Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway: Sampling Craft Beer in Roanoke Valley

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway offers tasty craft beer throughout the dynamic Roanoke Valley metro-mountain region. Venues range from fun downtown tasting rooms to expansive sites with epic mountain views, and include local craft breweries, outposts for established Virginia brewers, and innovative national brands. The Blue Ridge Beerway offers a fun and delicious way to sample craft beer and explore the region.

Mountain view from Ballast Point, Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway
Mountain view from Ballast Point, Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway

Our guide to Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway combines highlights of sites we’ve visited, along with a listing of every brewery on the trail. We’ve also got tips on where to stay, and transportation options for your visit to Roanoke Valley.

We were guests of Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, who kindly chauffeured us around so we could safely sample the beer at multiple breweries. As always, all photos, text, and opinions are our own.

Sampling Craft Brews in Roanoke Virginia

There are several craft beer outposts in downtown Roanoke, so it’s a great place to start exploring Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway.

Big Lick Brewing Company

What started as a nano-brewery in 2013, is now an expansive, downtown space with lots of indoor and outdoor seating. We visited on a sunny winter day and the patio, bar, and tables were all hopping with happy beer lovers.

The beer menu includes a nice range of options from the expanded brew system, along with a few small batch brews. We really liked the Logperch Brown Ale and the small batch, amusingly named Paddy O’Furniture, an Irish Stout on tap for St. Patrick’s Day. Two neighboring restaurants, Tuco’s Taqueria and Beamer’s 25, will deliver food to you at the taproom.

Big Lick Brewing in Roanoke Virginia
Big Lick Brewing in Roanoke Virginia
Big Lick Brewing flight Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway
Big Lick Brewing flight Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway

Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers

Soaring Ridge is Roanoke’s first craft brewery. The industrial space features big garage doors that open to merge indoor and outdoor space when the weather is nice. There are 6 flagship beers on tap year-round along with a selection of seasonal brews. The Trail Head Nut Brown Ale, and the Twisted Stump Porter were our favorites (can you tell we love dark beer?), and the Tinker Creek Kolsch is a nice option on a hot day.

Soaring Ridge does not have a restaurant, but you’ll often find a food truck out front. Live bands, cornhole tournaments, and other special events round out the fun.

Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers Roanoke Virginia
Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers Roanoke Virginia
Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers in Roanoke Virginia
Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers in Roanoke Virginia

Starr Hill Pilot Brewery & Side Stage

Fans of Virginia craft beer probably know Starr Hill Brewery from their flagship location in Crozet, just outside Charlottesville Virginia. Starr Hill opened their Roanoke location in September 2017 as a combination tasting room and music venue. There are some nice design touches, like USB ports built into the bar and a 1918 railroad tie used as a footrest.

Starr Hill Pilot Brewery has 23 rotating beers on tap, so you’ll have plenty of choices. We compared two of the Chocolate Stouts—a peppermint and chipotle—and both get a thumbs up. The Weiss Ass Blueberry, on the other hand, was just not for us. Most nights feature live local music or events like Tuesday’s Geeks Who Drink Trivia. Order your favorite brew to go and you can watch the Crowler machine in action.

Starr Hill Brewery flight Virginia's Blue Ridge Beerway
Starr Hill Brewery flight Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway

Deschutes Roanoke Tasting Room

Deschutes established their name and craft beer traditions in Bend Oregon, and they have become a major player on the west coast. Now they have selected a 50-acre site, just east of the city on Tinker Creek, as Deschute’s new east coast home. The full brewery won’t open until 2021, but you can start your sampling now at the downtown Roanoke tasting room.

Most of the craft beer on tap at the Deschutes Roanoke Tasting Room was brewed out west, but there is one small batch system turning out local beer that generally sells out in days. We couldn’t resist a mostly dark flight, and the Abyss Rum and Black Butte XXIX were both standouts.

Deschutes flight Viirginia's Blue Ridge Beerway
Deschutes flight Viirginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway
Deschutes tasting room Roanoke Virginia
Deschutes tasting room Roanoke Virginia

>> Find more fun in 8 Great Things to Do in Roanoke Virginia.

Beyond Roanoke on Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway

Many of the breweries on Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway are outside the city of Roanoke, offering a chance to explore the region while you sample craft beer. There is a lot of ground to cover between stops, so pick your route carefully to account for drive time.

Olde Salem Brewing Company, Salem

Olde Salem Brewing opened on Thanksgiving weekend 2017, in an historic building in Salem’s Main Street District. The small city of Salem, about 20 minutes west of downtown Roanoke, is also home to the Salem Red Sox minor league baseball team.

