A few weeks back, local brewing legend Bill Madden was kind enough to have us around to the current construction site that is his soon-to-be-open dream brewpub Mad Fox Brewing Co. (an amalgamation of his and his wife's last names) in Falls Church, VA. Bill has a reputation as a craftsman brewer, producing flawless award winning beer: a stalwart of the local brewing scene, having run brewing operations at Capitol City Brewing Co., the short lived Founders (Alexandria, VA) and Vintage 50.
Bill is the definition of a community minded brewer, having organized local beer festivals for years, and is intimately linked with the local, long established, homebrewing club Brewers United for Real Potables (BURP), where he met his wife, his business partner for Mad Fox, and many of his most loyal customers. He sees his main role at Mad Fox as not only head brewer, but as a "European publican", a sort of approachable man of the house who will cajole you with a story and coddle you with a pint.
Bill got to work from a blank slate with Mad Fox: a huge modern space in which he could build to his specs, including a brand new 15 BBL brewhouse from Premier Stainless Systems, (6) 30 BBL fermentors, and (7) 15 BBL serving tanks . Everything is in it's right place, and there is plenty room for storage of cooperage and materials.
Bill has planned an ambitious cask program, having ordered 6 traditional handpumps and 50 casks from UK Brewing Supplies in Pennsylvania. His idea is to practice proper cask cellarmanship, keeping 3 casks pouring at all time with the remaining 3 available on-deck, properly settled, vented, and ready when needed.
We were excited to hear Bill has big plans for barrel aging and experimenting with wild fermentations. He hasn't had the opportunity to delve into the wild in any of his former positions and is chomping at the bit. He has curtained off space for barrels and is building in dedicated pipes to carry beer to-and-from the brewhouse to the barrel room.
Bill has garnered much acclaim for 2 beers in particular that have become his signature: A very traditional, impeccably drinkable Kolsch, and a brawny Wee Heavy that is built to age (and we'd imagine will be a candidate to see the inside of one of those barrels). Along with these staples, he has conceived a seasonal beer board that will allow room for variations on key beer themes of color and body, and he will continue his tradition of stealth beers for those in the know.
Bill gave us a walking audio tour of the construction site.
the future brewhouse
the stage, lounge area
brewers storage room (imagine casks and kegs stacked to the ceiling)
Bill and his beloved dumpster (he's paid his dues)
Bill recently had the brewhouse installed and we will have a broader interview with him up on the site shortly. It's going to be great having a new, ambitious brewpub in the metro area ( and just blocks from the Old Dominion Trail for us cyclists).