Cville may be known for its wine, but the beer scene is jumping, too! Here are the 12 best breweries in Charlottesville and all the details you can visit and taste.
Chances are, even if you’ve never been to Charlottesville, Virginia, you’ve probably had a beer from here.
Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia, Charlottesville is about an hour from Richmond and two hours from the capital, making it a developed metropolitan area with a relaxed small-town vibe. It’s also home to the University of Virginia, Presidential History, local stores, wineries, distilleries, farm-to-table restaurants, and an abundance of breweries.
As a result of its location and everything to explore, Charlottesville is a great place for people who want to plan a quick weekend getaway – especially if they’re looking for a destination with plenty of options for local food and great beer.
Since Charlottesville is all about taking advantage of seasonality, any beer lover who visits will notice that the offerings change according to the time of year. From Summer Ales and Goses during the hot summer months, to Porters, Stouts, and heavy IPAs in the cooler months, you’re bound to find something to suit your tastes. The other great thing about Charlottesville breweries is that you can choose the ones that are out of town with beautiful views and scenery (like Blue Mountain Brewery and Brewing Tree) or you can go with the walking portion of Beer Trail in downtown Charlottesville (which includes locations such as Starr Hill Brewery and South Street Brewery). There are also many beer festivals throughout the year (here’s a summary of when we had so much fun!).
Let’s take a tour of my favorite places to get the best craft beer in Charlottesville!
Top 12 breweries in Charlottesville
Star Hill (downtown location)
The second oldest brewery in Virginia, Starr Hill Brewery was created with a focus on two main elements: craft beer and live music. While its first location was on Starr Hill in Charlottesville, it has expanded over the years to include its downtown location at Dairy Market and five other locations in Crozet, Richmond, Roanoke, Lynchburg and Tyson’s Corner.
When visiting Starr Hill, you can expect to see great live music as well as a variety of beer options. With their lineup of classics including craft brews like Ramble On (IPA juicy) and Northern Lights (IPA) and seasonal greats like Festie (Oktoberfest Lager) and Sun Burn (Summer Ale), it’s no surprise that they’ve won awards at the Great American Beer Festival, Cup World Beer and Great British Beer Festival.
If you’re visiting the Starr Hill Downtown location, you’ll have the option of indoor and outdoor seating (outdoor seating is dog friendly) and you’ll also have access to great local vendors in Dairy market Food Hall. It is also part of the urban Ale Trail and within walking distance of the Downtown Mall.
This nano brewery has just expanded with its second location in Downtown Mall. This new spot is just a stone’s throw from her first home, associated with Fifth Season Gardening, which offers hydroponics, fresh hops, and homebrew supplies. With their appreciation for home brewing, it’s no surprise that small-town breweries serve their friends good beer, making it a great casual spot.
The California Common Restaurant is a standout, but this is also a good place to be a little bold and try some of their more risky endeavors when you see them on the draft menu, like Pickle Beer or the many seasonal Goses.
While you can order a variety of snacks at this location, the advantage of going downtown means that you can order food prepared by bebederoa popular restaurant in nearby Charlottesville.
This mission-driven brewery revolves around the community feel of Charlottesville over good beer in a casual setting. Located on Preston Street and walking distance from the commercial city centre, this brewery is dog friendly (outside) and there’s usually something going on, whether it’s trivia, charity bingo, running club, or even yoga.
One of my favorite things about Random Row has to be the pizza. Billy Pie Pizza, a Richmond-based group, brings stoned Neapolitan pizza to the brewery and is the perfect blend with their beer. The best part? It’s half off on Tuesdays! Pair the pizza well with beers like the award winning Mosaic Pale Ale.
South Street Brewery
South Street Brewery has been in business since 1999, joining Starr Hill in being one of the region’s most established breweries. You can expect to try good food and a hard beer at this place right across from the Downtown Mall.
South Street is a great place to share several appetizers with friends, such as jumbo biscuits or their wings (boneless, traditional, or cauliflower). Pair them with one of their main beers like Satan’s Pony (An Amber Ale) or Anastasia’s Chocolate Fantasy, a heavier stout perfect for the winter months – especially if you’re lucky with a seat near the fireplace!
The Champion Brewing Company is another Charlottesville staple, and like Random Row, they always have something going on. With the original Run Club and a constant stream of live music, this is a fun brewery just off the Downtown Mall.
Known for its staples like Shower Beer (a good Pilsner for what it claims is exactly if shower beer is your thing) and True Love (a Mexican-style beer that will transform any Corona lover), Champion Brewery always offers a good product, ambiance low.
Recently, Champion merged with The reason for the beerAnother strong brewery to check out, although I keep it off the main list because it’s part of the Champion Hospitality Group now. The Champion Hospitality Group, in addition to its great breweries, is also responsible for some of Charlottesville’s best restaurants: Brasserie SeasonAnd the siren And the Passiflora – all within walking distance of the Champion Brewery.
Three Notch’d . Brewery
Three Notch’d Brewery is a pub that offers a bit of history with your pints. Named for Three Notch’d Road, made famous by Jack Jouett’s midnight ride to Charlottesville in June of 1781, their goal is to align what they produce with Virginia’s history.
