Alexandria, Virginia, is only just emerging as an American center for craft brewery, and given its history, this should come as a surprise. Until Prohibition, Alexandria was home to the largest brewery in the South — and one of the most influential in U.S. history. After its closure in 1916, however, it would take nearly a century for the city to re-establish itself as a center for beer.
Alexandria’s very first brewery predates the Declaration of Independence: Established in 1770, Scottish brewmaster Andrew Wales kept Alexandria in beer for nearly three decades. Garrett Peck is an author and beer scholar who literally wrote the book on Wales and other early local brewers. Until this year, Peck also operated tours focused on Wales’ life in Alexandria’s Old Town, tracing a path between the historic warehouses along the waterfront and Wales’ final resting place, the Old Presbyterian Meeting house.