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 and 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 outdoor adventurers on the patio, where the mountain views are best enjoyed with a pint of Vienna Lager. The adjoining taproom is a lofty industrial space smelling of beer and adventure. Get your relaxation on when local musicians set up shop for a sweet set. Weekend brewery tours are a great way to learn a few secrets of the trade.
Great Valley Farm Brewery. Is it a farm or a brewery? It's both! While specializing in the Belgian Farmhouse tradition, this brewery offers something different: small batches of high-quality beers using hops, fruits, and herbs from their own on-site farm. 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.
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.
Coming soon to downtown Lexington is Heliotrope Brewery. It's place on Main Street will make it super convenient for travelers staying downtown or those looking for a taste while they shop. Heliotrope will focus on small batch artisan ales and lagers. Personally, we can't wait for their patio. People watching and sunsets, here we come!
Drink in the Shenandoah Valley!
The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail brings the increasingly popular craft beer experience together with easy access to beautiful farms, scenic mountains, unique arts and culture events, and vast outdoor recreation opportunities available in the Shenandoah Valley. Spanning from Natural Bridge to Harrisonburg, craft beer enthusiasts can experience 15 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 six stamps from any of the 15, mail in the passport, and receive a free t-shirt. Cheers!
Time for Wine
As you sip your cab franc and gaze at the pastures and silos that frame Rockbridge Vineyard, 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 daily. In the spring and summer, pull over for live music during the Sundays on the Deck series, usually offered twice per month.
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. 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. Indeed, 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 Rocca Bar Ristorante with Virginia Military Institute and Washington & Lee University as 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.