A Guide To Breweries, Cideries, And More In Richmond, VA
Richmond has a long history with beer. From the some of the country’s first brewing operations in the 1600s, to the country’s first-ever canned beer appearing here in 1935, Richmond is no stranger to beer innovation. And a craft beer explosion over the last few years has really put Richmond on the map among beer drinkers worldwide.
The great thing is it’s not just beer. Richmond has a growing number of other craft beverage makers, particularly ciders, as well as whiskeys, mead, and more!
The Answer Brewpub
At The Answer, it doesn’t matter what the question is – beer is the answer! In 2014, Mekong Founder and Chief Beer Officer, An Bui, opened the doors to The Answer, his own craft brewery. With 56 taps, 2 bars, and a great live music scene, The Answer really is the answer to all of your questions!
Ardent Craft Ales
Ardent Craft Ales began in 2010 as a garage-based co-op in Church Hill started by two friends who just wanted to learn more about making beer. Their audience grew month over month until they began to think seriously about opening a commercial brewery. After months of planning, fundraising, and renovating, Ardent’s Scott’s Addition location opened in 2014. The Ardent Saison is a crowd-favorite that’s always on tap, and the Earl Grey Brown Ale makes a unique and tasty choice.
Basic City Beer
In the former Blue Bee Cider space in Manchester sits Basic City Beer. At Basic City you’ll find lots of ales and IPAs, a large indoor/outdoor space to either get your Skee ball on or hang out near the River, and great Tuesday Trivia!
Bingo Beer Co.
A beer hall/restaurant/arcade concept, Bingo Beer Co. is committed to brewing “crushable” lagers. Inspiration comes from German brewing traditions with a focus on unique American craft beers. The restaurant focuses on American bar food, with a fun and interesting twist. We love the Bingo fries! And while your sipping and savoring, play one of the 12 vintage cabinet video games, pinball, or ping pong!
Canon & Draw Brewing Company
Canon & Draw is a relatively new craft brewery in the heart of the Fan District, tucked away on Main Street! C&D beers are available exclusively on tap here, as well as some limited quantities of their bottle series. The facility is dog friendly and is open Wednesday through Sunday!
Castleburg Brewery owner Karl Homburg got his start with a kitchen stove and a home brewing kit. After winning a few awards with his home brew, it was time to think about a commercial brewery, which opened in the spring of 2016 just around the corner from Hardywood. The Castleburg Cream Ale is the flagship, and the Black Knight IPA is also tasty.
Center of the Universe Brewing Co.
Brothers Chris and Phil Ray first started brewing beer as a hobby, which quickly became an obsession. And in 2011, Center of the Universe Brewing Co. (COTU) first came into existence! Located in Ashland, you’ll find a line up of five year-round (delicious) beers and a monthly seasonal release you can find on their website!
Final Gravity Brewing Co.
Final Gravity is the brewery spin-off of Original Gravity, a home beer- and wine-making supply store. Founder Tony Ammendolia has been brewing beer at home since 1993, selling supplies since 2011, and opened the brewery in 2015. The brewery took home four medals, including two golds, at the 2016 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup.
Garden Grove Brewing And Urban Winery
Among the smallest breweries in Richmond is Carytown’s Garden Grove, but don’t let the small size deter you. In fact, that’s what makes it great! The brewery experiments with different styles and flavors, often growing their own ingredients, and creates an ever-changing selection of beer and wine on tap. The brewery also hosts live music regularly, and a monthly taproom dinner with a Richmond chef is a fun way to learn about pairing food and brews.
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
If you’ve heard of one craft brewery in Richmond, it’s probably Hardywood. The largest brewery in town, Hardywood was opened in 2011 by childhood friends Eric McKay and Patrick Murtaugh as the culmination of a decade-long dream. Since its inception, the brewery has earned many accolades for its flagship beers and its barrel series, including a perfect 100 rating by BeerAdvocate for its unbelievably delish Gingerbread Stout.
Isley Brewing Company
Richmond native Michael Isley opened Isley Brewing Company to be a passion-inspired microbrewery. It also turned out to be a trendsetter – Isley was the first in the recent rush to bring craft beer to Scott’s Addition. The brewery has won fans near and far with its porters (The Bribe Oatmeal Porter and Choosy Mother peanut butter porter). We also love the Blueberry Plain Jane!
