Nestled between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find the state of Virginia and its many impressive breweries. From large-scale operations to up-and-coming microbreweries, there is no shortage of opportunities to explore beer in Virginia. Whether you’re adding a single brewery to your trip or planning the entire vacation around one of the state’s incredible beer trails, make sure you take a look at this list of the top 10 breweries in Virginia.
Upgrade a trip to Chincoteague Island with a visit to Black Narrows Brewing Co. Be prepared for a very laid-back, community vibe at Black Narrows, not to mention a variety of excellent beers. Try a briny beer inspired by the local marsh or a Southern-themed corn beer for a unique take on a classic beverage.
If you love games and brews, then don’t miss a chance to visit Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company. The Roseland location is the original, and that’s the best place to sample their classic Schwartz Bier. You can also check out their enormous taproom in Lexington.
If you find yourself in Crozet, be sure to pop into the Starr Hill Brewery. Most nights you’ll be able to kick back with a beer and some live music, and many of their brews have even won awards. While plenty of the beers at Starr Hill are available year-round, it’s the seasonal releases that many visitors love.
The oldest and the biggest brewery in Virginia is Legend Brewery, which is located in Richmond. If the weather is nice, be sure to sit outside in the beer garden and enjoy a delicious meal along with your beer.
At Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, you can get the full brewery experience. Tour the hops farm to see where the ingredients come from, and then sip a few different brews at a guided tasting. Round out the visit with one of the 10 beers available on draft daily, and then dig into a delicious meal to pair with your drink of choice.
Wish there was a way to enjoy incredible beer and support veterans in Virginia? Then head to Young Veterans Brewing Company in Virginia Beach. Everything is military themed, including the names of their beers. Since 2012 the taproom has tripled in size, so it is clearly a local favorite.
For a uniquely Virginian brewery experience, make your way to the Lost Rhino Brewing Company in Ashburn. They source most of their ingredients from within the state, creating a range of limited release beers that reflect the local agriculture and the seasons. There is also an extensive menu from their kitchen, which boasts a similar farm to table philosophy.
In a 19th century brick warehouse in Scottsville, you’ll find the James River Brewery. Since the 16th century, Germany brewers have followed the rule of reinheitsgebot, or beery purity laws. James River Brewery follows the same guidelines, producing classic and delicious beers like their Belgian strong ale and their extra bitter British ale.
In the 1800s, Thomas Jefferson established a short-lived brewery in the town of Forest. In 2013, a second brewery was opened in Forest: Apocalypse Ale Works. This fun and funky brewery is the opposite of pretentious thanks to regular events, a casual atmosphere and creative brews.
Art and beer combine at Studio Brew, a red brick brewery in Bristol. The brewery started with a single five-gallon bucket of beer, and it is now a popular hangout for beer lovers. In addition to a long list of brews, you’ll find an extensive range of wines, cocktails and even locally brewed non-alcoholic root beer for the discerning soda fan.
Explore the Most Popular Beer Trails in Virginia
If you’ve got a few specific breweries in mind that you’d like to visit, put together your own itinerary and explore them all. If you’re more interested in the tasting and less excited about the planning, find a preset beer trail itinerary and follow along at your own pace. The LoCo Ale Trail in Loudoun County, for example, even includes walkable brewery destinations so you can leave the car at home. Other popular options include the Brew Ridge Trail along the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Seminole Beer Trail stretching from Charlottesville to Gainesville and the Coastal Virginia Beer Trail beginning in Virginia Beach.
Don’t leave Virginia without checking out some of the state’s top breweries. Whether you love IPAs or sour beers, you’ll find the perfect drink for your trip to Virginia.
Hitting the breweries on the Virginia Shore? Check out Shore Craft Beer to learn about all the breweries on Delmarva.