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Blue Toad Cidery

Featured Article

Route 151 Craft Beverage Trail

A little sippin' and day trippin' on this self-paced beverage tour in Nelson County, Virginia

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians just south of Charlottesville lies a bucolic and picturesque agritourism trail focused on craft beverage and food.  What was once a sleepy back road through a valley of nooks and crannies in Nelson County, known mostly for Wintergreen Resort, now hosts a bustling trail of hikers, skier’s, day-trippers, and weekend visitors, in search of a variety of libations, craft food, and pastoral scenes.  The adventurous sort can hike numerous paths that radiate from the spiny Appalachian Trail, drive along the Blueridge Parkway, and, in winter months, ski, board, or tube at Wintergreen; several bed and breakfasts reside in the area for a slower-paced weekend getaway.  Whichever approach you prefer, featured here are four locations to escape the daily bustle, get a sip, and relax, turn your stress down low and kick your feet up high. 

Blue Toad Hard Cidery

462 Winery Lane | Roseland, Virginia

“Born in a barn, Blue Toad Cider honors the tradition and legacy of America’s first preferred beverage by brewing an all-natural and eminently drinkable hard cider using locally grown apples in Western New York and apples grown in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Rather than solely using European-style tart and bitter apples, Blue Toad Hard Cider uses a cider blend of three to four different apple varieties (replete with natural seasonal variation) grown in areas near Rochester, New York, and Tyro, Virginia.”

Blue Toad Hard Ciders prides themselves on an authentic and sustainably produced hard cider that is crisp, refreshing, and certain to bring you back for more. 

 Wild Wolf Brewing Co.

2461 Rockfish Valley Highway | Nellysford, Virginia

“In November of 2011, Mary Wolf, and her son Danny, renovated a 100-year-old Nelson County schoolhouse into a restaurant, built an adjacent brewery, and began the story of Wild Wolf Brewing Company. Mary, a business-savvy entrepreneur, takes care of the business, and Danny, a formally educated brewmaster, oversees production of an ever-expanding portfolio of award-winning ales and lagers.”

Wild Wolf Brewing Company offers a dog-friendly shaded Biergarten and an event center, with a fully equipped kitchen, for weddings, rehearsal dinners, special parties, and corporate events. Their Event Coordinator will help plan your special event.  “With seating for up to 140, outdoor space in our beautiful courtyard, private bathrooms, and much more, our Event Center is the perfect place for a special day.”

Silverback Distillery

9374 Rockfish Valley Highway | Afton, Virginia

“Silverback Distillery is the only mother-daughter distilling duo in the nation crafting high quality, award-winning spirits. From mini cocktail flights, barrel smoked cocktails, or whiskey served neat, however, you fancy your tasting, our distillery offers a chest-thumping good time.”

“From the refreshing, citrus-forward Strange Monkey Gin to real honey-liqueur infused Blackback Rye Whiskey to the ‘"ultimate butterscotch bomb"’ Blackback Bourbon, Silverback Distillery strives to produce distinct, flavorful spirits from a unique mix of local grains, mountain water, and good old American craft(woman)ship.”

Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery

9423 Batesville Road | Afton, Virginia

“Family owned and operated, Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery lies in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge, in the shadow of Afton Mountain. In 1985, Paul retired from the army, and they moved to their farm in Afton, which they called Cardinal Point. Their first order of business was to install the first four acres — two acres each of Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon — on what is now Cardinal Point Vineyard.”

The Gorman’s Cardinal Point is a family-run affair. Their children help run the vineyard; in 1989, youngest son Tim stepped in as vineyard manager, and after adding a winery in 2002  the eldest son “John, an architect, designed the winery buildings; Sarah handles business concerns; and Tim’s wife, Susan, runs the tasting room.”

“The Gorman’s invite you to come and visit them in the tasting room, take a tour of the winery and see the vineyards that produce their delicious wines. While you sample the fruits of their labors, they will tell you how Cardinal Point got its name, and the meaning of ‘“These are my credentials”’ on the bottle.”

Other highlights include pit-stops at the famous Devils Backbone Brewing and Blue Mountain Brewery, both offering sit-down food and beverage service; Bold Rock Hard Cidery, and Afton Mountain Vineyards offers quaint cottages for long weekend excursions.  Accommodations can be found throughout the valley to extend your stay or catch a good night’s rest after enjoying the playground of the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains. For a full list of amenities and places to visit go to nelson151.com.

  • Silverback Distillery
  • Blue Toad Cidery
  • Wild Wolf Brewing Co.
  • Cardinal Point Winery