Drink-Tripping in Nelson County

Explore 20+ craft beverage producers on Route 151 and beyond.

Blue Mountain Barrel House

Driving south on Nelson County’s Route 151 the 20 miles or so from Afton to Roseland, you’ll pass Blue Mountain Brewery, Flying Fox Vineyard, Bold Rock Hard Cider, and 11 more wineries, breweries, distilleries, cideries, and meaderies—not to mention the seven others just a few miles off the main road. Nelson County is Virginia’s destination for a weekend getaway of imbibing. Here’s our guide.

Illustration by Victoria Borges

Where to Drink

In addition to its portfolio of wines, like viognier and petit verdot, Flying Fox Vineyard in Afton also produces a line of seasonal sweet vermouths. At Silverback Distillery’s Afton tasting room, visitors can try the line of whiskeys, gins, and vodka in mini-cocktails, some of which are smoked in the glass. Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery features pick-your-own blackberries, fruit wines, and mead. Blue Mountain’s Barrel House in Arrington is home to some of the brewery’s more limited offerings.

Where to Eat

For a classic taste of Nelson County, go to Blue Ridge Pig in Nellysford for pork barbecue. The menu at Blue Mountain Brewery offers pizza—don’t miss the Famous Bratwurst pie, topped with caramelized onions, apples, and balsamic reduction. Brewing Tree Beer Company serves lighter fare like charcuterie and Bavarian pretzels. The Farmhouse at Veritas in Afton hosts periodic wine-paired dinners.

Where to Stay

In Nellysford near Wild Wolf Brewing Company, the Mark Addy Inn offers charming bed and breakfast accommodations. The Farmhouse at Veritas provides eight rooms adjacent to the property’s vineyards. For large family getaways, the five-bedroom Inn at Blue Mountain in Afton is available to rent and sleeps 12. Visitors also have a range of options available at Wintergreen Resort, from single guest rooms to multiple-bedroom condos or homes for rent. 

What to Do

Before embarking on a day of drinking, take a hike to Crabtree Falls. The 2-mile trail features five cascades, and the trailhead in Tyro is just 12 miles from Roseland. Or, fish for trout or kayak in the nearby Tye and Rockfish rivers. Sept. 27-29, Devils Backbone Brewing Company hosts Hoopla, a weekend of beer, live music, and camping at its Basecamp in Roseland. Throughout the summer, Veritas Vineyards and Afton Mountain Vineyards also host live music series. 


Recipe

Last year, Devils Backbone expanded its Basecamp in Roseland to include a distillery, producing rum, brandy, and gin. This cocktail features the Virginia Pine Gin, which won a Silver Medallion Award at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and is garnished with edible flowers. DBBrewingCompany.com

Photo courtesy of Devils Backbone

Gingernade

1.5 ounces Devils Backbone Virginia Pine Gin

2 ounces fresh lemon sour mix

2.5 ounces ginger beer

.25 ounce liquid from brandied cherries 

1 lime wheel

candied ginger

edible flowers, such as borage blossoms

Shake together gin, sours, ginger beer, and cherry juice, and pour into martini glass. Top with lime wheel, and garnish with candied ginger and edible flowers.


This article originally appeared in our August 2019 issue.

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