Roanoke’s Craft Beer Trail: Breweries and Tastings

craft beer tasting in Roanoke brewery

Roanoke, nestled in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is becoming a hotspot for craft beer enthusiasts. The city’s craft beer trail offers a unique blend of local ingredients, innovative brewing techniques, and a vibrant community of brewmasters. Whether you’re a seasoned beer aficionado or a curious newcomer, Roanoke’s breweries promise an unforgettable tasting experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Roanoke’s craft beer scene is thriving, with a rich culture and history that attracts beer lovers from all over.
  • Top breweries in Downtown Roanoke, such as Big Lick Brewing Company and Three Notch’d Brewing Company, offer unique and flavorful beers.
  • The Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail Passport provides exclusive offers and deals for visitors exploring the local breweries.
  • Brewery tours in Roanoke offer behind-the-scenes insights into the brewing process and the chance to meet local brewmasters.
  • Sustainable brewing practices and the use of local ingredients are key aspects of Roanoke’s craft beer industry.

Discovering Roanoke’s Craft Beer Culture

Roanoke’s craft beer scene has blossomed into a vibrant and essential part of the local culture. The city offers a unique blend of traditional brewing techniques and innovative flavors, making it a must-visit destination for beer enthusiasts. Whether you’re a craft beer newcomer or an expert, you’re sure to enjoy the adventure of the local microbreweries, lively beer conversation, and the opportunity to sample the work of our local brewmasters.

The Rise of Craft Beer in Roanoke

The craft beer movement in Roanoke has seen significant growth over the past decade. With the launch of the Roanoke Craft Beer Tour, both public and private excursions have become popular, allowing visitors to explore multiple breweries in one go. This rise is not just a trend but a reflection of the community’s passion for quality brews and local craftsmanship.

Why Roanoke is Perfect for Breweries

Roanoke’s location in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains provides a plentiful supply of top-quality water, which is essential for brewing excellent beer. The beautiful landscape and unique culture of the region also contribute to its appeal. The area’s natural resources and scenic beauty make it an ideal spot for breweries to thrive.

Local Ingredients and Unique Flavors

One of the standout features of Roanoke’s craft beer scene is the use of local ingredients. Many breweries in the area source their ingredients from nearby farms, ensuring fresh and unique flavors in every brew. This commitment to local sourcing not only supports the community but also results in a diverse range of beers that reflect the region’s character.

Roanoke’s craft beer culture is more than just a trend; it’s a celebration of local talent, quality ingredients, and the community’s love for great beer.

Top Breweries to Visit in Downtown Roanoke

Big Lick Brewing Company

Big Lick Brewing Company is a local favorite, known for its innovative brews and vibrant atmosphere. Their tasting room is a must-visit for anyone exploring Roanoke’s craft beer scene. They often host events like trivia nights and live music, making it a lively spot to enjoy a pint.

A Few Old Goats

A Few Old Goats offers a cozy and welcoming environment, perfect for relaxing with friends. Their selection of craft beers is diverse, featuring unique flavors that highlight local ingredients. Don’t miss their special tastings and seasonal brews.

Three Notch’d Brewing Company

Three Notch’d Brewing Company is a well-known name in the craft beer world, and their Roanoke location does not disappoint. With a spacious tasting room and a wide variety of beers on tap, it’s a great place to sample some of the best brews in town. Be sure to check their schedule for special events and limited-edition releases.

Exploring the Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail

How to Get Your Cheers Trail Passport

The Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail is a fantastic way to experience the local craft beer scene. To get started, simply text ‘Cheers’ to (540) 253-4311 to download the Cheers Trail Passport directly to your mobile device. This passport allows you to check in at various locations and receive specials and prizes. It’s a must-have for any craft beer enthusiast exploring the area.

Exclusive Offers and Deals

When you download the Cheers Trail Passport, you’ll gain access to exclusive special offers and deals. These can be redeemed at individual locations when you visit and check in. Many of the breweries in Downtown Roanoke are active participants in this program, making it a rewarding experience for visitors.

Participating Breweries

The Cheers Trail includes a diverse range of local breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Each location offers a unique taste of Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Here are some of the participating breweries you can look forward to visiting:

  • Big Lick Brewing Company
  • A Few Old Goats
  • Three Notch’d Brewing Company

The Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail is the perfect way to experience the flavors of Virginia’s Blue Ridge and meet the people who are bringing these great beers to life.

