The Beer Drinker’s Guide to the Appalachian Trail [Virginia Edition]
Some may say doing a thru hike is like being on a very long vacation, but after a few days in the woods and as you’re approaching town, it can be nice to enjoy a vacation from your vacation! I like to partake by dabbling in what I dream about on trail (asides from copious amounts of town food), CRAFT BEER! I normally will budget and go the macrobrew route for the sake of pinching pennies, and free trail magic beer is great, but occasionally I’ll go splurge. Deep down inside, I hate to admit it, but I’m a beer snob!
There are numerous breweries, brew pubs, and bars found in and around trail towns where people of age can pack on those liquid calories and calm those aching muscles. Aside from stuffing my face with food and deodorizing myself and my clothes, I like to set up shop at the local watering holes to see what each state has to offer. Here are some (but of course, not ALL), of the places worth checking out along the trail state-by-state.
In part three of the beer trail, you’ll be strolling through the longest state on the Appalachian Trail. Virginia has its share of breweries and brew pubs to keep those positive vibes flowing. Can’t make it out to the breweries? No problem! A lot of them distribute their beer throughout, so you can grab some to-go if you just want to mellow out in the comforts of a motel room. So knock back a few to cure those Virginia Blues as the doctor prescribed! Beer Me Virginia!
***Note: Virginia has no beer and wine sale restrictions (Yeah)! The only dry counties in Virginia that the A.T. touches are Grayson and Bland counties. Distilled spirits for retail purchase are sold at ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) stores. Known ABC’s are noted under town information.
Shortly after crossing the border into Virginia, you’ll be entering Trail Town, USA! Otherwise known as the town of Damascus, home to the biggest hiker event along the A.T. which occurs annually in May, Trail Days! There’s a brewery and a few watering holes worth checking out for good local beers. Take note, most businesses in town are closed during mid-week.
- The Damascus Brewery – If you’re around Damascus during Trail Days, you’ll have a couple opportunities to taste some of the brews offered by the Damascus Brewery at one of their events. In 2016, they threw their own event at their brewery and hosted the Hiker Prom as well. If you don’t make it to the brewery, you can usually try their beer at The Old Mill or Bobo McFarland’s in the center of town. I never made it to the brewery during my Damascus visit, but I know they have 8 taps, usually have live music on Saturdays, sell stainless steel growlers, and hear they’re pet friendly as well. Their claim to fame is their Beaver Rage IPA. They are closed Monday-Wednesday. – Contact: 32173 Government Road, Damascus, VA 24236; 276-469-1069; https://www.thedamascusbrewery.com
- Damascus Old Mill Inn – What used to be a saw mill during the 1800’s has been renovated into an upscale inn and restaurant. You can enjoy the scenery while listening to Laurel Creek flow over the dam, and you’ll likely see several families of ducks and geese of various colors enjoying the water. The pub has 17 brews on tap, most of which are craft beer, as well as an assortment of wine. The Inn is always open, but the restaurant and pub are closed Monday-Tuesday. – Contact: 215 W. Imboden Street, Damascus VA 24236; 276-475-3745; https://damascusinn.com
- Bobo McFarland’s – This ended up being my local haunt during Trail Days. They have 13 taps, mostly local craft beer and have wine as well. If you’re feeling hungry, they have good food and you can order carry out if you’re hauling it back to tent city! They are closed Tuesday-Wednesday. – Contact: 132 W. Laurel Avenue, Damascus, VA 24236; 276-475-7777
- Hey Joe’s – They don’t have any craft beer, just imports and domestics, but they have some of the best food in town! Seriously great burritos, and I loved their tacos too. They also have wine and are currently the only place in town that serves liquor (I hear their margaritas are delish)! Get there early because it gets busy fast and can sometimes be difficult to get a seat. Keep in mind their closing hours are a little wonky since they close when the food runs out, and they’re always closed Mondays. – Contact: 103 S. Shady Avenue, Damascus VA 24236; 276-475-3423
- Country Corner – Contact: 332 Douglas Drive, Damascus VA 24236; 276-475-5500
- Food City – decent craft beer selection. – Contact 736 N. Beaver Dam Avenue, Damascus VA 24236; 276-475-5570
- Dollar General – Contact: 135 W. Laurel Avenue, Damascus VA 24236; 276-475-5311
***Note: Make sure if you’re staying at a hostel that they allow alcohol; many of them do not.
There isn’t much around in Troutdale (no known stores or restaurants). Your best bet for beer would be Damascus or waiting until you get further north to Marion. To get to Troutdale, you’ll take VA-16 (paved) south about 2 1/2 miles which is located about 50 yards trail east from Dickey Gap.