Legend Brewing Company
Legend Brewing is the original Richmond craft brewery (well, at least among modern ones). It’s one of the only breweries in town with a full-service restaurant, and has an amazing patio overlooking the James River and downtown to enjoy. Flagship beers like the Legend Brown, Winter White, and Lager have been staples throughout the city for many years (and for good reason!)
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery originally opened up on 290 gorgeous acres out in Goochland County and made a name for themselves with their small-batch brews and spectacular sunflower field. But lucky for us city folk, they recently opened up a downtown Richmond location for those wanting to stay closer to town! Lickinghole Creek grows a lot of the ingredients, like wheat, barley, hops, berries, and pumpkin, and what they can’t grow, they source from local farmers!
Main Line Brewery
A relative newcomer to the Richmond beer scene, Main Line Brewery has made a splash! Located on Ownby Lane behind the Diamond, it brews a variety of featured beers (along with seasonal concoctions), making it appealing to everyone. The large space flaunts giant “Beer” Pong and a fantastic music stage for live entertainment.
Richbrau Brewing is back, baby! In its third iteration, Richbrau currently resides in Shockoe Bottom, near all things historic (which is just what they like). The beers are all brewed with a story, as apparent by the spectacular names like Edgar, King of Strays, Psychic Horse, and 4th Street Horribles. The brews range in style from Hazy IPAs to Impreial Stouts and Sour Ales, so you’re sure to find something you’ll like here!
Starr Hill Brewery
Starr Hill may be the newest addition to Richmond’s ever-growing Scott’s Addition, but it’s the second-oldest craft brewery in Virginia. The space is a Beer Hall and Rooftop that aims to showcase a broad selection of brews with a large and unique entertainment space. It also has a custom 10-barrel brewing system, plus five American white oak foeders, making it the first Starr Hill location dedicated to producing wild ales.
Stone Brewing originated in San Diego, CA, and opened its largest East Coast facility in Richmond in early 2016. The east end spot features a production facility and taproom, and will soon host Stone World Bistro & Gardens, a large indoor/outdoor restaurant and beer garden. Stone focuses on IPAs, and can have as many as 20 different beers on tap at a time.
If you’re looking for something unusual and funky, Strangeways is a good place to start. The two business partners behind the brewery share a love of beer, including finding and creating unusual beers, the likes of which you’ve never tasted before. Fancy a Key Lime Radler? How about a Belgian White Ale with cocoa nibs and bananas? You might find either, or something else entirely, upon a visit to the taproom, which now has a tasting room in Scott’s Addition as well!
Tabol Brewing is a new small-batch brewery on the scene. The tasting room is located in Richmond’s Battery Park, where you’ll find lots of rustic brews – according to the brew masters, “wild, funky, and/or sour!”
Three Notch’d RVA Collab House
The RVA Collab House is a Richmond outpost of Charlottesville-based Three Notch’d Brewing. Along Broad St. in Scott’s Addition, this brewery has a few flagships from the main brewery, along with an ever-changing selection of collaborations with local restaurants, small businesses, musicians, and other breweries.
Triple Crossing Beer
Triple Crossing is best known for bold beer and bold names. Falcon Smash and Clever Girl, two IPA’s with very different profiles, are the headliners here and keep drinkers coming back. Well, that, plus the yummy food specialties at each of the breweries locations – brick-oven pizza in Fulton Hill and gourmet grilled cheese in downtown.
Väsen Brewing Company
Väsen Brewing Company is a recent addition to the Scott’s Addition craft brewing scene, but the homey feel and great outdoor space makes you feel as though they’ve been around forever. The beers here combine American craft beer with the rustic and funky flavors of Belgian farmhouse and sour ales. You’ve definitely got to try that Mango Passionfruit Puffin!
The Veil Brewing Company
The Veil earns accolades at the same rate it produces new beers – and it puts out a new can release every Tuesday. It was named to 2016 Best New Brewers lists by both Beer Advocate (US) and RateBeer.com (worldwide). It has been mentioned in publications from Thrillist to the New York Daily News. And in Richmond, we’re lucky enough to be able to walk into The Veil’s taproom 6 days a week. The beer selection is always changing, and always delicious.
