Never mind the four tangible barriers surrounding them: there are no walls at Belly Love Brewing Company.
After paying a visit to the location with Matt Leonard, founder of Brewdoun.com, I found myself asking: What is their secret?
I got my answer as Katie Baki, co-owner and taproom manager, shared their story with me.
Belly Love was an idea birthed between the couple (her husband, Tolga Baki, is the owner and head brewer.) Whenever things grew too tense between the pair, Katie suggested they touch bellies. How can one stay angry when participating in such a guileless gesture? It was the perfect trick to diffuse any situation.
It ultimately became an authentic title for their brewery. To an observer like me, it seems to have become so much more.
With a prevalent vibe of, “come as you are,” the location lacks pretense and excels in heart. It’s no matter if one enters solo, Katie informed me everyone is a friend by the end of the night.
One quickly realizes there are no walls, just as there have never been walls between the owners of the establishment.
Built with places to lounge, the brewery has an inviting, cozy ambiance. Katie showed us a table her father-in-law was commissioned to build, more conducive for socializing. Belly Love has an old school ideology, choosing to forgo all the background noise so people can connect. I was also under the impression no one would feel put on the spot in such a homey environment. A person can enter and just be.
And drink. Let us not forsake thy heavenly brews…
About a year after opening, Tolga attempted to make a gluten reduced cream ale. The results were stellar and he continued the endeavor. Why not? The flavor and integrity of beer remained in tact and their customer base grew.
As a matter of fact, on our way inside, we ran into some friends (the wife has celiac) rather cheerfully and gratefully enjoying their drinks on the patio. (On a side note, the brews are only gluten reduced and cannot be advertised as fully gluten free.)
As a gluten free gal and avid beer enthusiast myself, I was in my own private paradise. I ordered a sampler and there was not a single brew I didn’t love.
Their Narcissist, a light lager, was crisp all the way through with refined lemon notes. Shut the Fook Up, their pale ale, had a pleasant caramel flavor with a snappy bite to it. The Duchess, a Belgian Tripel, had the perfect resonance of cranberry and rings in at a high 9.1% ABV. Eye of Jupiter, their oatmeal stout, was positively smooth. I’m not going to lie, by this point I was forgetting all about my interview, my husband…it was pretty much just me and my stout…
The Dilbert Dunkel was another lager on tap. I enjoyed it so much I took the liberty of ordering a glass after my sampler.
Belly Love also has a full menu of items and we enjoyed some of their pork belly tacos and queso dip. The menu offers a large variety of items: Panini sandwiches, various flatbreads, pretzels, etc.
The location also offers trivia every Thursday night from 7-9 pm and features a happy hour every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3-7 pm. (Visit their website for more details.)
With the location being dog and family friendly, it’s a win-win. Bring your favorite furry pal by and sit on the patio with a cold one. Families can share a meal with plenty of goodies and snacks for the kids to enjoy. A little tip: If it’s a nice day, there’s some space for the especially wiggly tikes to run around in the breezeway while you indulge in a second beer.
You will most likely want to once you feel the-love-of-the-belly.
**A special thank you to Katie Baki for taking time to answer all my questions.
Tolga Baki: Owner and Head Brewer
Kathleen Baki: Co-Owner, and Taproom Manager
725 E Main St,
Purcellville, VA 20132