Napa Valley's Blossoming Beer Scene
May 18, 2018
The Napa Valley is renowned for its mastery of the grape, but it is also gaining appeal for its craft breweries and taprooms that offer IPAs, ambers, wheats, pilsners, porters and more.
From robust production to the tiniest of nano-breweries, these taprooms offer craft beer fans a way to experience the valley beyond the grape. Explore and experience the Napa Valley’s best in artisan brewing, from American Canyon in the south to Calistoga at the northern end of the Napa Valley.
Begin your craft beer journey at Junction Brewery & Grill in American Canyon. There are 16 taps filled with handcrafted beers that change regularly and Junction Brewery & Grill brews several beers in-house including JBG Murphy's Law Pale Ale, JBG Off The Track IPA, and JBG Track Hopper Double IPA.
Stone Brewing Company, Napa’s newest taproom and brewery, opened in May 2018 after a two-year renovation of the historic Borreo building at the corner of Third Street and Soscol Avenue, located on the Napa River. This 19th century, 10,000-square foot stone property was renovated specifically to house Stone Brewing’s 10-barrel brewing system, dining service, growler fills and merchandise.
Located on historic Main Street of Napa, the Napa Palisades Saloon brews many of the beers on the menu, and offers an extensive selection of IPAs and other brews on tap, as well as by the bottle.
The Oxbow District in downtown Napa is home to two of the region’s top taprooms. Trade Brewing, which focuses on brewing high quality craft beer in small batches, opened in November 2017 and features small batch beers, snacks and panini sandwiches.
Fieldwork Brewing Company, located in Oxbow Public Market’s main hall, offers a unique tasting experience of a rotating selection of craft beers. Visitors to its Napa Taproom can expect an ever-changing tap list of fresh releases to enjoy by sampler flight, beer by the glass, and fresh beer filled “to go” in growlers and crowler cans.
Tannery Bend Beerworks, Napa’s neighborhood brewery, is small in size but big in experience. Each batch of beer that brewmaster Matt Cromwell oversees totals just 150 gallons, all of which are proudly crafted on-site. The entire “nano-brewery” is located in historic old town Napa and fits inside a 1,500-square-foot space, including the taproom.
St. Clair Brown Winery, located in downtown Napa, has a micro-brewery featuring a two-barrel, all-grain system which brews just 60 gallons per batch. St. Clair Brown makes ten types of beer, including a pilsner, honey wheat ale, Farmhouse Saison, pale ale, red ale, Scottish ale, brown ale, black IPA, porter, and an oatmeal stout, with recipe trials for more underway.
At Mad Fritz Brewing Co. in St. Helena, Nile Zacherle and Whitney Fisher, each also accomplished winemakers, are creating extremely high-quality brews at Mad Fritz, including stouts, IPAs, lagers, porters and more. Mad Fritz offers intimate tastings in its taproom and their beers are also on draft at many restaurants throughout the valley.
Established in 1987 by the Calistoga Inn, the Napa Valley Brewing Company is the first establishment to brew beer commercially in Napa County since prohibition. They feature four award-winning beers, a wheat ale, pilsner, red ale, and porter, in addition to seasonal beers that are brewed throughout the year, such as the German Kölsch, Blitzen I.P.A., Belgian Pale Ale and their Dugan Oatmeal Stout.
Barrels & Sons Pilsner may be found at Kelly’s Filling Station & Wine Shop in the Town of Yountville. Co-founders and scions Carlo Mondavi, Jacob Busch and Elliott Taylor are turning heads by brewing a single pilsner brew at the highest level.
For those who want a more “active” beer experience, Active Wine Adventures “Hike and Beer Tour” includes a moderate hike through hills and forests with breathtaking views of Napa Valley. Each hike ends with a visit to a local microbrewery with a few glasses of Napa Valley craft beer, paired with lunch.