Adrien Widman, owner of Ocelot Brewing Company, doesn’t believe in being special or the chosen one or probably, come to think of it, as my fantasy mind frolics…X-Men mutants, Superman powers, or sparkly vampires.
I know this because of a thought he shared with Brewdoun.com when we showed up for a visit. It’s a thought that has helped shape who he is as well as his brewery. “Your mom’s wrong. You’re not special.”
These days it does seem to be more about getting along. And who does a better job of bringing people together than a local brewery with top shelf beer? Adrien Widman isn’t going to feed anyone’s delusion that they’re born with special genetics, but he will make anyone on the planet feel welcome in his establishment. And folks are also guaranteed a mighty fine beer.
One can imagine how he got there: through simple hard work and learning as he went.
Adrien first took an interest in beer back in 2006 when he went to visit his brother in San Diego. His brother was a craft beer enthusiast and gave him a taste of the good stuff, sending him home a changed man.
Ocelot covered in Halloween spider webs
Photograph by Matt Leonard
Working in IT for The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at the time, he began trading beers with his brother and other friends online. After establishing a well-developed beer palate he was led to invest in his own home brewing equipment.
Ultimately, a plan came into play to open Ocelot Brewing Company. Spending a week in Bolivia with his dad clearing his head, he gathered his investors; his uncle, dad, brother, and best friend, and the place was opened in 2015.
Part of the drive to make good beer was to fill in a needed gap. It wasn’t that long ago craft breweries were rare creatures in Loudoun County.
I know…crazy, right?
But thanks to people like Adrien, that’s all changed.
Ocelot Beer Flight
Photograph by Matt Leonard
The brewery boasts an incredible staff with a top notch Tasting Room Manager, Graham James, Brewer Jack Snider and Head Brewer Mike McCarthy, and helpful bartenders such as Nick Pagano (answering all my nagging question while I sipped on a flight of ‘lish beer.) And let’s not forget Laura Widman, wife, co-owner, and bookkeeper of the establishment.
In the back of their warehouse, Jasper Akerboom does fascinating creations as founder of Bright Yeast Labs, a biotechnology company specializing in developing yeast and yeast strains for craft beverages such as beer. He’s a common day wizard, folks.
The brewery is also known for raking in some acknowledgements in the industry with their musician and lyric inspired beer. Their barrel aged porter, Powers of Observation, won the bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival.
Additionally, Ocelot does a lot of collaborating and that is great for other breweries. Ahem, I mean for Ocelot…of course! Magnify Brewing Company out of New Jersey popped in for a visit and next thing you know, a gorgeous DIPA, super hazy with tangerine notes, was born. Reflections of a Dream…can anyone guess the band reference?
What else do we love about Ocelot? Their weekly new releases. Every Thursday, fans of the location are guaranteed something new to taste. While Brewdoun was there we enjoyed Witching Hour, their Marzen with a pleasant malt profile, and Sunnyside Dweller, their steady pilsner, fan favorite. Little Black Book was a beautiful, full flavored stout presenting itself like a foamy dessert. Twenty-Four Hours, brewed with Mad Fox Brewing Company, was a hop forward IPA, heavy and bitter.
Ocelot has food trucks Thursday through Sunday and food delivery available the rest of the week. Any of the friendly bartenders can assist you with picking a restaurant based on mood or perhaps diet restrictions.
The brewery is dog friendly with a patio to entertain furry friends and family friendly with its industrial sized hosting space. Live music is arranged on the last Friday and Saturday of each month.
This past Saturday evening, Matt, Brewdoun’s Chief Flight Taster – and my handsome other half, dressed in childish gear with me as we visited the location for a Halloween bash. I am quite certain Adrien was surrounded by a few mythical creatures with supposed “special” powers.
No one was special and everyone was. We had a great time pretending to be kids for a night and everyone got along famously.
I think the brewery founder is quite right. No one needs to be special to feel a part of something amazing. Stop by Ocelot soon and you’ll see just what I mean…
23600 Overland Dr #180, Dulles, VA 20166