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Sweet Southern Virginia Wine
Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 1:35:24 PM | Casey

Anyone traveling Routes 29 or 58 in Southern Virginia will quickly know they’re in the Southern Virginia Wine Region. In July, the Southern Virginia Wine Region road signs were unveiled on select primary and secondary roads, making that region the 13th to receive such signs. In total, there are 16 wine regions and American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).

Rosemont. ©Justin Eubanks

Rosemont. ©Justin Eubanks

According to, “Southern Virginia has a warm to temperate climate with good soil for winemaking in selected areas where the topography is ideal. In this area of Virginia along the North Carolina border, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Grigio and Vidal Blanc are the varietals you’ll find along with a few wines made from grapes and other fruits native to the area.”

Southern Virginia Wineries

 Learn more about Virginia Wine, and order or download a Virginia Travel Guide to assist in your adventures!
Virginia is for Lovers.

© Casey for Virginia's Travel Blog, 2014

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Virginia Beer Trails & Tours
Monday, August 18, 2014, 3:23:19 PM | Casey

Ready for a ride on the Virginia craft beer bandwagon? If so, please do one of two things: 1) Designate a driver or 2) Take a chauffeured tour. Here’s how you can responsibly sip, sample and enjoy Virginia craft beer.

Virginia's Blue Ridge Beer Loop

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beer Loop


Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beer Loop was unveiled just in time for August Virginia Craft Beer Month and includes six breweries around the Roanoke Valley. The Loop is a self-guided tour, which enables you to take your time and truly enjoy that one beer you find and love.

  • Big Lick Brewing Co. – Roanoke – opening Labor Day weekend!
  • Callaway Brewing Co. – Callaway
  • Chaos Mountain Brewing – Callaway
  • Flying Mouse Brewery – Troutville
  • Parkway Brewing Co. – Salem
  • Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers – Roanoke

Here’s Something … When you visit all six breweries this month (and have your passport stamped) you’ll be entered to win prizes! Download the Brochure and Map

Spread your craft beer experience over a couple of days and throw in a winery (10 to choose from), a distillery and a cidery to make it a well-rounded Virginia tasting. An example is the Red, White and Brew Trail in Nelson County:

  • Blue Mountain Barrel House
  • Blue Mountain Brewery
  • Devils Backbone Brewing Company
  • Wild Wolf Brewery

Some of the Red, White and Brew sites are also on the Nelson 151 Trail. See the Map

In a similar way, the Brew Ridge Trail incorporates many of the sites mentioned above, plus hops over to Charlottesville to pick up Starr Hill and South Street breweries. Additional attractions and places to stay are also listed for consideration.


Richmond Brewery Tours

Richmond Brewery Tours

Richmond Brewery Tours has been doing the driving for craft beer enthusiasts for two years, and there’s no sign of business slowing down. Craft beer is exploding in the Richmond region, with new breweries seeming to pop up all the time. The 14 passenger bus delivers you and your friends to three Richmond breweries for tastings and tours. Special tour events, like “Brews & Burlesque” are a hit with locals and visitors alike. Regular public tours are available Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Book Your Tour

Reston Limousine is running the NoVA Brew Bus to Mad Fox Brewing, Port City Brewing and Forge Brew Works on September 6, departing from Reston Town Center. Get behind-the-scenes tours, tasting, and even lunch at Mad Fox when you book this all-day craft beer excursion. Book Your Tour

Additional Upcoming Tours:


The Mark Addy Inn

The Mark Addy Inn

Holladay House Bed and Breakfast in Orange is offering private tours for two to six in a luxury Cadillac Escalade. Tour sites can include breweries, wineries or cideries. This is an add-on to your stay with rates from $225 for six.

Stay with The Mark Addy Inn in Nellysford and get a taste of the aforementioned Red, White and Brew Trail. This package is good for two nights until August 28 (better hurry!), and includes their three-course breakfast, plus a bottle of red Virginia wine, a bottle of white Virginia wine, and a six-pack of Virginia craft beer to take home. Six VIP vouchers are included for wine and/or craft beer tours and tastings, plus a $50 discount on a four-hour chauffeured tour. Rates start at $355 for two (room included). Book Now

Belle Hearth Bed and Breakfast in Waynesboro invites you to stay two nights and receive a welcome basket of wine or beer and other goodies. Your stay will include a chauffeured tour to three wineries and/or microbreweries. Rates from $380 (room included). Offer good through November 30, 2014.

