Top Picks: Discover the Best Breweries in Virginia for Craft Beer Lovers

In search of the best breweries in Virginia? Our guide cuts through the froth and directly serves up a list of distinguished breweries you simply can’t miss.

Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant flavors of the coast or the classics of the countryside, we provide a straight pour of recommendations to quench your thirst for quality Virginia craft beer.

Key Takeaways

  • Virginia’s craft beer scene is booming with over 200 breweries, including innovative gems like New Realm Brewing and environmentally-conscious spots like Lost Rhino Brewing Company.
  • Local flavors shine through as many breweries, like Caboose Tavern and Hawksbill Brewing Co., commit to using regional ingredients and sustainable practices, showcasing Virginia’s varied landscape and supporting local agriculture.
  • Award-winning taprooms and hidden beer havens are sprinkled across Virginia, such as those on Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail and in Virginia Beach, offering unique experiences from oceanfront brewpubs to rooftop gardens.

Exploring Virginia’s Craft Beer Scene

Craft beer glasses and brewing equipment

Craft beer in Virginia is a thriving scene, with over 200 craft breweries across the state. It’s an industry that’s been recognized nationally, with the Virginia Craft Beer Cup being the largest state competition of its kind in the U.S.

The star players? Breweries like the Virginia Beer Company, George Brewing Company, and Universe Brewing Company, each offering a unique taste of Virginia-flavored craft beer.

The Rise of Craft Breweries in Virginia

Recent years have witnessed a wave of innovative breweries revolutionizing the Virginia craft beer scene. Take New Realm Brewing Company in Virginia Beach.

Noteworthy for its innovative beers like the Hoplandia American IPA and the Euphonia Bohemian pilsner, it’s a testament to the creative energy brewing in Virginia.

Additionally, the Lost Rhino Brewing Company in Ashburn is celebrated for its flagship beers and devotion to environmental sustainability.

A Taste of Local Flavors

Virginia showcases a robust bond between the beer and its origination land. Breweries are committed to embracing the local terroir, using regional ingredients to reflect the area’s character in their beers.

Caboose Tavern in Vienna exemplifies this with its commitment to using high-quality ingredients from local farmers and purveyors who share their values of sustainability and natural production.

Additionally, the Old Bust Head Brewing Company pursues sustainability by pioneering solar energy use and bolstering local agriculture through the recycling of spent grains as livestock feed.

Hawksbill Brewing Co. in Luray crafts small-batch beers that incorporate local ingredients, offering a taste that’s intimately connected to the Page Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains.

And let’s not forget Vibrant Shore Brewing Company, marrying the worlds of art and brewing, with unique microbrews and seasonal specials reflecting the creativity of the region.

These breweries create distinct beers that tell the story of Virginia’s rich and varied landscape.

Visit Virginia’s Award-Winning Taprooms

During your Virginia visit, seizing the opportunity to explore the award-winning taprooms scattered around the state is a must. In Roanoke, breweries offer special deals as part of the Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail.

Plus, the Cheers Trail Passport program provides additional offers and incentives for craft beer enthusiasts, often bringing visitors face-to-face with the brewers behind their favorite concoctions.

Virginia Beach’s Brewing Gems

Next up, we’re off to the beach! Virginia Beach, to be exact. Home to vibrant breweries like Back Bay Brewing Co. and Commonwealth Brewing Company, this coastal city has established itself as a prime destination for craft beer enthusiasts.

We should examine a few of the city’s brewing marvels more closely.

Oceanfront Brewpubs You Can’t Miss

Just a block from the boardwalk, Smartmouth Pilot House offers a unique experience in a repurposed post office setting. Dog-friendly and welcoming, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a pint of their innovative Saturday Morning IPA with Marshmallows.

Then there’s The Bunker Brewpub & Cadence Hall, located under the Oceanfront Inn, and offering live music alongside their finely crafted beers.

