Move over, wine trails. Although Virginia has its share of Napa Valley-like wine trails—and more than 42 wineries—beer now leads the pack. At the most recent tally, more than 200 craft breweries are currently open in the commonwealth (as Virginia, like three more of the 50 states, officially designates itself).
Although today’s independent brew masters are creative and innovative, they are nevertheless building on a centuries-old craft. According to Virginia Tourism Corp., Virginia’s beer history dates to the late 1600s, when “Virginia colonists brew ale using corn.” And when George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison—Virginians all—weren’t busily crafting our country (or retired from the job), they were crafting their own hops and malt into palate-pleasing brews.
In fact, George Washington’s recipe for beer still exists!
Here’s a sampler from Virginia Tourism Corp. of some of the commonwealth’s 19 official beer trails for an offsite tasting experience.
- Beltway Beer Trail (Fairfax County, Alexandria and Arlington)
- Coastal Virginia Beer Trail (Williamsburg, Norfolk, Hampton, Virginia Beach)
- LoCo Ale Trail (Loudoun County)
- Richmond Beer Trail (citywide)
- Toast the Coast Virginia: Beer, Wine & Shine Trail (Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton)
- Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail (Roanoke)