***Note: Troutdale is in Grayson county which is dry (retail sales of distilled spirits prohibited). There is also no alcohol allowed at the Troutdale Baptist Church Hostel.
Same as Troutville, there is little around Sugar Grove. Instead of heading 3 miles trail east on VA-16 to Sugar Grove, head trail west to Marion.
To get to Marion, you’ll travel about 6 miles trail west on VA-16 nearby the Mount Rogers Visitor Center. Although you can order pizza and Chinese food to be delivered to the Partnership Shelter, it is advised not to bring alcohol back which is prohibited. Rangers frequently check the shelter.
Marion ABC Store – Smyth Valley Crossing Shopping Center, 1173 N. Main Street, Marion, VA 24354; 276-783-2215
- Mi Puerto – Conveniently located nearby most of the town’s hotels, Mi Puerto is known for their authentic Mexican food and margaritas properly priced for a hiker budget. Unfortunately, no craft beer available, they only serve domestic and imports. – Contact: 1321 N. Main Street, Marion, VA 24354; 276-783-4844
- Wooden Pickle – They have beer, wine and cocktails available, and usually have a few local brews on draft such as South Street Brewery (Charlottesville) and Parkway Brewing Co. (Salem). I haven’t eaten here, but the menu looks delicious and everything seems reasonably priced. It’s located nearby the outfitter and is closed on Sundays. – Contact: 120 E. Main Street, Marion, VA 24354; 276-783-2300
- 27 Lions – 27 Lions has 27 taps, mostly with craft beer and some of them local. Some local brews they might have for your taste bud pleasure may be from Wolf Hills Brewing Co. (Abington) or Devil’s Backbone (Lexington). They have a moderately priced menu and live music every other Saturday. They are closed on Sundays. – Contact: 111 E. Main Street, Marion, VA 24354; 276-378-0844; https://www.27lions.com/#about
- Ingles – good craft beer selection and close to a lot of the hotels in the area. – Contact: 1185 N. Main Street, Marion, VA 24354; 276-783-5461
- Food City – Contact: 910 N. Main Street, Marion, VA 24354; 276-783-1795
To get here, you won’t need to hitch hike because the trail goes right through. Unfortunately, there is little available here. The only place to purchase beer would be the gas station next door to El Burrito Loco. They have a very small selection of mostly macro brews, but have some tall boys available. Sadly, there is no cerveza, margaritas, or any alcohol for that matter served in the Mexican restaurant next door or The Barn Restaurant across the street.
BLAND & BASTIAN (WYTHEVILLE):
Both are located in Bland county which is dry (retail sales of distilled spirits prohibited). There is nothing available regarding beer stores or bars in either through the main parts of town, but you can visit nearby Wytheville or keep trucking along the trail until you get to Trent’s Grocery. To get to Wytheville, you’ll travel along US-52 east to Bland, then take I-77 southbound to Wytheville (about 16 miles total). The trail intersects US-52 after Jenkin’s Shelter (NOBO) or Helveys Mill Shelter (SOBO).
