Many travelers know about the wine regions of Virginia and the labels they produce. But the state has also become a hub for craft breweries. Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood, in particular, is thriving in the industry, but Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge region also are holding their own. There are also excellent cideries for the gluten-intolerant. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but you can check out the state’s craft beer trail map.
Ardent Craft Ales
Just down the street in Scott’s Addition is Ardent Craft Ales, which focuses on flagship beers and seasonal releases. Like so many breweries, it started as a garage project before becoming a full production operation. Favorites include their imperial milk stout, our, and saison.
The taproom and beer garden are open Monday to Thursday from 4 to 9 pm, Friday from 3 to 10 pm, Saturday from 12 to 10 pm, and Sunday from 1 to 8 pm.
Beer to Try: The Sweet Potato and Sage Saison tastes like fall.
Canon and Draw Brewing Company
Canon and Draw is a casual brewery near the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in the Fan District. They have a diverse range of breweries like hazy IPAs, fruity sours, and stouts.
The tasting room is open Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 9 pm, Friday from 2 to 11 pm, Saturday from 12 to 11 pm, and Sunday from 12 to 8 pm.
Beer to Try: Try whatever the rotating tap of the moment is!
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
All have large taprooms with sprawling outdoor space for food trucks. Their diverse lineup of beers includes lagers, IPAs, and Belgian-style ales. They also have seasonal beers like the Farmhouse Pumpkin Saison and Gingerbread Stout.
The Richmond taproom is open Tuesday to Thursday from 4 to 9 pm, Friday from 4 to 10 pm, Saturday from 1 to 10 pm, and Sunday from 12 to 6 pm. The other locations have similar hours.
Beer to Try: The Tropication IPA is an American IPA with medium bitterness and citrus flavors.
The Veil Brewing Company
People drive great distances just cans from The Veil Brewing Co., which releases them on Tuesdays, the only place they’re available. They focus on unique brews like sours and triple IPAs. Each beer has its own quirky name like “Mixed Feelings” or “We Ded Mon.”
The taproom is open Tuesday to Thursday from 4 to 9 pm, Friday from 4 to 10 pm, Saturday from 12 to 10 pm, and Sunday from 12 to 6 pm. They also have two outposts and a wild beer cafe in Richmond and a location in Norfolk.
Beer to Try: Never Forever is a lip-puckering sour, but is highly delicious for lovers of wild and weird ales.
Big Lick Brewing
Big Lick Brewing is located west of downtown and has a sprawling tasting room with indoor and outdoor space. The pet-friendly brewery is open daily and has a large variety of beers and seltzers, hosting live music and trivia.
Beer to Try: Heritage Pre-Prohibition Lager is the style that locals would have sipped during the 1920s, produced in collaboration with Hotel Roanoke.
Golden Cactus Brewing
Set right across the street, the light and plant-filled Golden Cactus Brewing has arcade games and plentiful brews from pilsners to goses.
Beer to Try: Pale Rider is a New England-style lager with fruity notes.
Breweries Outside Richmond
Starr Hill Brewery, Crozet
The original Virginia brewery, Starr Hill Brewery is set between Charlottesville and Shenandoah National Park.
Originally created in a C-ville music venue in 1999, it’s now expanded to one of the region’s top breweries. Hoppy delights and live music are their main draws and they also have a second taproom in Roanoke.
The Crozet taproom is open Tuesday to Friday from 12 to 9 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, and Sunday from 12 to 6 pm.
Beer to Try: The Hook is a grapefruit session IPA that’s only available seasonally, so grab it while you can!
Fine Creek Brewing, Powhatan
Located in rural Powhatan outside of Richmond, Fine Creek Brewing is a destination in itself with onsite cabins and a general store.
The farmhouse brewery was established in 2017 and specializes in unique styles of beer like grisette. They use local ingredients and have a food menu including charcuterie, grilled pizzas, and sandwiches. Fine Creek also carries wine, cider, and guest beer taps.
The taproom is open Wednesday to Friday from 3 to 8 pm, Saturday from 12 to 8 pm, and Sunday from 12 to 6 pm. Tours are available by appointment.
Beer to Try: The Vitalism IPA is a hazy IPA with hints of papaya.
Breweries in Western Virginia
Wolf Hills Brewing Company, Abingdon
Wolf Hills Brewing Company in Abingdon is an award-winning brewery in the mountain town, named for the title explorer Daniel Boone gave the region. They have year-round beers as well as rotating taps and specialty beers. The lineup includes IPAs and pale ales.
The taproom is open on weekdays from 5 to 9 pm, Saturday from 1 to 9 pm, and Sunday from 1 to 6 pm. They also have tours of the brewery Sundays by appointment between 1 and 5 pm.
Beer to Try: The New England Hazy IPA is full of juicy flavor and slight bitterness.
Seven Dogs Brewpub, Wytheville
Taking its name from the owners’ adopted pets, Seven Dogs Brewpub is equal parts restaurant, brewery, and live music venue. Enjoy big salads and burgers, along with buffalo chicken.
Beer to Try: Hazy Waze is an IPA that isn’t too “juicy” but still delicious.
Seven Sisters Brewery, Wytheville
Located in a former John Deere factory, Seven Sisters Brewery takes its name from the mountain range outside of town. The pet-friendly taproom has plentiful space as well as a patio, which hosts food trucks.
Beer to Try: Maggie is a strong DIPA (at 9%!) so you only need one!
Virginia Beach Breweries
Vibrant Shore Brewing Company
Located in the city’s ViBe District, Vibrant Shore Brewing Company is a family-friendly space with outdoor seating and a garage-like taproom. The brewery specializes in European-style lagers and ales. They also have snacks like popcorn and pretzels.
Beer to Try: The Future Juicy IPA is a citrus-forward New England-style IPA that makes for easy drinking.
Smartmouth Brewing Company
With locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Smartmouth Brewing Company is one of the best breweries in the area. The pilot house is a few blocks away from the beach and has both indoor and outdoor space. There are food trucks to grab a bite as well as an extensive tap selection. Don’t miss the special release cans, including a Lucky Charms beer.
Beer to Try: Game On IPA is a light and drinkable option if you don’t want something sweet.
Bold Rock Hard Cider, Nellysford
Bold Rock Hard Cider has made a name for itself creating craft ciders in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Their Nellysford cidery has a taproom, restaurant, and barrel barn, but they have additional taprooms in Mills River, North Carolina, and Crozet and Charlottesville, Virginia (where I visited).
Their ciders are more than just your average apple juice, including the popular Virginia Apple, vintage selections, and seasonals. They’re open from Sunday to Thursday from 11 am to 6 pm and on Friday and Saturday until 8 pm.
Cider to Try: The India Pressed Apple has a hoppiness to it that is far from what you’ve tasted before.
Blue Bee Cider, Richmond
Also in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood, Blue Bee Cider offers unique selections of cider that are made with heirloom Virginia apples. Selections are brewed like beers for styles like saisons and barrel-aged varieties.
They offer tours of the facility and free tastings. The taproom is open Monday to Friday from 1 to 9 pm, Saturday from 12 to 10 pm, and Sunday from 12 to 8 pm. There’s also patio space.
Cider to Try: Gold Dominion is tart and not too sweet, the perfect cider to start with.