What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
Melissa Romano is the co-owner and co-founder of Lake Anne Brew House, a small, award-winning taproom brewery in Reston, Va. As a long time fan of craft beer married to a long time home brewer, my husband and I lamented not having a brewery or even a great neighborhood pub within walking distance of our home. So, after spending more than a decade wishing someone else would do it, we took the plunge and did it ourselves.
What’s new at Lake Anne?
Lake Anne Brew House has recently started hand-canning our beer for off-premise purchase. As a taproom only brewery, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to pivot, but our to-go sales have been fantastic and our customers are excited to support us both in-house and for carry out sales this year.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The craft beer community is a collaborative, welcoming, and exciting environment to work in. We are constantly in awe of the generosity and good will of those who work alongside us, for us, and with us.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
I’ll take an oyster stout and a platter of freshly shucked oysters any day of the week! Pass the hot sauce please!
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
I spent many years working as an architect before becoming a brewery owner, and was fortunate to work on many unique, creative, and award-winning projects, but I will always say that my greatest designs are my three awesome kids.
What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
I am and always will be a fan of Brooklyn Black Ops. I had my first taste nearly 15 years ago out of an unmarked bottle while sitting in the brewery at a makeshift bar. From that point on, I have collected bottles annually and currently have 10+ years cellared and waiting for a vertical tasting!
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
When not at the brewery, I can be found baking soft pretzels at my second business, Nordic-Knot, which is a craft soft pretzel bakery. I also enjoy cycling, running, and driving my 1972 VW Karmann Ghia or vintage motorcycle. I have three teenagers who keep me pretty busy the rest of the time.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
In the summer of 2018, my husband and I spent time in Belgium alone while our kids were at summer camp. Travelling across the country, finding the best beers and the best locations in which to drink them was incredibly memorable, but my most unique drinking experience came when I was much younger, and involved drinking fresh Kvass out of a vending machine in a small town about two hours outside of Moscow. The machine poured the Kvass into a small glass, which you sipped from, then returned to the machine for the next person to use. Definitely not sanitary, but memorable and delicious!