Riverview Park & 412 Brewery

Pittsburgh, PA

Sometimes winter hiking is beautiful like our winter wonderland hike last week. Other times….not so much. This past weekend, we encountered everything from deep mud to extremely icy trails at Riverview Park. It’s really important to consider all the factors when venturing out in the winter and remember that just because it’s a bit warmer, some trails might still be very icy. There are many miles of trails to explore at this park and we’ll definitely have to be back in nicer weather. Despite some dicey trails, we still had fun exploring this city park and warmed up rather nicely afterward at 412 Brewery in the North Side.

THE HIKE: Riverview Park Loop

Length: Variable (We did 3.6 miles)
Elevation Gain: ~500 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 1.5 hours
Trail use: Hiking, mountain biking, leashed pets
Parking: Large lots throughout park
H&H: 3/5

Riverview Park is a large 260 acre park in the North Side of Pittsburgh. It was created in 1889 which means it actually predates Allegheny City’s incorporation into the City of Pittsburgh. Much of what we now know as the North Side used to be a separate municipality called Allegheny City until it was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907. Today Riverview Park is a refreshing greenspace tucked into the busy Northside neighborhoods. There are wooded hiking trails, a pool, pavilions, a visitor’s center, and ballfields. But probably the most well known feature of the park is the Allegheny Observatory. This unique building was erected in 1859 as an educational facility by a group of wealthy industrialists but evenly it was donated to the University of Pittsburgh (then Western University of Pennsylvania) to be used for research. The current structure has stood since 1912. Both the Observatory building and Riverview Park itself are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

For more information about the Park’s history and facilities, check out this cool interactive map: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/ba9accd3b29f4ab5b50a689bd594e082

This park clearly has a long history and it is much beloved by local residents. Even on the freezing cold day that we ventured out, we couldn’t believe how many people were still out and about getting their exercise in. I guess there are other people as crazy as we are! This was my first time at Riverview Park, so we decided to park up by the Observatory so we always knew what landmark we needed to head back towards. There are many maps of the park and very good cell signal so we weren’t concerned about getting lost. However, we did encounter a lot of icy trails which kept rerouting our original plans. I would highly highly suggest getting some crampons if you plan on doing a lot of winter hiking. Remember that even if it’s a bit warmer and you don’t see snow in your yard, trails could still be icy on the less sunny side of the hills. Although we did have some fun sliding down one of the trails on our butts, I wouldn’t exactly recommend this technique! 

Overall we did about 3.5 miles in Riverview Park although we could have done a lot more if the weather had cooperated. In addition to the ice and mud, a delightful hailstorm started so we booked it to our car. I would really like to come back here in the spring because it seemed like it would be such a beautiful place. Despite being in the middle of an urban area, so many of the trails felt very woodsy. The park is also located on a hill so there’s plenty of elevation changes to make for an interesting hike. I also like that there are some paved paths for anyone that’s not up to the natural paths or has a stroller or wheelchair. I also definitely want to return for a tour of the Observatory! J is a science nerd who loves astronomy so we’ll definitely be back for one of their stargazing nights. 

Also, once you’re done hiking, stop by Father & Son Bakers in Observatory hill for a sweet reward for your hike. They do donuts, apple fritters, muffins, and every dessert you can think of!

THE BEER: 412 Brewery

Address: 847 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233
Distance from Trail Head: 3.6 miles, 10 mins
Website: https://www.facebook.com/412brewery/
Food?: BYOF
Details: Dog Friendly & Outdoor Seating
H&H Rating: 5/5

There are so many breweries in the North Side that you could pair with a hike in Riverview Park. This time we went with 412 Brewery, but you could also check out Allegheny City Brewing, Four Points Brewing Taproom, Bier’s Pub & Mexican War Streets Brewery, Southern Tier Brewery Pittsburgh, or even Penn Brewery. Whew, how does one even choose?! Well we remembered liking 412 Brewery when it first opened for it’s great beer and cozy bar space. They also have a small outdoor patio for when the weather gets nice. 

412 Brewery is based out of McKees Rocks where they make all of their brews. You have to come to the North Side though to get the fresh beer since their production site doesn’t have a taproom. Although the brewers have been producing since 2016, this taproom only opened in 2019 and has been a popular spot ever since. 412 Brewery faced some ownership changes in 2019, which brought in a solid team with tons of industry experience and ties to other local breweries. Needless to say, 412 Brewery knows their stuff! 

Just like the last time we were here, the place gave off a cozy, friendly vibe. They might not have the biggest taplist, but everything is delicious. Both of the New England IPAs were perfectly juicy. I also really liked the Island Escapism Sour which tasted like a margarita! It definitely helped me forget for a bit that it was February in Pittsburgh. 

All in all, I highly recommend 412 Brewery! And definitely check out the North Side in general. Look out in the future for an urban hike around this area. So many breweries and so little time!

Our Beer:

  • Thicc Fingers – Dessert Stout – 7.2%
  • Pineapple Cloud – IPA – 6%
  • Island Escapism – Sour – 5.5%
  • Cheddar Goblin – New England IPA
  • Green Candlesticks – New England IPA – 5.5%

SUM UP: Riverview Park is located in the North Side of Pittsburgh and is managed by the City’s Park Rangers and Department of Public Works. It is a popular green space that sits right in the middle of an urban neighborhood. There are plenty of trails for all skill levels, including paved and natural paths. Some of the wooded paths have varied elevation gains and are narrow at times. Afterward, head to Western Ave to go to 412 Brewery where you’ll be able to relax in a taproom with a neighborhood vibe. There’s no kitchen so dogs are welcome! Plus there’s plenty of nearby restaurants to pick up some takeout. This is a great combo for some Hikes & Hops in the city limits!

Annapolis Waterworks & Forward Brewing

Annapolis, MD

J and I are super lucky to have an awesome hike and brew combo right in our backyard! It’s so nice to do a quick hike after work instead of having to wait for the weekend for a big excursion. The Waterworks trail is perfect for any length of hike. We usually do between 3-4 miles but the full loop is over 10 miles! Once you’ve gotten enough outdoors time on the trails, warm up at Forward Brewing, a small nanobrewery in the Eastport neighborhood. Come ready for a delicious menu and thirst-quenching brews! 

THE HIKE: Annapolis Waterworks Trail

Length: 10.3 miles full loop (We did ~4 miles)
Elevation Gain: 1000 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time:  4.5-5 hours
Trail use: Hiking, leashed pets, mountain biking
Parking: Park off Housley road, can fill up
H&H: 4/5

It took us a few months of living in Annapolis to finally venture out to the Waterworks trail. I was a bit intimidated at first because there wasn’t a lot of information online about it and it seemed pretty confusing. Well I’m going to dispel some of the misleading info out there so you can enjoy these trails! So first of all, the Waterworks park is a specific park in Annapolis that requires a permit to use. BUT you do not need a permit to hike the trails! I repeat, you do not need a permit! These trails run near the Waterworks park but they don’t actually go into the facility. However, there are parking areas that are permit only. The best place to park is on Housley road. There is a pull off for about 20 cars on the side of the road. Or you can park in the large shopping center lot and walk over. But you didn’t hear that from me! Be aware that the parking lot off Defense Highway is permit-only so don’t park there! The section of trail accessible from Housley is the southern section. If you want to access the northern section, the only way I know of is to get dropped off or bike ride to the trailhead on Honeysuckle Lane. Do not park here as I’ve heard the residents won’t hesitate to have you towed. So really, your best bet is to park at Housley Road. 

Okay so now that we know where to park, let’s chat a bit about the trails themselves. These trails were built by MORE (Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts) and are maintained by their volunteers. Since MORE is an organization of mountain bikers, these trails are more geared toward that activity, although they are open to hikers as well. Just don’t be surprised if you encounter cyclists on the trail. Remember to share the trail! The full trail system comprises several different trails that all interconnect (Housley, Missing Link, Solar Park, Silopanna, Honeysuckle, and Duke of Gloucester). For our hike, we took the Housley trail and used the Missing Link connector to take us to the Solar Park Loop. Overall, we did about 4.3 miles! I’m so used to hiking on the weekend that I almost forgot to turn around with enough time to get back to our car before dark. We were definitely hoofing it at the end! 

I really like these trails and I definitely enjoyed my experience of a winter hike. During the warm months, these trails can get very busy. But we hardly saw anyone on a Friday afternoon! Be aware that sometimes these trails can get muddy. Check the trail monitor at the trailhead to see if walking on the trails is recommended that day and use your discretion. We only encountered a few muddy spots, most of the trail was still frozen when we went! The only section I didn’t enjoy of this hike was the first half of the solar loop. It circled through an open field full of solar panels and while not exactly the nature I was looking for, it was actually the wind whipping by that I hated. Thankfully the later half of the loop took us back in the woods. This was surprisingly beautiful landscape for being smack in the middle of a town. I hope that eventually more parking is added to make these trails more accessible.