Now that Staunton has two craft breweries to boast, the Stonewall Jackson Hotel has put together a craft beer package for your visit. Stay a night and receive a six-beer flight at Redbeard, two pints at Shenandoah Valley Brewing, and a free tasting at Hops retail store, plus a gift certificate to Shenandoah Pizza, breakfast, and parking. Rates from $199 for two. Book Now

Where will your love of craft beer take you? Check out to see what you’re missing.

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Request a Free Travel Guide.

© Casey for Virginia's Travel Blog, 2014

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Donut Spots that Satisfy
Monday, August 18, 2014, 11:45:47 AM | Stefanie

If you have a breakfast time (or any time) sweet tooth, you’re going to want to swing by these donut shops that pack in unique flavors and toppings! You nominated and here they are:


Beach-themed donuts from Paradise Donuts

Beach-themed donuts from Paradise Donuts

Paradise Donuts of Virginia - Norfolk 
Paradise Donuts is a family-run donut shop, located in the heart of Downtown Norfolk. Their family friendly establishment serves not only incredible donuts but lunch as well. Donuts are baked fresh in-house on a daily basis. Paradise Donuts is famous for their Maple Bacon or Old Fashioned donuts!

Pure Eats – Lexington
Pure Eats donuts are legendary! Order a fresh, house-made donut and you’ll never want to leave! Coconut lover? Try out the Almond Joy. Other favorites include the decadent chocolate peanut butter and the light, but always delicious margarita-flavored! Pure Eats doesn’t have a set menu, so you’ll be surprised of the flavors each time you visit!

The Apple House - Linden
Good food, friendly staff and beautiful surroundings make The Apple House a landmark to visit in Virginia. Come visit for your gift needs and be sure to try out the famed apple butter donuts!

 O’Doodledoo’s Donuts - Suffolk
Hand made, hand decorated, fresh, funky, one of a kind donut shop! This is a real “Hole in the Wall!”  O’Doodledoo’s makes more than 200+ flavors and rotate their menu daily.  Try the famous red velvet cream cheese donuts or a delicious sour cream old fashioned.  Known for gourmet donuts at budget prices, find out what everyone’s talking about! The Oreo extreme, peach cobbler, key lime pie, or chocoholic–yep those are all donuts too! Come quick– once the donuts are gone, so are they!

O’s Donuts - Norfolk
With 13 different types of donuts and eight different toppings, it’s easy to see why O’s Donuts are a Norfolk favorite. AND custom colors are available too! Try out a cool twist on a sundae, with the Uh O: A fresh, warm donut, tossed in cinnamon sugar, sliced open with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle. And topped off with hot fudge and whipped cream, of course!

Carol Lee Donuts - Blacksburg
Cake donut? Yes, please. Carol Lee Donuts boasts seven different types of cake donuts, including Devilsfood cake glazed and blueberry cake. Or try out one of their yeast-raised donuts, including maple iced with peanuts and toasted coconut. Grab a freshly brewed cup of coffee to wash it all down!

Happy Day Donut custom creation

Happy Day Donut custom creation

Happy Day Donuts – Chesapeake
The name says it all! Start your day off right with a Happy Day donut. They pride themselves on crafting their donuts with only the highest quality ingredients, so you can rest east knowing they’re always fresh and always tasty. Happy Day always has about 22 donut selections, including their 16 “daily flavors.” And don’t forget about creating your own masterpiece! Choose anything from Boston cream to cinnamon apple, to red velvet, samoa, snickers and more! You also get to choose your own toppings– from 45 possible combinations! Wash it all down with a cup of Happy Day’s custom roasted coffee, roasted to order.

