Meet The 8 Best Brewmasters In Charlottesville


1. Taylor Smack, Blue Mountain Brewery


9519 Critzer Shop Rd, Afton, VA 22920
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Taylor Smack has been brewing beer professionally since early 2000 after receiving the Certificate of Brewing Technology from Chicago’s Siebel Institute, the country’s oldest school for the craft of brewing. He was the head brewer of both Goose Island brewpubs in Chicago and spent six years as the brewer for Charlottesville, Virginia’s South Street Brewery before opening Blue Mountain in 2007.

2. Jason Oliver, Devils Backbone Brewing Company

jason oliver

200 Mosbys Run, Roseland, VA 22967
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Brewmaster Jason Oliver, who worked out of Gordon Biersch’s DC location as their regional brew master, came to Devils Backbone Brewing Company in 2007. There, he’s crafted 13 award-winning microbrews and taken the prestigious World Beer Cup title for small breweries in 2010. He is continually one-upping himself with an ever-changing selection of American-, English-, German-, Scottish- and Belgian-style beers, as well as experimental brews that defy styles.

3. Starr Hill Brewery


5391 3 Notch’d Rd, Crozet, VA 22932
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In the mid-90’s, Master Brewer Mark Thompson returned to his native Virginia from Portland, OR, having learned two things: First, that the craft of artisanal brewing was one part science and one part art; and second, that making delicious beer was a lot cooler than anything he had ever done as a biology student. After several years of apprenticing with other master brewers, Mark was ready to begin crafting beer using his own recipes. He found the perfect spot in Charlottesville, VA, and Starr Hill was born.

4. Dave Warwick, Three Notch’d Brewing Company

dave warwick

946 Grady Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22903
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Dave Warwick has worked in the beer industry since 1997 with jobs in almost every aspect of the business. In 2006 he gained acceptance to the highly competitive craft brewing apprentice program at Rock Bottom Breweries and rapidly climbed the ranks of the successful brewpub chain.

After only two years of being an assistant, Dave was given his own brewery in Westminster, CO. After many successes in Colorado, Dave relocated to the east coast and was the Brewmaster for the Rock Bottom Brewery in Arlington, VA for three years.

After training under four diverse brewmasters, and then after operating four highly successful breweries, Dave has become a versatile, well-rounded brewer with a library of market proven recipes.

At the 2012 World Beer Cup, Dave collected his first medal when he was awarded a bronze medal for his “Dude! Where’s My Vespa?” Espresso Stout. He also won a gold medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival for his “Nikki’s Gluten Free Honey Pale Ale.”

5. Hunter Smith, Champion Brewing Company

hunter smith

324 6th St SE, Charlottesville, VA 22902
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Hunter Smith is the President and Head Brewer at Champion Brewing Company, and also works for his parents’ winery, Afton Mountain Vineyards. He is also a Beer Writer at C-Ville Weekly.

Champion Brewing Company is located just 2 blocks from the scenic Downtown Mall, featuring six draft lines of their many creations. They use the highest quality ingredients they can buy and try to pass the quality on in their finished beer in the Tap Room.

6. Dustin Caster, James River Brewing Company


561 Valley St, Scottsville, VA 24590
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President and brewmaster Dustin Caster and Vice President Christopher Kyle, are the creators of James River Brewing Co. The idea to start the business came to fruition while the two friends were on a canoe and camping trip on the James River. By bringing a new brewery to the area, their ultimate mission was to help revitalize their little community of Scottsville, a historic river town that is situated on the Horseshoe Bend of the James River (20 minutes South of Charlottesville on Route 20). After a couple of years of constant planning and plenty of hard work, the location was chosen in a 19th century tobacco warehouse and production began on the brewery side of the business, while the beautiful and unique tasting room opened on September 1, 2012.

7. Jacque Landry, South Street Brewery


106 W South St, Charlottesville, VA 22902
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Beer is a passion for Jacque Landry. The co-owner of South Street Brewery, Landry brews his own beers right inside the bar, something he says customers have come to appreciate. Landry’s most popular homebrew? Absolution!

8. Danny Wolf, Wild Wolf Brewing Company


2461 Rockfish Valley Hwy, Nellysford, VA 22958
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Brewmaster Danny Wolf attended America’s oldest brewing school, Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, including a month long program in Europe. Danny and the Wild Wolf Brewing Company team work tirelessly to create interesting and unique beers on their 15bbl Premier Stainless brewing system.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy Top 10 Sports Bars In Charlottesville and Top 7 Breweries In Central Virginia.

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