22 Aug Virginia Wine (and Brewery) Country
Less than an hour west of the DC beltway, reached via the rain-forest like GW Parkway and Georgetown Pike, is Virginia’s wine country. It’s a lush, green area of rolling hills, grand estates, and large vineyards filled with charming tasting rooms and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The wineries are amazing, but there seems to be a new kid in town – local breweries – and we just spend the weekend exploring these.
We stayed at Waypoint B&B in Berryville, VA (which we would recommend as a very romantic B&B – with large soaking jetted tub and modern furnishings) and explored the new farm-breweries. The idea is that the farms grow their own hops, brew their own beers, and then serve it to the public in their tasting rooms. We went to Dirt Farm brewery, Bear Chase, and BChord breweries – all of which had dramatically different personalities. BCHord is, not unexpectedly, dedicated to music and they seem to have a band every day – its more of a local place and when we were there a group of families was celebrating someone’s birthday. You can bring your own food, settle down at one of the dozen or so picnic tables inside or out and just relax with great brews and music. It’s a very casual, down-home feeling kind of place. It opened just weeks before we visited.
Bear Chase, which also opened within a month of our visit, is also brand-spankin’ new but has a totally different feeling – it’s very upscale, almost grand, but still is very welcoming while somehow combining perfect country-casualness with sophistication. It is on one of the most beautiful properties in the area – sitting high on a hill overlooking the valley and Blue Ridge foothills. The beer is great and it has the largest backyard we have ever seen: maybe 5 acres of picnic tables and comfortable Adirondack chairs laid out on their manicured lawn, which cute dogs and babies roam with extreme delight (all of the dozen or so well-behaved dogs visiting with their owners were wagging their tails the entire time we were there). We grabbed on of our favorite beers of the weekend and settled into the chairs for a truly enjoyable afternoon. Bear Chase would have been our favorite, if it wasn’t for Dirt Farm Brewery…
Dirt Farm brewery is also new and set high on a hill. It serves perhaps the best beer – including the best New England-style Pale Ale my husband (a brewer himself) has ever tasted! It has a smaller area than Bear Chase but also has an expansive lawn with a huge stone deck with seating for over 100 or so. It also somehow found the perfect combination of country and modern with welcoming staff, decent food, amazing beer and the best view of any winery/brewery/outlook we’ve seen in the region. We’d highly recommend Dirt Farm or Bear Chase (and Waypoint B&B!) for a truly great weekend in Virginia’s
wine brewery country.