Southwest Virginia is beloved by outdoor enthusiasts because of rugged destinations like the St. Paul ATV Trails, the Appalachian Trail, and challenging waterways like the New River. But there is much more to the region besides active, adventurous pursuits. The area has been receiving a lot of buzz for its growing culinary scene, and what goes best with great food? A cold craft beer. Check out a few of these craft breweries in Southwest Virginia to combine the beauty and splendor of the outdoors with some of the best beverages the Commonwealth has to offer.
Sugar Hill Brewing Company—St. Paul
Sugar Hill Brewing Company serves craft beer and great food with a side of family friendly fun. The restaurant features exposed brick walls, unusual metal ceilings, and huge windows that bathe the interior in natural light. Order a few appetizers, sandwiches, or entrees from the varied menu and enjoy a house crafted beer with your meal. After dining on their classic Americana food and one of their 12 craft beers on rotating tap, try out the vintage pinball machines or challenge your friends to a game on the foosball table. On game days, the brewery’s 10-foot television broadcasts live sports, pairing perfectly with the craft beers.
Right Turn, Clyde Brewing—Narrows
Another family-friendly brewery in the Southwest Virginia Area, Right Turn, Clyde Brewing in Narrows converted an old-fashioned 1920s-era bank building into a state-of-the-art brewing facility. Although the interior is still being developed, they have spared no expense on creating outstanding craft brew. They produce a variety of unusual beers, like a Belgian Waffle Ale, a Banana Cream Ale, and a Peppermint Brown Ale, and constantly aim to grow their selection with one-of-a-kind brews.
If you’re heading to Bristol to visit the Country Music Museum, historic State Street, or are just passing through, a visit to Studio Brew should be on the agenda. Located in the Downtown Historic Warehouse area, Studio Brew’s three-story brick building dates back to 1908 and has a history of delicious beverages. The urban location originally housed the Happy Valley Whiskey Distillery, and traces of the building’s origins can still be seen today in the bourbon barrels used for aging the craft brews. The brewery balances the rustic feel with whitewashed brick walls and large artworks. Pick from over 15 artisan beers of tap and pair with a selection of small plates or one of their signature flatbreads cooked to perfection in the wood-fired brick oven.
Wolf Hills Brewing Co.—Abingdon
Wolf Hills Brewing Co. takes its name from the original title that Daniel Boone gave Abingdon, but the beers have a distinctly modern taste, inspired by the fragrant hops grown in the Pacific-Northwest. The brewery focuses on small batch brewing, distributing their products only in the Virginia Highlands region. Sip on a fresh, savory beer inside the rustic brewery, which features stripped wood rafters decorated with strands of lights, a concrete cinderblock wall, and eclectic artwork spread along the remaining simplistic white walls. The whimsical décor may seem random, but the final result is a cozy, creative atmosphere that welcomes guests to stay and sip as long as they like.
The River Company Restaurant & Brewery has a prime location overlooking the New River, only minutes away from Radford University and Virginia Tech. The brewery resembles a wood lodge both inside and out, with huge wood beams intersecting across the large open space and a crackling fire going during the cool months in the stone fireplace. A selection of eight beers are on tap at a time, balancing year-round staples with specialty beers crafted utilizing seasonal flavors. The latest is the Apple Brown Ale, a fall brew made with apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. For food, they are known for their beef, specifically steaks, but the menu is packed with tasty options to enjoy with your craft brews.
The Damascus Brewery—Damascus
Grab a delicious craft brew and pull up a stool in The Damascus Brewery, named for the town in which it resides. This Southwest Virginia brewery is close to both the historic Creeper Trail and the Appalachian Trail, and it definitely pulls from these outdoor destinations for inspiration. The wood paneled walls and open vault ceiling speak to the no-frills approach that the brewery takes in décor, and turns the focus instead to the all-grain craft brews. Sample a few of the inventive options, from the robust Beaver Fever Porter (a play on the brewery’s mascot), to the easy-to-drink Amberdelic. You’ll often catch live music while visiting the brewery, and if the weather is nice, a seat at the picnic tables on the outdoor patio is the way to go.
Busted Still Brewery—Gate City
Busted Still Brewery keeps a rotation of 6-8 beers on tap at all times, but the one you need to try is the Black Dog Stout, their most requested brew to date. On the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail and the Crooked Road in the mountains of Southwest Virginia and close to the famous Carter Family Fold, this brewery is the perfect stop-off for those touring the historic region. The weather-stained wood exterior creates a rustic yet inviting feeling, and the staff that greet you echo this sentiment, happily pouring their excellent craft beers and welcoming both guests and newcomers to sit and stay a while.
Creek Bottom Brewing—Galax
Galax’s Creek Bottom Brewing acts as both brewery and restaurant for the community, offering wood-fired pizzas, smoked wings, and a bevy of fantastic food selections to go along with their handcrafted beers. About 6-8 of their own brews rotate on draft, along with 12-14 beers from other Virginia breweries and cideries, but they also serve over 300 bottled or canned beers from international breweries, rounding out an impressive selection that even the biggest beer aficionado can appreciate. Shiny red stools surround the handful of high-top wood slab tables spread around the brewery, and string lights dip from the ceilings to create an intimate, cozy environment for your dining and drinking.
Looking for more craft breweries in the Southwest Virginia area? Here are six more notable destinations in the region that produce exceptional craft beers.