Escape Keys

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Escape Keys

GETTING THERE: From the Beltway, take Interstate 66 west to U.S. 29 south and follow for 80 miles. You can drive the beer trail yourself or use a local limousine service or tour company to maximize enjoyment. Wine Tours of Virginia (804-399-1081, offers beer tours for $40 (one stop) to $80 per person (two-person minimum).

WHERE TO STAY: Afton Mountain Bed & Breakfast (10273 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Afton, 540-456-6844, operates out of an 1848 Victorian farmhouse in picturesque Nelson County. Winter weekday rates are $95-$135, weekends $105-$155. Close to Devils Backbone Brewing Co., Wintergreen Resort (800-926-3723, features accommodations to fit many budgets. For more hotel options, visit

WHERE TO EAT: All the brew pubs mentioned serve food. We also had a great organic hot dog downtown at Beer Run (156 Carlton Rd., Suite 203, 434-984-2337,, a low-key spot known for its selection of brews.

BEER TRAIL DETAILS: Monticello (931 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy., 434-984-9822, is open daily 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. November-February. Admission $15 adults, $8 ages 6-11. Starr Hill Brewery (5391 Three Notched Rd., Crozet, 434-823-5671, welcomes visitors only on Saturdays; tastings noon-5 p.m., tours at 1 and 3 p.m. There are plans to charge a tasting fee this spring. Charlottesville's South Street Brewery (106 South St., 434-293-6550) is open Monday-Saturday 4:30 p.m. till last call. Blue Mountain Brewery (9519 Critzers Shop Rd., Afton, 540-456-8020, is open Wednesday-Saturday noon-9 p.m. and Sunday noon-8 p.m. Its owners sometimes give informal tours of its brewing area. Devils Backbone Brewing Co. (200 Mosbys Run, Roseland, 434-361-1001, serves food and brews daily from 11:30 a.m. until last call (usually 11 p.m.).

-- J.M.

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