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Located on the banks of the stunning James River, Richmond is one of the oldest major cities in the State of Virginia and just 160kms South of Washington DC. The historic city is full of culture, heritage, and tradition, possessing a deep love for an authentic golden ale. The city of Richmond boasts over 40 breweries, and quality beer is non-negotiable in this part of the United States.
The beer Styles in Richmond are greatly influenced by British, German, and American traditions, resulting in traditional European beer styles with a unique and necessary American twist. This guide will feature the Best Breweries in Richmond VA, exploring their history, current operations, tap rooms, and the best beers on the menu.
Bottom Line Up Front
Richmond is well-known for producing exceptional craft beer, with the locals preferring quality over quantity. My pick for the Best Brewery in Richmond goes to the infamous Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.
The brewery is the largest in Virginia, boasting numerous awards and accolades, including Best Brewery in the state on three different occasions.
Hardywood Park Craft brewery produces exceptional and world-class beers, most notably their exquisite range of Barrel Aged Milk Stout, IPA, Dry-Hopped Pale Ale, Barrel Aged Golden Ale, Barrel Aged Chocolate Stout, and American Craft Lager.
The brewery is classy and spacious, offering a festive atmosphere, excellent pizza, and efficient and friendly service.
Top Picks: Best Breweries in Richmond VA
- Stone Brewing Tap Room – Award-Winning Crowd-Pleasing Beers
- Triple Crossing Craft Brewery – Gorgeous Tap Room
- Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – Best Overall
- Ardent Craft Ales – Experimental Beers and Exceptional Beer Garden
- The Veil Brewing Company – Bold Beers Not for the Faint of Heart
History of Richmond Beer
Quality beer is the order of the day in this part of the United States, with the city boasting over 40 authentic and quality craft breweries. All of them feature traditional and delicious Richmond-style beers.
By bringing their European recipes and brewing techniques to the area, British and German settlers have greatly influenced the beer history in Richmond, VA.
Records indicate that the first commercial brewery in Richmond was the James River Steam Brewery, opened by German immigrant David G. Yuengling (and son of the founder of Yuengling brewery) in the early 1800s.
The original brewery is shrouded in mystery. There is not much known about its activities or operations before the 1950s. At this time, the population of Richmond increased significantly, and the beer market exploded, resulting in many additional breweries opening in the city.
Traditional Pilsner, Lager, and Ale-style beers are extremely popular in Richmond, VA. Modern beer styles such as American IPA, Imperial Stouts, and American Stout are becoming increasingly popular amongst local craft breweries, paving the way for a new generation of beer enthusiasts.
To ensure that only the Best Breweries in Richmond feature in this guide, all breweries are subjected to selection criteria:
- Sustainability: All breweries featured in this guide must be committed to green energy and a sustainable future. This commitment includes water recycling, preservation, and waste and carbon footprint reduction initiatives.
- Quality Beer: At the end of the day, it is mostly about beer, so producing quality and authentic beer is imperative. All breweries featured in this guide provide world-class beer, delivering exceptional body, flavors, and aromas, and will not leave you disappointed.
- Ingredients: All breweries featured in this guide use only the finest ingredients when producing their authentic beer. There are no shortcuts to creating premium beer.
- Facilities: All breweries featured in this guide offer exceptional facilities that cater to all types of thirsty patrons.
- Customer Service: Customer Service is high on my list and should include efficient and friendly service with knowledgeable and competent staff.
Best Breweries in Richmond VA
Below is a list of the 5 Best Breweries in Richmond, VA:
Founded by Steve Wagner and Greg Koch in 1996, Stone Brewing has evolved into the ninth largest craft brewery in the United States. The company has two brewing facilities, one brewery is in Escada, California, and the second brewery is in Richmond, Virginia.
The company also boasts the largest craft-centric beer distribution facility in the United States, which services the Southern California region. Stone Brewing is a multiple-award-winning brewery featuring numerous award-winning beers. Stone Brewing has won numerous Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals at prestigious beer competitions, such as The Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup, and the U. S. Open Beer Championship.