Back Bay Brewing Co. serves a spectrum of beers, with local favorites including the Steel Pier Bohemian Lager and Witch of Pungo Pumpkin Ale. Located in a convenient spot for post-beach refreshments, Back Bay Brewing Co. is an accessible destination for those venturing from the resort area.

Hidden Hops in Virginia Beach

For those who love to explore off the beaten path, Virginia Beach’s lesser-known breweries offer unique and exclusive beer selections. Pleasure House Brewing features a dynamic beer selection that changes with each visit.

Vibrant Shore Brewing Company hosts a taproom that doubles as an art venue and surprises visitors with a hidden rooftop garden ideal for sunny day enjoyment.

The Heart of Craft: Central Virginia’s Finest Breweries

Journeying into the heart of Virginia, we find the Brew Ridge Trail, a self-guided trail that features prominent breweries such as Blue Mountain Brewery and Devils Backbone Brewing Company, all nestled near the awe-inspiring natural bridge.

We should traverse this trail to uncover the craft beer treasures it possesses.

Charlottesville’s Craft Beer Trailblazers

Charlottesville is home to trailblazers of the craft beer scene, such as South Street Brewery and Starr Hill Brewery. Operating since 1998, South Street Brewery exemplifies the city’s established craft beer heritage with a variety of beers and a full menu.

Starr Hill Brewery, the second oldest craft brewery in Virginia, extends this legacy with its multiple locations in the area, emphasizing community engagement through outside food and food trucks.

Moreover, the Blue Mountain Brewery & Brewpub in Afton fortifies the beer trail with its comprehensive restaurant and on-site draft beers, complemented by other local craft beverages.

Pro Re Nata Brewing Company in Crozet enriches the local craft beer dining scene with its globally-inspired kitchen and Detroit-style pizza, creating a diverse and inclusive food experience for visitors.

Featuring beers made with locally cultivated ingredients, Pro Re Nata introduces an agricultural element to the brewing process, underpinning the craft with a sense of place.

Ashland and Fredericksburg’s Brewing Hotspots

Heading to Ashland and Fredericksburg, we find brewing hotspots like Center of the Universe Brewing Company and Spencer Devon Brewing. Center of the Universe Brewing Company is an Ashland-based brewery known for its variety of craft beers.

Fredericksburg’s Spencer Devon Brewing and Red Dragon Brewery offer exceptional craft beer experiences; Spencer Devon emphasizes farm-to-table dining, Red Dragon and Strangeways Brewing enliven the local brewery scene with events and expansive outdoor spaces.

Northern Virginia’s Premier Breweries

Venturing into Northern Virginia, we encounter an impressive craft beer scene showcased through the Beltway Beer Trail and the LoCo Ale Trail. These trails guide visitors through a rich selection of more than 20 breweries in locations such as Fairfax and Alexandria.

A standout brewery in this region is Aslin Beer Company, embodying the region’s innovative spirit with their bold flavors in IPAs and stouts.

Fairfax St and Falls Church Favorites

On E Fairfax St, we find:

  • Audacious Aleworks Brewery, known for its range of unique beers
  • Settle Down Easy Brewing Co.
  • Sweetwater Tavern
  • Solace Outpost
  • The Casual Pint in Falls Church

These breweries add to the vibrant local brewery scene with their unique brews and experiences. From trivia nights to music bingo, these breweries offer both beer tastings and engaging entertainment.

Here are some breweries and their beer selections:

  • Audacious Aleworks Brewery: English Ale, Snozzberry Sour Ale, Chocolate Coconut Fudge Stout
  • Settle Down Easy Brewing Co.: Kolsch, West Coast IPA, Honey Jalapeno Ale
  • Sweetwater Tavern: Belgian Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Aces High IPA
  • Solace Outpost: Ales, IPAs, Lagers, Seltzers
  • The Casual Pint of Falls Church: New England IPA, American IPA

These breweries offer a diverse choice for beer enthusiasts.

