Here I am again, talking about Harrisonburg; Below the Surface. A blog where we talk about aspects of Harrisonburg that is not always immediately visible to our locals and visitors alike. Last time I wrote about the wide diversity of locally owned restaurants. This time I am visiting an aspect of Harrisonburg that is rapidly becoming not only “Above the Surface” but an important draw to the many guests to our wonderful city. Of course I am talking about the Wines and Steins, our blossoming wineries and craft beer industry.
There are two vineyards within ten miles of downtown Harrisonburg, both of which are part of the 170 mile Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail http://shenandoahvalleywinetrail.com/. These two operations are family vineyards, CrossKeys Vineyards are operated by the Bakhtiar family and Bluestone Vineyards are operated by the Hartman family.
CrossKeys Vineyards are in Mt Crawford and their wines have been the recipient of numerous awards, including Bronze, Silver, Gold and Double Gold showing the quality of their grapes and the skill of their winemaker. The vineyard has a great tasting room and bistro as well as facilities for private functions. The family commitment to the vineyard is an aspect that makes its focus on hospitality come to life. The logo for CrossKeys are two gold crossed keys which not only represents hospitality but helps serve as a daily reminder that they are in business to provide an excellent experience for every guest. http://www.crosskeysvineyards.com/
Just a few miles from CrossKeys in Bridgewater, VA., you will find the Hartman family vineyards, Bluestone Vineyards. The wines at Bluestone Vineyards have also participated in many wine competitions. I learned that wines are judged on point scales and so there may be many silver or gold medals given but each is a symbol of the quality of the wines. Bluestone Vineyards have had wines receive bronze, silver, gold, double gold and platinum. This past June Bluestone received two Gold medals, a silver and bronze at the 35th Annual San Francisco International Wine Competition. http://bluestonevineyard.com/
We in the ‘Burg are indeed fortunate to have two such prominent and distinguished wineries so close to downtown.
For you Craft Beer enthusiasts we are also able to boast local craft breweries that have truly distinguished themselves as outstanding in the industry doing well in competitions and building large followings from around the region and beyond.
The first of the current craft breweries to make its home in Harrisonburg is once again a family affair, Brothers Craft Brewing. The Shifflett brothers have made their mark on the town and beyond as visitors from all over the country have come to Harrisonburg to be a part of one of the special events that have been sponsored by Brothers Craft Brewing. Originally known as Three Brothers Brewing they recognize that their band of brothers is much larger than three and so they rebranded themselves to reflect their extended family. They specialize is creating “unique craft beers that emphasize and support our community.” If you are craft beer drinker then you can’t miss a visit to Brothers Craft Brewing. https://brotherscraftbrewing.com/
Pale Fire Brewing Co. also has its roots in Harrisonburg and James Madison University, and though while not family they are also a tight band that has really made an impact upon the Harrisonburg community. The reputation of their tap room and the hospitality shown makes the Pale Fire craft brewery a place where more and more locals and visitors are gravitating. You are welcome to borrow from their tap room library, bring in your own picnic and taste some excellent craft beers with some very creative blends. When you visit the tap room, grab a growler and take your favorite home with you. http://www.palefirebrewing.com/
There are two other craft breweries in town, one based out of Charlottesville, VA., Three Notch’d Brewing Company which, in recognizing the discerning craft beer drinkers in Harrisonburg, opened this store as a market for new brews and to test their flagship brews. http://threenotchdbrewing.com/ and a new comer to the area is Wolfe Street Brewing.
Suffice it to say that there are great opportunities for the Wine and Craft Beer lover to experience local products that have done amazingly on a larger scale than Harrisonburg and we as a community are stronger through their presence in our area. Harrisonburg, like all of Virginia is “For Lovers” but we here in the ‘Burg have more to love with these great wineries and breweries in our midst.