Lowdown on Local Brews: On Tap’s Virginia Craft Beer Guide

Virginia Craft Beer Month presents the perfect time to acknowledge how the craft brew scene continues to explode throughout the state. No, these proverbial bursts aren’t of the catastrophic nature, but rather an accurate representation of the fiery rise in popularity these niche beverages are experiencing statewide. If you peruse the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild website, you’ll see a legion of these breweries all working toward the same mission – delivering delicious tasting beer.

According to www.CraftBeer.com, now is the best time to be a fan of this grain-based alcoholic beverage, due to the colossal number of breweries popping up throughout the nation. There’s a litany of reasons to hoist a cold one in Virginia, as the state routinely ranks in the top half of the country regarding this particular topic.

In case you’re unaware, the Brewer’s Association defines a craft brewer as small, independent and traditional. Virginia has a number of craft breweries in spades, as 124 are housed within state lines, ranking 13th in the United States according to the association. The state for lovers also clocks in at 19th overall for barrels of craft beer produced per year with an astonishing 274,111.

So, while there’s definitely the supply for a host of brews, this is only possible because of a staunch demand for such product. The average Virginian of age consumes 1.4 gallons of craft beer per year, which doesn’t seem like a lot, until you remember that beers consumed from the neighboring DMV areas don’t count toward the total, so the number is likely much higher.

The steady fascination didn’t always exist, as the numbers of barrels of beer increased by about 350 percent from 2011 to 2015, according to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Last month, even Governor Terry McAuliffe voiced support for the expanding market.

“Listen, I’m a huge supporter of our craft brew industry,” McAuliffe told WHSV TV-3. “We have 275 wineries, and we have about 40 cideries now, so we are really taking off, but the craft brewery industry here in Virginia is taking it to another level.”

The boom isn’t a secret. With the numbers and public statements from high-ranking officials, the word is out about how stupendous the scene has become, and the industry is only growing, if not evolving.

What can you do to participate? Navigate a craft brew trail such as the Brew Ridge, or take a day trip to Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Lexington, Beer Hound Brewery in Culpeper, or Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton and Arrington. If you’d rather stay close to the District, visit Port City Brewing in Alexandria, Ocelot Brewing Company in Dulles, Aslin Beer Company in Herndon, Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn or dozens of other locations around NoVA.

Salivating for brews yet? Then be sure to pay a visit to the Virginia Beer Museum this fall, located in Front Royal and opening on September 24 in conjunction with the Brew and Blues Festival. Also, don’t miss the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest at Devils Backbone on August 20. Before you add these to-dos to your calendar, read about  a few tastemakers in Virginia’s craft beer world.

Learn more about Virginia Craft Beer Month at www.virginiacraftbrewers.org.

Special Advertising Section

Bold Rock Hard Cider
1020 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Nellysford, VA; 434-361-1030

Flagship Beers
Enjoy complimentary tastes of the Virginia Apple and Virginia Draft hard ciders when you visit the Bold Rock Cider Barn but don’t miss out on the white hot India Pressed Apple (IPA), Premium Dry or Pear Cider. Bold Rock also offers a rotating seasonal cider selection.

Bold Rock has been internationally, nationally and regionally recognized for our hard ciders including a Silver Medal for our India Pressed Apple in the 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup Awards.

What To Expect
The Bold Rock Cider Barn is a gorgeous timber-framed Cidery and Tap Room perched on a ridge overlooking the aptly named Bold Rock Meadow. Enjoy close up views of the bottling line and cozy up to our large fireplace in the winter or kick back on our expansive patio during the warm months.

Planning Your Visit
The Tap Room is open daily at 11 a.m. and offers complimentary tours and tastings as well as pints, flights, food, merchandise and cider-to-go for purchase. Make sure to stop by for live music on most Sunday afternoons!

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
2408 Ownby Lane, Richmond VA; 804-420-2420

Flagship Beers
Singel, Pils.

Hardywood’s beers have earned medals at the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival, a rare 100 rating by BeerAdvocate, Virginia’s Top Brewery by RateBeer.com users and was recognized as Virginia’s Best Brewery by Thrillist.The company was awarded the Greater Richmond Chamber 2013 Business of the Year Award.

What To Expect
Hardywood focuses on brewing soulful, innovative beers using high quality ingredients while supporting their local community of artists, growers and musicians. Sourcing 100 percent of its power from renewables, including solar, biomass and wind, Hardywood is committed to minimizing its impact on the environment. The taproom has both an indoor and outdoor space with a relaxed, family friendly environment. They host a wide array of local and national musicians ranging from punk and indie rock to jazz and country.

Planning Your Visit
Tours are offered Saturdays and Sundays. Contact [email protected] to schedule one. The taproom offers flights and 12 ounce pours to enjoy at the brewery as well as bottles and growler fills to go. Live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Visit the website to join their  mailing list and stay up to date on upcoming events.

Heritage Brewing Co.
9436 Center Point Lane, Manassas, VA; 571-358-8463

Flagship Beers
American Expedition, Freedom Isn’t Free and Kings Mountain.

AC Beer Fest 2nd Place Brown Ales for Kings Mountain, 1st Place TML Battle of the Brews Champion.

What To Expect
We are a veteran owned and operated microbrewery in Manassas, VA. As veterans and patriots, we find that we owe it to our patrons to only produce the finest beer made with the best ingredients with the same level of attention to detail and passion that we brought to serving our country. You will find our space to be industrial yet inviting with everything being made from repurposed materials to create a handmade Americana Vibe to the space.

Planning Your Visit
We do experimental beers every Saturday so there is always something new in the tasting room to enjoy. We have live music a few times a month and you can have BBQ delivered to your seat from The Bone. Tap Room Hours: Thursday and Friday 5 – 9 p.m., Saturday 12 – 9 p.m., Sunday 12 – 6 p.m. Brewery Tours: Saturdays 12 p.m. & 1 p.m. and are $5 (includes flagship flight).

Old Ox Brewery
44652 Guilford Dr., #114, Ashburn, VA; 703-729-8375

Flagship Beers
Alpha Ox Session IPA, Golden Ox Belgian-Style Golden Ale and Black Ox Rye Porter.

What To Expect
Old Ox is a family owned and operated commercial brewery with a fun and friendly tasting room.  We brew classic beer styles along with specialty brews that explore the creative side of craft. Our tasting room features cornhole leagues and unique events every month (check our events calendar). Food trucks cater in great cuisine daily.  We are located right on the W&OD Trail between mile markers 25 and 25.5.

Gold medal for Saison d’Ox and Silver medal for Black Ox at 2014 Virginia Craft Brewers Competition.

Planning Your Visit
The tasting room is open:
Tuesday – Thursday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.,
Friday 2:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.,
Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and
Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Upcoming releases
Upcoming seasonal beers include October Bier Oktoberfest Style Lager and  The Oxorcist Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Starr Hill Brewery
5391 Three Notch’d Rd., Crozet, VA; 434-823-5671

Flagship Beers
Northern Lights IPA.

21 Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup and Great British Beer Festival medals. Countless local awards. Dark Starr Stout has more awards than any Dry Irish Stout in the country, including Gold at the 1999 and 2009 GABF. Whiter Shade White IPA won Gold at the 2014 World Beer Cup and King of Hop Imperial IPA was the “Best IPA in VA” at the 2014 Virginia Brewers Cup.

What To Expect
The second oldest craft brewery in Virginia, Starr Hill is all about community. We support our neighbors through local beer collaborations and hosting local music and food trucks in our Tap Room. Through our Cheers for Charity program, we donate $1 for every pint sold to a different non-profit each month. Our brewery was born in the Starr Hill Music Hall and we know how great beer and live music bring people together.

Planning Your Visit
Our Tap Room is open Tuesday – Sunday. We feature pints, growlers, crowlers and samples of 24 rotating beers. It’s the best place to get unique and limited releases. Free tours Saturday and Sunday, live music and food trucks.