Monday, July 11, 2022

Vegan Pizza & Beer in Winchester, VA

 Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to spend a night on the town in Winchester, Virginia, and y'all, we need to talk about Pizzoco.

Perfect golden crust.


Gooey vegan cheese.


An expertly seasoned, slightly sweet sauce that is made in-house every day.


Choose from toppings galore to create your own masterpiece, or easily veganize several of their signature pies.


It doesn't get better than Pizzoco.


On this visit, we opted for the Tomato Pie to embrace the stunning simplicity of an artisanal pizza. Vegan cheese goes down first, then the sauce spirals across the top. Garlic, olive oil, and oregano finish out the flavor.

We ate the whole damn thing in one sitting. No regrets.

On my next visit, I'm eager to try a veganized version of the "Winchester": sweet peppers, basil, and onion with classic red sauce and vegan cheese. 

Speaking of Winchester, Pizzoco is in the town's historic district. Taking a stroll through the neighborhood will treat you to a brick-laid walking mall lined with restaurants and local shops. At the end of the walking mall, you'll find George Washington's office from his pre-war surveyor days. Glamorous, it is not, but it puts history in perspective when you acknowledge the great accomplishments of the man in light of his meager surroundings.

Pizzoco gives nod to another local treasure on its very walls:

See the green turret rising over the hill on the left? It isn't a whimsical invention from an artist's imagination, but rather the city's historic Handley Library.


The green roof is iconic in Winchester today, but when the building was constructed over 100 years ago, it gleamed in bright copper. Over time, the copper aged and its patina became a stately landmark overlooking the town. It still functions as a public library today, and its history and charm are just as magical as to stories it holds.

In addition to our stroll through time, we were able to visit Winchester Brew Works, a woman-owned, family-friendly brewery in downtown Winchester.

This is possibly my favorite beer experience of all time.

We opted to share a flight. It's the height of summer here, so three of our choices were light and fruity: the #glamping Pink Lemonade Shandy, the juicy Northside Light Lime, and the gentle 2200 Mile NEIPA (inspired by the Appalachian Trail). 


Our fourth choice was the velvety, decadent Bourbon Barrel Bear Tracks. This is a reprise of their fan-favorite peanut butter porter. In this version, Bear Tracks has been aged in bourbon barrels, resulting in a rich brew with notes of cocoa and vanilla. My recommendation: Don't buy the full pour of this. Order a mini and savor each sip without overwhelming your palate.

All in all, Winchester isn't the most vegan-friendly place I've been, but if you know where to look, you can find some hidden gems. If you visit, I hope you'll share your finds with me!

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