Stone Brewing is famed for producing exceptional IPA, Hazy IPA, Lager, Double IPA, Imperial Stout, Imperial IPA, and Hard Seltzer beer styles. Stone Brewing is a world-class brewery and features a gorgeous authentic tap room. A fantastic location to de-stress and enjoy an exceptional beer paired with outstanding food and a joyous atmosphere.
Pros and Cons of Stone Brewing
- World-Class Brewery
- Exceptional Award-Winning Beers
- Comprehensive Range of Beers
- Outstanding Food Menu
- Gorgeous and Spacious Tap Room
- Excellent Facilities
- Extremely Festive Atmosphere
- Friendly and Knowledgeable Staff
- An exceptional brewery but not oriented toward young families with small children
Stone IPA is a bold and full-flavored hop-forward American India Pale Ale and one of the best-selling IPAs in the United States. It is well-respected throughout the craft beer community, delivering bold notes of citrus, tropical fruits, and fresh piney hops.
The intense flavors and aromas of fruit and hops are well-balanced by subtle malt undertones, followed by a rewarding and thirst-quenching finish. Stone IPA by Stone Brewing offers an ABV of 6.9%. Stone IPA is delicious, refreshing, and goes down well during the day or at night.
It pairs well with snacks like Pizza, Ribs, and Sticky Buffalo Wings.
Stone 26th Anniversary Imperial IPA
Stone 26th Anniversary is a world-class Imperial India Pale Ale-styled beer and is undoubtedly worthy of an Anniversary Edition.
Stone 26th Anniversary IPA is born from 26 Years of brewing heritage and experience. This tribute beer is triple-hopped for intense hop flavors and aromas. Stone 26th IPA imparts intense flavors and aromas of grapefruit, citrus zest, orange blossom, stone fruits, juicy melon, herbal, toffee, and honey.
The finish is flavorful and refreshing, with full hop bitterness. Stone 26th Anniversary Imperial IPA offers an ABV of 9.7%. Stone 26th Anniversary is an outstanding Imperial India Pale Ale and a delightful beer to enjoy with your mates at the brewery. It is refreshing and pairs well with niblets, pasta, and white meats.
Situated in the heart of Richmond, Triple Crossing Craft Brewery has been serving thirsty locals quality beer since April 2014. Founded by friends Jeremey Wirtes and Adam Worcester, the brewery is customer and quality driven, producing an assortment of quality craft beers.
Triple Crossing Craft Brewery has received numerous accolades and features multiple award-winning beers on its menu. They are famed for producing outrageous West Coast and Double IPAs, but it also creates excellent Golden Ale, Pale Ale, Session IPA, Czech Pale Lager, Rice Lager, and Kellerbier.
Triple Crossing Craft Brewery is a great place to spend an evening, the beers are authentic, and the pizzas are out of this world. The taproom is gorgeous, with loads of space and a festive atmosphere. The facilities are world-class, and the staff is friendly and accommodating.
Pros and Cons of Triple Cross Craft Brewery
- Award-Winning Brewery
- World Class Prize-Winning Beers
- Famed for Outrageous West Coast and Double IPA-Style Beers
- Extensive Range of Authentic Craft Beer and Beer Styles
- Gorgeous Tap Room
- Delicious Pizza
- Excellent Customer Service
- Family Atmosphere but Not Much Entertainment for Young Kids
Falcon Smash IPA
Falcon Smash is an iconic IPA and the signature beer of this fine craft brewery. Falcon Smash stays true to IPA tradition brewed with a ludicrous amount of fresh hops, paired with a secret house ale strain for authenticity.
Falcon Smash IPA delivers intense juicy tastes and aromas of sweet peach, tangerine, and fresh melon. The finish is thirst-quenching with soft undertones of citrus zest and a mild trace of hop bitterness. Falcon Smash IPA offers an ABV of 7.4%.
North Park Pale Ale
North Park by Triple Crossing Craft Brewery is a delightful West Coast-style Pale Ale and features three hop variations and a secret 2-row malt. Chico Ale Yeast and malted wheat results in a smooth and well-balanced IPA. North Park Pale Ale imparts exotic notes of earthy pine, orange, herbal, white wine, lemon zest, strawberries, and cream.
