My brother Mike and his wife Toni have the most scenic driveway surfing we’ve yet encountered: a flat site on the banks of the Rockfish River, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with wooded hillsides on 3 sides of us. They have a little slice of heaven in Nelson County Virginia, and we enjoyed their hospitality for most of a week. They are also smack dab in the middle of an area thick with breweries, cideries, and wineries, and if you visited 2 a day it would still take you weeks to visit them all! We had visited a couple of breweries on previous visits, but Mike offered to chauffer us around if we wanted to spend a day tasting and, not being total idiots, we jumped at the chance.
Variety being the spice of life & all, we decided for a well-rounded day. We started off at the Delfosse Vineyards & Winery. Mike is actually a master carpenter and did quite a bit of work for Delfosse, including the beautiful display shelves in the tasting room as seen below. We tasted several and bought one bottle for later. Next we visited Devil’s Backbone Brewery. It started snowing as we wandered in: tiny little flakes, but snow nonetheless! Sadly it didn’t last, and we only saw a dusting. Although we missed a formal tasting, we did sample a few of their fine products along with a late lunch to keep us coherent. All in a beautiful dining room with a warming fire in the fireplace. We could have whiled away a few more hours, but the cold weather had me in a cider mood, and I was eager to head to the Bold Rock Cidery. Bold Rock has a beautiful spot, both inside and outside the cidery. Inside were several warm fireplaces with comfy couches & chairs where we settled in with our flights and proceded to debate the merits of Virginia Apple vs. Pear. They also produce 2 dry ciders and our bartender suggested a sangria recipe using one of them. Who knew you could make sangria with cider? I would love to come back here in warmer weather, as they have spectacular views off the large patios overlooking a meadow and stream. They have picnic tables and a firepit, and encourage people to bring picnics or order from the snack menu. Would make for a nice fall afternoon! Alas, our afternoon was slipping away, and Eric wanted to make one more stop so we reluctantly headed out aftering procuring a growler of pear for our DD to enjoy at home! The last stop of the day was at the Silverback Distillery in Afton. The owner was behind the bar and chatted at length with Eric about their distilling equipment and why it allowed them to produce a smooth,superior product. To be honest, it was all a little fuzzy to me (for a couple reasons…) but you couldn’t argue with the product: we tasted one of the most unique gins we’d ever had, and the smoothest grain spirits either of us had ever tasted. It was a great end to a fun afternoon! We can’t wait to make a few more visits along the trail the next time we’re in Virginia.