Starr Hill: One More Connection Between Beer and the Outdoors

starr hill roanoke brewery craft beer

Beer and the outdoors just seem to go together. The region’s outdoor amenities have been cited multiple times by breweries choosing the Roanoke Region as a place to do business.

The latest in this line of announcements is Starr Hill, a Charlottesville-based brewery, which is opening a Pilot Brewery and Side Stage at The Bridges in Roanoke.

It is the first satellite taproom for Starr Hill and will feature a 5-barrel brewing system with a capacity of making at least 50 limited release batches each year. It is slated to open this fall.

“Roanoke is going to be a great fit for Starr Hill with our shared history and culture of experiencing music and life outdoors in the beautiful Blue Ridge,” said Jack Goodall, marketing manager for Starr Hill Brewery.

The brewery is just one more in a string of craft beer successes for the Roanoke Region. The Roanoke Regional Partnership helped lure Deschutes Brewery and Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits to the region. Both will open East Coast headquarters with taprooms and distribution here.

The region is ripe for smaller operations as well. In 2016, Twin Creeks Brewing opened in Vinton, while Chaos Mountain Brewing and Big Lick Brewing announced expansions. Established regional breweries such as Parkway Brewing, Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers, Sunken City, and Flying Mouse Brewery have also experienced growth.

From locations near the greenway or Appalachian Trail to label artwork that features regional outdoor hot spots to open air settings with live music, each of the breweries has some connection to the outdoors. These businesses are also major supporters of outdoor events, including the Blue Ridge Marathon and Roanoke GO Outside Festival.

A lot of what draws this type of business to the Roanoke Region is the beer culture and connection to the outdoors. It’s part of a wider economic development strategy that the Partnership has been pursuing for years.

Roanoke Named Top Adventure Town by Blue Ridge Outdoors

roanoke outdoor town

Top Adventure Town has a nice ring to it. And it’s a moniker we can use all year long. Roanoke is the 2016 Top Large Size Adventure Town winner in the annual ranking from Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.

The region beat out 47 other contenders and topped Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Baltimore, and Knoxville in head-to-head voting. What makes the win even more impressive is that Roanoke won the large town category, despite competition from locations more than double our size. (That just goes to show how much you love Roanoke!)

The region has earned top town honors four of the last five years as Top Mid-Sized Town in 2015, Best Trail Town in 2013 and was voted Best Mountain Town in 2012.

“Everyone else is really starting to notice what we’ve known about the Roanoke Region for a long time,” says Pete Eshelman with the Roanoke Outside Foundation. “There aren’t too many places with such easy access to such a diverse offering of outdoor recreation opportunities.”

Here’s what the magazine had to say about Roanoke:

“Drive through Roanoke tomorrow and you’ll see runners along the Roanoke River Greenway, cyclists heading up Mill Mountain, and kayaks on roof racks.”

A community invested in the outdoors is more than just good for the adventure-seeker. Recent research shows that communities like Roanoke that invest in invest in bike paths, parks and recreational assets, as well as in infrastructure that improves walkability have demonstrably better outcomes in important areas of health for their residents. (Learn more.)

Earning recognition from a publication such as Blue Ridge Outdoors helps, too! It helps spread what we already know in the Roanoke Region to people in other locations that may not know what a hopping outdoor spot this is.

You can read the full feature from Blue Ridge Outdoors in the November issue.

Don’t Miss GO Fest, Oct. 14-16

roanoke outdoor festival

Mark your calendars now: The Anthem Go Outside Festival, which connects outdoor enthusiasts to the things they love, is back for a sixth year Oct. 14-16 at River’s Edge.

The festival also got a boost from the state as recipient of a Virginia Tourism Corporation grant to help market the event to even more people. The outdoor festival, which is put on by Roanoke Outside and Roanoke Parks and Recreation, will receive $6,750 to leverage marketing initiatives for the event.

The festival includes more activities than you can do in three days – camping, biking, boating, races, geocaching, and more. The festival is along the Roanoke River Greenway, the perfect location for testing a new bike, pair of shoes, or even a kayak.

What’s unique about Go Fest is that it is not an ordinary sit-in-your-seat kind of event; it is designed to encourage participation and involvement. Walk around with the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, touch and try out gear, sample food and drink, listen and dance to live music, and have fun. It’s the type of event where you can come for the day, or bring the tent and stay all weekend.

And best of all, admission and demos are free. Plus there will be plenty of live music (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe is headlining Saturday night) and food, beverage and craft beer vendors.

Go Fest is an easy opportunity to try new activities or test new gear. Take a bike up Mill Mountain, hop in a kayak, or try a new pair of shoes for a trail run.

The event includes some fan favorites such as the Walkabout Outfitter Wild Gear Chase, Ultimate Air Dogs Dock Diving, Giant Pro Bike Rider Jeff Lenosky, the Keen Lumberjack Show, and Sprint BMX Stunt Pros.

Plus, there are a few new things for 2016 including a “VIP glamping” option, silent disco dance party, a children’s strider bike race, and a gran fondo with 28, 66, and 100 mile options.

While the focus of GO Fest is fun, it is a good time to stop and think about the Roanoke Region’s natural assets and how to preserve them for future generations. Learn about outdoor initiatives happening in our community, conservation groups, trail building workshops, and opportunities to get involved.

Learn more and make plans to come to Go Fest, Oct. 14-16, at

Region Featured as ‘It Town for Paddlers’

roanoke river paddle canoe kayakThe Roanoke Region is a featured destination on the website for Canoe & Kayak magazine as “The It Town for Paddlers:” Rivers, Mountains, and Southern Comfort.”

The magazine features paddling hot spots along the James, Maury, Bullpasture, and Roanoke rivers, as well as creeks. And there was nothing but praise for the blueways.

From the article: “Roanoke, Virginia, snuggles on the southern flank of the Blue Ridge Mountains. To the north and west, there are parallel ridges framing long, lovely valleys. To the south and east, the land gently undulates. For the paddler, this means options: whitewater up to Class V, lazily meandering rivers, and pure flatwater paddling too.”

You can read about all the spots on the tour (and you’ll recognize plenty of locations) from Canoe & Kayak.

Want to get out on the water? You can plan your adventure at