Reasons to Take the New Virginia’s Blue Ridge Hop-On Hop-Off Brewery Tour
The Roanoke region’s craft beer and beverage scene is on a meteoric rise, with new breweries opening and cherished microbreweries expanding nearly every month. Drink in all there is to experience with the Hop-On Hop-Off Brewery Tour, featuring a rotating schedule that allows repeat tour-goers to visit every (yes, every) brewery and many other craft beverage venues in the area.
Why else should you hop on the brewery tour?
1. You’ll Have a Blast. Picture it: All your friends in one mini-bus; no one having to navigate, drive, or park; trivia game and prizes en route. This is one rocking tour.
2. You’ll Have a Driver. You know what they say: Let us drive you to drink. As you travel from Roanoke to Salem to Daleville and back you’ll feel safe, relieved, happy to leave the driving to someone who knows the way and is not taking any sips — or any chances.
3. You’ll Have a Choice, Part 1. You’ve been to Parkway Brewing but not Salem’s other breweries? No worries. During each tour, you choose where to get off the bus. You’ll have three stops, three venues, three hours (about 1 hour at each) but many more than that to choose from.
For example, on one route, at Stop 1, you pick between Deschutes’ Roanoke Tasting Room, Big Lick Brewing Company, Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers and A Few Old Goats Brewing. At Stop 2, Hop Off at either Starr Hill Pilot Brewery or Twin Creeks Brewing Co. You get the idea.
4. You’ll Have a Choice, Part 2. On the Hop-On Hop-Off tour, you order what you want to drink. Love IPAs? Compare each brewery’s take on them. Want to sip a selection? Choose three flights at your three breweries. What you order is completely up to you.
5. The Tour is on Saturday evening, prime brewery time – The tour starts at 4:00 pm on Saturdays, and we soon plan to announce Friday night tours. This is the perfect time to hit the breweries when they are the most lively and full of patrons and usually love music. Plan a fun evening out!
6. You Can Hop On Again and Again. Enjoy the tour often, as the route will change every few weeks, meaning new breweries will be added and dropped. Ultimately we’ll visit every brewery and many other craft beverage menus in our immediate region.
7. Your Driver is also an Ambassador to help guide you. Not certain which venue to visit? No problem. Not certain what food is available at each stop? Or what band might be playing? Your Driver/Ambassador is at your service. He or she can recommend beers you might like, tell you which food trucks you’ll find at each stop, give you a little band run-down — as well as share a bit about each brewery and their own personal experience. Bet an Uber driver can’t do that.
8. You’ll Get a Discount (and Possibly Cool Stuff). On the tour learn how to quickly register for special discounts and swag using Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail. Plus, that trivia you’re playing as you drive between stops? It comes with winner prizes.
9. You Can Be Delivered (Almost) to Your Door. Tours meet at the Deschutes Tasting Room in downtown Roanoke, but you can arrange for a pickup from the Courtyard by Marriott Roanoke Airport; the Hampton Inn Suites at Valley View Mall; the Roanoke Visitor’s Center, across the street from Hotel Roanoke; or the Holiday Inn at Tanglewood. Groups of eight or more can arrange for custom pickup and drop off.
10. You’ll Drink Great Beer. Of course you will, it’s a brewery tour. But the level of craftsmanship, the complexity of flavors might just blow you away. Roanoke may be newer to the craft brewery scene than some cities, but that doesn’t mean it’s not top notch. Five Roanoke-area brewers took home awards in 2018’s Virginia Craft Beer Cup. And Big Lick Brewing Co. was recently singled out by the national trade group, the Brewers Association, as one of the country’s fastest growing breweries. We’re talking the good stuff, here.
11. You’ll Drink Great Beer AND More. Although we call this a Brewery Tour, and most of our scheduled stops are indeed breweries. We have and will continue to include other craft beverage venues as well. For instance on one of the tour routes we’ve include Barrel Chest Wine & Beer, which is a retailer serving craft beer, wine and mead, but they also now brew beer! And you can also Hop-Off at Franklin County Distilleries when we go on the southern route. Some of our routes will include the new Chateau Morrisette Winery Tasting Room in downtown Roanoke as a Hop-Off stop (when it opens soon). Look for more venues to be included in the future.
About the author – Christina Nifong
Christina is a freelance writer with a focus on local food. When she’s not digging in her garden or stirring up a new dish for dinner, she loves to sample Roanoke’s expanding culinary scene. Read more of what she’s writing at christinanifong.com.