10 Best Beer Cities

Food and Drink


Charlottesville, VA

Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo: Tom Daly Photography

Consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the United States, Charlottesville, VA, is also one of the best places for beer. The city played a major role in the American Revolutionary War and was home to Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

Starr Hill Brewery is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just outside town. It was started in 1999 when owner Mark Thompson set up shop in a historic building on Main Street, but by 2005 the operation had grown too large to be containied in the old building and was moved to its current location. Starr Hill brews seven year-round beers and half a dozen seasonal and reserve beers. Tastings are offered on site.

Located in a former hay and grain warehouse is South Street Brewery, founded in 1998. South Street, which offers food, live music and of course, beer crafted on premises. Among the must-try brews are: Satan's Pony Amber Ale, Liberation Lager and Old 420 Stout.

Another don't-miss destination for beer lovers is Blue Mountain Brewery, less than 20 miles west of Charlottesville, in Afton, Va. Opened by former South Street brewer Taylor Smack in 2007, the brewery crafts about 20 draft-only beers annually as well as a handful of brews that are bottled. Year round, you can try Blue Mountain's flagship strong pale ale, the Full Nelson, which is produced with hops cultivated on brewery grounds.

For those who like to enjoy a brew with a book, see why Charlotte also made our Top 10 Cities for Book Lovers list.

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