Sugar Shack Donuts – Richmond
“I’m pretty sure we’ve found the Holy Grail, and this is it.” Sugar Shack Donuts prides itself on fresh, all nature and local ingredients. Seven house donuts are available, including the quintessential glazed and strawberry iced. They also have six specialty creations, caramel apple cake, anyone?! Try out their monster donuts, featuring peach fritters and Maggie Walker’s signature Dragon Tails. What’s the Dragon Tail? You’ll have to stop in and see for yourself!

Blackbird Bakery – Bristol
The Blackbird has become a favorite bakery shop for the locals in Bristol and has developed the reputation as one of the top bakeries in the tri-cities area. When you visit the bakery, you will feel as though you stepped back to a time when neighbors and shop owners knew each other on a first name basis. One of the first things you will notice is the pleasant, friendly and inviting atmosphere that awaits you when you step through the door. Baked fresh daily, when you take the first bite, you will realize that the products are handmade with only the freshest and finest ingredients.

The Dunk & Deli Co. – Abingdon
Known for their made fresh daily donuts, Dunk & Deli prides itself on freshness and quality, as well as efficient and friendly service. Join them in their comfortable, sit-down atmosphere and relax with friends and family or call ahead for convenient take-out service!

Triple Oak Bakery – Sperryville
Triple Oak Bakery is a dedicated gluten free bakery using local and organic products whenever possible.

Spudnut Coffee Shop - Charlottesville 
Spudnuts is an old school donut shop that makes donuts with potato flour, hence “spud”nuts. An institution in Charlottesville!

Duck Donuts – Virginia Beach 
Duck Donuts makes their donuts made-to-order and fresh as can be! Their base donuts are made with these key ingredients: wheat & corn flour, soybean oil, nonfat dry milk, egg yolks, and beta carotene. Rest assured when you come to Duck Donuts, you’re receiving the best! Ten coating choices are available, as well as five topping choices.

Great Country Farms – Loudoun
Great Country Farms is best known for their cider donut. These apple cider donuts, made with cinnamon and sugar, are baked fresh at the farm and melt in your mouth when you catch them hot. Visitors enjoy them year-round before visiting the farm’s animals, u-pick areas and fresh market.

Emily’s Donuts & Cafe – Williamsburg
Emily’s Donuts & Café is more than the new local face of great donuts. The yeast donuts are unlike anything else in town. The process of creation takes nearly three hours from start to finish. There are classic “ring” donuts — meant to be glazed and topped, and solid donuts, perfect for filling with out-of-this world combinations! Emily’s Donuts boasts baking 7,000 donuts every week! Clearly these donuts are in demand — especially with seasonal flavors, like their scrumptious Key Lime Donuts made with real Key Lime infused filling and topped with a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting.

Country Style Donuts – Richmond
“Deliciously addictive since 1968!” That’s the motto of Country Style Donuts in Richmond. Swing by early in the morning to grab some delicious holes before they run out! Try out the peanut-covered glazed, toasted almond or blueberry chip. Or why not try them all! Country Style has 38 varieties of donuts and is open 24 hours.


Check out some more delicious nominations:




© Stefanie for Virginia's Travel Blog, 2014

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Top Chefs of Virginia: Ma, Milton and Shields
Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 4:00:49 PM | Patrick Evans-Hylton

Virginia is America’s first food region, an early amalgamation of food and foodways from Native Americans, the English colonists, and an Afro-Caribbean influence.

©Robinson Imagery

©Robinson Imagery

Over the years some food traditions have remained, but even those have had a facelift or two, adapting to modern palates and the country getting a true sense of place in the world’s cuisine scene.

At the forefront of flavors are the kitchen artists, the Top Chefs of Virginia. From time-to-time we’ll chat with some of these tall toques about what inspires them, and why they chose to create their craft in the commonwealth.

This is the first of the series. Grab a napkin, you’re going to be drooling soon.

—   —   —

Chef Tim Ma
Maple Ave Restaurant
147 Maple Ave. W., Vienna


Water & Wall Restaurant
3811 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington

After eight years as an engineer, Tim Ma traded in blueprints for recipe cards and went to culinary school at The French Culinary Institute – now International Culinary Center – in New York.

Chef Tim Ma of Maple Ave Restaurant and Water & Wheel Restaurant. Photo by Rey Lopez / Under a Bushel Photography.