THE BEER: Forward Brewery

Address: 418 Fourth St, Annapolis, MD 21403
Distance from Trail Head:  5.3 miles, 15 mins 
Website: http://www.forwardeastport.com/
Food?: Full Menu
H&H Rating:  5/5

Guys I love Forward Brewing so much. There I said it! Despite the setback and challenges of opening during a pandemic, they’ve been killing it! Every time we visit, they are hopping and putting out consistently delicious beers. And just recently they’ve finally opened their indoor seating so we’ve finally been able to enjoy their cozy space. 

Forward was started by two Annapolis natives and is very focused on their local neighborhood.  I love how much of a local vibe this place has. In my hometown, nearly every neighborhood has their local brewery and I love to see that spreading! Unlike a lot of Maryland breweries that are in business/ industrial parks, Forward is tucked into the Eastport neighborhood in a converted house that has been in the owner’s family for over 30 years. There’s only street parking nearby so it’s pretty common to see people walking over to the brewery from their homes (or boats!). Be warned, Forward is pretty small on the inside so don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a table. Sometimes they have outdoor seating too but it varies. 

On this visit, we were excited to sample some of the new winter offerings. Dark beers reigned supreme with our favorites being the Chupez Stout and the Chaleur De Lenore Belgian Quad. The Chupez had just the barest hint of spice with a very smooth chocolatey finish. It was so satisfying after a chilly hike in the woods! We were also really impressed with the Belgian Quad and were happy to see that it was a collab with another of our favorite breweries, True Repite. We don’t often get out to Rockville so it was great to see our local pairing up with them. Honorable mention to the 2 Birds 1 Scone which was a cherry rhubarb sour with vanilla and spices which made it perfect for the chilly weather. 

Another plug for why I love this place so much: they are highly invested in the health and future of the Chesapeake Bay. They’ve launched a campaign called the Momentum Initiative in conjunction with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in which they plant enough oysters to filter the equivalent of the water used to brew their beer. Fun Fact, oysters are key to clean water in the Bay because a single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day! I think it’s so important to give back to your community and I love that Forward is doing just that! If you’re ever in the Annapolis area, be sure to check them out! 

Our Beer:

  • Chupez Beer – Mole Oatmeal Stout – 6.8%
  • Eastport Wassail – Winter Warmer – 7.5%
  • 2 Birds 1 Scone – Sour – 6.5%
  • Silent is the Night – Imperial Black IPA – 8.6%
  • Doppelbock – German Dark Lager – 8%
  • Chaleur De Lenore – Belgian Quad – 9.2% (Collab with True Respite)

SUM UP: Annapolis Waterworks is a large trail system in the Annapolis area for mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners. All together it is about 10.5 miles but there are plenty of smaller loops to do. The best place to park is off Housley Road but it is a popular area and can fill up. The natural trail is full of ups and downs that keep it interesting but not too difficult. Keep an eye on the weather and don’t risk hiking on a wet trail! After your outing, head into the Eastport neighborhood to check out Forward Brewing. This cozy brewpub sits in a converted home and offers a full menu alongside carefully made brews. Keep an eye on the ABV, some of their taps pack a punch in the best way.

Gunpowder Falls State Park & Inverness Brewery

Parkton, Maryland

There’s nothing I love more than a long hike in the fall! The trails are less crowded and I love to see the landscape changing. For this hike we headed up the Gunpowder Falls and did the Big Loop in the Hereford area. This hike was the perfect reset for me. Sometimes all you need is a quiet walk in the woods to rejuvenate! We still didn’t quite hit peak foliage colors, but the soft yellows were still beautiful.

THE HIKE: Gunpowder Falls Big Loop

Trail Map: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/maryland/bunker-hill-big-loop

Length: 7.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 691 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time:  3 hours
Trail use: Hiking, leashed pets, horseback riding
Parking: Various road pulloffs along the loop
H&H: 4/5

Gunpowder Falls State Park spans across Harford and Baltimore counties making it one of Maryland’s largest state parks. It covers nearly 18,000 acres along the Gunpowder River. This particular hike follows a 7 mile loop in the Hereford area of the park. At times, several trails intersect your path so it’s best to have a map pulled up. These trails are open to hiking, biking, and even horseback riding so make sure to share the trail! When we went, we hardly saw anyone but there was a lovely group of horseback riders that we chatted with. Remember when coming up behind horses, try to make some noise to alert your presence. You never want to spook the horse! 

