When it comes to craft beer, it is no surprise that Virginia’s capital city has played a huge part in the industry’s resurgence. In fact, Virginia’s oldest operating craft brewery is located in the city; Legend Brewing Company opened in 1994, but has since been joined by over 20 more breweries that have come onto the scene since 2011. Start planning a beer tour through Richmond’s expansive brewery scene to get a taste of the city’s internationally-recognized and awarded craft brewing abilities.
Ardent Craft Ales—Richmond
In a converted garage space, Ardent Craft Ales is one of several breweries that have sprung up within the Scott’s Addition neighborhood of Richmond. A large patio welcomes craft beer enthusiasts to lounge at the umbrella-covered picnic tables in good weather, and a rotating lineup of food trucks, as well as snacks available inside the brewery, provide visitors with tasty dishes to pair with the exceptional beers. Year-round favorites include the Honey Ginger Ale and Saison, with seasonal beers like Pumpkin Ale, a variety of stouts, and a Sweet Potato & Sage Saison rounding out the brew menu.
Trapezium Brewing Company—Petersburg
About 30 miles south of Richmond, Trapezium Brewing Company takes its name from the iconic Trapezium House, a historic, quirky three-story structure built without right angles that has become famous in the area for the outlandish stories and superstitions assigned to it. The brewery recognized a likeness between their style and the home; they believe that being different and standing out can lead to the best results. They have eight beers available on tap at all times, including their four core beers (White Ale, IPA, Session IPA, and Lemon Honey Ginger) and a rotation of seasonal and experimental brews. While beer may be the focus, the brewery is also known for their wood-fired pizzas that are made in a large pizza oven right inside the taproom, allowing you to watch your pizza cook as you sample a variety of craft beers.
Vasen Brewing Company—Richmond
The latest on the Richmond craft beer scene, Vasen Brewing Company is another brewery in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood. The modern taproom takes their outdoor theme seriously, with a large fake boulder acting as both a decorative centerpiece and an unusual seating area. Rustic wooden tables spread throughout the room offer additional seating for guests, as well as a large outdoor patio that is dog-friendly. The brewery focuses on Belgian-style beers, and the current draft list includes a Smoked Farmhouse, Passion Fruit Saison, Sour Saison, and a Vanilla Dubbel.
Center of the Universe Brewing Company—Ashland
Although not directly in the city center, Center of the Universe Brewing Company has the advantage over other breweries near Richmond when it comes to space, with a 2,000 square foot tasting room and a 4,000 square foot outdoor beer garden. The renovated tasting room resembles a 1950’s vintage diner more than a brewery, complete with a copper bar, red booths, and multiple pinball machines. Outside, the décor consists simply of hop vines strung throughout and covered picnic tables, while the entertainment extends past your beverage with an outdoor stage for live performances and cornhole boards that are available for guests to use.
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery—Goochland
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery focuses on more than just brewing a great product; they are a water-conscious, biologically-friendly farm brewery, using well water drawn from the property and purified on-site to make their beer. The name also pays homage to the nearby water source of Lickinghole Creek, running through the rolling farmland of the brewery. They grow their own hops, barley, rosemary, and pumpkins, using their produce to create beers in the traditional Belgian style. While the resulting beers are delicious, the brewery is also popular for its frequent events on the farm, like the All-You-Can-Pick Sunflower weekends.
With over 36 craft beers always on draft, Strangeways Brewing in Richmond is a beer lovers dream. The Richmond location has both indoor and outdoor tasting rooms in addition to their production space, totaling to an 8,400 square foot brewery. Like the name implies, Strangeways is all about appreciating little oddities, which can be seen in the funky décor and one-of-a-kind knick-knacks strewn around the brewery. Head to the outside beer garden with your brews for a little cornhole, then grab a bite to eat at one of the rotating food trucks that work with the brewery.
Three Notch’d Brewing Company RVA Collab House—Richmond
While the original brewery is located about an hour west in Charlottesville, the Three Notch’d Brewing Company RVA Collab House is unique in that it partners with local businesses, including restaurants, nonprofits, artists, and musicians to invent new craft beers. Every Thursday evening, the brewery releases a new experimental beer, and many of the collaborations produced tell the stories of the businesses involved, echoing the Three Notch’d slogan of “Leave Your Mark”. In addition to these short-run beers, the brewery rounds out its menu with the flagship beers offered at their Charlottesville location.
Final Gravity Brewing Co.—Richmond
Many people love to sample craft beers at a nearby brewery, but far fewer beer aficionados actually make their own product. Final Gravity Brewing Co. was opened in 2011 to address this gap in the local beer scene, originally providing craft brewing equipment and ingredients in their brewmaking shop. In 2014, the brewing store decided to expand, moving a few doors down to a bigger space. While you can still buy everything you need to make homemade beer, from beginner’s starter kits to expert-level equipment, the additional square footage was converted into a tasting room that opened the following year, allowing the owners to serve their own impressive craft beer products.
Garden Grove Brewing Company—Richmond
Take a break from shopping in the Historic Carytown district of Richmond and stop in to Garden Grove Brewing Company for a refreshing craft beer. The rowhouse taproom blends with the architectural style of the neighborhood, with fresh ginger growing in the sunlit windowsills, Mason jar light fixtures, and wine barrel tables. The small-batch brewery sources organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs straight from their urban garden to use in their newest beer creations, experimenting with flavors like lemon balm, lavender, rosemary, figs, plums, and mint. The resulting beers are thoughtful and unique, and a selection of at least a dozen are available on draft at any given time. Want to learn more about the beer you’re drinking or the process behind it? Just ask the knowledgeable staff, who are always eager to share information about what goes into creating each flavorful beer.
Isley Brewing Company—Richmond
If it wasn’t obvious yet, Scott’s Addition has become its own beer microcosm within the city of Richmond, but it all started with Isley Brewing Company, the first brewery to move into the now-thriving neighborhood. Instead of sticking to a list of year-round flagship beers, Isley consistently strives to follow a true “craft beer” fashion, showcasing a wide array of beer varieties instead of focusing on a particular style. A total of 12 beers are available on draft at any given time, consisting heavily of seasonal offerings and local collaborations. Favorite mainstays include the “Choosy Mother” Peanut Butter Porter and “Plain Jane” Belgian White Ale.