The brewery offers a nice selection of beers in a bright and friendly space.  There is usually a food truck on hand, and on weekends you can catch local bands.

Old Salem Brewing flight Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway
Old Salem Brewing flight Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway
Old Salem Brewing in Salem Virginia
Old Salem Brewing in Salem Virginia

Parkway Brewing Company, Salem

Colorful murals, punny names, and a laid back vibe welcome beer drinkers to Parkway Brewing, also in Salem. Plenty of dark options make us happy, and we especially enjoyed the Coal Miner’s Dodder Irish Stout and the Raven’s Roost Porter. If you’re also a fan of the stout, check the Parkway website for a Dodder Beef Stew recipe. The space extends outdoors to a beer garden, perfect for warmer days, and the brewery also hosts food trucks and live bands.

Parkway Brewing flight Salem Virginia
Parkway Brewing flight Salem Virginia
Parkway Brewing mural Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway
Parkway Brewing mural Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway

Ballast Point, Daleville

Head north to Botetourt County and end your day with a tasty meal and an epic sunset at Ballast Point in Daleville. Ballast’s Blue Ridge facility is the 11th largest in the country, and can produce 200,000 barrels of beer a year. The expansive restaurant occupies two levels of seating and a large outdoor patio with an incredible Blue Ridge mountain view. Sadly, high winds closed the patio during our visit, but we still caught the view through a wall of windows.

Ballast Point is a perfect spot to watch the sun set behind the mountains as you sample beer from 96 taps. There is an extensive range of fruit-flavored brews, along with unusual flavorings like peanut butter and thai chili. The menu is also large, and we highly recommend the Home Made Chorizo and Steak Nachos.

Ballast Point pints Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway
Ballast Point pints Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway
Mountain view from Ballast Point, Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway
Mountain view from Ballast Point, Virginias Blue Ridge Beerway

Where to Stay in Roanoke and Tips for Getting Around

Hotel Roanoke: A Home Base for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway

The historic Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center occupies a hill above the downtown core. It’s location next to the train station (now the Visitor Center) reflects the history of a city that grew up because of the rail line. The location offers easy access to downtown Roanoke breweries via a pedestrian bridge over the tracks.

Rooms and common spaces at Hotel Roanoke capture the luxury of an historic hotel, but keep the vibe relaxed and friendly. Ask for a room facing downtown and you can watch the Roanoke Star light up at night.

Hotel Roanoke in Virginia's Blue Ridge
Hotel Roanoke in Virginia’s Blue Ridge
Hotel Roanoke lobby, Virginia's Blue Ridge
Hotel Roanoke lobby, Virginia’s Blue Ridge

>> Check rates and availability at Roanoke Virginia hotels.

Getting Around Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway

Roanoke is an easy to navigate city, and you could easily cover the three downtown stops on foot. Starr Hill is a bit outside the downtown core, but it’s right on the Roanoke River Greenway, so it’s easy to reach by bike.

The Hotel Roanoke’s location makes it ideal for a car free visit and Amtrak now offers service to Roanoke from Washington DC. Arrive by train, and your room at the Roanoke and downtown breweries are just steps away.

The Blue Ridge region is filled with scenic drives, fantastic hiking and biking trails, and beautiful rivers perfect for paddling. Plan a day of outdoor adventure and end with a craft beer stop. Or if you’ve got a designated driver, plot a route that combines multiple breweries linked by scenic roads.

No designated driver in your crew? Tour Roanoke offers craft brewery tours that include transportation and tastings at four Roanoke Valley breweries. The $55 price includes beer flights, behind the scenes tours, a little craft brew education, and comfortable transportation to four Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway stops. Stops vary by date, so check the calendar for routes.

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway Locations

Hours listed reflect brewery listings in March 2018. Follow the links for schedule updates and additional details.

We love the diversity and quality of craft beer in the Roanoke region, and we look forward to visiting more spots on Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway. Have you sampled craft beer on the Blue Ridge Beerway? Please share your feedback, tips, and questions in the comments below.

Find more information at Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge: web | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Follow Fun in Fairfax VA on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram for more places to visit and things to do in and Northern Virginia and the Washington DC area.

Virginia US Travel, Craft Beer. Virginia's Blue Ridge Beerway offers tasty craft beer throughout the dynamic Roanoke Valley metro-mountain region.

Sharing is caring!

1 thought on “Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway: Sampling Craft Beer in Roanoke Valley”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.