We love a celebration and the extraordinary growth of Virginia’s craft beer industry is definitely worth a month-long hurrah. Add being called one of the Top Seven Beer Destinations in the nation by Travel Channel, and you have more than enough reasons to raise a glass to Virginia Craft Beer.
Here’s what you need to know for enjoying Virginia Craft Beer Month 2015:
1. PACE YOURSELF. There are more than 100 craft breweries in Virginia, and thankfully, there are chauffeured tours and organized trails which make it easier to get around and taste in a way that makes sense.
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
2. DINE WHILE YOU IMBIBE. You don’t necessarily have to visit a brewery to enjoy their product. Restaurants all across Virginia are proudly offering the homegrown brew on tap or by the bottle. Indeed, “tap takeovers” are occurring statewide this month. This is a small sample, so feel free to chime in with others to share your knowledge.
Billy Jack’s, Harrisonburg – 12 taps of Virginia craft beer
Harvest Table Restaurant, Meadowview
Mekong, Richmond – “#1 Great American Beer Bar”
Capital Ale House, multiple Richmond locations and Harrisonburg
Conch Republic, Richmond
Buffalo Wild Wings, multiple locations statewide
Benny’s BBQ, Richmond – 10 Virginia brews on tap this month
Blue 5, Roanoke – 46 rotating taps that include Virginia craft beer
Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Richmond, and Roanoke
Harvest Table Restaurant
3. HAVE A BLAST. There are festivals aplenty – just beer, beer and food, and those where Virginia craft beer will be served. Enjoy fine Virginia foods while sipping something cold and listening to an up-and-coming Virginia band.
Aug 8: Eastern Shore’s Own Craft Beer & Music Festival, Belle Haven
Aug 8: Shenandoah Valley Blues & Brews Festival, Staunton
Aug 8: Microfestivus, Roanoke
Aug 8: Virginia Beach Crab & Beer Feast, Virginia Beach
Aug 16: RVA Brew-B-Q Festival, Richmond
Aug 22: Annual Virginia Craft Brewers Festival, Roseland
Aug 29: Neptune’s Coastal Craft Beer Festival, Virginia Beach
Virginia Craft Brewers Festival
4. ASK WHAT’S NEW. As you visit the breweries or meet brewery staff at festivals, ask about their new releases. Here are a few that we know of:
Foxy Roxy – A hoppy red wheat concocted by the brains at Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, Pale Fire Brewing Co., Brothers Craft Brewing, and Virginia Eagle Distributing that celebrates Harrisonburg.
Lillian’s Laughter, Dark American Wheat, and Macado’s Watermelon Wheat – New releases by Three Notch’d Brewing Co.
Sunnidalia – A new collaboration between Starr Hill and Hardywood Park Craft Breweries
Hardywood Watermelon Gose – Crafted from local watermelons by Hardywood Park
Monkey’s Uncle Lemongrass Tripel – A new release from Center of the Universe
Estate Rosemary Saison – Something new from Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Banana Pancakes – A collaboration between Hardywood Park and Midnight Brewing; will be unveiled at Station 2 in Richmond
Boom! Choc-o-Lotta Chocolate Lager, Fruits of Our Labor, Still Life with Peaches Saison, and Eternal Youth Biere d’Abricot, A-Bomb Apple Sour – All new brews from Strangeways Brewing
Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee Liberty or Death Porter – A new release by Triple Crossing Brewing Company
Green Eyed Lady – Belgian Gold Strong Ale crafted by James River Brewery
Stortzenbecker Imperial Blackberry Wheat Ale – a pirate-inspired 8% ABV American Wheat by Pleasure House Brewing
Watermelon Lime Kolsch – You’ll have to wait until the end of August for this gem from Midnight Brewery
5. TAG IT. We’re watching you watch us. When you’re enjoying a Virginia craft beer, take a photo and tag it #vacraftbeer.
In fact, if you’re an Instagram user and you’re in/around/passing through Richmond on August 19, swing by Ardent Craft Ales at 6 p.m. for an InstaMeet. We’ll be there!
>> WE WANT YOUR CRAFT BEER PICS FOR OUR 2016 TRAVEL GUIDE! <<
To be considered, you must include #vacraftbeer with your Instagram. Click the image to see what’s already brewing, and follow us at @VisitVirginia.
Do you know of a new craft brewery coming along? We’ve heard of two opening soon in Arlington – New District and Sehkraft Beer Garden and Haus. Give us the scoop by leaving a comment.