Wytheville ABC Store – 325 W. Main Street, Wytheville, VA 24382; 276-228-2211
- 13 Monks Beer Bar & Grill – Located inside the Ramada, you can enjoy some casual dining to go with your beverage of choice. They currently only serve beer and wine and claim to have a large selection of craft beer with 10 on draft (7 of those which they change regularly). The hotel is pet friendly and the restaurant opens in the evenings, but is closed Sundays. – Contact: 955 Peppers Ferry Road, Wytheville, VA 24382; 276-228-6000; https://13monksbeerbarandgrill.com
- Trent’s Grocery – When headed NOBO, you’ll cross Kimberling Creek’s Suspension Bridge to VA-606 after Jenny Knob Shelter (pronounced as Forest Gump would). If traveling SOBO, it will be after Wapiti Shelter. To get to Trent’s Grocery, you’ll follow the signs and walk a short half mile trail west. I personally felt it seemed a lot less than a half mile (maybe I’ll receive hate mail later on for saying so)! It’s a good little grocer in the middle of nowhere and a good place for some greasy, grubbin’ goodness. They have a small selection of beer available of mostly domestics, but they do have some Devil’s Backbone tall boys! Please be respectful and DO NOT drink on their property. Pack it out along the trail, or discreetly wander out to the nearby field. – Contact: 900 Wilderness Road, Bland, VA 24315; 276-928-1349
There’s really only one place to wine and dine here, but a couple places to take beer to go. To get to Pearisburg, travel trail east on Lane Street about 1 mile (you can also take Cross Avenue/VA-634 or Narrows Road/VA-100).
Pearisburg ABC Store: Pearisburg Square Shopping Center, 140 Kinter Way, Pearisburg, VA 24134; 540-921-6161
- La Barranca Mexican Grill – Provides beer, wine, and margaritas with good cheap food. – Contact: 418 N. Main Street, Pearisburg, VA 24134; 540-921-2323
- Food Lion – Nearby most motels in town. – Contact: 302 S. Main Street, Pearisburg, VA 24134; 540-921-2571
- Walmart – About 1 mile from the Holy Family Hostel (uncertain if the hostel allows alcohol). – Contact: 160 Kinter Way, Pearisburg, VA 24314; 540-921-1204
- The Captain’s – lf you’re around for The Captain’s hiker feed which occurs 2 weeks after Trail Days, you might be around to score some free brewskis! Otherwise you’ll either have to enjoy the beer in town at Pearisburg or Narrows. Located after Pine Swamp Branch Shelter when traveling NOBO, or after Bailey Gap Shelter if SOBO. Take the zip line as instructed across the creek. Free camping on the property is allowed year round, but inside the house is off limits (NOT A HOSTEL)! Note to hikers with pets and those fearful of dogs, there are usually dogs running freely on the property (controlled by electric fence), but they are friendly.
Narrows is a quaint town with the basic hiker necessities. There are few restaurants, but there is a brewery! To get to Narrows, travel trail west on Narrows Road/VA-100 about 4 miles.
- Right Turn, Clyde Brewing Co. – I’m sad to say I went to Pearisburg instead not knowing that there was a brewery in Narrows! From what I know, their beer is brewed with mostly local and/or organic ingredients when available. They currently have 5 taps and seem to occasionally throw events on Saturdays which vary from live music, to contests, to games (ie. Corn Hole, Cards Against Humanity, Scavenger Hunts), and even sometimes have a Hiker Happy Hour! Check out their Facebook page for events. They’re open in the evening Thursday-Saturday. – Contact: 300 Main Street, Narrows, VA 24124; 540-921-7283; https://www.rtcbrewing.com/#ourstory
There is very little in Newport, but there is a grocer with beer to go. It might be worth grabbing a few before taking in the views of Virginia’s triple crown. To get there, take VA-42 trail east 8 miles. See the Bonus section below to road trip to Blacksburg.
- Super Val-U Grocery – really small selection. – Contact: 109 Blue Grass Trail, Newport, VA 24128; 540-544-7702
There isn’t much in the area, no known stores or restaurants. Your best bet would be to wait until Daleville or to take a road trip from Catawba to Salem (see bonus section below). To get to Catawba, you’ll travel 1 mile trail west along VA-311.
Daleville and Troutville are very close together, but Daleville seems to be where most of the happenings are and doesn’t require a hitch to get there! The trail intersects Daleville on US-220. There are a few brew pubs and restaurants in town where you can score some craft brew, but if you want a brewery, continue along the trail to Troutville. Check out the bonus section below for a road trip to Roanoke.