Be warned that some parts did get a little overgrown. At one point there were so many trees down along the path that we had to do a bit of bushwhacking! Always be careful when going off trail though and only venture when necessary. For me, the scrambling over trees and through narrow sections made it fun, but I can see some people finding this frustrating. Also a nice plus, this trail passes a bathroom at one of the trailheads which is always nice for longer hikes!

I’ve rated this trail as moderate due to multiple creek crossings and a few difficult inclines. I love stream crossings but J is not a fan. I was very impressed with him for tackling the log crossing over a stream! But don’t worry, the stream was small enough that you didn’t need to cross the log; we just did it for fun! We also saw some good mushrooms along the way. J absolutely loves fall hikes for all the little fungi hiding under leaves. 

The only thing I didn’t like about this hike was a small section where you had to cross a road and then go up the street to continue on the trail. It’s a fairly large street so be very careful when making this crossing! Overall, this was a very peaceful hike, perfect for a crisp fall day! I’d definitely come back and do this one again.

THE BEER: Inverness Brewery

Address: 16200 Markoe Rd, Monkton, MD 21111
Distance from Trail Head:  6.5 miles, 10 mins 
Website: http://www.invernessbrewing.com/
Food?: Food Trucks onsite, no outside food
H&H Rating: 4/5

Inverness Brewing is a large farm brewery in Monkton, Maryland. It opened in 2018 making it the first farm brewery in Baltimore County. They’ve got everything you could want for a day out! There are two separate bar areas and sometimes even a beer cart outside! You’ll never go hungry with multiple food trucks onsite. There’s plenty of room for kids to run around and even a bocce court! When we visited there was live music in the barn and lots of families picnicking on the lawn. It was such a great atmosphere. 

Inverness proudly grows its own hops which we love to see! Farm breweries really are the best because it always feels like you’re joining the owners at their home for the day. Inverness is full of family heirlooms and handmade furniture, including a really impressive swinging bar in the main barn made by one of the owners. There’s also a lower level to the barn that opens up to outdoor seating with firepits. Seriously if you can’t find a nice place to sit here, there’s something wrong with you! We also peaked into the Stall Bar, a small extension of the main bar where you can peek into the brewing facility. True to its name, the owners converted an old stable into the brewing area. Talk about repurposing! 

I was disappointed at first to see that no outside food was allowed. I really like to bring my own snacks so I don’t have to spend a lot. BUT we decided to split a pizza from the food truck and I’m glad we made an exception because it was delicious! We had to scarf it down pretty quick though because the flies were out in fll force. We finished out our afternoon by sitting in the loft of the main barn and enjoying the live music. My favorite beer of the beer was definitely the oktoberfest. It was the perfect compliment to the crisp fall day. J really liked the Rye on a Buffalo which was a barrel-aged Nordic Rye. I’m not a huge fan of rye flavors but I’m glad he liked it! Overall, this was a really great brewery and I’m sure we’ll be back!

Our Beer:

  • Maerzen/Oktoberfest – Marzen – 6.2%
  • Barn Beer Porter – Porter – 5.5%
  • Breezin – Session IPA – 4.6%
  • Rye on a Buffalo – Rye Beer – 6.8%

SUM UP: Gunpowder Falls State Park is a very large park north of Baltimore that spans across two counties. The Big Loop trail is located in the Hereford area and you can park off the road at the trailhead. You won’t encounter much traffic on this peaceful hike but be prepared for stream crossings, some overgrown trails, and climbing over downed trees. Bring a map, as the intersecting trails can get confusing! After this peaceful romp through the woods, head to Inverness Brewing, a farm brewery about 10 minutes away. There’s plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, with several onsite food trucks. The beer is very good and the farm setting makes for a great place to unwind. Be sure to check out all the antique and homemade furniture throughout the brewery. And, of course, sit back and enjoy the countryside with a cold brew!

Gambrill State Park & Midnight Run Brewing

Frederick, Maryland

It’s finally fall in Maryland! We’re seeing a very gradual foliage season in my area, so we decided to head northeast in search of color. One of my favorite areas of Maryland is Frederick County. There are so many great places to hike and the breweries are nothing to sneeze at either! For this combo, we went to Gambrill State Park to walk along the Yellow Trail. True to its name, we saw plenty of yellow hues in the trees! It still seemed to be a week or two away from peak colors though. The crisp fall air was still delightful and we warmed up afterward at Midnight Run Brewery in Frederick, whose boozy beers warmed us right up!

