Starr Hill Brewing Co.

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Starr Hill Brewing Co.

709 W Main St. Charlottesville,
Virginia 22903


(434) 823-5671

First Visited

Mid 2004

Starr Hill Brewery, named after a historic neighborhood in the heart of Charlottesville, has been cranking out its brews since 1999. Virginian, Mark Thompson, the founder and a graduate of James Madison University, envisioned a place where people could come together to experience local craft brews along with live music under one roof. This vision became a reality as beer-brewing operations began and musicians looking for their first “big break” started performing.

After learning  how to brew in the Pacific Northwest, in Portland, Oregon, Thompson returned to his home town of Charlottesville in 1999 to operate Starr Hill brew pub located in the former space of Virginia’s first brewpub, Blue Ridge Brewing Company which had been founded 12 years earlier by two grandsons of author William Faulkner. He brewed beer for the pub on the premises, and he contracted out the kegged and bottled versions of his beers to Old Dominion Brewing in Ashburn. With a music hall upstairs and a tasty array of award-winning beers, Starr Hill quickly became an icon in Charlottesville.

Many musicians who have now catapulted themselves into the ranks of superstardom once performed at the original venue. Acts such as Keith Urban, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Kenny Chesney, Chris Daughtry, Dinosaur Jr., Yo La Tengo and the North Mississippi Allstars have all serenaded audiences in this location. In fact, the band They Might Be Giants even wrote a song named “Charlottesville (Starr Hill Music Hall)” based on their experience performing there. 

The original Starr Hill Brewery began to outgrow its space on West Main Street and was in need of a larger facility, where the progressively popular craft beer could be brewed in larger quantities. A spacious warehouse formally Swanson frozen food plant in Crozet, became the brewery’s new location in 2005. Sitting at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this sprawling facility was in many ways a natural fit for the bustling brewery. Located near the Beaver Creek Reservoir, it uses the reservoir as its primary water source.

After years of brewing, creative development and promoting on the road, Mark Thompson decided to take a well-deserved retirement in early 2015 to explore new and exciting opportunities. Brand and recipe development leader, Robbie O’Cain, was soon tapped as the brewery’s new Brewmaster.

Most recently, Starr Hill has opened a new taproom and pilot brewery inside the Charlottesville Dairy Market, where they offer a unique rotating selection of award-winning core, seasonal and small-batch releases made on-site. In addition to the now two locations in Charlottesville, Starr Hill has taprooms in Roanoke, Richmond and Lynchburg, and one recently opened in Tysons Corner.  

Born in a Charlottesville music hall in 1999, Starr Hill Brewery was founded out of a passion for great beer and live music. Among the most award-winning craft breweries on the East Coast, Starr Hill has won 24 Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup and Great British Beer Festival medals. Starr Hill beer is distributed throughout Virginia.

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