Daleville ABC Store – Botetourt Commons, 56 Kingston Drive, Daleville, VA 24083; 540-966-3532
- Three Lil’ Pigs BBQ – Hiker friendly with some really good grub! They only have a few beers on draft, but have plenty of bottled beers which are craft, imported, and domestic. They also occasionally have live music in the evenings. – Contact: 120 Kingston Drive, Daleville, VA 24083; 540-966-0165; https://threelilpigsbbq.com/
- Tizzone Wine Bar – This place has a large selection of wine and craft beer from VA and elsewhere. They also have reasonably priced Italian food. – Contact: 90 Town Center Street, Suite 104, Daleville, VA 24083; 540-591-9005; https://www.tizzonewinebar.com/
- Town Center Tap House – Like Tizzone, they also have a huge wine and craft beer selection (40 on tap and ~50 bottled). This place provides a variety of sandwiches, burgers, salads, and apps if you’re feeling hungry. – Contact: 90 Town Center Street, Suite 100, Daleville, VA 24083; 540-591-9991; https://www.towncentertaphouse.com/
- Kroger – The gas stations in town generally have domestics, but this grocery store has a really good beer selection and they have the “build-your-own-6-pack” option! – Contact: 72 Kingston Drive, Daleville, VA 24083; 540-992-4920
There’s a little less going on in Troutville, but they do have a brewery. You can get there from Daleville through hitch, or you can hike about 1 1/2 miles trail north to get to US-11 by the railroad tracks. From there, travel a little shy of a mile trail west.
- Flying Mouse Brewery – Instead of names, most of their brews go by numbers, and they playfully call their tasting room “The Mousetrap.” They carry growlers, and host events during most weekends, such as “PaintNite!” and live music. If you want a tour, just ask and they’ll show you around if they’re not too busy. They’re hiker and pet friendly, have indoor or outdoor patio seating, and are open Thursday-Sunday (hours vary). – Contact: 221 Precast Way, Troutville, VA 24175; 540-992-1288; https://flyingmousebrewery.com
There isn’t any place to score a brew here as far as I know, but there are diners and cafes galore, and a theater too! I’d recommend getting your fill south at Daleville or Troutville, or north at Glasgow. To get to Buchanan, take VA-43 trail west 5 miles from Bearwallow Gap, or VA-614 trail west 5 miles from Jennings Creek bridge.
No beer here either as far as I could find. I’d recommend going the opposite direction at the road crossing to get to Glasgow. To get to Big Island, take US-501 trail east about 5 ½ miles from the James River footbridge.
This small town has a shelter you can stay at for free! The shelter includes outlets, fire wood, tenting/hammock space, hot showers, and port-o-pots. I would have stayed here if I hadn’t had so many zero days already (next time though)! There’s a bar in town and a place right across the shelter to get beer to-go! You can get here by traveling about 6 miles trail west on VA-130 from the James River footbridge.
- Bosses Grill & Lounge – A few hikers I knew stayed in Glasgow and said they really liked this place. I don’t believe they had a great craft beer selection (it may have just been domestic), but it’s the only watering hole in town and I hear the staff is super friendly! They also serve wine, cocktails, and food. They’re closed Wednesdays. – Contact: 404 Pocahontas Street, Glasgow, VA 24555; 540-258-3076
- Grocery Express – Located across the street from the shelter. Please be respectful and don’t drink on the property. – Contact: 844 Rockbridge Road, Glasgow, VA 24555; 540-258-1818
- Dollar General – Contact: 819 Blue Ridge Road, Glasgow, VA 24555; 540-258-9947
I didn’t get to explore this town as much as I wanted to, but they do have a lot of restaurants for good eats. As far as I know there’s only one place to drink in town, but there are a few places to get beer to-go to enjoy at your motel room. There are two ways to Buena Vista, you can take VA-607 trail west 6 miles from Robinson Gap Road, or further north from US-60. If you’re looking to go on a little road trip, you can get to Lexington from here (see bonus section below).
