The Virginia Beach Oceanfront has long been a tourist destination. People come from as far as Quebec to stroll its 45-plus block Boardwalk and take in a variety of local bands performing live on music stages at 31st Street, 24th Street and 17th Street.
The resort area also hosts numerous festivals including the American Music Festival, Funk Fest and Virginia Beach Craft Beer Festival.
Looking for outdoor adventure? Obviously, surfing and swimming are popular, but you may also consider deep sea fishing or casting your line from the pier. Hiking the many Spanish moss covered trails at First Landing State Park are a great way to earn the reward of a cold beer.
Virginia Beach has more craft breweries than any other city in the Coastal Virginia region. The breweries are also spread out so a car is essential.
There are two likely directions in which to string these together in one long day. We suggest starting your Beach adventure in the Chick’s Beach neighborhood at Commonwealth Brewing Company. The brewery is housed in a former fire station. It specializes in Belgian-influenced beers and has begun an ambitious barrel-aging program. Must try brews include The Wealth Saison, Dysphotic Black Saison, Cheval de Trait Quadrople and Marvolo Imperial Chocolate Stout.
While Commonwealth is on Pleasure House Road, your next stop is up the road on Shore Drive to Pleasure House Brewing, which is known for its experimental as well as traditional beers. Because there’s always some new recipe being served on tap, part of the fun is choosing a random beer or two to sample. They do have a few favorites flowing year-round such as Worthy Sir Double IPA, 1608 Cream ale and Lesner Sunrise, a Belgian Pale Ale.
From Pleasure House Brewing head over to Home Republic brewpub for lunch and a beer a block from the boardwalk. Beers to pair with food include King Kolsch, Juice Sea Fruit IPA, and Smoked Maple Porter.
After lunch, take a quick stroll on the boardwalk to catch your second wind, and then motor to Wasserhund Brewing Company. This brewery focuses on German-style beers, pizza and a beachy, surf decor. Recommended are the Maibock, Hefeweizen, Black Forest Lager and Rascal Roggenbier.
From here, head over to Back Bay Brewing Company. The brewery tasting room interior has a beach shack feel to it. Beers to drink include False Cape Ale, Beach Cruiser Pale Ale and Sailor’s Delight Red Rye IPA.
Young Veterans Brewing Company is next on the itinerary and as its name suggests the owner/operators are two former vets of the Iraq War. Located in an industrial park, Young Vets small brewery and tasting room creates instant friends. Must try beers include Pineapple Grenade Hefeweizen, Jet Noise Double IPA, Pride Session IPA and Night Vision American Stout.
The Beach Tour of locally-owned breweries ends at the pirate themed Reaver Beach Brewing Company, where strong IPAs and sour beers are in demand. The brewery is located very close to Young Vets. The brewery prides itself on its barrel-aged program and has a Belgian-style coolship. Make sure to try these beers: Hoptopus Double IPA, The Reaver Sour Ale, Sea Devil Imperial Stout, and a wide array of limited releases such as Ruse de Guerre (a coolship beer re-fermented with black currants) and Reaver’s Bounty (a sour re-fermented with strawberries).
Note: You may extend your Beach brewery tour by visiting the Gordon Biersch location in Virginia Beach’s Town Center. The chain brewpub offers a good selection of food and the beers are brewed on-site.
An excellent choice for dinner near Reaver Beach is Whiskey Kitchen, featuring fine fare and a copious supply of craft beer as well as…whiskey.
Also of note, San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing Company is expected to open in Virginia Beach by late summer/early fall of 2016