In recent years, the explosion of craft breweries in Virginia has been hard to ignore – the current rate of openings is one per month. Richmond, Virginia’s capital city and a thriving, revitalized destination, has been no exception to this trend.
This past weekend I was able to join in on a tour run by Richmond Brewery Tours exploring a mix of established and up-and-coming breweries. Here’s how my brew-tastic experience went.
Richmond Brewery Tours was founded in 2012 to provide an entertaining and safe way for locals and visitors to the city to explore more of the flourishing craft brewery scene. For $67 a person ($40 for non-drinkers), you visit three breweries, with beer flights included at each, and are given a guided tour at one of the three breweries. The tour kicks off in downtown Richmond’s Capital Ale House with a beer briefing.
Our briefing began by Chris, our tour guide, explaining the history of beer production all the way from its origins in the Middle East to the Bavarian Purity Acts of Medieval Period Europe. He then walked us through the three things we should look for while enjoying beer, all while letting us demonstrate with a few Virginia beers that had been provided. Chris is an expert in beer by all means – any question the group threw at him he knew the answer to.
The next step was to hop on the bus – we did have three breweries to cover after all! We were offered complimentary snacks and refreshments to enjoy at our leisure as we drove along. While Chris did offer commentary on Richmond’s local sights, he also let us know that letting loose on board was perfectly acceptable – in fact, you’re even allowed to plug your own music in for a party bus feel. I was fortunate enough to take the tour with a (rambunctious) bachelorette party and two sisters – both of whom readily offered to “adopt” me since I was traveling solo.
Our first of three breweries for the day was Stone Brewing Richmond. Chris gave us a quick run down that Stone Brewing is originally a San Diego based brewery, but this is their first east-coast location. We walked in to a flight of beers ready for the group and the Stone Brewing bartender gave us a run down of what we were tasting. In our tasting we tried the Go To IPA, Ripper Pale Ale, Tangerine Express IPA, and Stone IPA.
It was nice to be able to mix-and-mingle with the other tour goers, as we sipped our beers and compared thoughts on them.
After a solid 45-minutes at Stone Brewing, it was time to head to our second brewery – Triple Crossing Brewing, a short five minute drive away. Chris shared with us that Triple Crossing had opened in downtown Richmond four years earlier, but was so successful that they had expanded to their second and larger location. With each Richmond Brewery Tour, a tour of one of the breweries is included, and Triple Crossing is where we were taken to the back to see where all the brewing magic happens.
At Triple Crossing we also tried a flight of beers with particularly creative names – Falcon Smash, Paranoid Aledroid, Element 79, and Clever Girl. I loved the colorful and bright artwork at the brewery as well, and there was even an arcade!
As you can imagine, after two breweries, everyone on the bus was feeling pretty jovial and we even made a half-hearted attempt to put Ice, Ice Baby on. The regroup time on the bus was definitely one of the benefits that you get from a tour group, as we all got a hoot out of each other.
Our third stop was appropriately named Legend Brewing Company, as it has been a “legendary” establishment in Richmond for almost 25 years. It was certainly beneficial to the group that this was our last stop because a) we were served in pitchers and b) they serve full meals here. Joking aside, the Lager, Pisner, Brown Ale, and seasonal Z Dam beer we tried were all delightful.
Legends is also great location-wise as it’s across the James River from downtown Richmond and provides a wonderful skyline view of the city.
At the end of the tour, every tour member was presented with a souvenir gift, a beer glass with Richmond Brewery Tours written on it to remember the experience. Having bonded over the past few hours, we also took the opportunity to get a group photo in front of the Richmond Brewery Tour bus!
Overall, I highly recommend Richmond Brewery Tours. Even as a solo traveler, I had a blast and it’s definitely a great time for friends, families, or groups. The flights provided were plentiful as I drank only half of what was given, so having the bus to safely transport you from brewery to brewery is ideal.
Also, for my fellow podcast loving fans, one of the sisters that “adopted” me on the tour turned out to be a true-crime podcaster (and I love true-crime podcasts!) – you can check out her podcast, CrimeQuest, here.
Have you been to Richmond or on a brewery tour?
- Company: Richmond Brewery Tours
- Website: rvabrewerytours.com
- Cost: $67 ($40 for non-drinkers)
- Tour Dates: Tours are offered Thursday through Sunday, year round
Thank you to Richmond Brewery Tours for my brewery tour and tastings. All views and opinions expressed are, as always, my own.