Loudoun County’s Craft Beer Destinations

In Loudoun County, we encounter unique experiences offered by breweries like Vanish Farmwoods Brewery and Bear Chase Brewing Company.

Vanish Farmwoods Brewery offers a rustic farm setting where visitors can enjoy local craft beer in a scenic environment, while Bear Chase Brewing Company offers panoramic views of Loudoun County, enhancing the brewery experience with its natural surroundings.

Both breweries boast an extensive beer portfolio, featuring IPAs, stouts, kettle sours, and more, while Bear Chase Brewing Company also serves as a hub for live music and events.

Shenandoah Valley’s Brewery Retreats

The Shenandoah Valley is not just known for its stunning natural landscape but also for the unique brewery retreats that blend artisanal craft beers with the region’s inherent beauty.

Here, breweries like the Wild Wolf Brewing Company strive for sustainability, with the brewery having been awarded the Green Brewery of the Year for three consecutive years for their effective recycling, energy conservation, and commitment to growing chemical-free hops and vegetables.

Luray’s Lagers and Ales

In the picturesque town of Luray, visitors can enjoy craft beers while also exploring the nearby Luray Caverns. The breathtaking natural beauty of the caverns adds to the beer-drinking experience, making it a must-visit destination for every craft beer enthusiast.

Harrisonburg and Blacksburg Brews

Harrisonburg, Virginia, is notable for its breweries that enliven the college town atmosphere with creative brewing practices. Breweries like Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill stand out as social centers for both students and locals, offering house-brewed beers and a full-service restaurant.

Rising Silo Brewery in Blacksburg delivers a ‘Table on Farm’ experience with farm-fresh, seasonal dishes that pair well with their diverse beer selections, creating an authentic Southwest Virginia beer-drinking experience.

The Tap Barn at Rising Silo Brewery hosts events featuring tastings, growler fills, and live music, adding to Blacksburg’s vibrant local scene.

In Harrisonburg, Pale Fire Brewing offers an engaging taproom experience downtown with a lineup of various beers, including seasonal specials. These breweries offer unique experiences that enrich the local craft beer scene.

The Richmond Beer Experience

Richmond’s beer history is a tale of tradition, innovation, and resilience. From its earliest documentation in the 18th century with the Westham Foundry Brewery of 1781 to its modern craft beer resurgence, the city has always been a pioneer in the beer industry.

Today, Richmond is home to over 20 craft breweries, with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery epitomizing the local ingredient ethos and the city garnering national attention from the Wall Street Journal.

Richmond’s Historic Brewpubs

Richmond’s historic brewpubs tell a story of the city’s diverse cosmopolitan culture in the 19th century. Some notable brewpubs include:

  • Edward Euker’s beer garden and brewery, which opened in 1866 and introduced German beer styles and social spaces
  • Richbrau Brewing Co., which opened in the 1990s and recalls the city’s historic brewing traditions
  • Legend Brewing Company, also opened in the 1990s and pays homage to Richmond’s brewing history

These brewpubs are a testament to Richmond’s rich beer heritage.

Legend Brewing Co., established in 1994, is Richmond’s oldest operating brewery and is acclaimed for its flagship brown ale and views from its riverfront patio. These historic brewpubs offer a glimpse into Richmond’s rich beer history, providing both a taste of the past and a toast to the present.

Modern Brewers Shaping Richmond

Today’s Richmond is a city of modern brewers who are shaping its beer scene. Some of the top breweries in Richmond include:

  • The Answer Brewpub and The Veil Brewing Co., which lead the way in innovative brewing and create extreme flavors through their range of hazy IPAs, sours, and stouts.
  • Final Gravity Brewing Co. and Triple Crossing Brewing, which are renowned for their excellent IPAs and stouts.
  • Väsen Brewing Co., Ardent Craft Ales, and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, which offer a broad array of beer styles, ranging from hazy IPAs and Belgian-style ales to diverse offerings like the Gingerbread Stout.

