great place to eat and has a fantastic menu. The service is also first rate and the food is fantastic. The beer selection however is VERY limited. They make their own, but its not very good. It has that "dirty line" taste that you get a lot from small brew pubs that do not know what they are doing.

RobertHolley, Mar 24, 2014
Photo of ShepardCommander
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

ShepardCommander, Feb 10, 2014
Photo of MisterB
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

MisterB, Dec 23, 2013
Photo of Gatordaddy
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

Gatordaddy, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%

In Sterling, I come here whenever I am in the area (and when hungry). I'm reviewing this place based on the time I came here for the first time with a couple buddies after a golf outing nearby. 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. Unlike the Merrifield location, there is outside seating! A great summer spot in the area to drink craft brews. 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.

CuriousMonk, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
2.63/5  rDev -31%

The best thing about this place was the price, it was cheap. I was excited, legitimately excited about this place, local brew pub, fresh beer. Got a sampler of the five they had on draft.

The beer was generally horrible, except for the Jackass, that was fine. It turned out to have won an award at a GABF in 2007. At least I can pick the diamond out of the rough, but that wasn't hard to do. I'm not going to review the beers, read my beer reviews for that.

The bar is nice enough, has a semi-corporate feel to it like they are trying to pretned like they are a Chili's or something. The bar was big and open, you can see into the kitchen and there are tons of booths and tables. Its looks fine on the inside, kind of bland and no really obvious evidence that beer is made there (is it?) but its looks like a restaurant.

I feel bad marking a place down because the waitress was mean but SERIOUSLY our waitress was a huge bitch. She seemed pissed off that we were there and clearly wanted us to leave. She might have had a bad day or a long day or maybe she really wanted to get out of there but put on your game face for the 30 minutes i'm going to be sitting here. Please.

I didn't try the food.

drabmuh, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of Pencible
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%

Sweetwater is a great restaurant, but misses a lot of potential as a microbrewery. I've eaten there a number of times, and I've always had a good experience in terms of food, service, and general atmosphere.

My biggest complaint is that they have a huge beer list with lots of tempting options, but hardly any are actually available at any given point. Out of 20 or so beers that they promote, you can only order 4 or 5 on a given night. I could accept that if they rotated the limited selection regularly, letting you eventually be able to sample them all. But in my several meals there, the limited selection has included the same few "weak" brews (lager, pale ale, pilsner, seasonal, maybe a porter, and that's about it).

The best thing Sweetwater has going for them is their dinner rolls that you get as an appetizer. They are freakin delicious. You should go to this restaurant just for their bread, if nothing else. I do.

Pencible, Oct 18, 2008
Photo of aquaderek
3.85/5  rDev +1%

My first visit to this location was work related and I could not indulge in the tasting of beer. So the minute i had some free time I returned. The atmosphere is typical of a large chain restraunt, I think there are three sweetwater`s in the area, and another place with the same menu and a yacting theme. The is consistently good, and so was the beer. You can purchase a growler and take beer to go at a very reasonable price. A generally niice place to checkout if you are in the area, but be advised it has more of a cheesecake factory feel than you local brewpub.

aquaderek, May 05, 2008
Photo of Traquairlover
3.85/5  rDev +1%

This Sweetwater location is a nice break from other nearby places to take the family. The food is good (though the menu has not changed at all in several years that I have noticed).

Their beers are a little hit or miss. I like their standard pale ale and my wife generally likes their porters. The witbier that they have occasionally is pretty good for the style (though it is not my favorite). Other offerings are less successful, I really detested their Scottish ale for instance.

Their steaks are good, pasta is good, too. Key lime pie is outstanding. The only real drawback is that it is loud (bad acoustics). Do not go here if you want to have a nice quite conversation with someone else.

Traquairlover, Dec 04, 2007
Photo of BeerSox
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%

Located in a very nice area in Northern Virginia. I stopped at this place with some family friends while I was visiting the area for an interview. The area around it is half rural, half business. The place itself sits right next to a lake, which shimmers in the sunset. There is indoor and outdoor seating, which I recommonend during nice weather. There is also an indoors and outdoors bar.

There are 7 or so (8 if you include the Snakebite Black & Tan) beers to choose from at a time. The actual beer list is not long, but they are obviously not all brewed at the same time. A sampler is available that offers five beers in small pilsner glasses.

The food is great, not what you would expect in a brewpub. It's a wide variety, everything from salad to seafood to steak. The food is a little pricey, while the beer is about average.

BeerSox, Aug 03, 2007
Photo of ndolover
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%

Upon arrival I was dubious about this place being any good, as it was a huge complex in a mall parking lot. However, I was surprised by:
1. How busy it was for a weekday.
2. The employees seemed to actually like their jobs.
3. The food was better then the other mall based vendors in the area.
This upscale brewpub had many of the trappings of a good brew pub. The chalk board with important beer vitals, large bar area, a few well placed TV's, rich wood tones, and above average beer.

Sadly, the beer was sub-par and offered a limited selection. I would reccomend it to any business traveler in the area, but not to someone that loves craft beer. I will not visit this place again on my travels.

ndolover, Apr 23, 2007
Photo of ghostmech007
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%

I love Sweetwater Tavern. There beer varities are almost endless. I myself preferre the Wits End Ale to start with, one of the truest Wtibier's avalible in Northern Virginia.

The food is un-freakin belieable. I love everything on the menu. I love the Spinach with Artichoke dip with chips for an appetizer then I get the Drunken Rib-Eye for any entree then the Key Lime Pie, dessert.

Not only that but I get my beer and free bread pastries for extras. I love this establishment. The service is unbelievalbe, everytime I go there I have to call ahead to get a table reserved (the wait time is constantly above an hour and a half) and the bar is always packed.

I love that fact that I am not the only person in NOVA to love this place. More people know about it the more that will open. I can't wait for the Manassas location to finally become a reality.

ghostmech007, Sep 26, 2006
Photo of RBorsato
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Very much like it's Merrifield counterpart, this place has an excellent bar area but tends to be overcrowded at most times ... Nice outside area for good weather days.

Very upscale compared to most brewpubs with excellent service and excellent food which is typical of the Great American Rest chain that this is part of. The food selection is beyond typical brewpub fare without being too crazy. The wait staff are impecable and assist each other to the nth degree -- almost never left to wait long for anything.

Their beers are of very high quality and the only complaint I have is that they usually only have 5 or 6 selections available at any one time. Nice to be able to get growlers to go at the end of the evening.

RBorsato, Feb 03, 2005
Photo of meathookjones
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%

This is a chain of 3 brewpubs in the Northern Virginia area. The atmosphere has a relaxed feel to it. The restaurant is spacious with plenty of seating including a bar inside and outside and has a modern western décor to it. They have always had 5 of their beers on tap when I go with two always being their Pale Ale and their light beer. The other 3 beers are rotating. Also Wednesdays they offer a cask version of one of their beers that is not in current rotation, which is a nice addition. The nice thing about the 3 restaurants in the chain is they usually never brew the same 3 rotating beers so between the three you can sample 10+ beers. I have never tried a beer from there that I didn’t like most are at least good and a few are excellent, especially the High Desert imperial stout. I never have had a problem with beer quality. The food is excellent with the grilled tuna salad being a stand out favorite of mine. Every other item I have tried off the menu has been great as well. I have only had slow service once and never really had a problem besides that. So check one of the three out if you are in town.

meathookjones, Jul 07, 2004
Sweetwater Tavern & Brewery in Sterling, VA
88 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.