The flavor profile is unusual, but the end product is exceptional, with a smooth and rewarding finish. North Park West Coast Pale Ale offers an ABV of 5%. North Park West Coast Pale Ale is a delightful beer to enjoy at lunch, paired well with fresh seafood on a warm and sunny day.
The largest brewery in Richmond and the Virginia region, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery was founded in 2011 and is partly responsible for the resurgence of craft beer in the area. Founded by life-long friends Patrick Murtaugh and Eric McKay, the duo strives to be the most respected brewery in the United States by producing exceptional beer made from only the finest ingredients.
The 20 Barrel Pilot Brewery has expanded rapidly in recent years, a testament to the quality of the craft beer that has won countless accolades in just two decades. Hardywood Park Brewery has received medals at the World Beer Cup, the Great American Beer Festival, and the Australian International Beer Awards.
Additionally, the brewery was voted the Best Brewery in Virginia on three occasions, an incredible achievement when considering the quality of craft breweries in the state. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery offers a substantial range of unique beer styles, including Barrel Aged Milk Stout, IPA, Dry-Hopped Pale Ale, Barrel Aged Golden Ale, Baltic Porter, Barrel Aged Chocolate Stout, and American Craft Lager.
The brewery features numerous unique, award-winning beer styles. All these can enjoy alongside pizza or various street foods available from the food trucks. There is always a great family atmosphere at Hardywood Park, and the staff is friendly and committed.
Pros and Cons of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
- Largest Craft Brewery in Virginia
- Numerous Awards and Accolades
- Comprehensive and Creative Beer Menu
- Excellent Customer Service
- Tasty Pizza
- Family Atmosphere
- Plenty of Seating Available
- Bathrooms are Clean but Simple
Richmond Lager is by no means the most creative or complex beer, but it is a Richmond Classic that has been quenching the city’s thirst for over 20 years. Richmond Lager is an easy-drinking and refreshing Lager-style beer featuring a simple yet satisfying flavor profile. Descriptors include barley malt, earthy grassy hops, and fresh fruits.
It is hard to pinpoint a particular fruit, but the medley combines beautifully. Typical of traditional unfiltered Lager-style beers, the finish is crisp, dry, and refreshing. Richmond Lager offers an ABV of 5.0%.
Richmond Lager is enjoyable and refreshing, an ideal beer for live sport and a barbeque. It is a beer that can be consumed during the day or at night. It pairs well with all food types, particularly steaks, burgers, and sticky ribs.
Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout with Madagascan Vanilla Beans
This exceptional Stout will give you a glimpse into the creativity of this fine brewery. Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout with Madagascan Vanilla Beans is unique and complex, delivering a delightful assault on your senses while leaving you weak at the knees.
Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout features cacao nibs, chocolate malt, and late-season red raspberries. The brew is then patiently matured for months in seasoned bourbon barrels and finished over Madagascan Vanilla Beans. Descriptors include rich malt, dark chocolate, juicy red raspberries, and fresh vanilla. The finish is long and lingering, with a mild trace of fresh hop bitterness.
Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout with Madagascan Vanilla Beans offers an ABV of 11.5%. Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout with Madagascan Coffee Beans is delightfully decadent and the ultimate after-dinner or dessert drink. It is a brewing masterpiece that will send you to bed with a big smile.
Ardent Craft Ales is notorious for exceptional Ale-style beers and is a lovely place to visit when you are in town. Founded by Tom Sullivan and Paul Karns, the brewery opened in 2014 after starting as a co-op in a Richmond garage. Ardent Craft Ales are passionate about creating unique and innovative beers and are lauded for preserving traditional brewing techniques and for introducing the techniques to new-age and next-generation brewers.