Unsurprisingly, Three Notch’d produces beer that fits its historical background with flagships such as the Ghost of the 43rd IPA and 40 Mile IPA. When it comes to their other beers, they have a slightly more modern flair with hits like Biggie S’mores Imperial Stout and several Goses. They have also started selling non-alcoholic beer!
Since it is an artisan kitchen as well, you can find a lot of food options in this place. From snacks like nachos and pretzels to burgers, sandwiches and appetizers like steak frites, you won’t be left hungry. They also serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and their patio is dog friendly all year round.
Owned and operated by a 100% veteran, this craft brewery started with its founders brewing on the kitchen stove. From humble beginnings, they now make award-winning beers, such as Artemis Wheatwine, bronze winner of the 2022 World Beer Cup and silver winner of the 2022 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup.
While they don’t serve food, Decipher allows you to bring your own or even have it delivered. They sometimes have food trucks on site and you can check their schedule on Facebook.
With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, it’s one of the few breweries where dogs are allowed inside too (since no food is prepared on site). It’s a great place to bring your pup!
If you are looking for a place with great food but want to add a piece of beer in it, Selvedge Brewing at the Wool Factory is your place.
Located in a renovated wool mill in the Woolen Mills neighborhood, Selvedge Brewing serves elevated bar food with locally sourced ingredients. Burger Smash is one of the best restaurants in town and the side of Mac and Cheese is delicious. They have a good draft slate with majors like Britches Get Stitches (West Coast IPA) and Denim (American Style Lager). If you have non-beer drinkers in your group, they also serve wine, cocktails, and mocktails and you have the option of getting a great bottle of wine at The Workshop, a boutique wine and coffee bar at Wool Factory.
They have plenty of seating inside and out. While outside is first come, first served, I recommend making reservations for inside, especially on Wednesday nights when they offer weekly info.
Blue Mountain Brewery
One of the most popular names for Charlottesville beer, Blue Mountain is also home to some of the most beautiful scenery. Located right in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Nelson County, this was the first rural brewery to open in the area in 2007.
In addition to producing classics like A Hopwork Orange (IPA filled with orange) and Full Nelson (Virginia Bali Alley), they also have seasonal greats like Drink a Peach! (a peach gose) and their Barrel House series.
Blue Mountain Brewery also has an extensive menu and some of the best outdoor seating in the area, so it’s a place where you can easily spend a lovely afternoon with a group of friends. They also have an inn available for rent if you are looking to visit other places in Nelson, such as the many wineries nearby.
Tree Beer Brewing Company
A riverside brewery, Brewing Tree Beer Company has a spacious outdoor space with frequent live music, outdoor games to play, food available from their kitchen and a solid beer menu.
The food and beer are great, which is to be expected considering its founders Mark and Gina Thompson. Mark Thompson founded Starr Hill which is a respected name in the craft beer industry, while his wife Gina is a certified bartender and has been a chef and caterer.
Their beer list is always rotating but some examples include Irish Red Ale and Just Peachy Golden Ale.
Meriwether Springs Vineyard & Brewery. Meriwether Springs Grape and Beer
Charlottesville’s first winery and brewery, this location is close to downtown while still able to sit on 40 acres of land. The original property of explorer Meriwether Lewis, this is another brewery that brings the history of the area to the fore.
As this is family owned and operated, you will surely feel like it is a family friendly place. They also offer a lot of music events and the schedule can be found on their site. This is great to bring the kids to because there is plenty of room to run!
Their beer menu consists of the classics, so you won’t experience anything wild here, but you can expect quality versions of standards like Lagers and IPAs.
Pro Re Nata
If you’re looking for a brewery that feels like a music festival, you’ll love Pro Re Nata.
Located in Crozet, Virginia (a short distance from Charlottesville), Pro Re Nata Brewpub & Music Hall has become a multi-platform, with several dining rooms, a main deck, an outdoor shipping container bar and even an event space. It’s also great for kids – there is a playground area.
Although they have plenty of seasonal options, you won’t go wrong with one of their prime devices like the Sound Check (American Lager) and Tapped Out (a Pilsner).
You’ll find local music weekly, and while listening to the talent you can sip on beer or even cider or wine. They also have food trucks on site daily, such as Hops Kitchen and Za Spot, so outdoor dining is not allowed.
This is another brewery where leashed dogs are allowed indoors and outdoors, so this is a great pet-friendly option.
If I had to pick a favorite among the top breweries in Charlottesville, it would have to be Three Notch’d and Champion. They both have excellent beers that seem to go with my beer preferences. The Hydraulion Red in Three Notch’d and Shower Beer in Champion are two of my favorites! If it’s in season, the Firefly Nights Summertime Ale with Honeysuckle at Three Notch’d is one of the best funky beers I’ve ever had!!
All in all, if you’re coming to Charlottesville to try the craft brews you won’t leave disappointed. From small and adorable to big and established, there is something for everyone regardless of your taste.