Chef Tim Ma of Maple Ave Restaurant and Water & Wheel Restaurant. Photo by Rey Lopez / Under a Bushel Photography.

Following an externship with the Momofuku restaurant group and other culinary jobs, Tim returned to Virginia, where he had lived since age 10, to pursue his dreams of opening a restaurant.

“I’ve been doing this for about six years now and have loved every minute of it,” he says.

Tim and Joey Hernandez opened Maple Ave Restaurant in 2009. The remodeled donut shop seats 28 folks and offers French-Asian cuisine. Wall & Water opened in 2013 showcasing New American food.

At Maple Ave, a consistent favorite on the changing menu are the Crème Fraiche Wings, a dish of wings in fiery Korean chili paste tempered with cooling Kendall Farms crème fraiche and garnished with scallions.

Maple Ave has is currently ranked Number One in the 50 Best Restaurants by Northern Virginia Magazine and named among the 100 Very Best Restaurants by Washingtonian Magazine.

Tim was a guest chef for the James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour on Aug. 4 and will cook at the James Beard House in New York for the Virginia Rising Stars dinner on Sept. 9.

He was nominated a Rising Culinary Star in 2013 and 2014 for the RAMMY Awards presented by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.


You are on the forefront of food, what trends do you see?

I think that sophisticated cuisine will start to bleed into casual cuisine more often that what we are seeing it now, and make what once was considered fancy food more accessible to more people.

You cook for others all the time; what do you cook for yourself?

I love to make myself soy sauce braised beef noodles.  It can be any kind of noodle, but the beef needs to be super tender though. Add some pickles, and maybe some bok choy and I can eat that every day.

What is a cookbook or food-related books folks should be reading?

Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Daguid

What are five things in your home refrigerator right now?

Adult yogurt, baby yogurt, toddler yogurt, five takeout boxes from five different restaurants, and milk for my cereal.

Maple Ave Restaurant

Courtesy of Maple Ave Restaurant

What’s a favorite Virginia wine? A favorite Virginia beer?

I’m not a big wine drinker, but it’s hard for us to keep any RdV Vineyards wines in stock.

AleWerks Brewing Company’s Shorty Time Session IPA; I couldn’t drink enough of this. We have it on tap now, but it is a very limited edition.

Let’s talk food in Virginia.

To me it’s very important to support local, but also very important to support responsible.  Responsible meaning that processes be it a Virginia peanut or grass-fed beef, it needs to be done with the properly with the current and future generations in mind.

We source a lot from Polyface Farms for both restaurants.  We also like to promote as much Virginia agriculture as we can.

I love Polyface Farms for not only their incredible products (rabbit, pork, beef, chicken, eggs), but for their incredibly sustainable practices.

Virginia does provide such a wide range of products that are just fantastic, apples, peanuts, etc.

What makes Virginia’s cuisine scene special?

There is something special happening right now with Virginia cuisine. Chefs are reconnecting with the agriculture as well as with other fellow Virginia chefs … and [it’s] not just what is happening in the upscale cuisine space, but also the casual eateries are becoming more craft, less commercial.

—   —   —

Chef Travis Milton
Comfort Restaurant
200 W. Broad St., Richmond

Chef Travis Milton. Photo by Beth Furgurson Photography.

Chef Travis Milton of Comfort. Photo by Beth Furgurson Photography.

Restauranting is in Travis Milton’s DNA. His great-grandparents owned a small restaurant in Castlewood, Va., where his mother worked both in the kitchen and dining room.

“She would bring me in with her, and I would sit in a highchair in the corner of the kitchen and peel potatoes with a very dull butter knife. I learned quite a bit. I got my first restaurant job at 15,” says Travis.

Over the years he has worked with such notables as Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco, Todd Gray of Equinox and Fabio Trabocchi of Fiola, both in Washington D.C., and Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 in New York before settling back in Virginia.

Travis is a native of Russell County in Appalachia.

Comfort opened in downtown Richmond 13 years ago by Jason Alley and Chris Chandler and has since become a stalwart of the capital city’s dining scene. Travis joined the team three years ago.

“Our menu is rooted in the old ‘Meat and Three’ concept with a heavy emphasis on Appalachian foods,” says Travis. “We seat about 60 and try to create a very homey feel in the dining room that lives up to the name: Comfort.”

Dishes change frequently, but Travis is noted for his Cheerwine Vinegar Pie (Cheerwine is a Southern, cherry-based soft drink) and sour corn, an old Appalachian dish of open-air fermented corn which is drained and sautéed in bacon fat.

Travis has won many awards and accolades, including having his Green Tomato Pie named as a favorite in the Best Dishes of Dixie  August/September 2014 issue of Garden and Gun magazine.


You cook for others all the time; what do you cook for yourself?

A pot of soup beans and a pan of cornbread.

What is a cookbook or food-related books folks should be reading?

Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken: The Heart and Soul of Southern Country Kitchen by Ronni Lundy

Comfort. Photo by Sarah Hauser.

Comfort. Photo by Sarah Hauser.

What are five things in your home refrigerator right now?

Sour corn, rhubarb preserves, some old-style Pennsylvania hooch called Spoodie, many cans of PBR and some bagels

What’s a favorite Virginia wine? A favorite Virginia beer?

For wine, it’s a tie between Boxwood Winery’s rose’ and Barboursville Vineyards’s Octagon. For beer, it’s Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s Gingerbread Stout.

Let’s talk food in Virginia.

Where I grew up, the concept of ‘farm to table’ is just a normal part of life; the bulk of what you ate was grown or killed by you, someone in your family, or a neighbor.

[Incorporating Virginia foods and foodways] is about honoring and preserving. I try to do what I can to preserve them and showcase them for the many that aren’t aware.

[I have many favorite Virginia ingredients], Sam Edwards’ ham is the first thing that comes to mind. I am a sucker for the indigenous beans of Appalachia, my favorites being Greasy Beans and Turkey Craws. Craig Rodgers of Border Springs has some outstanding lamb, Adam Musick has some excellent pork, there is Autumn Olive Farms, and Lockhart Family Farm … I could go on and on.

What makes Virginia’s cuisine scene special?

Its diversity. You have a rich culture of foodways that are ages old in the mountains, as well as the amazing heritage of the Eastern Shore and everywhere in between.

—   —   —

Chef John Shields
454 Loves Mill Rd., Chilhowie

John and Karen Urie Shields of Riverstead. Photo by David Hungate.

John and Karen Urie Shields of Riverstead. Photo by David Hungate.

Like so many chefs, inspiration for John Shields came early in life; his from from his father. After attending culinary school in St. Louis, John made his way to Chicago. He began work at the famed Charlie Trotters restaurant there, where he would meet Karen, his pastry chef wife.

John cooked at Alinea, also in Chicago, where he worked with his mentor, Grant Achatz, who is noted as a leader in progressive cuisine.

Then John and Karen left the city for the country, and found a home in western Virginia, running the acclaimed Town House from 2008 to 2012 in the Appalachian hamlet of Chilhowie.

Now the couple operate Riverstead, an inn and private dining restaurant set in the same charming Smyth County locale.

From a charming renovated Victorian house overlooking the beautiful bucolic countryside, the Shields host a culinary adventure in the intimate 14-seat dining room. Meals are booked in advance on Riverstead’s website.

“I’ve been in the highest level kitchen in North America and Europe, but I’ve never experienced the adventure that we will offer in this natural setting,” John writes on the site. “I’m pushing my creativity beyond anything I’ve ever done. We have great relationships with the local farmers, but also look for amazing seafood from unique waters and sounds.”

Although the menu is constantly changing, look for dishes like duck hearts that are brined and grilled over the yakitori, with licorice-like flavors of dried beets, bronze fennel crowns, tarragon and black olives along with swiss chard leaves, cured egg yolk and a sauce of dried tomatoes, fermented blackberry, duck jus and brown butter.

Riverstead. Photo by David Hungate.

Riverstead. Photo by David Hungate.

Over the years, John’s creative cuisine has garnered many accolade from publications like the Washington Post and Garden & Gun magazine. He’s a James Beard Foundation Awards semi-finalist, and a Star Chefs Rising Star.

In 2010, Food & Wine magazine named him Best New Chef.


You are on the forefront of food, what trends do you see?

I think we’ll start to see more chefs banding together to do collaborative dinners and food conferences around the country.

You cook for others all the time; what do you cook for yourself?

I tend to cook a lot of eggs. I love eating them, but cooking eggs properly, no matter which style you decide, takes a tremendous amount of technical skill and knowledge.

What is a cookbook or food-related books folks should be reading?

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

What are five things in your home refrigerator right now?

Eggs, lots of vegetables, lots of fruit, yogurt and beer.

What’s a favorite Virginia wine? A favorite Virginia beer?

I love Fabbioli Cellars’ Tannant 2011; I also love Foggy Ridge Cider. I enjoy Devils Backbone and Blue Mountain breweries.

Let’s talk food in Virginia.

I think any smart cook embraces the ingredients and product that are close to them. Obviously the product will be fresher, but it also evokes a story. When I’m using sour quince juice from the guy down the road to make curd, it’s special because you can’t taste or experience it anywhere else.

Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

I love [the ramp]; it’s versatility … charring, caramelized, fermented in goats milk whey … the list goes on and on.

What makes Virginia’s cuisine scene special?

Virginia just feels so fertile, and the products are so diverse.

—   —   —

Patrick Evans-HyltonPatrick Evans-Hylton, a Johnson & Wales University trained chef, is a Norfolk, Va.-based food journalist, historian and educator. His work has appeared in print, television, radio and social media since 1995. Evans-Hylton calls his cookbook, Dishing Up Virginia, his love letter to the state’s foods and foodways. He blogs at



© PEvansHylton for Virginia's Travel Blog, 2014

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11 Award-Winning Virginia Craft Breweries
Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 11:57:32 AM | Casey

Virginia is brewing some really tasty craft beer and the nation is noticing. The craft beer industry in Virginia has boomed very quickly from just a handful of breweries a couple of years ago to more than 80 as of this writing. It appears that Virginians and visitors passing through our beautiful Commonwealth are enjoying the liquid love on tap.

Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Restaurant

Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Restaurant

If 80+ breweries seems overwhelming, let this be a quick-start guide. Go where the big awards are (World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival, for starters) and then launch your flight tastings from there. Here are 11 award-winning craft breweries you should try now in Virginia.

1. Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland is a solid craft beer starter experience. DBB has certainly made a mark for itself in the world of craft beer since its 2008 opening. In 2013 alone DBB brought home six Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medals, plus two World Beer Cup (WBC) medals this year! Such acclaim boosts you to statuses like Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year (2012 and 2013 Great American Beer Festival) and Champion Brewery and Brewmaster (2010 World Beer Cup).

  • Old Virginia Dark American-Style Dark Lager – 2014 WBC Gold Medal, 2013 GABF Gold Medal
  • Vienna Lager – 2014 WBC Silver Medal (Outpost in Lexington)
  • Danzig Baltic-Style Porter – 2010 WBC  Gold Medal and 2013 GABF Bronze Medal
  • Morning Bear Coffee Flavored Beer – 2010 WBC Bronze Medal
  • Schwartz Bier German-Style Schwarzbier – 2010 WBC Bronze Medal
  • Kollaborator Traditional German-Style Bock – 2010 WBC Bronze Medal
  • Azreal Belgian- and French-Style Ale – 2013 GABF Gold Medal (Outpost)
  • Gold Leaf Lager American-Style or International-Style Pilsener – 2013 GABF Silver Medal
  • Berliner Metro Weiss German-Style Sour Ale – 2013 GABF Silver Medal
  • Ale of Fergus English-Style Mid Ale – 2013 GABF Bronze Medal
  • See More Awards
Starr Hill Brewery

Starr Hill Brewery

2. Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet near Charlottesville is one of Virginia’s oldest craft breweries (1999). Starr Hill’s eight core brews, four seasonal brews and select limited edition brews have together garnered 21 medals from the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup over the years. Here are the most recent accolades:

  • Whiter Shade of Pale White IPA – 2014 WBC Gold Medal
  • Dark Starr Stout Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout – 2008 WBC Silver Medal
  • Amber Ale Irish Red Ale – 2002 WBC Bronze Medal
  • Soul Shine Belgian-Style Pale Ale – 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship Bronze Medal
  • See the Complete List

3. Apocalypse Ale Works in Forest proclaims, “the end of bad beer is here!” and they invite you to try what championship judges have loved.

