9 Craft Beer Towns in Virginia That You Need to Visit

by Patricia Keppel | Posted: Mar 3, 2017 | Updated: Mar 17, 2017

Comments: 29 Comments

 

Virginia’s craft beer scene just keeps growing, with big names like Stone Brewing, Deschutes Brewing Company, and Green Flash Brewing all opening East Coast locations in Virginia. But locally owned breweries are found in almost every corner of the state, creating some of the most popular craft beer destinations in the U.S. Whether you’re a craft brew aficionado checking a few stops off your beer bucket list or simply a traveler looking to instill a little more fun into your Virginia visit, these 9 craft beer towns are “hopping” destinations for brewery tours.

 

—RICHMOND—

Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

Insider Advice: Want an active and unique brewery tour? Book a ride on the Groovin’ Gears party bike, a pedal-powered contraption that seats up to 14 people. Riders can reserve individual seats or rent out the whole bike for a private tour.

Breweries to Visit:

What to Do After Brews:

Before visiting, check out the schedule at music venues like The National or The Broadberry, which routinely feature popular bands and the biggest names in music. Richmond is also well-known for its established outdoor scene and kayaking, fishing, and mountain biking enthusiasts traveling from around the world to take on the city. Many of the locals spend summer months on the James River paddle boarding, boating, or merely soaking up some sun on the rocks of Belle Isle, a 54 acre island in the heart of the city. A bevy of critically acclaimed restaurants round out Richmond’s food scene, giving you every option, from Thai to Southern Comfort meals. Beer lovers should check out Mekong, a Vietnamese restaurant voted the #1 Great American Beer Bar in the country by craftbeer.com.

 

—CHARLOTTESVILLE—

South Street Brewery

Insider Advice: The breweries in Charlottesville are fantastic, but the city is also surrounded by craft beer towns like Scottsville, Crozet, and Afton, which are home to some big name beer masters including Devils Backbone Brewing  Company, Blue Mountain Brewery, and Starr Hill Brewery.  Book a weekend trip with Cville Hop On Tours to catch a bus to the breweries outside the city.

Breweries to Visit:

What to Do After Brews:

Charlottesville has a little bit of everything when it comes to travel, including historic sites like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and a variety of world-class wineries along the Monticello Wine Trail. Tour the University of Virginia campus to see stunning architecture designed by Thomas Jefferson, and then head to the Corner for a bite to eat at Bodo’s Bagels, a favorite spot for students and locals alike. For shopping and fine dining, visit the Downtown Mall, an outdoor walking mall that welcomes leashed pets. If you enjoy active outdoor pursuits, the Blue Ridge Mountains are just a short drive away.

 

—VIRGINIA BEACH—

Virginia Beach sunset

Insider Advice: About 30 minutes west of the beach, Norfolk has another five craft breweries for you to try during your coastal Virginia vacation.

Breweries to Visit:

What to Do After Brews:

Work on your sun tan as you lie out on the sandy Atlantic shores, bring a boogie board to ride the waves, or charter a boat for a fishing trip. After a full day of beach fun, walk up the Virginia Beach Boardwalk to have dinner at Waterman’s Surfside Grille, an oceanfront seafood restaurant that will even cook up the fresh catches from your earlier fishing expedition. Learn about Virginia’s coastal ecosystems at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park, both just a few miles away from the beach.

 

—ARLINGTON—

Downtown Arlington

Insider Advice: Neighboring Alexandria has two more breweries and a remarkable history behind their beer. After visiting Arlington’s breweries, stop by the Alexandria Visitors Center for a copy of “Alexandria’s Historic Breweries: A Walking Tour & Pub Guide”, a free pamphlet that guides you through the history of brewing in Alexandria.

Breweries to Visit:

What to Do After Brews:

Shopping prospects abound on the historic stone streets of Downtown Alexandria, located due south of Arlington. Keep going down the Potomac River coastline to reach George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, which is open 365 days a year for tours. Take the scenic route to the property with a bike ride or walk on the Mount Vernon Trail, an 18-mile paved multi-use trail that runs along the river all the way up to Arlington. Narrowing down restaurant choices won’t be an easy task, as the region contains countless restaurants within Arlington, Alexandria, and D.C., but a few top contenders include Arlington’s King Street Blues or if you’re willing to make the trip to Alexandria, consider dining at Vermilion Restaurant, Hank’s Oyster Bar, or Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant.

 

—BLACKSBURG—

Downtown Blacksburg

Insider Advice: About a 30 minute trip by car, Cascades National Recreation Trail is a relatively easy 4.4-mile hike that ends with an awe-inspiring 66-foot waterfall.

Breweries to Visit:

What to Do After Brews:

During the fall, attend a Hokies football game at Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium and stroll through the six acres of Peggy Lee Hahn Horticulture Garden, which features idyllic woods, cultivated gardens, and a peaceful 200-foot stream. Get in a full 18 holes at the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech, a course that sits on the New River and received 4.5-out-of-5 star ranking as one of the “Best Places to Play” in America. Head out on the New River for a guided fishing trip with New River Outdoor Company, a local guide and outfitter that also rent out cabins along the river. Claytor Lake State Park is another popular waterfront destination for boating, swimming, and fishing in the region.

