Hop Hopping in Hoo-ville

Explore Charlottesville in the summer sun with these summer brews.

Photo courtesy of Random Row Brewing Co.

With the summer sun weighing you down, having a steady, cold, handcrafted beer in hand is the way to go. Charlottesville has a variety of quirky and unique breweries to experience this season in the humid heat. A wide range of unique brew selections across the city will surely put you in the proper summertime mood. From light fruity ales to dark chocolatey stouts, your seasonal cravings will finally be fulfilled.

Photo courtesy of Random Row Brewing Co.

Random Row Brewing Co. 

Photo courtesy of Random Row Brewing Co.

Random Row Brewing Co. has a variety of brewed selections that will keep you cool this summer. For a fruity spin on traditional American ales, try out the selection of fruit beers with POM Wheat and POG Wheat flowing on tap. Both flavors are brewed with passionfruit and orange flavors, with POM made with mangoes and POG made with guavas. For those of you going hard under the hot sun, try out the Recovery IPA, otherwise known as the brewery’s special “post workout beer,” brewed with amarillo and citra hops, lemon zest, and added electrolytes to help fuel your body for the next few breweries to come. 

For a sweeter, more fun and festive drink experience, try out a few specialty slushies available at the bar. One of the newest beers on tap, Blackberry Lime Gose, comes in frozen form, described on the Random Row Brewing Co. Facebook page to be “a perfect pair to warm weather and patio sippin’.” This flavor is made with blackberry lime purée and sea salt for a refreshing tart taste. Be sure to also check out the seltzer slushies, such as the Blue Hawaiian Seltzer Slushie made with blue raspberries, pineapples, and coconuts. RandomRow.com

Photo courtesy of South Street Brewery on Facebook

South Street Brewery 

Photo courtesy of South Street Brewery on Facebook

A small selection of dessert-style beers at South Street Brewery will please those with a sweet tooth this summer. Made with real chocolate, Anastasia’s Chocolate Fantasy is a Russian stout brewed with crystal malts, roast barely, flaked oats, and Guatemalan cacao nibs. Though it’s a darker beer, this flavor has a sweet finish that will satisfy anyone with a chocolate craving. The brewery’s specialty porter, called Soft-Serv, is made with vanilla, cacao nibs, and lactose for a sweeter edge. Rumor has it that South Street Brewery even serves Soft-Serv ice cream floats at the bar. We definitely recommend you investigate this one this season. 

Also on tap is a selection of feel-good fruity beers. Slippery When Wit is described as a “wit/gose hybrid” on the menu, flavored with citrus and spices for a light and refreshingly clean taste. Hard PG is a tart ale brewed with passionfruit and guava purées, giving it a perfect balance between sour and sweet. SouthStreetBrewery.com

Photo courtesy of Three Notch’d Brewing Company on Facebook

Three Notch’d Brewing Company 

Photo courtesy of Three Notch’d Brewing Company on Facebook

Three Notch’d Brewing Company has a wide selection of fruit flavored IPAs for everyone in your crew. Returning this season is the Big Slice Juicy IPA, brewed with mango, orange, and other tropical flavors. The added lactose in this brew gives it a sweeter taste, making for the perfect summer sip. 40 Mile IPA also has a tropical fruit focus, made with a variety of American hops to develop a citrus taste with added peach and pineapple flavors. Minute Man IPA is a smooth, low bitterness, citrusy beer that is here to stay year ’round—however, it goes great with a summer breeze on the Three Notch’d patio.

One of the more unique summertime ales, Firefly Nights, is a lighter beer flavored with honeysuckle. As Three Notch’d Brewing Company mentions on its website, this flavor is designed to capture the “inner childhood in us all”. If you’re looking for something that will make your tastebuds dance, try out the Watermelon Gose, a German sour brewed with watermelon puree. ThreeNotchdBrewing.com

Photo courtesy of Champion Brewing Company on Facebook

Champion Brewing Company

Photo courtesy of Champion Brewing Company on Facebook

Prepare for a diverse selection of beers and quirky packaging at Champion Brewing Company. Champagne and beer collide with the Champagne Problems, a brut IPA that is heavy on the hops for an extra dry, yet flavorful, brewing hybrid. Wheeze the Juice is another beer on deck on the dry side, but with a more fruity, juicier flavor brewed with mandarina, bavaria, and cascade hops to give it its own unique flare.

And for dessert? Try Canis Lupulus, a barleywine-style ale flavored with vanilla and caramel malt. After being aged in bourbon barrels for several months, this brew locks in a whiskey flavor that will have your insides feeling as warm as the summer sun. ChampionBrewingCompany.com

Photo courtesy of Red Hub Food Co.

Food and Fun

With all of these breweries on the to-do list, it’s easy to explore the city with the free trolley service offered to any and all visitors. While journeying around in the Charlottesville Area Transit trolley, not only do you get a free tour around historic Charlottesville, but you also get to see the array of culinary and activity options available with ease. Charlottesville.org

Whatever type of food you’re up for, this city has it. From tacos, to good ol’ southern BBQ, Charlottesville offers up dishes you’ll enjoy after some summer brews. Brazos Tacos offers an array of tacos for $4 each, with a selection of premium tacos offered such as steak and eggs, Philly style, and fish aficionado tacos. Can’t find anything on the menu that satisfies your cravings? Build your own custom tacos from tortilla to toppings. BrazosTacos.com

Photo courtesy of Red Hub Food Co.

Red Hub Food Co. is a BBQ restaurant that definitely offers a bang for your buck. Pulled pork, brisket, fried chicken, hushpuppies, mac n’ cheese, and so many more traditional southern food comforts are available here. Get a platter with an entree and three sides for $12. Plus, they offer an array of sauces that range in spice and flavor for the perfect finish to any dish. RedHubFoodCo.com

For a fancier sit-down experience, try Red Pump Kitchen, an Italian restaurant with specialty surf and turf options, pizzas, pastas and more. Dishes such as lobster tortellini, squid ink tagliatelle, and hanger steak, are made in house with ingredients from local Virginia farmers. RedPumpKitchen.com

After a long day of beer and food, enjoy the rest of your evening at the Historic Downtown Mall, and explore the many shops the city has to offer. Find unique collector’s items from Snooky’s Pawn Shop, from old school electric guitars and banjos to modern day video games, as well as novelty comic books and paperbacks from Telegraph Art & Comics. Pop into the local boutiques to see some of the latest fashions and designer clothing items. DowntownCharlottesville.com

If you’re in the mood for some music, located near the Historic Downtown Mall is the Sprint Pavilion. Fridays After Five, a free special event series, celebrates local musicians and features new artists every Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Now you can jam out to some new tunes on a warm beautiful night all summer long. SprintPavilion.com


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