The Brew Ridge Trail: A New Way to Tour Charlottesville and Beyond
With so many nearby vineyards, wine tours are a popular pastime in Charlotteville. While you should definitely check out the area’s award-wining wineries, you may also want to give some attention, and perhaps a weekend, to the area’s similarly praised beer selection. Giving the Monticello Wine Trail a run for its money is the Brew Ridge Trail. Scattered throughout Nelson and Albemarle counties are a plethora of breweries, offering a variety of locally brewed beers and ciders, as well as gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Brew Ridge Trail winds through two Virginia and into Charlottesville, so plan your trip accordingly. With so many breweries to check out, it might be best to hire a driver and spend a day or two experiencing all that the Brew Ridge Trail has to offer.
Start in the south at Blue Mountain Barrelhouse, try a flight of beers, take a complimentary tour of the facility and continue on to Devil’s Backbone Brewpub. Plan your tour so you reach Devil’s Backbone around lunchtime and enjoy a bite on the outdoor patio while you sample one of the award-winning beers they have on tap.
Take a break from beer and cleanse your palette with a stop at Bold Rock Cidery. If you haven’t eaten, bring a picnic and enjoy the scenic property. The family-operated establishment offers a tasting bar and a patio as well. Sip tasty cider while enjoying the Virginia sunshine and then get on the road because there are more stops to hit and beers to try before the day is done. The Wild Wolf Brewing Company in Nellysford is worth checking out. It includes a brewpub, a sports bar and a shopping center. If the weather is pleasant, enjoy a short respite in the beer garden.
The Blue Mountain Brewery offers free tours on Saturdays and also boasts a comfortable patio with a majestic mountain view. After a busy afternoon trying tasty Virginia-brewed beer, it may be easy to take the dazzling setting for granted, but don’t. Drink it in, along with a sip of their popular Virginia pale ale.
Be sure to visit Starr Hill, the largest of the Brew Trail breweries. Originally located on Main Street in Charlottesville, Starr Hill expanded and eventually moved to a larger facility in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Tour the expansive facilities, taste the award-winning beer and fill a growler to take home with you. While there, you will surely feel the love, and you can also taste The Love – a German hefeweizen, as well.
Located right in Charlottesville, South Street Brewery is the perfect place to stop for dinner or a night cap. The brewpub was once a grain warehouse built in the 1800s and still features some of the accoutrements, such as timber pillars and hardwood floors. Try their most popular beer but don’t be frightened by its name. Satan’s Pony Amber Ale is incredibly smooth and an unmatched blend of flavors.
Make your way to Albemarle Ciderworks for another unique cider experience. Taste a variety of ciders, made from a diverse array of apples. The Royal Pippin cider, derived from the Albemarle Pippin makes for a popular and refreshing cider and is a must-try. If this is the last stop of the day, consider booking a weekend stay at the guest house, which offers quaint on-site accommodations.
A weekend spent exploring the Brew Ridge Trail boasts an unmatched combination of great beers and beautiful scenery. Take advantage of both and hit the trail today.