- Don Tequila – They serve domestic and import beer, wine, and cocktails, as well as affordable Mexican food. – Contact: 2255 Beech Avenue, Buena Vista, VA 24416; 540-264-0041
- Food Lion – Contact: 2150 E. Midland Trail, Buena Vista, VA 24416; 540-261-7672
- Exxon – Contact: 608 W. 29th Street, Buena Vista, VA 24416; 540-261-7131
- Sheltman’s Gas and Grocery – Contact: 174 E. 29th Street, Buena Vista, VA 24416; 540-261-2879
The main reason most hikers visit Roseland is to check out Devil’s Backbone Brewpub. It’s a tricky place to hitch, but not impossible! We had success eventually, but it took some time since there isn’t much traffic. Sometimes if you call the brewpub, they are willing to pick up hikers. To get there, you’ll travel 5 miles trail east on VA-664 from Reeds Gap (about 2 miles after Maupin Field Shelter for NOBOS, and about ½ mile from Three Ridges Overlook for SOBOs).
- Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp Brewpub – If you didn’t visit their other location in Lexington, this place is awesome and well worth the hassle to get here! They have 16 taps and a great selection of brews to choose from. I liked their 16 Point Imperial IPA and their Virginia Farmhouse Ale. They even have a beer called the Trail Angel (a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen)! They serve lunch and dinner, and their food is really, really good too! They cater to hikers by allowing them to stay overnight on the property, and usually offer a hiker-only breakfast at a fair price. They often have live music and events going on throughout the week, and have an outdoor beer bar (The Meadows), open Friday-Sunday. Hiking with a fluffy companion? No problem, they’re pet friendly too. – Contact: 200 Mosbys Run, Roseland, VA 22967; 434-361-1001; https://dbbrewingcompany.com/locations/basecamp/
Waynesboro is a very hiker friendly town with free camping at the pavilion which also has a solar powered charger and port-o-pots. The pavilion is nearby the YMCA which provides free showers with ID. There are a lot of places to drink and dine, so this is a very narrow list! From Rockfish Gap, you’ll walk down under the overpass to take US-250 northbound to Waynesboro.
Waynesboro ABC Store – Coyner Park Shopping Center, 125 Lucy Lane, #125B, Waynesboro, VA 22980; 540-949-7622
- Heritage on Main Street – Located in the heart of Waynesboro and with a decent craft beer selection. You might get to try local brews such as that from Wild Wolf Brewing Co. (Nellysford) or Blue Mountain Brewery (Afton). They’re open all week, have wine, a decently priced food menu, and occasionally host trivia nights. – Contact: 309 W. Main Street, Waynesboro, VA 22980; 540-946-6166; https://www.heritageonmainstreet.com
- Jake’s Bar & Grill – They have a full bar with over 20 beers and wines to choose from. They support their local distilleries and breweries, and may carry beer from Brewhound Brewery (Culpepper) or Pale Fire Brewing Co. (Harrisonburg), during your visit. Moderately priced food menu as well. – Contact: 137 N. Wayne Avenue, Waynesboro, VA 22980; 540-451-2252; https://jakesbarandgrill.net
- Seven Arrows Brewing – I haven’t been to their brewery, but have had some of their beers. I think I might try to visit next time! They occasionally throw events during the weekends like tap takeovers, food truck battles, and live music. They have about 12 of their beers on tap at a time and have growlers to fill as well. I don’t believe they serve food at their brewery. – Contact: 2508 Jefferson Highway 1, Waynesboro, VA 22980; 540-221-6968; https://www.sevenarrowsbrewing.com/home
- Stable Craft Brewing – A bit on the outskirts, but still possibly worth visiting. I haven’t had their beer yet, but the brew pub looks nice and it appears they rotate 4 of their 16 beers on tap at a time. They have food, but it’s a bit on the pricey side. They’re closed Mondays and Tuesdays (although sometimes open Mondays during holidays). – Contact: 375 Madrid Road, Waynesboro, VA 22980; https://stablecraftbrewing.com
Update: I was just informed there’s a new brewery on Main Street that opened mid-October 2016 called Basic City Beer Co. I haven’t been there myself, but they have good reviews, it appears there’s a food truck available, and they occasionally have live music during the weekends. They have at least 11 beers on tap at all times, and have additional taps for rotational brews, nitro coffee, and kombucha! There’s a dog friendly patio area and I’ve been informed they will let hikers shower there for free so long as they bring their own towel and toiletries! They open in the evenings, but are closed Mondays. Sounds like it’s worth checking out! Contact: 1010 East Main Street, Waynesboro, VA 22980; 540-943-1010; https://www.basiccitybeer.com
- Kroger – Contact: 245 Arch Avenue, Waynesboro, VA 22980; 540-942-1158
Instead of heading to Waynesboro, you can go the opposite direction to Afton. From Rockfish Gap, take US-250 opposite Waynesboro then a right to VA-151 for about 4 miles.
