By Jenna Lazenby
To say Roanoke’s craft beer scene is on the rise is an understatement. With nary a brewery around just a few years ago, the burgeoning brew scene has become quite the topic of discussion over the past year. Roanoke (and the surrounding area) is currently home to a half dozen breweries, with another half dozen on the way, including west coast big-timers Deschutes and Ballast Point Brewing Company.
In addition to producing delicious frothy quaffs, breweries have also become excellent live music destinations. While each craft develops independently, the two seem to become exponentially more satisfying when paired together. Here’s a look at four breweries in the area with music in their heart.
Parkway Brewing Company
One of the first to the live music scene, Parkway Brewing Company started hosting bands soon after the doors first opened in the spring of 2013. The Salem brewery was such an instant success, that just two years later, another 3,000 square feet were added to its footprint, including a new stage for live music. The expansion also featured the addition of glass garage doors that open to a large patio area with picnic tables for those beautiful evenings when the weather is right. These days, the brewery hosts an array of bands every Thursday – Sunday, plus an open mic night on Monday.
Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers
Located in Downtown Roanoke, Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers has become another local staple for beer and music. The renovated site of the former Flowers Bakery, Soaring Ridge features a garage door setup similar to Parkway Brewing Company, and promotes a family-friendly vibe. In addition to hosting regular music every Friday and Saturday, plus the occasional Sunday afternoon, Soaring Ridge has also been home to a number of unique music events. Last year, Travis Book, bassist for the Infamous Stringdusters, made Soaring Ridge one of the stops on his “Bluegrass, Beer, & Bikes” tour, and then earlier this year, the brewery partnered with Festival in Park to host, “Festival at the Ridge” which brought Asheville, NC favorite, “Mountain Heart” to the stage.
Twin Creeks Brewery
Twin Creeks is a comfortable venue, with a large open table area, some inviting couches, and a long bar adjacent to the brewing area. The setting is completed by an ample-sized stage that sits right next to the entrance where the band can play, but not overpower the guests. Couple this with delicious, innovative beers, and the rotation of various food trucks, and you have a recipe for a unique experience every time you visit. Twin Creeks hosts live music every Saturday night, most Friday nights, and now every other Thursday with a session called “Good Times Thursday” where Shannon Wheeler, fiddler for local band, Mason Creek, leads a jam session.
For a bit more on Twin Creeks, check out the feature we did back in April here.
Coming Soon: Starr Hill Pilot Brewery & Side Stage
A passion for craft beer and live music have always been at the heart of Starr Hill, as the brewery started in a shared space with Starr Hill Music Club in Charlottesville, VA, in 1999. Although that venue closed in 2007 and the brewery’s headquarters now reside outside of Charlottesville, in Crozet, the pairing of great beer and tunes are still central to the company’s mission.
Starr Hill Brewery announced this past February that it would be opening a smaller pilot brewery and live music venue at The Bridges in Roanoke’s Riverside District. Slated to open in September, the brewery will be Starr Hill’s first satellite taproom and will include a five-barrel brewing system that will produce limited release craft beers. Multiple weekly musical performances that highlight local and regional artists will be a central element of the brewery’s draw.
This is by no means an all-inclusive list of breweries in the region that understand the favorable pairing of craft beer with live music. Others include Chaos Mountain, Flying Mouse Brewery, Sunken City, and the newly opened Hammer & Forge Brewing Company. So, the next time you’re feeling a little parched and you’re in the mood to groove, any of these great spots should satiate that appetite.