Do you love beer and are looking for a great vacation idea? Try Virginia. Yes, the Commonwealth is home to some of the best craft breweries in the country. Craft brewing has exploded in recent years and this state is on the forefront when it comes to excellent breweries producing outstanding products. While many of these breweries are small, locally owned small businesses, the growth of the industry within the state has recently attracted national craft brewers including Deschutes Brewing Company, Stone Brewing, and Green Flash Brewing. Many of these breweries serve food and allow pets on outside decks or porches.
The Commonwealth celebrates its craft brewing industry with Virginia Craft Beer Month celebrated every August. Starting in 2012 with about 40 breweries, the number of participating breweries continues to rise annually.
Craft brewing is nothing new to Virginia. As far back as the 1500s, Virginia colonists were brewing ale from locally grown corn. In 1607, England sent their first shipment of beer to the colonists and it was so popular they had to advertise for more workers back in London.
Even George Washington brewed beer and his famous recipe was one of the ways he paid his staff at Mt. Vernon. Another famous Virginian President, Thomas Jefferson was also a craft brewer. He made his first craft beer from local malt and hops and by 1814, Jefferson had his built his brewhouse at Monticello. Jefferson’s beer was so good that others in the state took notice and began to sent their staff to learn the trade at Monticello.
The first microbrewery was operated by the Chesapeake Bay Brewing Company. This brewery won a gold medal at the 1987 Great American Beer Festival. The oldest operating brewery in Virginia is in Richmond. Legend Brewing Company started in 1994 and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014.
Today, the state is considered one of the top destinations for craft beer. There are craft beer trails that provide a way to visit several craft breweries all in the same day. These trails feature the best craft breweries in the state, all within a few miles of each other.
There are seven craft brew trails that meander throughout the state. They include most of Virginia’s more than 120 craft breweries and are a perfect way to see the state and enjoy some of the best craft beer anywhere. You can plan a vacation and visit several breweries or take a Sunday afternoon and enjoy a good brew while sitting on the deck.