The topic of light vs. dark beer can be a spirited debate for craft beer aficionados. Some prefer the flavors and body of darker beers such as stouts and porters, while others are more inclined to lighter beers like a kolsch or lager.

Fortunately, the local breweries in Virginia’s Blue Ridge feature beers that cover the spectrum of flavors.

Do you prefer light beers, or are you part of the dark side? When you plan your Blue Ridge beercation, you can sample a variety of brews to determine which side of the Beer Wars you identify with.


Here are a few light vs. dark options to check out at the craft breweries in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

Chaos Mountain Brewing

Light: Shine Runner Pils
This Czech-style Pilsner began as a summer seasonal but quickly became a year-round option due to its popularity. It’s a light, crisp beer that’s refreshing and easy to drink and the name serves as a tribute to the moonshine makers and runners who helped earn Franklin County the reputation of being the “Moonshine Capital of the World.”

Dark: Agents of Chaos
For three straights years, Agents of Chaos has been an award-winner in the Belgian Dark Strong Ale category of the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival. It’s the flagship beer for Chaos Mountain Brewing and is full of complex flavors of dark fruits and caramel that serves as a nice after-dinner drink.

Flying Mouse Brewery

Light: Flying Mouse 1: Super Wheat
The unique, light-to-dark numbering system for beers at Flying Mouse kicks off with the Flying Mouse 1: Super Wheat, a brew packed with wheat that offers a light, smooth flavor with low hop bitterness.


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Dark: Flying Mouse Brown Ale
The Flying Mouse Brown Ale delivers a smooth, buttery character that offers notes of caramel and toffee flavors, with a nutty finish that is subtle on the taste buds. 

Parkway Brewing Company

Light: Bridge Builder Blonde
This Belgian-style ale goes down easy with its wheat flavor and 5.9% ABV. It offers hints of pear, clove and banana and serves as a great summer beer.

Dark: Raven’s Roost Baltic Porter
In addition to being an iconic spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Raven’s Roost is also the name of the signature porter from Parkway Brewing. It’s a powerful beer with a rich, robust aroma and strong flavor that includes notes of chocolate, caramel, and toffee.

Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers

Light: Tinker Creek Kolsch
Soaring Ridge rotates through a variety of seasonal and specialty brews, but the Tinker Creek Kolsch is a flagship favorite for many. It’s a refreshing beer with a light body that offers a mild hop flavor and dry finish.

Dark: Twisted Stump Porter
The Twisted Stump Porter packs a punch with its full body and rich flavor. It features two row barley, chocolate, caramel and black malts to provide those chocolate and nut flavors you look for in a great porter.

Sunken City Brewing Company

Light: Dam Lager
This signature lager for Sunken City Brewing Company recently took home first place in the European Lager category at the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival. It’s an amber lager that’s brewed from three types of American malt, which combine together to form a refreshing beer that offers an herbal hop aroma and clean finish. 

Dark: The Colombian: American Coffee Stout
You know you’re off to a good start when you have Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea, a local coffee roaster in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, roast coffee beans specifically for your beer, which is exactly what Sunken City did for this stout. It pairs wonderfully with the caramel and black malts that are then balanced out by the American Hops. The Colombian recently won 2nd place in the American Dark Ale category at the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival.

Ready to check out more great beer? Here are a few other beer-related resources you might like: