Eager to travel and need a reason why? This is the final weekend of Virginia Craft Beer Month. If you love beer, particularly craft beer, pacify your wanderlust with our Virginia #WanderLove Craft Beer Roadtrip! This 500-mile itinerary includes stops along the Potomac River, across the Central and Southern regions of Virginia, and through Richmond, the Commonwealth’s capital. Adjust the itinerary to your liking by adding or removing suggested destinations.
Virginia is for Craft Beer Lovers! Start your journey here in Town of Colonial Beach, Virginia (CBVA), 65 miles from Washington DC. We have our own nano-brewery, family-owned Colonial Beach Brewing (CBB), which recently celebrated its 3rd anniversary. From here, you can drive west through Central and Southern Virginia, with stops in Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, Lynchburg or Roanoke, all of which have a happening craft beer scene. Or head south, making Virginia capital Richmond, home to more than 30 craft breweries along the Richmond Beer Trail, the next stop on your itinerary. Whichever route you choose, loop around in Danville, along the border with North Carolina.
Craft Beer in Town of Colonial Beach, Virginia
Colonial Beach Brewing maintains a changing menu of about ten different small batch, handcrafted ales, made with the freshest ingredients available. Each variety is crafted by brewer Casey Blaylock, who draws inspiration from his restaurant, bar, and homebrew background. Craft beers are given maritime or sea-related names or have a connection to the brewery’s home in Colonial Beach: Beach Blonde; River Range Red, a nod to nearby Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division’s range testing on the Potomac River; and Malecha Pale Ale, named in memory of a Town resident.
Colonial Beach Brewing’s flagship beers are generally available year-round, while specialty brews may be available for a limited time or seasonally. Campfire Smores Blonde, for example, will be released in a few weeks. A modernized twist on Blonde, this nitro-tapped craft beer blends white stout and the sweetness of butterscotch, chocolate and vanilla, with a smoked malt.
This fall, the brewery will release Kirk Kriek, a Lambic beer (traditional Belgian-style sour) that’s been fermenting in a wine barrel from nearby Ingleside Vineyards, a member of the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail, for over a year. The brew, which will be ready late October, pays homage to old traditional, pre-Colonial styles, featuring ancient cherry oak.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the brewery is open Wednesday-Sunday. Each Wednesday, Front of the House Manager Nick Saffos releases an updated list of the coming week’s availability, including New Releases. Beer lovers can imbibe onsite in the brewery’s outdoor Beer Garden (Social distancing protocols are strictly enforced.) or purchase an array of craft beers by the can or growler for carry-out.
On weekends, Colonial Beach Brewing offers food from local favorite Denson’s Grocery. Cold dishes, including subs and salads, can be eaten onsite, while hot entrees can be taken out to eat at home. You can also order food from local restaurants and have it delivered to the brewery. This Labor Day weekend (Saturday only), the brewery welcomes Ghosted Concepts, who will be preparing Rib Tips, and pre-ordered racks of St. Louis style ribs or spare ribs, prepared to order.
The brewery hosts socially distanced trivia, live music and other events throughout the week and is hoping to add more in the coming months. Board games and coloring books are kept onsite so parents and children can visit together; and pets are welcome outside. CBB’s inside Pub and Parlour are closed for the time being, but the family hopes to be able to reopen those sections soon. The brewery also participates in the Harvest Host program.
Craft Beer Festivals on the Route
Consider your Virginia #WanderLove Craft Beer Roadtrip an introduction to the state’s craft beer offerings. Pick the locations you enjoyed the most and next year, when travel *hopefully* returns to normal, plan a second roadtrip that ties-in with local beer and craft beer festivals including:
- Downtown Roanoke is the site of Microfestivus each August. The event which has been held for over 20 year, is reportedly one of the largest beer festivals on the East Coast, featuring nearly 250 different beers from 90 breweries.
- Lynchburg Beer, Wine & Cider Festival, typically held in September, features craft beer, ciders and wine all handpicked and selected from the state of Virginia. Local artisans, delicious food and live music round out this event.
- October’s Fredericksburg Brew Fest is held at the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. Craft brewers from all over the region offer samples of their award winning beers. There’s live music, Home Brew Sampling tent, and several Virginia Wineries and Distilleries, as well.
- The City of Danville, Virginia’s annual Bright Leaf Brew Fest, held in November at Community Market located in Danville’s River District, features sampling of over 100 different beers, food and live music.
- UPDATE: Beliveau Farm, in Blacksburg, hosts an annual “Sap to Syrup” celebration featuring seasonal Maple Ale Beer made with Virginia farm-produced maple syrup.