Hampton Roads’ Hop Havens

Hampton Roads is another region that’s experienced a significant craft beer movement, with a rise in local breweries in recent years. This area of Virginia is known for a collective passion for well-crafted, good-tasting beer, with a variety of breweries offering a wide range of brews.

We should explore these hop sanctuaries further.

Norfolk’s Nautical-Inspired Breweries

Norfolk is home to breweries that honor the city’s deep maritime and military history, contributing to unique nautical themes. Armed Forces Brewing Company, soon to open in Norfolk, highlights local military heritage.

Benchtop Brewing has carved a niche with its innovative approach backed by scientific methods to create a bold beer experience.

What sets this brewery apart is its experimentation with local ingredients, crafting distinct flavors like Quick Pickle Gose and Beet Kvass, which are rarely found in other breweries.

Coastal Cheers in Cape Charles

In Cape Charles, the Cape Charles Brewing Company offers a memorable visitor experience with a diverse lineup of craft beers, curated food pairings, and engaging events.

Founded by the Marshall family, the brewery’s inception was infused with a passion for home-brewed beer, local seafood, and burgers, all centered around the coastal lifestyle.

Western Virginia’s Mountain Brews

Western Virginia offers a unique experience, where craft beer and breathtaking natural landscapes converge. Breweries like Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland integrate sustainability into their brewing process with measures like recycling, water conservation, and the use of solar energy.

Roanoke’s Craft Beer Pioneers

Roanoke’s craft beer scene includes renowned breweries like Three Notch’d Brewing Company and Starr Hill Brewery, as well as local favorites such as Big Lick Brewing Company and A Few Old Goats.

These pioneers of the craft beer scene contribute to Roanoke’s dynamic beer landscape, creating a vibrant and innovative atmosphere that enriches the local scene.

Abingdon and Bedford’s Boutique Breweries

Abingdon and Bedford are home to distinctive breweries, such as Sweetbay Brewing Company and Tumbling Creek Cider Company. Sweetbay Brewing Company champions the ethos of community, emphasizing place, familial connections, and harmony with nature, mirroring the spirit of Southwest Virginia.

Tumbling Creek Cider Company specializes in crafting high-quality ciders from apple to bottle, offering an authentic Southwest Virginia cider-drinking experience.


From the coastal breweries of Virginia Beach to the artisanal craft beers of the Shenandoah Valley to the historic brewpubs of Richmond, Virginia’s craft beer scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavors, techniques, and experiences.

Each brewery tells a unique story, reflecting the rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes of the state. So, the next time you’re in Virginia, why not raise a glass to its craft beer? After all, nothing says ‘Cheers’ quite like a Virginia brew.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Virginia Craft Beer Cup?

The Virginia Craft Beer Cup is the largest state competition of its kind in the U.S., celebrating the finest craft beers and breweries in Virginia. It showcases the best of the craft beer industry in the state.

What are some of the craft breweries to visit in Virginia Beach?

You can visit craft breweries like Back Bay Brewing Co., Commonwealth Brewing Company, and Smartmouth Pilot House when in Virginia Beach. Enjoy a variety of craft beer options during your visit!

Where can I find craft beer in Central Virginia?

You can find craft beer in Central Virginia by visiting the Brew Ridge Trail, which includes breweries like Blue Mountain Brewery and Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Enjoy your beer adventure!

What is Richmond’s role in the craft beer scene?

Richmond has played a significant role in the craft beer scene, with a beer history dating back to the 18th century and currently being home to over 20 craft breweries known for their innovation. The city’s brewers, such as The Answer Brewpub and The Veil Brewing Co., have contributed to its reputation.

Are there any craft breweries in Western Virginia?

Yes, there are several craft breweries in Western Virginia, including Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland and Three Notch’d Brewing Company and Starr Hill Brewery in Roanoke. Cheers!