Napa Valley is known for its world-renowned wine. However, in recent years the valley has established a reputation as a hotspot for another magical elixir: beer.

In the approximately 35 miles between American Canyon and Calistoga there are nearly two dozen breweries, microbreweries, and watering holes serving up craft beer. Here’s a closer look at some of those on our radar screen.
 

Calistoga

  1. Lincoln Avenue Brewery

    You’ll find more than 20 beers on tap at this modest and casual brewpub in downtown Calistoga, and all the brews are made on-site. Locals love the “LAB” for its live music, its sports-bar atmosphere (there are 10 televisions), and its breakfast menu that features a “dirty” corned-beef hash and a deep-fried risotto Benedict. Regular activations include trivia night, bingo night, and cornhole tournaments (in the summer).

  2. Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery

    The oldest microbrewery (circa 1987) in Napa Valley does not disappoint. If you’re looking to relax, enjoy local brews from the large patio of this Victorian building, and listen to the trickling waters of the Napa River down below. If you’re eager to learn, sign up for the 30-minute tour of the property and facility with Brewmaster Daniel Reynolds. The brewery produces five principal beers and seasonal flavors throughout the year, with the German Kolsch a fan favorite.

St. Helena

  1. Pizzeria Tra Vigne

    A side of pizza with a rotating stable of West Coast-focused brews on tap? Yes, please! Since 2018, Pizzeria Tra Vigne has offered a range of microbrewery styles on tap and in cans/bottles. They also feature local breweries on the second Wednesday of every month, with brewmasters and microbrewery teams going from table to table to answer questions about their brew.

  2. Mad Fritz

    Owner Nile Zacherle is a bit of a mad scientist, bottling different batches of beer made with organic barleys that he sources from farm and vineyard sites in Napa Valley and malts in-house. The entire experience here is different; when you buy them, beers come in 785-milliliter bottles that often range from $27 to $32 a pop. The brewery/malt-house is open for tastings by appointment only.

Napa

  1. St. Clair Brown Winery & Brewery

    Summer is the best time to visit St. Clair, when you can sit in the gardens and enjoy samples of beer from the on-site nano-brewery. The two-barrel, all-grain system brews 60 gallons of beer per batch, and Brewmaster Elaine St. Clair’s program currently includes 14 different beers (though only three are available on tap at any time). Every winter St. Clair also offers Beer Boot Camp, which gives guests a chance to make beer themselves.

  2. BarnHouse Napa Brews

    This Clinton Street newcomer in downtown Napa bills itself as a “proper English coffee pub,” and the moniker is apt: The vibe is warm and inviting — like a fancy living room — and the menu features everything from coffee and tea to kombucha and beer. You might recognize two of the owners — actresses Alexis Fields-Jackson and Tamera Mowry-Housley. They and fellow co-owners Eric Barnes and Adam Housley (BarnHouse is a mashup of their names) are usually the people pouring the drinks.

  3. Napa Barrel Project

    The newest addition to the Napa beer scene, Napa Barrel Project is technically the Wine Country outpost of Big Stump Brewing Company in Sacramento. The local facility is an upscale brew pub with 20 different beers on tap and a host of gourmet pizzas. Beers here are varied; the list always includes a hearty complement of sours as well as a trio of barrel-aged beer (in partnership with other local makers). Try the chenin blanc kiwi saison, aged in barrels from Gamling & McDuck.

  4. Napa Palisades Saloon

    Located at the corner of First and Main streets in downtown Napa, this pub spotlights California microbrews and often has more than 30 beers on tap. The food here is notable, with items such as chorizo fries and the PEC sandwich with pulled pork, fried egg, smoked gouda, and pickled jalapenos. There are 16 big-screen TVs inside, making the Palisades a great place to watch a big game, too.

  5. Downtown Joe's Restaurant

    Overlooking the Napa River, the patio at Joe’s might be one of the most glorious spots in all of Napa to enjoy a pint. The historic brewery dates to the 1800s and today cranks out a variety of pales, ambers, wheat beers, IPA’s, stouts, and porters. One of its most unusual brews, the West Coast Bitter, is an overly hopped amber ale featuring grapefruit and caramel notes. Joe’s brings in live entertainment every weekend and offers half-price snacks during Happy Hour.

  6. Fieldwork Brewing Co.

    This Berkeley craft brewery opened an outpost inside the Oxbow Public Market in 2016 and expanded in 2021. Today, the experience is all about variety, as beertenders regularly have access to 20 different beers on tap. One of the brewery’s most interesting options is Fujimo, a rice lager. Another fan favorite: the Hot Chocolate milk stout with 6.6 percent alcohol. When you get hungry, you can either order from another Oxbow stall or fill up on the house-made Chex mix.

  7. Trade Brewing

    Situated across the street from the Oxbow Public Market, Trade Brewing has become known among beer lovers as a place for well-balanced microbrews. The brewery always has more than a dozen beers on tap; fan favorites include the 110V (a fruity pale ale) and the Hatchet IPA. If you’re hungry, be sure to order jerk baby back ribs and other Jamaican specialties from Vibrant Foods, which took over the brewery’s kitchen in 2021.

  8. La Cheve Bakery & Brews

    The best thing about this Soscol Avenue brewery is that it’s owned by a multi-generational Latino family, and you’ll usually find the matriarch sitting in the dining room and sipping a beer alongside the guests. The beer list is eclectic, bringing together one house-made brew and a variety of other options, mostly from California. There’s a full food menu as well (hola, chilaquiles!), and a menu of baked goods. Our inside tip: Be sure to try the boozy pastries.

  9. Napa Smith Brewery

    This modest brewhouse is somewhat hard to find — it’s in the purveyor village at Vista Collina Resort — but the beers are well worth the search-and-find effort. Brewmaster Stein Servick says his aim is to produce the "Private Reserve of Craft Beers," which means all beers incorporate local hops and flavors. There are 10 taps at the South Napa location and flights are available, too. Two regulars on the list: Hopageddon, an IPA, and Mosaic of Galazies, a double LLP.

American Canyon

  1. Junction Brewery & Grill

    A mix of house brews and favorites from hot spots such as Firestone Walker and 21st Amendment highlights the beer options at this lively pub and brewery on American Canyon Road. Named after the 19th century Napa Junction railroad station, this meeting spot, the beer is nicely complemented with the Napa Valley farm-to-table trend, but with an Asian vibe. Chef and Owner Chris Tang has put together a food menu that leans in on Napa Valley casual-style staples like gourmet Angus beef burgers but complements the menu with edamame and gyoza, and a sushi special every Thursday. For exceptional entertainment, visit on Tuesday night for karaoke or Wednesday night for trivia.