Man-cations: Best brew and spirit escapes in West Virginia
Nothing wraps up an action-packed day in the mountains like a cold beer or sip of liquor with your friends. While you can certainly crack open a cold one back around the campfire or at the cabin, West Virginia also has a lot of amazing microbreweries and distilleries too, where you can take a tour, learn something, and then sample the best adult beverages that Mountain State has to offer. Here are some of the best breweries and distilleries in the most beautiful parts of West Virginia, perfect for your next beer-cation!
1. Smooth Ambler Spirits
Kentucky may be the best-known name for Appalachian whiskey, but since 2009 this craft distillery has been putting West Virginia in the running, too. In addition to its selection of excellent bourbon whiskeys, Smooth Ambler also makes vodka, gin, and rum. The Smooth Ambler distillery gives public tours of its facility in the beautiful Greenbrier Valley outside Lewisburg, and also maintains a small, intimate tasting room, perfect for gathering and sipping with your friends.
2. Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company
If you want to add a brewery tour to your visit of Smooth Ambler Spirits, you’re in luck– one of West Virginia’s finest microbreweries is located just across the road! Located in a former upholstery factory, the brewery has a 190-barrel capacity.
You’ll also get to sample some of Greenbrier’s best in their unique and happenin’ taproom. In addition to featuring award-winning brews like the Devil Anse IPA, the taproom as a selection of lively games, furniture made from reclaimed bourbon barrels, and even the occasional live music show. A stop at Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company is sure to round out any Lewisburg vacation.
3. Kirkwood Winery/Isaiah Morgan Distillery
There’s a lot to do in Summersville. You can drive east toward the high country of the Cranberry Glades, swim and climb around the beautiful blue waters of Lake Summersville, or raft and surf on the spectacular Gauley River. Whatever your adventure, make sure you take time to check out Kirkwood Winery just north of town.
The winery produces one West Virginia’s finest selections of wine and berry liqueurs, and holds an annual grape-stomping festival every September. If you want your drink a little harder, then check out the on-site Isaiah Morgan distillery, which produces corn whiskey and moonshine. This place takes its “micro” distillery status seriously– when they got all their legal licensing taken care of in 2002, they had the nation’s smallest licensed still!
4. Mountain State Brewery
This is West Virginia’s oldest and most venerable microbrewery. Although Mountain State has opened brewpub restaurants in Morgantown and even Maryland, to get the full experience you have to tour their brewery and taproom in Thomas. This small, high-country town in the Canaan Valley is a great hub for exploring around the mountains, whether you’re hiking at Blackwater Falls or skiing at White Grass.
Whatever your adventure of the day has been, you can round it out with a brewery tour of Mountain State’s seven-barrel operation. Their taproom not only features their best beers, but also has plenty of live music, bingo, and trivia nights.
5. Heston Farm Winery/Pinchgut Hollow Distillery
This Fairmont winery and distillery has it all– locally made wines, a beautiful open space available for special events, and charm. But it’s the Pinchgut Hollow Distillery’s whiskey that really stands out. It’s a small operation– their old-style copper still only produces about a barrel of liquor each week, but they make up for the low quantity with quality. Pinchgut produces one of the only buckwheat whiskeys in the nation, as well as uniquely flavored moonshines, including ramp ‘shine! Check out Heston Farms for a full wine/whiskey experience.
This post was last updated on January 12, 2018