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Explore Virginia Craft Beer Scene in Richmond, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and more

Virginia craft beer has recently come out of nowhere on the national craft beer scene as a major player on the East Coast, attempting to rival neighboring craft beer powerhouse North Carolina. After losing major deals on East Coast production facilities for Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues, and New Belgium to North Carolina, state legislatures got their act together and passed a bill to help make Virginia more attractive to the craft beer industry. One of those measures allows breweries to operate on-site taprooms.

Soon, announcements followed that Stone Brewing is opening in Richmond (I’m still a little bitter on this one as Charlotte was a finalist), Green Flash Brewing is opening in Virginia Beach, and, most recently, Deschutes Brewery is opening in Roanoke. Beyond these national craft breweries, there are also plenty of breweries based in state that are putting Virginia craft beer on the map.


Exploring Virginia Craft Beer – 5 must visit cities in Virginia that are trending in craft beer.

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Stone Brewing in Richmond

Why not start with my personal heartbreak, Stone Brewing. News on when the Richmond facility will be fully operations has been sparse. However, according to the Richmond Times, the tasting room and store opened March 2, pouring beers brewed in the Escondido, California, brewery. Expect Richmond brews to arrive around July. For those traveling in from out-of-town, there are plenty of hotels in nearby downtown Richmond like The Jefferson Hotel, which is a relic from the city’s rich history.


Smartmouth Brewery in Norfolk

Moving out toward the Tidewater region of Virginia is Smartmouth Brewing in Norfolk. The local brewery recently caught national attention when they won bronze at the Great American Beer Festival for their Notch 9 Double IPA. Personally, I think the Rule G IPA is equally as worthy. The brewery is located on the banks of the Elizabeth River and one of the nearest hotels is the Wyndam Garden Norfolk Downtown.


Green Flash Brewing in Virginia Beach

While Green Flash Brewing originally intended to open in early 2016, photos on their live web cam show completion is still a long ways away. When the brewery does open, hopheads can expect the same hop-forward beers the brewery is acclaimed for. The brewery will be located in a more residential part of Virginia Beach so I recommend booking a hotel a short drive away on the beach. The Holiday Inn Oceanside has great views and the convenience of beach attractions.


Traditions Brewing in Newport News

Before we head out of Tidewater, let’s make a beer run to another Tidewater city, Newport News. The Hampton Inn Newport News is a great hopping-off point to explore the peninsula’s growing craft beer scene. St George Brewing is just a short drive away with Tradition Brewing opening later this year.


Lost Rhino Brewing in Sterling

In the quiet Washington, D.C., suburbs of Virginia is Lost Rhino Brewing. The brewery is not only known for its award-winning craft beer (Great American Beer Festival Gold for their Marzen) but also their farm-to-table restaurant. The Hyatt Place Sterling in nearby Sterling is a great place to stay as it’s quiet, comfortable, and close to the airport.


What’s your favorite Virginia craft beer?

This article is part of the Hipmunk Hotels series.