Port City Brewing

Port City BrewingPort City Brewing
Port City BrewingPort City Brewing
Brewery, Bar, Beer-to-go

3950 Wheeler Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia, 22304
United States

(703) 797-2739 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 91 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mschenk
mschenk from Virginia

4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This is a brewery located in an industrial section of Alexandria VA. The beers are very good overall and they have a selection of about 10 different brews they are pouring at any time. Mostly open just evenings during the week expect for holidays when they have extended hours and also in the afternoons on the weekend. You can get pints, 8 oz or a 5 oz tasting of any 5 beers they have. Downside is that they do not serve food although every now and then there is a local food truck in the parking lot. The website advertises the food trucks. I enjoy their beers. They are of consistent high quality. They brew all different styles.

Jan 22, 2020
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Tripel_Threat from Michigan

3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Walked up to the brewery on a swelting Sunday. I was drenched in sweat and ready to cool down. When you first walk in, there's a smallish sized tasting room with bars for sitting and tables around the floor. A serving bar in in the far right. I took a seat next to the water cooler at the bar along the window.
The place is bigger than it seems, with more seating upstairs (and bathrooms that aren't as crowded)
Service is friendly, but this is a pure tasting room; if you want a brew, you've got to get it. Luckily they kept the lines to a minimum.
Plenty of ales on tap, with quite a few styles available. Two lagers, even!

Aug 21, 2019
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I've been to Port City quite a few times, the selection is always pretty decent - your standards like IPAs, seasonals, some of their more popular beers are always on tap, but they typically lack when it comes to more experimental stuff you'd expect to see on tap. The vibe is good - pretty much seems very "DC" with food trunks typically always on location with a more industrial vibe. Service is always on par and everyone seems friendly. Overall, a pretty enjoyable brewery to go spend some time at.

Sep 29, 2018
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h4ximus from Virginia

4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

The oldest production microbrewery in NoVA, and bless them for getting it right from the start. The flagship beers are almost uniformly excellent, so while they could be forgiven for not going crazy with one-offs or embracing industry trends, you always know you'll find a beer or three you like. They made a conscious decision not to serve food, which is a bummer, but when food trucks are there that makes it easier to hang out a while.

Apr 28, 2017
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Visited on a busy Saturday.

So, yes, the place was busy - mostly young professionals and a surprisingly number of families (really young kids fits into the previous statement). It appears to still have a local flavor to it, also mildly surprising for a production brewery. Conversation was plentiful, and the groups we interacted with were pleasant and friendly.

Port City is first a production brewery, for the populace, and in my impression, classic in style. To that end, they check the boxes. Their quality in so far as "wow" beers is low, their quality as to solid beers in style is pretty high.

For a busy afternoon, the staff seemed to be rolling with the punches. We had very nice interactions with the staff. At busy times they were a bit business-like, but completely understandable.

They might not be brewing off styles, but a decent selection of pale ales, lighter and darker. For a straight up brewery, a decent selection, though they have room for a little adventure here.

Mar 11, 2017
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lowlevelairbear from North Carolina

3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Cool vibe. Friendly staff and great traditional style selection. The flight system works efficient. $12 for 6 and they are more than generous for each pour.

Apr 10, 2016
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Rockjocknroll from California

4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25

Keeping in mind that I stopped in during limited X-mas Eve hours...

The vibe was mixed; the bartenders made me feel a little unwelcome but not the locals who were drinking there. The locals were very friendly and I chatted them up...we even shared beers. The bartenders seemed like they were trying to be nice but really didn't have it in them. I couldn't tell if it was because they were busy or if they just didn't care that much.

The beers were pretty damned good. I loved that they had an oyster stout (although it didn't have enough brine for me) and different styles of IPA (West and East coast). All of the stouts were good but were surprisingly similar even with different malt bills and ABVs. Their Bock was stellar as was their Wit; the Belgians were almost perfect except they would throw one component in that overpowered the beer.

The sampler system sucks. You get tickets and have to go back for EVERY ONE instead of having a sampler tray. Not efficient for anyone involved; in fact was a pain in the A.

I would definitely try to go back during not-peak hours. The beers were some of the best by far that are being brewed in Virginia and I would imagine that the staff would be way more welcoming when they're not slammed.

Jan 05, 2016
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mdfb79 from New York

3.67/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Small place, not a lot of beer choices, beers are decent. Nice people, good to try a few samples, but not a place I'd hit up too often. Not a place to hang out at all afternoon.