- Blue Mountain Brewery – I was bummed that I didn’t realize how close this place was to the trail until I was already passed it. They have really good beer! Some good brews would be Full Nelson Pale Ale or Evan Altmighty Düsseldorf-style Altbier. They have a moderately priced menu and are open all week. If you’re looking to take a tour, they provide those free of charge on Saturday afternoons. They have a pet friendly patio area, and sell beer to go (canned, bottled, or in a growler). If you’re traveling from Waynesboro, it’s about 9 miles from Main Street. – Contact: 9519 Critzers Shop Road, Afton, VA 22920; 540-456-8020; https://www.bluemountainbrewery.com
SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK:
While traveling through the Shenandoahs, you’ll have several opportunities for beer and greasy food at all the waysides. There will also be a few places to venture out into town (Elkton and Luray), while you’re making your way through.
- Loft Mountain Store – It’s a nice little store to resupply and to have a few beers. It doesn’t have a wide selection, but they sometimes carry a couple craft choices. They didn’t even seem to mind if thru hikers sat on the bench nearby to enjoy their purchase! It’s located nearby the Loft Mountain Campground trail west.
- Loft Mountain Wayside – I don’t recall if they had beer to-go at this wayside, but I’m pretty sure they did have a small selection if you were dining in. Take the Frazier Discovery Trail about a half mile downhill then cross the road to get to this southernmost wayside in the park.
- Big Meadows Wayside – They had a small selection of beer at this wayside (but perhaps the largest out of the three). To get there, you’ll go uphill on a gravel road trail east then make a left on Skyline Drive.
- Big Meadows Lodge – Prices are steep throughout the park, but you can enjoy some craft and domestic brews at the lodge’s New Market Taproom. You can get there from the trail by using the side trail to the lodge.
- Skyland Resort & Restaurant – I got trapped at the Mountain Taproom here with a bunch of hikers during some really nasty weather which wasn’t too awful given the beer selection, but my wallet was pretty damaged in the end! The restaurant was really good, but of course, pricey. If you’re there at the right time, you might catch the Skyland Cloggers! To get here, take the marked side trail downhill trail west.
- Elkwallow Wayside – The northernmost wayside in the park. They had a small selection (surprise!), but they had some picnic tables out front to enjoy a drink with your greasy burger and fries. Take the short side trail or Skyline Drive (both equal distances), trail east.
If you decide to venture out of Shenandoah N.P., you can visit the town of Elkton which has a couple places to check out, and some places that may have a wider selection of beer to-go than what is inside the park. Cross the bridge northbound on Skyline Drive by Swift Run Gap, then take the access road west of the trail to get to US-33. Take US-33 about 6 miles west to get to Elkton, or continue 17 more miles if you want to take a brew tour through Harrisonburg (see bonus section below).
