Manager Nicole Flynn in front of Wood Ridge Farm’s tasting room made from reclaimed farm wood.
by Phil Galewitz
There’s farm breweries and then there’s places like Wood Ridge Farm Brewery in Lovingston, VA.
Wood Ridge, which opened in 2017, grows its own lettuce, jalapenos, radishes, cilantro as well as calypso barley. It has its own malt house to convert barley grain into malt. It even grows some hops to feed into its 7-bbl brewing system.
Situated on 300 acres in bucolic Nelson County with mountain vistas in every direction, Wood Ridge is dog friendly, kid-friendly and has its tasting room made of solid timber with a tree in the middle of the barFrom the porch or second story patio, you’ll see plenty of farm animals and a barn.
Did I mention there are peacocks, too?
On a recent Sunday afternoon visit we found Wood Ridge just off busy Route 29 about 25 minutes south of Charlottesville. The beer menu features a range of 15 different beers from Cream Ales, to IPA to a malty house Porter. Food offerings included alligator meat, quesadillas and chicken wings from a foodtruck parked just outside the taproom.
“We are a farm brewery, with a from dirt to the glass philosophy,” said Nicole Flynn, tap room manager. “We offer something for everyone.
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The brewery is owned by Barry Wood who in 2000 sold a Centreville, VA farm market and nursery he’d run for 20 years and moved to Nelson County to live on his late grandparents’ farm. A few years later, he started growing barley to help some local distilleries but when demand fell, he opted to use it for his own brewery.
Wood installed wood-fired pizza ovens and is growing wheat for crusts. There’s live music on the weekends both indoors and out.
The taproom was built with lumber harvested from the farm to look like a hunting lodge and in summer palm and banana trees along with an outdoor Tiki bar give Wood Ridge a tropical feel. “We stay true to the farm,” Flynn said, noting that all local ingredients go into beers.