THE HIKE: Gambrill State Park Loop

Our route is highlighted in pink

Length: 5.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 686ft
Difficulty: Easy
Time:  2 hours
Trail use: Hiking, Biking, leashed pets
Parking: Limited parking at trailhead. $3 per vehicle for MD plates, $5 for out of state
Map: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/maryland/gambrill-state-park-loop?mobileMap=false&ref=sidebar-static-map
H&H Rating: 3/5

Gambrill State Park is a popular hiking area just outside of Frederick, Maryland. We wanted to do the Gambrills Park Loop on Alltrails so we parked at the Lower Lot area off of Gambrill Park Road. This lot can fill up but we learned that there are a few other parking lots along the way that you can use without adding any mileage. You’d just start your loop at a different point! Also be sure to have cash; you just put your fee in an envelope and place it in the mail slot. Or might I suggest the yearly state park pass? It’s only $75 and absolutely worth it if you hike a lot like us. 

For the most part, we followed the yellow blazed trip for this entire loop. For the first mile or so it runs along the main park road so that wasn’t my favorite. It was hard to enjoy nature with cars whizzing beside you! Thankfully, the trail eventually led deeper into the woods and we were able to relax. While this trail might not have the vistas that its neighbors Catoctin or Cunningham Falls offer, it was still a lovely walk through the woods. It was a peaceful trail with little foot traffic. Although it was popular with mountain bikers so stay alert as they can sometimes be going pretty fast. 

This was a great trail for mushroom hunting. We saw several different varieties and lots of fungi and lichen on the large rocks along the trail. J particularly loves mushrooms, although he wasn’t a fan of some gross slimy ones we found! Overall, we had a nice time on the trail but I didn’t think it was worth our long drive. It definitely seemed like more of a local’s trail. If I was making the trip out to Frederick, I would choose something with more views.

Dat stratigraphy baby

THE BEER: Midnight Run Brewing

Address: 912 N East St, Frederick, MD 21701
Distance from Trail Head:  8.8 miles, 16 mins 
Website: https://www.midnightrunbrewing.com/
Food?: BYOF
H&H Rating: 4/5

We’ve been to Frederick a million times but somehow we had never been to Midnight Run! They’re in a small strip mall just on the outskirts of the historic area and very close to Rockwell Brewery (another fav of ours). Although there are so many breweries in Frederick, Midnight Run sets themselves apart by creating beers that really pack a punch. We’re talking barrel-aged stouts, double IPAs, and Belgian Strong Ales. This is a place for high ABV lovers! Thankfully, we packed a DIY charcuterie board (thanks Aldi!) so we were ready to sample. Since the ABVs are so high, Midnight Run offers 8oz, 12oz, and 16oz pours. We stuck with 8oz pours so we could taste a bunch of beers without needing an uber home! Our favorite of the day was the One Bad Mutha, a bourbon barrel-aged Barleywine which made me want to sit in front of a roaring fire at a rustic lodge. Honorable mention goes to the Missionary brown ale, which was deliciously malty. These were exactly the fall beers my heart wanted! I only wish that the ABVs were a little easier to handle since we had over an hour drive home. But I gotta give it to them for finding their niche; it’s hard to stand out in a small town with 10 breweries! Those Frederickians don’t know how lucky they are!

Our Beer:

  • Double Darkness – Imperial Stout – 10%
  • One Bad Mutha – Barleywine – 10.8%
  • Missionary – Brown Ale – 7.5%
  • Cyber-Tech Dialect – Double IPA- 7.9%

SUM UP: Gambrills State Park is located in Frederick County, minutes away from historic downtown Frederick. It’s a quiet park on the Catoctin Mountain Ridge, although it doesn’t have quite as many grand vistas as the other parks. The yellow trail is a popular trail for hiking and biking but there are several parking lots along the route. Make sure to pay the per car fee which helps to maintain this park for everyone! Our route was about 5 miles long with only a few elevation changes. The crisp fall air coupled with the just-changing leaves made for a lovely afternoon hike. Afterwards, we visited Midnight Run Brewing in Frederick. They specialize in unapologetically boozy beers with unique flavors. Make sure to bring some snacks ‘cause you won’t want to stop sampling these potent brews!

Raven Rocks & Bear Chase Brewery

Bluemont, Virginia

We’ve got another birthday hike for you! My birthday is at the very beginning of October and to celebrate I wanted to try out a new hike and brew combo (big surprise). We went all the way out to Bluemont, Virginia to do Raven Rocks along the Appalachian Trail and to stop at Bear Chase Brewery right across the road. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate! We had excellent weather, good beer, and a fantastic hike. Cheers to another year around the globe.