Elkton ABC Store: Elkton Plaza Shopping Center, 14817 Spotswood Trail, Elkton, VA 22827; 540-298-7656
- Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint – This is a local chain that makes specialty burgers and has over 100 bottled craft beers from VA and around the World to choose from! All of this is done from an extended food truck, so they only have outdoor seating (perfect for stinky hikers)! – Contact: 11702 Spotswood Trail, Elkton, VA 22827; 540-289-5092; https://www.jackbrownsjoint.com/elkton.html
- El Paso Mexican Grille – Their food and drink menu is classic and seasonal Mexican. They only have domestic and imported beer, and only a few on draft. They also have mixed drinks and a small wine selection. – Contact: 245 S. Stuart Avenue, Elkton, VA 22827; 540-298-8861; https://elpasomexicangrille.com
- Food Lion – Contact: 14811 Spotswood Trail, Elkton VA 22827; 540-298-9455
- Valley Grocery – Contact: 177 S. East Side Highway, Elkton, VA 22827; 540-298-9205
This is the last town you will be able to visit on the outskirts of Shenandoah N.P. when heading NOBO. There are a lot of restaurants and bars to choose from in the touristy town of Luray, so the list below is small and there are other places that may be worth checking out as well. To get to Luray, take US-211 trail west 9 miles from Thornton Gap.
Luray ABC Store – Jamesway Plaza, 1412 US Highway 211 West, Luray, VA 22835; 540-743-3880
- 55 East Main Brew House & Grill – This brew house has burrito bowls and pizzas to munch on, and has 4 rotational taps, over 15 bottled craft brews, and some domestic as well. There’s patio seating, growlers, and they are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. – Contact: 55 E. Main Street, Luray, VA 22835; 540-743-2739; https://www.lurayvabrewgrill.com/
- Gathering Grounds Pâtisserie & Café – This place serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and they carry a few local beers from local breweries such as Brothers Craft Brewing (Harrisonburg) and Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet). – Contact: 24 E. Main Street, Luray, VA 22835; 540-743-1121; https://ggrounds.com
- Dubliners Celtic Pub – If you’re in the mood for some Irish fare, this place has it, as well as beer, wine and cocktails. – Contact: 219 W. Main Street, Luray, VA 22835; 540-843-0400; https://dublinerscelticpub.com/#aboutus
- Food Lion – Contact: 1400 US Highway 211 West, Luray VA, 22835; 540-743-4502
This is probably my favorite town near the trail in Northern Virginia. Like Luray, this place is jam packed with places to choose from, so this is just a short list of places I’m recommending. To get to Front Royal, you’ll head trail west 3 ½ miles on US-522.
Front Royal ABC Store – Royal Plaza Shopping Center, 411-F South Street, Front Royal, VA 22630; 540-635-2920
- Soul Mountain Restaurant – I checked out this place the first time I visited Front Royal, and had to go back when I passed through on the trail, because the food was super good and fresh to order! I absolutely will be returning a third time when I make my second thru hike attempt next year! Not only is their menu original and moderately priced, they have a decent variety of craft brews on tap too! They have indoor and outdoor seating, and are closed on Mondays. – Contact: 300 E. Main Street, Front Royal, VA 22630; 540-636-1185; https://soulmountainrestaurant.com
- Pave Mint Taphouse and Grill – This is a new favorite of mine and another place I’ll likely visit next year when I pass through. They’re located inside an old restored gas station, have 35 beers on draft that are rotated seasonally (many of them local), 6 canned brews, and also serve wine and signature cocktails. Their menu is original; I enjoyed their Vino E Burger and the other hikers I dined with enjoyed their selections as well! They have patio seating and are closed on Tuesdays. – Contact: 9 S. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA 22630; 540-252-4707; https://www.paveminttaphouse.com
- Blue Wing Frog Picnic Market & Brew – I haven’t been here yet, but I might pay them a visit next year. Everything they make is homemade from their bread to their ketchup, and their produce is local when available. Their menu is a little on the pricey side, but looks worth trying. They only sell Virginia craft beer (15-18 different brews), but only bottled. – Contact: 219 Chester Street, Front Royal, VA 22630; 540-622-6175; https://bluewingfrog.com
- Food Lion – Contact: 260 Remount Road, Front Royal, VA 22630; 540-622-2704
**BONUS: BREWERY ROAD TRIPS**
You can reach a few of the larger towns and cities by taking a road trip from the trail or from other trail towns. Some of them I’ve mentioned below. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve only listed breweries, but they may have brew pubs and restaurants that may also have a great craft selection. If you know of any cool places in these towns worth drinking at, feel free to mention them in the comments below!
