Right now. You should take the day off (or embrace the day off you may already have on this Veterans Day), call a babysitter for the kids, and head out to the Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in Purcellville, Va. Here are 10 reasons why:
10. The drive is gorgeous. I'm sure the drive out to Loudoun County is beautiful the rest of the year (it takes about 50 minutes from inside the Beltway), but right now, an explosion of fall leaf color joins the long horse fences and old stone buildings that make the drive so scenic.
9. Purcellville is hip, historic and still seems undiscovered. The couple of blocks of downtown Purcellville, with the Distillery right at its crossroads, are rich with great restaurants, interesting yet functional shopping, and a nice mix of locals and tourists exploring Virginia's wine country.
8. The Catoctin Creek Distilling Company building is on the National Register of Historic Places. The brick building, built during the second year of Prohibition, once housed a bank then a Buick dealership. Large windows that were once garage doors show off views into the vintage tasting room and the distillery room with all of its steam-punk cool stills.
7. The stills are so steam-punk cool.
6. The tour will give you a great 20-minute understanding of how spirits are made. At the top of every hour, friendly tour guides lead guests on a tour of the distillery and discuss how Kansas rye (rye doesn't grow well in Virginia) becomes Virginia white whiskey, rye whiskey and gin.
5. Scott and Becky's story is inspiring. Owners Scott and Becky Harris made a midlife-left turn to create the Catoctin Creek Distilling Company. Scott was looking for a escape hatch from his software career; he was lucky he was married to Becky, who was a chemical engineer and is now Catoctin's chief distiller.
4. The horseshoe bar in the tasting room invites bellying up. The large bar in the vintage tasting room provides lots of seats, encouraging conviviality with the friendly tasting hosts and fellow imbibers.
3. You can try Catoctin Creek's spirits. For $5, you can sample three half-ounce pours of Mosby's Spirit (white whiskey), Roundstone Rye, and Watershed Gin. For $10, you can sample flights of brandy and higher-proof rye.
2. If sipping straight spirits is not your thing, you can sample Catoctin Creek's spirits in cocktails. For $10, you can choose three mini-cocktails from a menu created by guest mixologists. For October, an Apple Cinnamon Sazerac, a Bloody Mosby and a drink called a Relaxing Rita were three of our options.
1. You can be on TV!! No, this is not the number one reason to visit the Catoctin Creek Distilling Company. But I couldn't figure out another way to mention a topic dear to the Harris' heart: a proposed tax hike on Virginia spirits. Local TV news was at the distillery on the day we visited to film a segment with Scott. Click on the photo to learn more about this issue, and contact your local state representative!
120 W. Main St., Purcellville, VA, 20132
Hours; Monday-Friday, 1-5; Saturday, 12-7; Sunday, 1-6
Tours offered for $5 at the top of every hour