THE HIKE: Raven Rocks via Appalachian Trail

Length: 5.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,535 ft
Difficulty: Difficult
Time: 2.5-3 hours
Trail use: Hiking, leashed pets
Parking: small lot so plan accordingly
H&H: 5/5

Raven Rocks is a popular section of the Appalachian Trail in Bluemont, Virginia. It was a bit out of the way for us Maryland folks, but totally worth it! We started at the trailhead right off Harry Byrd Parkway/ VA 7. Although we were lucky to snag a spot, this parking lot is pretty small and there is NO STREET PARKING. You will get towed! As an alternative, you can park at the Snickers Gap Lot which adds 0.4 miles at either end of the hike. I was uneasy about parking here since it requires walking across the divided highway. If you park there please use EXTREME caution when crossing the road! 

Most of this trail is fairly moderate, but there are a couple really rocky spots combined with elevation increases, so I’ve bumped it up to a Difficult rating. This was definitely a hike where I wished I had a walking stick or hiking poles at times. I really loved the challenge though! Sometimes a nice nature walk hits the spot, but other times I love scrambling over rocks and getting my heart rate up! Also I loved seeing all of the mushrooms and acorns along the trail. Despite the warm October we’ve been having, it felt a little like fall! 

After a lot of winding up and down the trail (they don’t call this the Roller-Coaster for nothing) we made it to the overlook. It was so impressive and such a peaceful place to stop. We’ve seen a lot of rocky overlooks during our hikes, but I never get tired of them! This was quite a roomy overlook so there’s plenty of room even on a busy day. We relaxed for a while and eventually decided to head back down. Make sure you have really good shoes for this hike because some of the downhill is more difficult than going up! Close to three hours after we started, we made it back to our car. We had worked up quite a thirst and were so lucky that Bear Chase Brewery was so close! 

THE BEER: Bear Chase Brewery

Address: 33665 Bear Chase Ln, Bluemont, VA 20135
Distance from Trail Head: 0.9 miles, 3 mins
Website: https://bearchasebrew.com/
Food?: Full Menu, No outside food
H&H Rating: 4/5

Bear Chase Brewery is located off VA 7 and is the perfect stop for hikers. In fact, the AT runs right behind their facility so you could add to your Raven Rocks hike to go to the Bear’s Den overlook. Or even further to Buzzard Rocks. The possibilities are endless! We stuck with Raven Rocks and then drove to the brewery since I really wasn’t into crossing that huge highway. 

Bear Chase Brewery is a farm brewery located on a massive 35 acre property that offers plenty of places to relax with a handcrafted brew. For a pretty penny, you can even rent out the Bear Chase Manor for you and 13 of your closest friends! There’s also plenty of on-site restaurants and food trucks so you’ll never go hungry! Just note that no outside food is allowed. We weren’t expecting this and had to eat our packed lunch later on! We really enjoyed the views and atmosphere at this brewery. As an apartment dweller, I relished being able to kick back in an adirondack chair and take in the rolling hills as I sipped a decent beer. We only had one round here since we had a long drive ahead of us and we both thought the Mornin’ Sunshine was the best of the two. It had a really refreshing hop taste that was balanced by something fruity, guava maybe? Definitely hit the spot after our hike. Overall, I liked this brewery but I thought it toed the line of being, dare I say, too commercial? It felt a bit like one of those places that puts more into the location and the atmosphere than their actual product. But hey, I only tried two beers so I can’t be certain on that! 

Our Beer:

  • Mornin’ Sunshine – American IPA – 6.7%
  • Oktoberfest Marzen – Marzen – 6%

SUM UP: Raven Rocks is a popular section of the Appalachian Trail in Bluemont Virginia. It has a small lot which fills up quickly. There is another parking location but it involves crossing a divided highway so be cautious. The trail itself is very rocky with lots of ups and downs. Wear good shoes and bring plenty of water. The 5.7 mile out-and-back trail has a turn around point at a beautiful overlook that’s a perfect place to have a snack and relax. After your hike, check out Bear Chase Brewery, a newer farm brewery only 0.9 miles up the road. It’s a huge facility with lots of food options and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. May I suggest the Adirondack chairs overlooking the valley? If you have time, there are so many other breweries to check out in the area! We’ll definitely be back.