Blacksburg is a small college town in Montgomery county which is home to Virginia Tech! At the same road crossing to head to Newport, you’ll head east 8 miles on VA-42 to Newport, then take US-460 East about 9 miles to get to Blacksburg.
- Bull and Bones Brewhaus & Grill – First & Main Shopping Plaza, 1470 S. Main Street, Blacksburg, VA 24060; 540-953-2855; https://www.bullandbones.com
- Rising Silo Brewery – 2351 Glade Road, Blacksburg, VA 24060; 410-596-1200; https://www.risingsilobrewery.com
Salem is considered one of the two independent cities in Roanoke county (the other being, well, Roanoke). Instead of heading 1 mile down the road to Catawba, take VA-311 trail west (about 8 miles after Dragon’s Tooth if NOBO and after Johns Spring Shelter if SOBO), about 9 miles.
- Parkway Brewing Company –739 Kessler Mill Road, Salem, VA 24153; 540-404-9810; https://parkwaybrewing.com
Roanoke county’s other independent city is Roanoke, also known as the “Star City of the South.” Headed from Daleville, you’ll take US-220 southbound (trail west) to I-81 South then I-581 South. It’s about 15 miles from Daleville.
- Big Lick Brewing Company – 135 Salem Avenue, Suite 100, Roanoke, VA 24011; 540-562-8383; https://biglickbrewingco.com
- Twin Creeks Brewing Co. – 111 S. Pollard Street, Vinton, VA 24179; 540-265-8062; https://www.twincreeksbrewing.com
Lexington is a charming little historic town nearby Buena Vista. You can visit Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company’s main hub from here if you don’t visit their other location in Roseland. To get there from Buena Vista, travel about 7 miles further along US-60 West (about 16 miles total from the trail).
- Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company – 50 Northwind Lane, Lexington, VA 24450; 540-462-6200; https://dbbrewingcompany.com
- Blue Lab Brewing – 123 S. Randolph Street, Lexington, VA 24450; 540-458-0146; https://www.bluelabbrewing.com
Harrisonburg is one of several towns you can visit along the Shenandoah Valley and is the chosen location for several of Virginia’s breweries. From Elkton, you can head to Harrisonburg by continuing along US-33 eastbound an additional 17 miles.
- Three Notch’d Brewing Company’s Taproom – 241 E. Market Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801; 540-217-5939; https://threenotchdbrewing.com
- Pale Fire Brewing – 217 S. Liberty Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801; 540-217-5452; https://www.palefirebrewing.com
- Brothers Craft Brewing – 800 N. Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22802, 540-421-6599; https://brotherscraftbrewing.com
- Wolfe Street Brewing – 120 W. Wolfe Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22802; 540-217-0366
Some Suggested Virginia Brews for Your Enjoyment:
- Blue Mountain Brewery (Afton) – A Hopwork Orange Orange Infused IPA, ABV: 7.0%
- Wolf Hills Brewing Co. (Abington) – White Blaze Honey Cream Ale, ABV: 5.0%
- Brothers Craft Brewing (Harrisonburg) – The Great Outdoors Pale Ale, ABV: 4.8%
- Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. (Lexington) – Vienna Lager Vienna-style Lager, ABV: 5.2%
- Pale Fire Brewing (Harrisonburg) – Salad Days American Saison, ABV: 7.0%
- Seven Arrows Brewing Company (Waynesboro) – Skyline Lager, ABV: 4.5%
Please Drink Responsibly! Cheers!
I haven’t explored every inch of every town, so feel free to add in the comments below if there’s anything “crafty” worth visiting that I’ve missed! I won’t be publishing the next section of the brew tour until next year when I fully complete Pennsylvania in order to keep the guide thorough. Sorry for the inconvenience!
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Basic City Brewery (https://www.basiccitybeer.com/) is now open in Waynesboro, too!
Stubbs, this is awesome! I guarantee I’ll be referencing this on next year’s hike. Thank you!