Blue Bee Cider
Blue Bee Cider, originally located in Manchester and now found in an awesome former stable in Scott’s Addition, is cider meant to be treated like wine. Everything from the location’s ambiance to the cider’s alcohol content, from the large bottles it’s poured from to the glasses guests drink it in, Blue Bee is for drinkers who feel at home at a vineyard (contrast with Buskey Cider below). Blue Bee was also the first urban cidery in Virginia.
Bryant’s Small Batch Cider
Bryant’s Small Batch Cider in Jackson Ward uses the word N.A.I.L.S. to dictate its values – Natural, Authentic, Independent, Lifestyle, and Sustainable. For more than 150 years, Bryant’s farm out in Roseland has been churning out apples, and now they’re bringing that deliciousness to your glass!
Buskey Cider, also in Scott’s Addition, produces cider meant to be treated like beer. It’s location has the feel and ambiance of a brewery, and the cider has alcohol content on par with craft beer and is poured by the pint or growler (contrast with Blue Bee Cider above). Buskey is also the first cidery in Richmond to can its ciders, which can now be found around Richmond.
Courthouse Creek Cider
Courthouse Creek Cider owners Eric and Liza originally thought they were going to start a vineyard and get into winemaking, but one sip of a dry Virginia cider and that went out the window! They wanted to ensure a natural method to produce fine Virginia cider, and that they do. They’re the only cidery to produce all of its ciders using barrels and few preservatives. And you can really tell!
SPIRITS & MORE
Belle Isle Craft Spirits
Belle Isle made a name for itself with a different kind of spirit – moonshine. Currently making five varieties (Premium, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Honey Habanero, Cold Brew Coffee, and 100 Proof), Belle Isle Moonshine can be the first ingredient in a wide range of cocktails. You’ll find Belle Isle in Virginia ABC stores and many renowned bars around Richmond.
Black Heath Meadery
Black Heath Meadery, located in (you guessed it) Scott’s Addition, is the only Richmond establishment to focus on (you guessed it) mead. Mead is a small-batch beverage that begins with honey, yeast, and water, before fruits, spices, herbs, or flowers are added for flavoring. Black Heath’s mission is to support the beekeepers of Virginia in sustaining the state’s bee population. Stop by for a unique drinking experience!
Cirrus Vodka is an award-winning, potato-based and gluten free artisan vodka located in Richmond! Cirrus producers believe potatoes make the best and smoothest vodka – they’re more expensive and more difficult to produce, but it’s worth the time and effort! Plus, potatoes make a slightly sweeter, creamier product ideal for sipping.
James River Distillery
James River Distillery uses regional, organic ingredients and years of experience to bring a variety of craft spirits to bars in town. A handful of gins make up their flagship products, and a recent Øster Vit (a Scandinavian spirit steeped with oyster shells, fennel, and orange peel) has made liquor fans happy. They’ve also collaborated with the folks at The Rogue Gentlemen and Saison to produce a smooth, flavorful rum.
Reservoir Distillery is a multiple Double Gold award winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition located in Scott’s Addition (and you thought it was just a beer neighborhood). The distillery produces just three spirits – bourbon, wheat whiskey, and rye whiskey, each using high-quality ingredients. And Reservoir doesn’t do mass production – each barrel is personally tasted and each bottle is hand-signed by one of the distillers.
Trial and Error
Trial & Error is a small-batch distillery located inside Bombolini Pasta’s building on Main Street. Since 2017, the husband-wife duo has been serving up grappa, rum, and gin. At 55 gallons, Trial & Error is using one of the smaller stills in town, producing about 10 gallons of spirits per day.
Virago Spirits is inspired by the Virago, a heroic woman of great strength, courage, determination, and vision. The distillery focuses on rum, gin, brandy, and herbal liqeurs. We think you should check out that Four-Port Rum, explained by the distiller as “opening with notes of vanilla & spice, leading to cascading waves of fig, dried coconut, & crème brûlée, culminating in a pleasantly lingering, smoky finish.” We’re in!
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