Behind the Scenes: Brewery Tours

What to Expect on a Tour

Each tour visits three breweries and guests go behind the scenes to explore brewing facilities, learn the basics of brewing beer, examine traditional ingredients, and discover the roots of the national and local craft beer movement. People have really enjoyed the initial tours. There is great fun, education, and a new appreciation for the burgeoning craft brewery scene.

Beer Brewing 101

The scheduled tours will take you to three different breweries in Roanoke. At each location, you’ll get to see the brewing facilities and attend a quick course, “Beer Brewing 101,” where you’ll find out what goes into brewing beer. You will even see the traditional ingredients and find out what has led the current craft beer movement to its current place.

Meet the Brewmasters

Whether guests are a craft beer newcomer or an expert, they’re sure to enjoy the adventure of the local microbreweries, lively beer conversation, and the opportunity to sample the work of our local brewmasters. Tastings and round trip transportation (via the customized Roanoke Food Tours bus – "Half Pint") are included in the tour.

Tasting Experiences You Can’t Miss

Signature Brews to Try

Roanoke’s craft beer scene is brimming with unique and flavorful brews that you simply can’t miss. From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, there’s something for every palate. One must-try is the Big Lick IPA, known for its bold flavors and aromatic hops. Don’t forget to explore the historic Roanoke: a journey through time while sipping on these local delights.

Seasonal and Limited-Edition Beers

The breweries in Roanoke take pride in their seasonal and limited-edition offerings. These special brews often incorporate local ingredients, making each sip a true taste of the region. Keep an eye out for the winter stouts and summer ales that rotate throughout the year. These limited releases are perfect for those looking to try something new and exciting.

Food Pairings and Tastings

Pairing food with craft beer can elevate your tasting experience to a whole new level. Many breweries offer curated tasting menus that highlight the best of both worlds. Imagine enjoying a rich porter with a hearty beef stew or a crisp lager with a fresh seafood dish. These pairings not only enhance the flavors but also provide a well-rounded culinary adventure.

Following your outdoor adventure or visit to one of the local museums, you’ll definitely want to visit the breweries, wineries, and craft spirits tasting rooms. Learn more about our offerings for each type of business:


The Role of Water in Craft Beer

Why Quality Water Matters

Water is the most significant ingredient in beer, making up about 90-95% of the final product. Quality water is essential for brewing because it affects the taste, clarity, and overall quality of the beer. Brewers often treat water to achieve the desired mineral content, ensuring that each brew meets their high standards.

Local Water Sources

Roanoke’s breweries benefit from the region’s pristine water sources. The Blue Ridge Mountains provide a natural filtration system, resulting in pure and clean water that is perfect for brewing. This local water not only supports the brewing process but also adds a unique regional character to the beers.

Impact on Beer Flavor

The mineral composition of water can significantly influence the flavor profile of a beer. For instance, water with high sulfate content can enhance hop bitterness, while water rich in bicarbonates can balance malt flavors. Roanoke’s water, with its balanced mineral content, allows brewers to create a wide range of beer styles, each with distinct and delightful flavors.

The unique water profile of Roanoke is a key factor in the exceptional quality and variety of its craft beers.

Craft Beer Events and Festivals in Roanoke

Roanoke’s craft beer trail offers brewery tours, tasting events, and unique experiences. Explore the vibrant beer culture with guided, self-guided, and group tours in Roanoke, Virginia. The breweries in Downtown Roanoke also regularly host special events, including trivia nights, special tastings, and live music. Visit their websites and social media pages for more information about what’s going on when you visit!

Sustainable Brewing Practices

Eco-Friendly Initiatives

Roanoke’s breweries are leading the way in eco-friendly initiatives. Many have adopted practices such as water recycling, energy-efficient brewing systems, and waste reduction programs. These efforts not only help the environment but also enhance the quality of the beer. For instance, some breweries use spent grain to create animal feed, reducing waste and supporting local farmers.

Local Sourcing and Sustainability

Local sourcing is a cornerstone of sustainable brewing in Roanoke. Breweries often use locally grown hops, barley, and other ingredients, which reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation. This practice also supports the local economy and ensures that the beer has a unique, regional flavor. Roanoke’s best hiking trails guide visitors through scenic trails like Roanoke River Greenway, Poor Mountain Preserve, and McAfee Knob, offering a glimpse of the natural beauty that inspires local brewers.

Breweries Leading the Way

Several breweries in Roanoke are recognized for their commitment to sustainability. They have implemented innovative solutions to minimize their environmental impact. For example, some breweries have installed solar panels to power their operations, while others participate in community programs to promote environmental awareness. These breweries are not just making great beer; they are also making a positive impact on the community and the planet.

