Trail News

Paddle and Pub Crawl Across the Middle Peninsula

Gloucester Brewing Company Machines by Sara Harris Photography
March 9, 2019

Google “beer and workouts.”

Seriously. Open a new tab and do it right now.

See all those results? How could you possibly determine what’s real and what’s the myth of internet lore with all those hits?

Some links lead to articles that cite science. Some are personal athlete experience tales. Many seem to be contradictory.

There’s “The Beer After Your Workout Probably Isn’t Helping” right after “4 Reasons Why Drinking Actually Helps Your Exercise Efforts,” or “How Beer Can Motivate You to Exercise” just before “This is What a Post-Workout Beer Really Does.”

But after taking time to run down that internet rabbit hole of information, we’ve come to one conclusion: people who enjoy beer responsibly often also enjoy a good beer after a good workout.

The key, nearly all reports say, is to hydrate and follow all the other rules you ordinarily would for safety.

That got us thinking.

Paddling – whether in a kayak or on a stand-up paddle board – is some of the best exercise out there. In fact, in a kayak, it’s a full-body, low-impact workout, engaging your arms, torso back and legs. And if it’s a nice day, you’ll be soaking up all those yummy doses of Vitamin D while generating those feel-good endorphins.

That leads us here, to the Virginia Water Trails.

For our Virginia residents and visitors, thanks to the openings of the first two micro-breweries in Gloucester in 2018, there is now a very real and very tasty paddle and pub crawl you can take through the Middle Peninsula.

Here’s how.

PADDLE: Plan Your Paddle

While there are thousands of miles of waterways across the Middle Peninsula, the second of three large peninsulas on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay, we recommend planning your paddle and pub crawl from Gloucester, which is home to the two Middle Peninsula breweries (others are under construction now, and once they open we will update this list).

Gloucester and its 506 miles of shoreline is home to the Gloucester Blueways, a system of water trails spanning five tidal rivers, dozens of navigable creeks and a lake formed by a man-made impoundment. Used by the area’s native inhabitants for generations, Gloucester’s waterways were explored extensively by Captain John Smith’s shallop in the early 1600s.

Thanks to the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority, locals and visitors can also access hundreds of acres of waterfront land for recreation.

Start the planning for your paddle and pub crawl here where you can play around with the interactive map of the water trails on the Middle Peninsula.

Drink Local Beer Glass and Growler at Gloucester Kelsick Specialty Market by Sara Harris Photography


Before heading out to the pub part of your crawl, be sure you drink and paddle responsibly, obey all Virginia laws, and hydrate-hydrate-hydrate!

Gloucester Brewing Company by Sara Harris PhotographyPUB: Gloucester Brewing Company

Located in the heart of the Gloucester Village on Main Street, the Gloucester Brewing Company opened in late 2018 with a mission to “make beer local, Gloucester local.” The partners renovated an old building in the historic district and brewed beers that taste as local as their names, which include:

  • -DeadRYEz, a lighter brew rye ale that appeals to the tastes of those more aligned with mass market beers.
  • -Shucking Good Oyster Stout with a dark, malty and sweet/roasty flavor.
  • -Low Ground, a traditional brown ale made with roasted special malts that give it an easy-drinking flavor.

Gloucester Brewing Company serves its flights as floats and can be found at 6778 Main Street, Gloucester.

That Damn Mary Brewing Company LogoPUB: That Damn Mary

Exceptional beers for the Very Mary. That’s what That Damn Mary Brewing Company promises – and delivers.

Located on George Washington Memorial Highway since the summer of 2018, That Damn Mary’s beers “are not only exceptional in taste,” but are also made in ways that are as “green and sustainable as possible and use as many Virginia sources as we can find―the better to do right by our community.”

They brew everything on site and have a 7-barrel system for mainstays and a half-barrel pilot system for experimental brews and collaborations.

As for the names and styles of their beer, you’ll find a Tried and True pale ale, Easy Money amber ale, Oh Mama! milk stout, and Funked Cluster American style IPA, to name a few.

Hungry? Also on site is the Mobjack Tavern restaurant with a full menu.


As you take the crawl across the Middle Peninsula, be sure to POST about your PADDLE and PUB visits on social media with hashtags #RuralCoastalVA and #RCVA so we can follow along!

Thank you, Sara Harris Photography, for allowing Virginia Water Trails the use of these images, which were made for The Scout Guide Williamsburg & The Chesapeake Bay.