A Brew with a View

Wet your whistle at these five waterfront wineries and breweries. 

Photo courtesy of Billsburg Brewery

Is there anything more relaxing than sitting in the sun, soaking in the breeze off the water, and sipping on a local wine or beer? We think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend a summer day. These spots offer views as refreshing as their beverages. 

Billsburg Brewery, Williamsburg

Less than a mile from Jamestown Settlement and the Jamestown Ferry, on the edge of the Jamestown Yacht Basin adjacent to Powhatan Creek, you can sip on brews like Juan’s Night Stand Cerveza lager, SupaFly DIPA, and Betty the Hefeweizen. Dave Baum, who began as a homebrewer, opened Billsburg in October 2017 with his wife, Kristin, who served as the architect and interior designer for the brewery. You can find a host of rotating food trucks there serving fare such as barbecue, tacos, and crab cakes. Billsburg.com

Chatham Vineyards, Machipongo

Photo courtesy of Chatham Vineyards

Paddle right up to this vineyard on Church Creek: Southeast Expeditions offers a Paddle Your Glass Off guided kayak adventure to Chatham Vineyards, which includes a facility tour, a tasting, and a bottle of wine. The winery, opened in 2005, produces varietals such as chardonnay, merlot, and cabernet franc. In November, don’t miss the Merroir & Terroir Oyster Extravaganza event with wine and oyster tastings. ChathamVineyards.com

Bull Island Brewing, Hampton

Located on the piers of the Hampton River, Bull Island maintains its waterfront theme with brews like Waterman’s Wheat and Oyster Jalapeño Porter. Be sure to try the King Street Kolsch, which was awarded a gold medal at the 2018 Virginia Craft Beer Cup. At the taproom, you can enjoy a flight alongside thin-crust pizzas and games like cornhole, giant Jenga, shuffleboard, and ping-pong. BullIslandBrewing.com

Upper Shirley Vineyards, Charles City

Sample a selection of 11 wines for $14 at the tasting bar, then buy a bottle of your favorite and venture out to the back porch of the Lowcountry-style estate overlooking the James River. The vineyard’s large portfolio includes exceptional rosé, viognier, petit verdot, and the award-winning Zachariah red blend. If you’re hungry, the tasting room offers a full lunch menu, as well as small plates and desserts. Plus, mark your calendar for chef Ernie LaBrecque’s periodic prix fixe wine dinners. UpperShirley.com

Lake Anne Brew House, Reston

On the promenade of Reston’s Lake Anne reservoir, this brew house serves small-batch selections, such as 2017 Virginia Craft Beer Cup gold medalist New Year’s Golden Ale and silver medalist Beer Run Recovery Brown Ale, plus Nordic Knot pretzels for munching between pints. On Saturday mornings, take a lap around the lake with the Beer Run Club, and on Friday evenings, join the crew for a happy hour Tour de Pour bike ride. LakeAnneBrewHouse.com


This article originally appeared in our WaterLife 2019 issue.

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