Dec 29, 2015
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VABA from Virginia

4/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A good place to go if one is in the nation's capital. There is sufficient room to accommodate a good crowd and there was a fairly lively crowd there! They are generous with the beer samples ($10 for six 4oz samples) and they have some decent beers. There was a Rocklands BBQ truck outside (they are one of the better BBQs in the area).

Oct 12, 2015
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Sludgeman from District of Columbia

4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

My first visit. Visited the tap room on a Saturday afternoon right after lunch. The place was not packed but there were no seats to be had and the bar was at least one person deep all the time. Remember that there are more taps at one of the bars so plan accordingly.

V - Two bars, bright, clean, picnic table seating in the brewery. Maybe a bit small and no outside seating (-). More industrial park meets brewery than some of the other tap rooms I have visited that are located in a industrial park. Still a high energy environment that shouts drink beer. 4.5

Q - Glass steins, snifters and tall thin tasting glasses for the various size pours. Glassware was clean. 4.25

S - Happy, friendly, no surliness or attitude. No table service, but there was someone collecting empties and generally keeping the place tidy.4

Sel - They only serve Port City beers, but there were at least eight different beers on tap ranging from a Wit, IPA, Helles Bock and Belgian Imperial Stout. 4

Sep 06, 2015
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KTCamm from New Jersey

4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Great stopping point outside DC in Alexandria VA. Wide open tap room, with well designed process for working through all their brews. $2 a taste, and to run the table you get a book of tickets to pace yourself. Food trucks stop by and you can bring the food inside. Growlers, min-growlers, and SWAG to go.

May 31, 2015
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Griffin2 from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

I really enjoyed visiting Port City. Their taproom is very nice, and their beers were very good. We went there on a Saturday afternoon. They seemed to be doing brewery tours every hour, so the taproom would fill up, then they would do a tour, and it would clear out.

Feb 26, 2015
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clayrock81 from Florida

3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

What you basically want when visiting a small brewery in suburban setting. Food truck outside, band ready to play, people inside and out (unfortunately you can't walk outside to food truck with beer or relax at table due to commonwealth law). Lots of people, crowded, however not too noisy and bar area not crowded so not a problem with beer time waiting. Bartenders know their beer, they're quick, don't mind helping you out, they have a nice sample deal (6 6 oz samples for $10) so while it's simple/no frills you can't go wrong here.

Jul 28, 2014
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Rifugium from North Dakota

3.33/5  rDev -19.2%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.25

I decided to pop into Port City, as it was about the closest brewery to my final destination on my Springfield visit. It was nice that this place was sort of off by itself, away from any main streets and city bustle. The tasting room was pretty simple, pretty cut and dry. Everything you need really: two bars, info on the wall, not an abundance of seats during busy hours, but plenty of standing room. Bright and organized. Not my ideal atmosphere, but served its purpose fine.

There were 8 taps, I think, so I opted for a sampler. They use the "tickets" system, I assume for legal reasons (because I don't see anyone voluntarily using such a system because it sucks), wherein you purchase 5 tickets and exchange each one for a sample, and they start you off with one. So essentially you get 6 samples, and they're pretty decent in size...you get your money's worth. Quality of the brews was decent. Nothing really wowed me, and if I had to choose a favorite, it would be the porter. Nice selection of merch for sale.

Service was a bit shaky. The girl I had as a bartender was pretty surly. The guy behind the bar was a bit uppity too...I tried starting a "craft beer" conversation with him and he wasn't too interested, or just wasn't educated on the subject, so I just let it go. I was one of three people at the bar, so it's not like it was slamming. The attitudes weren't winning me over.

I'd say Port City was definitely worth checking out. Once. I wouldn't go back, but I'm glad I at least paid a visit. I'd order up a porter if I saw it on tap somewhere else, but otherwise, I'd pass.

Nov 30, 2013
Photo of Chaney
Chaney from District of Columbia

4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

The wife and I have been here a few times and we've always had a great experience.

Totally respect Bill Butcher and the whole operation. Been on the tour twice now and have enjoyed it both times.

Atmosphere: Tucked back in an industrial park, ideally located, but now that "Rick's" has closed, it's strangely located...at least, to me.

Quality and Service: Bill Butcher is the man and he hired some great people. I even heard he hired Jason, a truly great Whole Foods guy from the Whole Foods in Vienna. I miss seeing him in that store now that he's gone.

Selection: I totally respect their stuff: My favorites: Optimal Wit, Porter, and Pale. Sure, the IPA needs some work, but they don't claim to be a West Coast-esque operation.

Value: Really nice: Come in and grab some tasting tickets for a few bucks. Why not, huh?

