We love great beer in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
With the high quality water that flows through the Blue Ridge Mountains and the strong craft culture, the selection of craft breweries in the region continues to grow.
Beer also pairs great with outdoor recreation, and we certainly have no shortage of outdoor adventures in Virginia’s Blue Ridge with over 1,000 miles of trails for hiking, biking and paddling.
Does a Blue Ridge Beercation sound like an awesome getaway for you and your friends? If so, here are 20 unique craft beer experiences to check out during your next visit.
Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail is a new program that features that craft beverage experiences in the region! The trail incorporates breweries, wineries and distilleries, offering you the opportunity to sample all kinds of amazing local flavors. You can also download the Cheers Trail Passport Program to sign up for exclusive special offers and receive a FREE t-shirt after checking in at five locations. Learn more >
2. West Comes East - Ballast Point Brewing Company & Deschutes Brewery
Virginia’s Blue Ridge earned its spot on the map for beer lovers when Ballast Point Brewing Company and Deschutes Brewery announced they’d selected the region as the home of their East Coast distribution centers. Ballast Point has a beautiful facility in Botetourt County that features a tasting room & restaurant, while Deschutes Brewery is still in development for its East Coast headquarters but has already opened a great tasting room on Market Street in Downtown Roanoke.
3. Pet-Friendly Fun at Big Lick Brewing Company
Drinking is always more fun with friends, especially when your friends are the four-legged kind! Big Lick Brewing Company (pictured at the top of this post) is pet-friendly, both with its beautiful outdoor patio and interior space. Enjoy a few brews like the Barbie Juice (American Blonde Ale) or This Time IPA (New England Style) and snag a few selfies with you and the dog. Please be respectful of others and keep your dog on leash.
Book a spot on the Virginia’s Blue Ridge Brewery Tour to check out multiple craft breweries in the region without having to worry about transportation logistics! It’s a hop-on, hop-off tour that’s led by a knowledgeable ambassador/driver who provides information and suggestions about the breweries you can visit along the way. All aboard!
5. Music at Twin Creeks Brewing & Starr Hill Pilot Brewery & Side Stage
It’s not hard to find live music in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, particularly when you’re hanging out at local breweries. Most breweries keep the weekend schedule packed with bands and artists, but Starr Hill Pilot Brewery & Side Stage and Twin Creeks Brewing Company stand out for placing a strong emphasis on making live music part of the experience. Cheers to getting your groove on!
6. Get Bent at Parkway Brewing Company
Parkway Brewing Company was voted Best Local Craft Beer Brewery by readers of The Roanoker Magazine in its Best of Roanoke 2018 awards and the Get Bent Mountain IPA is its most popular brew. It’s a West Coast style IPA that packs a punch with 7.2% ABV. If you’re feeling fruity, opt for the Grapefruit Get Bent or Orange Get Bent for some extra citrus flavor.
7. Roanoke River Floating & Beer at Starr Hill
What better way to spend a Blue Ridge Day than spending a few hours on the river and then downing a few post-float beers?! Starr Hill Pilot Brewery & Side Stage in Roanoke is located at the base of Mill Mountain and is just a few hundred yards from a public access ramp for the Roanoke River. If you’re paddling, consider putting in at Rotary Park in Salem. If you’re tubing, Roanoke Mountain Adventures at The River House is a great option.
8. Build Your Favorite 6 Pack at Barrel Chest
Barrel Chest is a local shop that boasts an incredible selection of craft beer and fine wine from all across the country and around the world. It’ll be tough to choose as your build-your-own six pack, so we recommend building multiple! Barrel Chest also offers beer on tap, including some brewed on location, and wine by the glass.
9. Patio Drinking
We love being outside in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, including when we drink beer! Many local spots feature fantastic patio spaces, but a few that stand out as especially stellar include Big Lick Brewing Company’s beer garden, Parkway Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing Company, Beale's, A Few Old Goats, and Downshift Hand-Crafted Bikes & Brews with its beautiful rooftop patio.
10. Cycling the Twin Peaks & Beer at Chaos Mountain
You’ll earn your beer with this adventure! The Twin Peaks loop is a challenging ride created by a local cyclist that incorporates riding Cahas and Bent Mountains along fun, backcountry roads. It’s a 43-mile ride that includes over 4,600 feet of elevation change. Begin and end your ride at Chaos Mountain Brewing Company and then celebrate conquering the peaks with some brews.
