Wine, Beer & Cider
Whether you're capping off a fun-filled day of exploration or the adult beverages are what bring you to Lexington and Rockbridge County in the first place, these are the stops you don't want to miss. Raise a glass to mountains, excellent flavors, and good times with good friends.
Craft Beer & Views
Perched like a ski lodge above Route 11 just north of downtown Lexington, Devils Backbone Outpost Tap Room & Kitchen is a popular end-of-trail stop for hikers heading home from peak conquests. Look for fellow adventurers on the patio, where the mountain views are best enjoyed with a pint of Vienna Lager. The taproom, which features 17 taps, is a high-ceilinged industrial space where you can enjoy a burger and fries. You might also catch local musicians playing a set. Weekend brewery tours are a great way to learn a few secrets of the trade.
Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery. Is it a farm, a brewery or a winery? It's all three! Great Valley specializes in Belgian-style farmhouse ales, sometimes utilizing select ingredients from their farm, as well as other local farms and orchards. Great Valley recently added wine to their offerings using grapes from their 6-acre vineyard, as well as other small vineyards throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Great Valley is both kid- and pet-friendly; bring the whole family and drink in the breath-taking views of Natural Bridge and southern Rockbridge County.
Small-batch beer at Heliotrope Brewery in downtown Lexington is crafted with regional malt and with house-cultured, locally foraged microflora. Heliotrope's exquisite pizzas and salads boast fresh, seasonal, local ingredients as well.
Brew Ridge Taps in downtown Lexington offers 18 taps of craft beer from around the United States, many made right here in Virginia. And the wall? There are 200 bottles of beer on that wall. Pick and choose until you find "the one," then order a wafflewich to make it a meal. Weekends are for live music. Don't be late or you'll lose your seat.
For more craft beer on tap, make a beeline for Salerno, also in downtown Lexington. They also specialize in wood-fired pizza. Talk about the perfect old school pairing.
Drink in the Shenandoah Valley!
The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail brings the craft beer experience together with easy access to beautiful farms, scenic mountains, unique arts and culture events, and the vast outdoor recreation opportunities available across the Shenandoah Valley. Stretching from Natural Bridge to Harrisonburg, the Beerwerks Trail is home to 18 breweries all within an hour's drive. Many of these breweries offer tours and live music.
The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail Passport is your chance to be rewarded for exploring the breweries. Collect eight stamps from any of the 18, mail in the passport, and receive a free t-shirt. Cheers!
Time for Wine
Rockbridge County's newest vineyard is Ecco Adesso Vineyards in Fairfield. It's a family-owned estate winery boasting incredible Blue Ridge Mountain views, overnight accommodations, and hiking trails. Don't miss their special events of live music, flights, and delicious food.
As you sip your cab franc and gaze at the pastures and silos that frame Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery, it's easy to feel like a character in a grand painting, endlessly enjoying the good life. Sitting on a bend in the road in Raphine, this welcoming vineyard and tasting room is open Tuesday through Sunday. In the spring and summer, pull over for live music on Sunday afternoons.
On the way to Goshen Pass, stop by Lexington Valley Vineyard for a robust Norton and a traditional Mediterranean snack basket. Sit on the deck, pet the dogs, and delight in the mountain views ... just call before you haul. Further down the road in Rockbridge Baths, Jump Mountain Vineyard specializes in Old World dry wines. Open on weekends, shoot 'em an email and then stop by for a tasting, a tour, and a bottle of cabernet sauvignon.
PRO TIP: Washington Street Purveyors offers FREE wine tasting every Friday afternoon.
Cider's the Rage
Rockbridge County's first cidery is Halcyon Days Cider Co. in Natural Bridge, just down the road from Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery. Right alongside Route 11, you can't miss the cabin below the apple orchard labyrinth. Stop for a flight of these brand new old flavors and learn the process of cidermaking. The labyrinth is at your disposal for wandering.
For a well-crafted cocktail step into Haywood's or TAPS, both housed in The Georges boutique inn. At either bar you can raise a glass to heroes and legends from W&L and VMI with a college-themed cocktail. Housemade bitters are a highlight. If you want to party like it's 1799, order one of the Colonial-era shrubs, infused with local fruit.
Cocktails seem even sweeter when mixed with fresh air and enjoyed from the terrace of Juniper Lounge, where Virginia Military Institute and Washington & Lee University are impressive backdrops. The Palms is a Lexington mainstay, and they're whipping up something new and tasty on the regular. People watching from the bar at the Southern Inn or the Bistro on Main is also a popular activity ... you never know who you will spot walking down the brick sidewalks on Main Street.