Roanoke’s craft beer scene is not just about great flavors; it’s about making a difference. The sustainable practices adopted by local breweries are a testament to their dedication to both quality and the environment.

Private and Group Tours

group of friends enjoying craft beer tasting at a brewery in Roanoke

Booking a Private Tour

Booking a private tour in Roanoke is a breeze. Whether you’re planning a special event or just want a more personalized experience, many breweries offer customizable options. A delicious four-course beer pairing culinary event can be arranged, ensuring your group has a memorable time. Don’t forget to check out the exclusive offers available for private groups.

Group Tour Options

Roanoke is incredibly group-friendly, with plenty of options for larger parties. From motorcoach directions to sample itineraries, everything is designed to make your visit seamless. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Hotels
  • Things to Do
  • Restaurants
  • Shopping
  • Discounts & Promotions

Customizing Your Experience

Customizing your brewery tour experience can make your visit truly unique. Many breweries offer special packages that include everything from guiding notes to step-on guides. You can even plan a tour that includes a visit to multiple breweries, making it a comprehensive experience. For those interested in a more in-depth look, some tours offer behind-the-scenes access to the brewing process.

Roanoke’s breweries are committed to providing an exceptional experience, whether you’re a beer aficionado or a casual sipper.

The Future of Craft Beer in Roanoke

Upcoming Breweries

Roanoke’s craft beer scene is set to expand with several new breweries on the horizon. These upcoming establishments promise to bring fresh and innovative brews to the area, further solidifying Roanoke as a craft beer destination. Keep an eye out for these new spots to enjoy the latest in craft beer creativity.

Trends to Watch

The craft beer industry in Roanoke is constantly evolving. Some trends to watch include:

  1. Increased use of local ingredients to create unique flavors.
  2. A focus on sustainable brewing practices.
  3. The rise of seasonal and limited-edition beers.

These trends not only reflect the preferences of local beer enthusiasts but also highlight the community’s commitment to quality and sustainability.

Community Impact

The growth of the craft beer industry in Roanoke has a significant impact on the local community. It creates jobs, supports local agriculture, and fosters a sense of community among residents and visitors alike. The craft beer scene also contributes to the local economy by attracting tourists and encouraging spending at local businesses.

The future of craft beer in Roanoke looks bright, with new breweries, innovative trends, and a positive community impact paving the way for continued growth and success.


Exploring Roanoke’s Craft Beer Trail is an adventure that promises delightful discoveries for both craft beer novices and aficionados alike. With a rich variety of breweries offering unique flavors and brewing techniques, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re taking a guided tour or venturing out on your own, the vibrant beer culture of Roanoke is sure to leave a lasting impression. So grab your Cheers Trail Passport, gather your friends, and embark on a journey through the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains to taste some of the best craft beers the region has to offer. Cheers to new experiences and unforgettable flavors!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail?

The Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail is a curated experience that guides visitors through the best craft breweries, wineries, and craft spirit producers in the Roanoke Valley. By downloading the Cheers Trail Passport, you can access exclusive offers and deals at participating locations.

How do I get the Cheers Trail Passport?

You can download the Cheers Trail Passport by texting CHEERS to (540) 253-4311. The passport provides access to special offers and deals at various participating breweries.

What can I expect on a Roanoke craft beer tour?

On a Roanoke craft beer tour, you will visit three different breweries, see the brewing facilities, and attend a quick course called ‘Beer Brewing 101.’ You will learn about the traditional ingredients and the craft beer movement.

Are there any annual beer festivals in Roanoke?

Yes, Roanoke hosts several annual beer festivals, which feature a variety of craft beers from local and regional breweries. These events often include live music, food, and community activities.

Can I book a private craft beer tour in Roanoke?

Yes, private craft beer tours are available in Roanoke. These tours can be customized for groups and offer a more personalized experience, including visits to select breweries and additional activities.

What are some of the top breweries to visit in Downtown Roanoke?

Some of the top breweries in Downtown Roanoke include Big Lick Brewing Company, A Few Old Goats, and Three Notch’d Brewing Company. Each offers unique brews and a distinct atmosphere.

Why is Roanoke a great location for craft breweries?

Roanoke is an ideal location for craft breweries due to its plentiful supply of high-quality water, beautiful landscape, and unique culture. The region’s natural resources and community support make it a perfect spot for brewing exceptional craft beer.

What are some sustainable brewing practices in Roanoke?

Many breweries in Roanoke are adopting sustainable brewing practices, such as using eco-friendly initiatives, sourcing local ingredients, and implementing energy-efficient processes. These practices help reduce the environmental impact of brewing.

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