11. Dinner & Beer at Blue 5
You could visit Blue 5 every day during your visit to Virginia’s Blue Ridge and still not try all the great beers that are available. With a rotating menu that includes 46 taps and over 40 bottles, Blue 5 has been named one of the Top 25 Best Beer Bars in America by CraftBeer.com. The food menu showcases Southern inspired cuisine and it’s also a fun spot for live music.
12. Cornhole & Beer at Soaring Ridge
Cornhole is a fun game among friends and for tailgating, but competitors take it seriously at Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers. Every Wednesday, Soaring Ridge hosts the Star City Cornhole Tournament, where teams are formed by blind draw and there’s a $5 buy-in. You bring your A-game and Soaring Ridge will brew the craft beer!
13. Trivia & Beer
There’s trivia nearly every night of the week at breweries around Virginia’s Blue Ridge! Starr Hill Pilot Brewery & Side Stage and Olde Salem Brewing Company host trivia every Tuesday night, while Parkway Brewing Company is the place to be on Wednesday nights. Twin Creeks Brewing Company and Beale's are every Thursday while Big Lick Brewing Company is bi-weekly on Thursdays. Chaos Mountain Brewing also hosts trivia on the last Thursday of every month. Need a weekend fix? Deschutes Brewery hosts trivia every other Sunday!
14. BBQ & Beer at Beale’s
Make the drive to Bedford to experience the great craft beer and amazing BBQ at Beale’s! Located in old woolen mill, Beale’s specializes in European style beers and a meat market style BBQ menu that features brisket, pulled pork, smoked sausage, and brisket burgers. Prepare to drink and feast.
15. Homebrewing 101 - Southern Hills Homebrew Supply
Ready to learn the skills to become the brewmaster of your own home (or garage)?! Head to Southern Hills Homebrew Supply to get all your questions answered and all the tools you need to begin the homebrewing process. It’s a unique perspective on the art and science of creating craft beer.
16. Appalachian Trail Hiking & Beer
Did you know Roanoke is the largest city on the Appalachian Trail and that Virginia’s 554 miles of trail is more than any other state? With such a strong connection to the A.T., it only makes sense that we’d have a breweries within close proximity to the trail. Check out Ballast Point after a hike to Hay Rock on Tinker Mountain or enjoy a few brews at Parkway Brewing Company following a trek to McAfee Knob.
17. Beer Shopping & Sampling at Eli’s Provisions
Everyone loves shopping at the Historic Roanoke City Market in Downtown Roanoke, and Eli’s Provisions is one of the best local shops to check out during your stroll along Market Street. The store boasts an extensive selection of craft beer and wine, including an assortment of local, regional, national, and international beers. It’s also a good spot to pick up Virginia is for Craft Beer Lovers swag and souvenirs.
18. Mother Pucker Sours at Olde Salem Brewing Company
Sours are all the rage in the craft beer world right now, and Olde Salem Brewing Company in Downtown Salem has fully embraced the trend. You can create an entire flight of sours from the Mother Pucker section of the menu, which includes a Gose, multiple Berliner Weisse varietes, a couple sour ales. Pucker up!
19. Burgers & Beer
What pairs better with a burger than a great craft beer?! Sorry, Coca-Cola. Many of the best burgers in Virginia’s Blue Ridge are served at restaurants that also offer excellent craft beer options. You can’t go wrong with any burger & beer combination at Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint, Beamer’s 25, Town Center Tap House, and B-Sides. You can also save every Monday night with burger specials at Martin’s Downtown Bar & Grill and Ballast Point Brewing Company, as well as Beale's on Wednesday nights!
20. Beer Events & Festivals
We keep the calendar packed with fun beer-related events and festivals in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. In addition to local breweries regularly hosting parties, live music, and other special celebrations, the region also hosts popular annual festivals like Microfestivus, Virginia Craft Beer Festival, Vinton Grapes & Grains, Brew Ha-Ha!, Smith Mountain Lake Brews & Tunes, Salem’s Summer Beer Festival, and the Kegs & Barrels Craft Beer and Wine Festival. Check out the Events page to see what’s coming up!
Share your experiences with us on social media by using the hashtag #VBRcheers.
Please always drink responsibly.