  • Heavy Red Horseman Scottish-Style Ale – 2014 WBC Gold Medal
  • Red Hoppocalypse Imperial Red Ale – 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship Silver Medal
  • Lustful Maiden Belgian Abbey Ale – Dubbel – 2013 U.S. Open Beer Championship Gold Medal
Blue Mountain Brewery

Blue Mountain Brewery

4. Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton is Virginia’s first countryside brewery, hop farm and tasting room, not to mention, they have a farm-to-table restaurant on-site. Ten brews are on tap daily. Here are their latest accolades:

  • Blue Reserve American- Belgian-Style Ale – 2012 WBC Silver Medal
  • Rockfish Wheat American-Style Wheat – 2010 WBC Silver Medal

5. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond operates a sustainable operation, with their energy being charged by wind and other renewable sources. If that doesn’t make you feel good about a visit, maybe a World Beer Cup acknowledgement will. Hardywood Gingerbread Stout won a 2012 WBC Bronze Medal in the Herb and Spice category.

6. Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria is just a hop, skip and a jump from Washington, DC, making it a favorite reprieve from Capital life. Their recent acclaims include …

  • Optimal Wit Belgian-Style Witbier – 2013 GABF Gold Medal
  • Oktoberfest Vienna-Style Lager – 2013 GABF Silver Medal
  • Colossal One Aged Beer – 2013 GABF Bronze Medal
  • Colossal Two Smoke Beer – 2013 GABF Bronze Medal
Three Brothers Brewing

Three Brothers Brewing

7. Lost Rhino Brewing Co. in Ashburn pairs locally-sourced eats with their gently handcrafted brews. Try the Rhino’fest Märzen, just released for the season today! It was awarded a gold medal in the German-Style Märzen category at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival.

8. Smartmouth Brewing Co. in Norfolk claims to “geek out to the science of brewing,” which is becoming evident when the judges of the Great American Beer Festival award them a bronze medal in 2013 for their Notch 9 Double IPA. Great effort sometimes equals great reward.

9. Three Brothers Brewing in Harrisonburg is actually comprised of three brothers a’brewin’. The brothers and their brewery are homegrown and loyal to their local roots, which makes a bronze medal for their Rum Barrel Belgium Dubbel Style IPA all the sweeter (2013 Great American Beer Festival).

10. Wolf Hills Brewing Co. in Abingdon only distributes locally to ensure optimum freshness and flavor. That being said, more than the region is taking notice of their brews.

  • White IPA Out of Bounds IPA – 2014 U. S. Open Beer Championship Gold Medal
  • White Blaze Honey Cream Ale American Cream Ale – 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship Silver Medal
  • Ordinary Bitter – 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship Bronze Medal

11. South Street Brewery in Charlottesville was founded in 1998, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks for the grand re-opening of this local brewpub. Here’s to hoping their award-winning beverages are still on tap!

  • South Street Tripel Belgian Abbey Ale – 2013 U.S. Open Beer Championship Gold Medal and 2011 Bronze Medal
  • Anastasia’s Chocolate Stout – 2011 U.S. Open Beer Championship Silver Medal
  • Satan’s Pony Scottish Ale – 2011 U.S. Open Beer Championship Bronze Medal and Judges’ Award for one of the Most Creative Names
  • South Street Dubbel – 2011 U.S. Open Beer Championship Bronze Medal

Without a doubt there are tons more medals hanging around bottles in Virginia’s brewpubs. Explore and taste for yourself, especially during August Virginia Craft Beer Month, and let us know via the comments section about your favorite award-winning Virginia craft beer.

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Great American Beer Festival – Virginia Winners – 1990-2013

© Casey for Virginia's Travel Blog, 2014

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