01 August 2023

Breweries in Norfolk

Breweries have become beloved neighborhood pubs, and lucky for us, Norfolk’s brewery scene has taken off! With multiple breweries in Norfolk, each serving up something a little different, there’s a brew to match every mood. Here’s a guide to exploring the breweries in Norfolk.

Afterglow Brewing

The newest brewery to hit Norfolk’s sipping scene, Afterglow is a fun, family-friendly/pet-friendly brewery crafting delicious beers and seltzers in all styles. They brew with state-of-the-art BrewHa equipment from Canada and are the first brewery to use this system in the state of Virginia. They also pride themselves on recycling their used grain to local farmers in the Hampton Roads area. Check them out in Norfolk’s up-and-coming Railyard.

Armed Forces Brewing Co.

Located at 211 W. 24th Street in the former location of O’Connor Brewing Company, Armed Forces manufactures beers that tribute the service of military members.

Benchtop Craft Brewing Company

Located in Chelsea, Benchtop offers some of the most unique beer combinations you may ever sip on. Owner Eric Tennant started his career as a food scientist but left his role to further his creativity in the form of beer. Benchtop uses Norwegian yeast which ferments at a much higher temperature allowing them to produce beer faster. They’re one of the only breweries in the country to utilize this method, and it allows them to try new recipes more frequently. Just how unique are their beer creations? We suggest visiting the brewery for yourself to find out, but to tease your taste buds, their Quick Pickle beer is a gosa created with carrots, cucumbers and sea salt.

Bold Mariner Brewing Company

Located in an old bank building in East Beach/Ocean View, this veteran-owned craft brewery will have you feeling like a local in no time as their welcoming demeanor is contagious! Housed inside Bold Mariner is Bar-Q, a local favorite barbecue spot that specializes in beef brisket and craft scratch sausages. Don’t stress; Bold Mariner’s revolving draft selections are equally as flavorful as the food. Frogman Lager is their fan favorite and has won numerous awards.

COVA Brewing Co. 

COVA Brewing is nestled in the heart of East Beach/ Ocean View and is owned by two local families whose passions brought this project to life. COVA’s building was formerly an auto repair shop but has been beautifully transformed into a coastal influenced brew-house, offering both craft beers and coffee. Cedar slatted counters imitate beachy dune fencing, and the color schemes throughout reflect the palette and sheen of sea glass. COVA has 14 taps dedicated to signature craft brews and weekly new releases, whether you’re looking for something hoppy, dark, light or sour. If beer’s not your thing, they also have premium sourced wines available. 

Their slogan, “there’s always something brewing at COVA…” not only refers to the frothy liquids that fill their fermenters but also their tasty craft coffees. Coffeehouse by day and brewery at night, COVA has mastered quenching thirsts no matter the time of day. What’s truly unique is that you can pour your own beer with their self serve taps from copper handles, chosen for their antibacterial properties.

Elation Brewing

Elation Brewing brings great happiness, hence the name, to Norfolk’s Larchmont neighborhood. Here you’ll find black leather chairs and high top tables made of reclaimed bowling alley lanes. The bar itself is created from beams more than 400 years old taken from a demolished Suffolk Peanut building. As much as you like the architecture, you’re going to love the beer. Larchmont Lager, Notice This, Rose Gose and Highland Park Hazy are all part of their flagships, but rotating taps include guest beers from around the world, ciders, meads and even four wines on tap.

What goes better with beer than pizza? Not much, especially considering it’s Bakehouse pizza. A trusty staple for crusty breads and pizzas, the Bakehouse at Chelsea opened in 2014 and built a following of customers impressed by their high quality, fresh, organic baked goods. Now the Bakehouse at Elation provides those same elements to wow crowds in a brand new atmosphere, with beer as the best pairing ever.

Maker’s Craft Brewery

@_addyskitchen_, Instagram

Enjoy local brews and Emerson cigars at Maker’s Craft Brewery at their onsite cigar lounge. Set in a historic 1906 burlap bag factory, this brewery incorporates the old with the new. The bar is made from reclaimed wood while brick walls line the interior and old cobblestones (found during construction) decorate their outdoor patio. While others went the route of extreme flavors and high ABVs, Maker’s focused on smooth beers best enjoyed with friends. All the grains from beer production are repurposed and sent to a local Virginia Beach farm to provide feed for the cows. Maker’s also features food trucks, live music and other events and pool tables on site.

Rip Rap Brewing Company 

In Norfolk’s Railroad District lives the Chesapeake Bay-themed microbrewery, Rip Rap Brewing Company. The bay theme is carried into the beers with names like Breakwater and Luffing Sail. Their enticing and ever-changing lineup is created in small batches, meaning once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Picnic tables and board games fill the brewery with a mural of coastal waterways paying tribute to the owners’ Coast Guard roots. 

Smartmouth Brewing Company

You might have heard of this Norfolk-born brewery. After all, they made national news for their Saturday Morning Marshmallow IPA (a Lucky Charms-inspired beer). Located in the Chelsea District, Smartmouth’s tasting room is the perfect place to sip on some favorite brews like their Alter Ego Saison, Game On IPA, Notch 9 Double IPA or Safety Dance Pilsner. Food trucks frequent the brewery, or you can find delicious Norfolk restaurants such as Orapax and the Bakehouse at Chelsea only steps away.

The Veil Brewing Co.

A Richmond favorite opened its doors in 2019 to their second establishment, this time in the heart of Norfolk’s up-and-coming Railroad District. This three-story brewery features taps on all floors and a rooftop balcony overlooking the city. The minimalistic and modern interior plays well to the neon art on display and garage doors that open up into the community.

Serving highly sought after beers without the long lines that normally come with it, this spacious and energetic brewery welcomes guests to experience handcrafted beers with unique flavor profiles on draft or to grab them canned or bottled to-go. With a full kitchen by Codex Chef Ian Hock, you’ll find mouth-watering double stacked burgers and delicious tacos to go alongside the beer of your choice.

Brew Hop Pass

Sip your way through Norfolk with our Brew Hop pass, which makes it easier than ever to explore the local craft beer scene. Passes are delivered through text and email and are instantly redeemable!

You May Also Like

Norfolk Juneteenth Events

When Juneteenth became officially recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, it marked a pivotal moment in African…
Learn More

Best Outdoor Meeting Venues in Norfolk, VA

Norfolk’s outdoor venues have always been a part of our city’s appeal. Finding…
Learn More

Your Guide to Norfolk’s Glass Art

Norfolk is known for many greats—history, seafood and vibrant culture among them. One attraction…
Learn More

Bikeable Norfolk

Biking through Norfolk, VA has never been easier! With bike lanes, rentable bikes and bike repair stations through Downtown and the…
Learn More