Ardent Craft Ales is a relatively young craft brewery, but its raw brewing talent is evident when sampling its exceptional craft beer. In 2018, Ardent Craft Ales was voted Richmond Brewery Of The Year at the Elby Awards. Ardent Craft Ales is passionate about authentic Ale-Style beers but is capable of producing phenomenal German-Style Lager, Imperial IPA, Italian-Style Lager, Rice Lager, Spiced Beer, Double Barrel Milk Stout, and Mexican-Style Lager.
The Ardent Craft Ales Brewery is a thing of beauty, featuring a bona fide beer and tap room. It is spacious and well-kept, with capable staff ensuring patrons are having a good time. There is also a gorgeous beer garden should you want to relax outside in the sunshine. The beers are excellent, and the kitchen serves delectable light lunches. The tuna salad is a favorite amongst locals and staff.
Pros and Cons of Ardent Craft Ales
- Award-Winning Brewery
- Excellent Facilities
- Wide Variety of Excellent Craft Beers
- Delectable Light Lunches and Snacks
- Authentic Tap Room and Beer Hall
- Joyous Atmosphere in the Beer Hall
- Tranquil Family Oriented Atmosphere in the Beer Garden
- Parking is Limited
Ardent American Rice Lager
Rice Lager would not be my usual choice when faced with a menu of unique beer styles. However, Ardent American Rice Lager is an excellent example of an authentic American Adjunct-Style Lager. Typical of all-American adjunct beers, it is silky smooth with a delicate and velvety mouthfeel.
Ardent American Rice Lager offers an ABV of 4.4%. Ardent American Rice lager pours a pale golden with an enticing chunky white head. It imparts delicate notes of lemon zest, followed by a smooth and refreshing finish with a mild trace of hop bitterness.
Ardent American Rice Lager is the perfect summer beer, whether you are relaxing on the beach or lazing around the pool. True to Lager traditions, American Rice Lager is crisp, dry, and thirst-quenching. Additionally, it pairs well with most food types, especially Pizza and Burgers.
Blackberry Lime Gose
Blackberry Lime Gose is a Fruited Sour Style Wheat Beer. As the name suggests, there is significant tartness and natural acidity, lending to a full-flavored and refreshing fruity taste. Fruited Sour Beers can be stored for six months to a year before this beer style loses its fruity taste and aromas.
Ardent Blackberry Lime Gose offers a slightly below-average ABV of 4.5%. Expertly crafted with unique and unexpected notes of fresh coriander and sea salt, Ardent Blackberry Lime Gose is a delightful Wheat Beer. This fine adjunct beer is then refermented on lime and sweet blackberries, resulting in delightfully sweet and sour notes that one would not normally associate with authentic beer recipes.
The natural acidity and tartness of classic Gose-Style beer derive from a combination of natural sea salt and lime. Ardent Blackberry Lime Gose is a delightful Fruited-Style all-year beer. The combination of sweet fruitiness notes and natural acidity is refreshing and satisfying.
I enjoy an Ardent Blackberry lime Gose Fruited Sour Beer as an after-dinner drink. It exhibits a complex and refreshing flavor profile, which pairs well with desserts and fresh fruits.
Founded in 2014 by Dave Michelow, Matt Tarpy, and Dustin Durance, the Veil Brewing Company is deeply entrenched in the Richmond community and features three tap rooms in the city. The Veil Brewing Company is well-known for producing bold hop-oriented beers and excellent Imperial Stout, American IPA, and New England-style beers. The Veil Brewing Company produces exceptional craft beer and is famed for high-gravity barrel aging, spontaneous fermentation, and hop-oriented beers.
In 2019, master-brewer and co-founder Matt Tarpey was honored with the starchefsrising award for the entire region. The award-winning brewery was voted Best Brewery in Virginia in 2000 by ratebeer.com and was voted the world’s 3rd Best Freshman Brewery in the same year.
The Veil Brewing Company has earned a well-deserved reputation for creating an assortment of unique beer styles, but IPA and Double IPA style beers are where this brewery shines. The Veil Brewing Company is a great location to spend a night with friends and family.
The brewery atmosphere is festive, offering unique beer styles, excellent food, and great music. Visiting the brewery is a fantastic experience, but the super-friendly and knowledgeable staff draws me back to the establishment. The brewery’s recipe for success is simple, Good Beer, Good Food, Good Music, and Good people.
