Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet, Virginia

“He was a wise man who invented beer.” –Attributed to Plato, but more than likely not said by him (nevertheless, we agree) We write this on a frigid day in the Shenandoah Valley. Snow is falling (even though we’re only a few weeks away from spring), and the winter weather is making us especially thankful for a toasty bed & breakfast with a crackling fireplace in the Great Room. It may be cold outside, but you can warm up your insides with a taste of local brew. One particular brewery of note is Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet, VA. Starr Hill has provided its patrons with the “Gift of Great Beer” at the hands of Master Brewer Mark Thompson. For Mark, the brewing process has always been a form of art, and each brew is as unique and interesting as its name. For example, you’ve got the Psycho Killer, a Wee Heavy Ale with a roasted malty flavor and undertones of caramel and chocolate. Then there is the Northern Light, an IPA with a citric bitterness and an intense hop and a smooth finish. As with the other nearby breweries, Starr Hill is also an award-winning establishment, having earned gold for its Jomo Vienna Lager, its Dark Starr Stout, and its Festive Amber Lager along with a host of other awards and achievements. Will you find the Gift of Great Beer at Starr Hill? We answer with an enthusiastic “yes!” (Note: On February 16, 2015, Mark Thompson announced his retirement from Starr Hill after 16 years with them. He will certainly be missed, but we have no doubt that the brewery will carry on the Gift of Great Beer as per Mark’s vision.) Starr Hill is one of several stops along the Brew Ridge Trail, so next time you’re resting and relaxing at the Iris Inn, add these libation destinations to your itinerary.