Charlottesville’s impressive gastronomic scene doesn’t stop at food. The city’s devotion to craft beverages can be seen in its wide array of local breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Behind-the-scenes tours, tastings, or simply a drink with friends are perfect ways to experience these friendly businesses and the key to unwinding during a weekend in this culinary city.
Charlottesville’s longest-running brewery has a quaint feel, with more people choosing to play board games than watch the sports on TV. South Street’s expertly paired beer flights are a great way to try a variety of brews at once, however the bestselling amber ale “Satan’s Pony” is always a go-to.
The quality of their food is equal to that of their beer, and classics like sourdough pretzels, artisanal cheeses, and cured meats pair perfectly with their brews.
Gabriele is known as the father of Virginian wines, as well as the father of Peter and Tim who have taken over their family’s 20-year-old operation. The Gabriele Rausse winery is housed in a beautiful glass house set in the woods and surrounded by sycamore and poplar trees.
Their intimate and thorough tastings feature an array of wines made from grapes from 14 local vineyards, as well as small dishes such as Roquefort with green apples and sweet potato crepes to accompany every flavor and note.
If rum is your beverage of choice, Vitae Spirits is the only distillery in Virginia that makes their very own batches. The small, family-owned operation produces rum and gin, and offers tastings, cocktails, and behind-the-scenes tours of the facility.
Seasoned biologist and distiller Ian Glomski has a knack for experimenting with new flavors and distilling techniques which often result in exciting new spirits and can’t-miss weekly specials.
First Colony is the perfect place to relax in the fresh air of the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains and to sample over 10 different wines from a new generation of young winemakers.
The welcoming space is dedicated to sustainable winemaking and creating the best possible wines while maneuvering the complex Virginia climate and soil. They pride themselves on the enjoyable on-site wine tasting experience that is so pertinent to the Virginian wine culture.
Everything operates on a larger scale at the Kardinal Hall brewery. Housed in an old Coca-Cola plant, the beer hall can hold up to 350 people and offers 28 different brews on tap, as well as ciders, wines, and kombucha to please even the most particular drinkers.
Like their beer and their decor, the food also takes on a Euro-Alpine trend with German sausages, Belgian fries, and jumbo Bavarian pretzels – the perfect complements to any local brew.
Photos: Edu Bayer