Pros and Cons of Veil Brewing Company
- World-Class Brewery
- World-Class Beers
- Simple yet Tasty Light Meals
- Mellow Atmosphere
- Good Music
- Friendly and Efficient Staff
- Dog Friendly
- Free Tours
- Laid Back and Spacious Tap Room
- The brewery Delivers, but Pre-Ordering is Not their Strong point
Crucial Taunt is an excellent example of a modern English-Style, Imperial, or Double India Pale Ale. This magnificent IPA is an enhanced version of the house DIPA, brewed with 100% Citra Hops. Crucial Taunt is double dry-hopped, bold, full-flavored, and offers an impressive ABV of 8.0%.
Crucial Taunt is an incredible IPA that is well-balanced and refreshing. This version is about bold hop tastes and aromas, delivering exceptional fruity notes of citrus zest, hard-boiled orange candy, and freshly squeezed pineapple juice. The bold fruity notes are accompanied by intense hop bitterness and followed by a refreshing and memorable finish.
Crucial Taunt is one of those beers to be enjoyed any time of the day or night, all year round. This version pairs well with fresh fish like mackerel and salmon and can be garnished with sweet mango or tart lemon juice to accentuate the bold hop tastes and aromas.
Broz Night Out
Broz Night Out is an insane Double New England-Style IPA and describes as an Imperial version of the classic low ABV Broz Day Off DIPA. Broz Night Out India Pale Ale features a secret pale malt, 100% Citra hops, and all-natural oats as the primary supplement.
Broz Night Out offers an ABV of 9%. Broz Night Out is a remarkable Double New England-Style IPA, delivering juicy notes of lychee, tangerine, fresh hops, and grapefruit zest.
Broz Night Out is undoubtedly one of the best Double New England-Style beers I have had the privilege to sample. An ideal beer to enjoy with friends and family around the barbeque and pairs well with roasted and grilled meats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How many breweries are there in Richmond, VA?
Answer: The City of Richmond is passionate about quality craft beer and boasts more than 40 breweries, cideries, and distilleries.
Question: What is the most popular beer in Richmond, VA?
Answer: Richmond is well-known for producing exceptional Lagers, and the most popular beer in the region is Richmond Lager. Richmond Lager delivers authentic European characters and is surprisingly crisp, dry, and refreshing.
Question: What is the most famous beer in Richmond, VA?
Answer: The Legend Brown by Legend Brewing Company is a long-standing Richmond and Virginia classic and certainly one of the most famous beers in the city. The Legend Brown imparts delightful notes of malts, molasses, creamy caramel, coffee, and toasted nuts and is well-balanced by mild hop bitterness.
Question: What European settlers have roots in Richmond, VA?
Answer: The first Europeans to settle in the area were British, bringing along authentic and delicious British Ale recipes. Germans arrived shortly after exposing the locals to exceptional Pilsner-style beer and traditional European Lagering Techniques.
Question: What is the biggest brewery in Richmond, VA?
Answer: Founded in 2011, the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery is partly responsible for the resurgence of craft beer in the Richmond area. The brewery has slowly evolved into the biggest brewery in Richmond and the entire Virginia Region.
Conclusion: Best Breweries in Richmond VA
Richmond is well-known for producing exceptional craft beer, with locals preferring quality over quantity. My pick for the Best Brewery in Richmond, Virginia, goes to the infamous Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.
The brewery is the largest in Virginia, boasting numerous awards and accolades, including Best Brewery in Virginia on three different occasions. Partially responsible for the resurgence in American Craft Beer, the brewery produces exceptional and world-class beers.
The most notable beer styles are their exquisite range of Barrel Aged Milk Stout, IPA, Dry-Hopped Pale Ale, Barrel Aged Golden Ale, Barrel Aged Chocolate Stout, and American Craft Lager.
The brewery is classy and spacious with quality facilities, offering a festive atmosphere, excellent pizza, and efficient and friendly service.
Check out these brewery guides if you are visiting: