Here are the WV Living reader-favorite restaurants, shops, travel destinations, lodging, towns, and people in 2023—the Best of West Virginia.
written by Elizabeth Howard, Pam Kasey, & Devin Lacy
photographed by Carla Witt Ford & Nikki Bowman Mills
Looking for tips on where to eat next time you’re in the Eastern Panhandle—fun places in the southern part of the state for a weekend getaway—best Mountain State shops for books, clothes, gifts, furniture, art? We have recommendations from the experts: West Virginians across the state. Here are the WV Living reader-favorite restaurants, shops, travel destinations, lodging, towns, and people in 2023—the Best of West Virginia.
DEVIL’S DUE DISTILLERY
Opened in 2021, Devil’s Due Distillery quickly became a big player on West Virginia’s craft libations scene, both through its commitment to locally sourced ingredients—resulting in whiskeys and moonshines with distinctive flavor—and through its wide distribution. Beyond the products, the knowledgeable and entertaining tour at Devil’s Due will elevate your appreciation for the craft of distillation and its deep roots in our culture—well worth the drive. 315 James Burr Boulevard, Kearneysville, @devilsduedistillery on FB
STILL HOLLOW SPIRITS
CHESTNUT RIDGE WINERY
Tucked away near Ben’s Run Trails, this scenic winery serves up delicious wines with a side of stunning West Virginia nature. Its selection of more than 30 varieties makes it easy to find one—or a few—to fall in love with. Keep an eye out for its seasonal wines and unique blends like the Chocolate Orange dessert wine or a Kiwi Pear white. 15 Chestnut Ridge, Spencer, chestnutridgewinery.com, @chestnutridgewinery on FB
KIRKWOOD WINERY & ISAIAH MORGAN DISTILLERY
FORKS OF CHEAT WINERY
BIG TIMBER BREWING COMPANY
Celebrating 10 years in 2024, award-winning Big Timber quickly made a name for itself with big flavor and big regional distribution. The brewery pays homage to the West Virginia timber industry and the Monongahela National Forest with six standards, six seasonals, and occasional specialty brews. If you haven’t been to the source of all of this goodness lately, it’s worth the trek—the brewery opened a new location in Elkins in September. 2 Davis Avenue, Elkins, bigtimberbrewing.com, @bigtimberbrewing on FB
390 William Avenue, Davis, stumptownales.com, “Stumptown Ales” on FB
MOUNTAIN STATE BREWING CO.
It’s a Tie!
JOAN + JOE COFFEE
This little Charles Town coffeehouse promises organic, non-GMO, kosher, and energy-conscious coffee. Joan + Joe specializes in cold brew and is so confident in its team’s skills that it aims to serve the perfect cup, “no matter how challenging your request may be.” Pair your favorite coffee drink with a gourmet sandwich on an all-butter croissant, and your day is pretty much made. 14826 Charles Town Road, Charles Town, joanandjoecoffee.com, @joanjoecoffee on FB
Manic Espresso offers seemingly every flavor, temperature, and texture combination of coffee, tea, and chai under the sun—and constantly offers up new ones. A look at how much fun the ME team has on FB with flavors, specials, and just generally appreciating its baristas and its community will make you want to stop by for a mood-lifter. 898 Maplewood Avenue, Lewisburg; 287 Riverside Drive, Rainelle; manicespresso.com, @manicespressowv on FB
130 East Avenue, Thomas; 125 Third Street, Elkins; @tiptopthomas on FB
THE BLACK DOG COFFEE COMPANY
Ahead of its time, Black Dog Coffee Company got its start nearly 20 years ago when the owners came to the realization that coffee could be fresher and tastier than what’s found on grocery store shelves and in some coffee shops. Today, Black Dog’s expertly roasted beans are the standard in cafes, specialty shops, and restaurants across the region. Can’t find it near you? Order whole bean and ground-to-order specialty roasts plus iFill cups and monthly subscriptions online. 8001 Charles Town Road, Shenandoah Junction, blackdogcoffee.net, @blackdogcoffeewv on FB
COAL RIVER COFFEE COMPANY
QUANTUM BEAN COFFEE
LOCAL WATERING HOLE
FAIRPLAIN YACHT CLUB
There’s a reason Fairplain Yacht Club takes Best Local Watering Hole for a third consecutive year. It’s worth the drive for a bite and a brew. Be sure to try its famous wings or pulled pork. Fairplain offers a mix of regional craft brews and classic, national favorites, all in a comfortable setting. The decorations, games, props, and fun drinks presented in unique containers make this place extra special. 3869 Cedar Lakes Drive, Ripley, fairplainyachtclub.com, @fairplainyachtclub on FB
NORTH BRANCH BREWING CO.
101 Armstrong Street, Keyser, @northbranchpub on FB
603 Church Street, Summersville, @maloneyswv on FB
PLACE TO STOCK YOUR BAR
ASHEBROOKE LIQUOR OUTLET
Morgantown’s Ashebrooke Liquor Outlet has been “keeping the party alive since 1988” by sourcing a large inventory of wines, beers, and spirits for its customers. New labels are always finding a home on Ashebrooke’s shelves, including many West Virginia–made artisanal products. Be sure to check out its growing supply of private selections to broaden your libations horizons. 300 Beechurst Avenue, Morgantown, @ashebrookeliquoroutlet on FB
GRAPES & GRAINS GOURMET
BREATHE WINE & CULTURE CO.
5155 Washington Street West, Cross Lanes, @breathewinewv on FB
NEW WEST VIRGINIA LIBATION PRODUCER (2022-2023)
FIFE STREET BREWING
This award-winning brewery with a sense of humor opened in 2022 and quickly enlivened its prominent downtown Charleston location with a select few mainstays and an unpredictable rotation of fun specialty brews—plus Trivia Tuesdays, live music Wednesdays, and comfortable outdoor dining. The menu includes small plates, elevated grilled cheese, and Saturday and Sunday brunch, and 10% of profits go to local charities. 180 Summers Street, Charleston, fifestreetbrewing.com, @fifestreetbrewing on FB
CLENDENIN BREWING CO.
Taking the win for a second consecutive year, Swilled Dog continues to wow voters with its internationally recognized and awarded ciders. This female-powered and family-owned brand puts tradition and originality in harmony with one another to create something as unique as it is delicious. Whether you’re reaching for a flagship flavor or something more seasonal, you’ll know it’s good when you see Brooke and Brad’s border collie Lucy Pickles on the label. 28 Industrial Park Road, Upper Tract, swilleddog.com, @swilleddog on FB
HAWK KNOB APPALACHIAN HARD CIDER
It’s a Tie!
Healthberry is the 30-year-old farm behind the fan-favorite Honey River meads. These small-batch farmhouse wines are made with honey fresh from the farm’s own bees for a wine without refined sugars. Each honey-sweet batch is aged for at least two years to create a flavorful drink with a variety of health benefits. Its selection of melomels provides fruitier options, with flavors such as blueberry, peach, and pear. Dry Fork, healthberryfarm.com, @healthberryfarm on FB
MOUNTAIN DRAGON MAZERY
Sited alongside the Monongahela River in Fairmont, Mountain Dragon Mazery is a micro-factory made up of a mazery and an apiary. With solely Mountain State honey produced by its own bees and bees across the state, Mountain Dragon offers a variety of meads and melomels. From a dry and floral Wildflower Honey Mead to the fruity and nutty Black Cherry Blush melomel, there is a little something for every taste. 1516 Morgantown Avenue, Fairmont, mountaindragonmazery.com, @mountaindragonmazery on FB
WANDERING WIND MEADERY
ON THE ROCKS CRAFT BEVERAGE TRAIL
The highlands of Pendleton County and the surrounding region hold a concentration of craft libations. Long known for distinctive rock formations like Seneca Rocks, the area is now promoting its On the Rocks Craft Beverage Trail. Visit this beautiful region to sample and purchase the products of Dry Run Spirits in Dahmer, Still Hollow in Harman, Swilled Dog in Upper Tract, and Big Fish Cider in Monterey, Virginia—because great libations know no borders. ontherockstrail.com, “On The Rocks Craft Beverage Trail” on FB
JEFFERSON COUNTY LIBATIONS LOVERS TRAIL
Jefferson County, wherealmostheavenbegins.com/libations