The Virginia craft beer scene is booming. With more than 200 craft breweries open around the Commonwealth, it can be hard to know where to begin. Thankfully, Coastal Virginia is home to some of the very best beer in the state. Hopheads, rejoice: these are our picks for the best local craft breweries around our region.
There’s a reason Commonwealth sits at the top of Yelp’s list of highly rated breweries in Virginia Beach: green space for kids and dogs makes this spot irresistible for locals and tourists alike. There’s a massive open air front room to enjoy, a back game room to explore, plus gorgeous murals painted inside and out. Of course, the beer is great, too – there are goses, Belgians, and double IPAs aplenty at Commonwealth Brewing!
Tucked away in Norfolk’s Chelsea District, Benchtop Brewing features some of the very best pours in Coastal Virginia. Grab a seat outside and sip on Oktoberfest lagers, West Coast IPAs, or a triple IPA. Our favorite has to be the Mermaid’s Scorn, a gose ale with notes of local oysters, Indian coriander, sea salt, and fresh lemon zest. The friendly staff ooze insight and expertise, so whether you’re a big beer fan or just getting into craft brews for the first time, Benchtop is the place to be.
Want to enjoy a beer while enjoying a gorgeous view? Head to Bull Island Brewing in Hampton, where locals love to sip local brews as they watch boats bob in and out of the harbor. Situated on the shores of the Hampton River, Bull Island gets just as many points for atmosphere as they do delicious beer. We’re big fans of the Bubba Boots, a classic German style pilsner that features a hoppy bitterness that’s much bolder than its peers. Order one of the signature pizzas to wash it down with!
This award-winning brewery has a true neighborhood vibe. Garage Brewery is open late, dog friendly, and hosts a weekly fun run for anyone interested in combining fitness with happy hour. They’re also frequent hosts of some of Virginia’s best food trucks. If you’re feeling thirsty, grab a Builder from Hell, a high gravity stout brewed with cacao nibs and local Pale Horse coffee. It’s ideal for a rainy fall day – or anytime you’re in the mood for something malty.
When you’re craving both a beer and a great time, head to MoMac in Portsmouth. There’s always another great live band playing, another fantastic food truck set up outside, and tons of fun to be had. Enjoy a flight featuring MoMac’s City Line pilsner, Berkley Blueberry Wheat, or the Citra Sit Back & Relax IPA. Since MoMac is right next to some of the best pizza in town – Rita’s Pizza is right next door – you can grab a slice and bring it over to enjoy alongside your beer!
I'm Chelsea, a freelance writer and Norfolk native. While I'm currently based in North Carolina, I can never stay away from CoVA for long! I take a weekend warrior approach to my frequent visits, packing in as much beach time and restaurant hopping as I can.