Melissa Romano

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What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
My husband, Jason, and I own and operate Lake Anne Brew House in Reston, Va. Jason is a longtime homebrewer, and we have a history in craft beer that goes back to our very first date (which happened to be at a brewery). We spent the first 15 years of our marriage visiting taprooms and breweries around the country before deciding to take the leap to open our own.

What’s new at Lake Anne?
Part of the fun of owning and operating a 2-bbl nanobrewery is the flexibility to do whatever we want. We are constantly experimenting with new recipes and styles while keeping our flagship line available to our loyal customers. We focus on fun community events and have hosted several music festivals, a cardboard boat race, a stand up paddleboard triathlon, and our area’s largest Pride festival.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
I love the collaborative nature of this industry. Regardless of size and scale, most breweries have the same goal—to produce great beer—and it is exciting to watch how each one works toward success.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
I am a dark and malty beer girl, savory and salty for snacks, and the perfect combination for me is a porter and a pretzel. The quest for the perfect soft pretzel actually led me to open a bakery. Nordic-Knot pretzel company (Malt&Salt, LLC) was born from a love of pretzels and a way to twist family, friends, and community together.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Prior to owning a brewery, I was a professional architect, working in the field of design for many years. While I am proud of my accomplishments, my greatest “designs” are my three kids.

What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
If you look deep into my beer cellar, you will find 10+ years of Brooklyn Black Ops aging their way to the perfect vertical tasting someday.

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I enjoy spending time with my husband and kids, cycling, riding my vintage motorcycle, and tooling around in my 1973 VW Karmann Ghia. I also love running, but my true passions have always had wheels.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
I have had many great beers across Europe, but my most memorable experience reaches back to the summer of 1990. I had the opportunity between high school and college to live for four months in the former Soviet Union and taste local kvass from the source.

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