 

—HARRISONBURG—

James Madison University

Insider Advice: During the summer, nothing beats the heat better than an ice cream cone from Kline’s Dairy Bar, an old-fashioned ice cream stand that has been serving up homemade frozen treats to Harrisonburg residents since 1943.

Breweries to Visit:

What to Do After Brews:

Visit White Oak Lavender Farm for a wide variety of lavender products, including their surprisingly delicious lavender ice cream. Don’t miss a tour of the grounds, which feature a duck pond, life-sized checkerboard, labyrinth, drying barn, and a petting zoo that kids and adults alike will love. Sample wines with lavender oil at the on-site tasting room. Outdoor enthusiasts find plenty of opportunities to discover the mountain landscapes of the region, and mountain biking is especially popular for visitors to Harrisonburg. Check out Food.Bar.Food in the downtown Harrisonburg area for an excellent example of the locally sourced food movement happening throughout Virginia. Finally, if you’re traveling with your significant other, plan a trip to “The Kissing Rock” on James Madison University’s campus, a limestone rock that predicts that if you kiss at the location, you’ll marry that person.

 

—BRISTOL—

Studio Brew

Insider Advice: Cross State Street and you’re actually traveling to another state! The road straddles the border between Virginia and Tennessee.

Breweries to Visit:

What to Do After Brews:

Known as “The Birthplace of Country Music”, venues throughout Bristol hosts live music performances almost every single day. Visit the Birthplace of Country Music Museum to learn about the region’s rich musical history, including Bristol’s presence in the famous Crooked Road. For a tasty treat during your visit, go by Blackbird Bakery. To work off those tasty treats, travel to the Virginia Creeper Trail in Damascus to explore 34 miles of beautiful mountain countryside (Don’t worry, it’s a downhill ride!) or plan a section hike of the Appalachian Trail.

 

—STAUNTON—

Downtown Staunton

Insider Advice: Plan your trip for July and catch the Red Wing Roots Music Festival, an annual event that combines live performances from national and regional bands with hiking, biking, fishing, and other outdoor activities in the scenic Shenandoah Valley.

Breweries to Visit:

What to Do After Brews:

Recognized by Travel + Leisure as one of “America’s Greatest Main Streets”, Staunton’s Downtown avenues are lined with historic brick buildings that date to the late 19th century. Learn the story behind photography in America at the Camera Heritage Museum, then tour the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, the birthplace of the former U.S. President. Staunton offers a variety of fine dining options such as Zynodoa, but for a more laid-back meal, grab a table at Kathy’s, a local restaurant that has been voted “Best Breakfast in the Shenandoah Valley” for six years running. The best part? Breakfast is served all day long at Kathy’s!

 

—PURCELLVILLE—

Adroit Theory Brewing

Insider Advice: Purcellville is part of the LoCo Ale Trail, a string of breweries in Loudoun County that are sure to quench your thirst for great craft beer. Download the map to plan your brewery road trip of the area.

Breweries to Visit:

What to Do After Brews:

Purcellville is nestled in the heart of D.C.’s Wine Country, so if you’re traveling with a wine lover, a few stops at the area’s wineries is recommended. Rent bikes during your stay and venture over to the Washington & Old Dominion Bike Trail, which runs through 45 miles of Northern Virginia’s beautiful countryside from Purcellville to Shirlington.

 

Craft Beer Town Honorable Mentions:

  • Abingdon
  • Damascus
  • Winchester
  • Lexington
  • Waynesboro
  • Fredericksburg
  • Roanoke
  • Williamsburg
  • Culpeper

 

 

Plan a trip to one of these nine craft beer destinations this year and discover why Virginia’s brewery scene is quickly becoming recognized as one of the best in the world. Leave a comment below to share your favorite places for a Virginia Craft Brewery Tour!

 

 

 

 

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29 Comments

Come visit Roanoke for a beer tour!
Between Big Lick, Soaring Ridge, TwinCreeks, Chaos, Hammer & Forge, Flying Mouse & Parkway we have craft beer for all tastes. And, add Ballast Point & Deschutes to this list soon.

KFL says:

C’ville-ian is no longer in business. You left out Random Row brewery and Hardywood Charlottesville Pilot taproom.

Thanks so much, I’ve made the changes and reached out to Random Row and Hardwood to get them listed on our website!

Amanda Wright says:

The fact that Roanoke only received an honorable mention is absurd. Especially when some towns listed only have 3 breweries. Soaring Ridge, Parkway, Big Lick, and Roanoke Railhouse. Just wait until Deschutes and Ballast Point start building…

KND says:

You all left out Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria….

REPETE in DC says:

As part of Purcellville and LOCO in general, you forgot to include that there are also a couple distilleries on top of the 25 or so vineyards.

Jim says:

Roanoke just made an honorable mention? Are you all daft?! We have Deschutes, Ballast Point, Parkway, Soaring Ridge, Chaos Mountain, + about 3 more. Wow, what a letdown

Susan says:

Chaos Mountain Brewery in Callaway is my absolute favorite! Great beers, great music and great people!!

Kim Pendleton says:

Backroom Brewery in Middletown. Winner of many awards 2016 Va craft brewers. Just visited her yesterday. AMAZING beer!!

Matt says:

No love for Galax? How far west did you go? Virginia is a bug state!

And the newest and Virginia’s first historic farm brewery in Madison! Bald Top Brewing Co.!