Trivia: Did you know they use "Southern Tier's" old labeling machine to do their labeling? Pretty cool, huh?

Feb 20, 2013
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Marq18 from Virginia

3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5

A friend and I took their brewery tour which is $7 (I think) and includes 5 tastings. Their brewery is nice and new with lot's of open space inside the tasting room and the actual brewing area. The tour was average. My friend who likes beer but doesn't know a lot about the process didn't come out any more educated. It got surprisingly crowded in the tasting room (not bar crowded though) in between the tours but quickly subsided. We hung out for a couple hours drinking our samples. We actually ended up with 7 samples because of a couple free pours they were giving. The beers were above average and I went home with a growler of the Porter which was very good. The only thing I would change is to have some seats in the tasting room, people would probably stay around a bit longer. Overall its a nice local brewery to drink a beer!!

Jan 30, 2013
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DrKnoskelson from Pennsylvania

4.84/5  rDev +17.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

As a person who frequents as many breweries as possible, this place is one of the best around. Very educational tour, which includes sampling directly frok fermentation tanks. Great bar/tasting room. When we visited on 12/27/12, we were able to sample the four flagship brews, plus the Tidings Ale, which is there seasonal brew. They have $7 samplers flights, $4 draughts, and $11 growler refills. Friendly bar tenders and cool wares. Be sure to check the location on a map before you attempt a visit, as its located in a more industrial area. Overall, great place to visit. Highly recomended.

Dec 27, 2012
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TheFunGuy from Virginia

4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

Nice, knowledgeable, fun staff. Two bar areas to serve the tasting room, with a small number of stand up tables--too few.

The room itself is hot, even with the recent rebuild. The decor is nice and modern mirco, very clean looking.

The tour is well done and informative. The prices for the samples/pints is fair, and the selection is the current span of beers--regular and special.

If not for the temp issues, i would call this a must visit for the central east coast. Even with, this is worth a stop if within an hour drive.

Update, December, 2013. The temp issues are handled, but the new, much larger staff have issues. About half are fun, really in to it, the other half are rude and bitchy (men and women). This was not the case before. I modded the service rating from 5 to 3.

Aug 05, 2012
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kylehay2004 from Illinois

3.86/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

I visited the brewey on a rather slow Sunday. Rob the bartender was very kind and enjoyable to chat beer topics with. The other female bartender was a little rough around the edges. The flight tester is very reasonably priced with large samples and you get to keep your sample glass. The tasting room is spacious however lacks bar stools. The beers were decent and it seems the brewery goes for milder and more drinkable and safe brews which is fine. My only knock was that there was one beer that wouldn't be available on tap until the weekend but it was available to try on the tour. They wouldn't allow me to try it unless I stayed an extra 45 minutes to attend the tour which I felt was a little unreasonable but rules are rules I guess. If you are in the area you might consider dropping by.

Jul 30, 2012
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WMEugene from Virginia

4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

The Brewery is now open on Wednesday, Thursday (just started), and Friday evenings and Saturday/Sunday afternoons.

A - The taproom is one decent sized bar and another growler filling station (which I've only seen used when they're really busy). There's a few tables and a lot of room to stand around. It's really well lit and clean.

Q - Since it's only their beers, your view of the quality will go as far as your view of their beers. I've loved both of their seasonals, the Wit and the Porter. The Pale Ale and IPA are both ok, but like I said, it depends on your tastes. They do an excellent job of managing the tap lines and of keeping everything clean, which helps a lot!

Serv. - The service is fantastic. The people who man the bar are friendly, knowledgeable, and always willing to strike up a conversation. The tour is informative and well done. Sometimes the owner is there and he is likewise very friendly.

Sel. - As I said before, it's all their beers. They also have cold bottles available for purchase along with growler fills. There's also a section with Port City swag for sale. That's all I can ask for in a brewery taproom.

Food - N/A, just beer.

Value - Usually 5 tastings (and the tour if there's one running) is $5. However, sometimes they're free and they've always been willing to give a taste of 1 or 2 for free if you're trying to decide on a growler fill. The growler fills are $10 for the standard lineup and (I believe) $12 for the seasonals. The six-packs for sale are $9.99, which is standard for the area. All of which I find very reasonable.

Overall, Port City is an excellent small brewery which is a welcome part of the DC area beer scene. I've been there somewhat regularly since they opened and it's definitely worth checking out if you're in the area.

Nov 19, 2011
Port City Brewing in Alexandria, VA
Brewery rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 3212 ratings