For those of you who have never been to Napa Valley it is hard to imagine anything other than a sea of wineries and vineyards. Luckily, any beer drinkers getting dragged along on a wine tasting weekend have access to some of America’s top breweries.
What are the best breweries in Napa Vally?
- Stone Brewing
- Fieldwork Brewing
- Trade Brewing
- Tannery Bend Beer Works
- Napa Smith Brewery
Napa Valley has many premier local pubs as well as world famous tap houses and restaurants. Microbrewing has a long history here and they have refined their brews to perfection. Here are some top spots to hit when you visit Napa.
Stone Brewing: Opening as a small microbrewery in the mid-90s, Stone Brewing has since grown into one of the largest craft breweries in the United States. They focus on style, selection, and sustainability, even going on to win awards for their environmental sustainability practices.
The Stone Berlin Groundbreaking Collaborations is a program where fans are able to preorder 14 special beers that are crafted in collaboration with some of the nation’s top brewers. Out of their unique and large menu, their IPA series stands out from the crowd and is a popular stop for all IPA lover’s, although they truly have something here for everyone.
Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens is Stone Brewing’s restaurant brand. They are a farm-to-table focused restaurant and bar that also has banquet and wedding accommodations. Located in Escondido, Liberty Station, and Berlin; they have quickly become one of the premier culinary destinations in California. This is a great stop for those wanting to expand their tap room experience into a dining and entertainment experience.
Fieldwork Brewing: Located in six areas of California, Fieldwork is in an ideal location within the Oxbow Public Market in Downtown Napa. An ever-changing menu of the finest craft beers will have you going for their sampler flights and taking growlers to-go. Enjoy bringing in a meal from one of the many restaurants around Oxbow while you drink beer at Fieldwork.
The Bright as the Sun Farmhouse Ale, All the Pulp Triple IPA, and Chloe Belgium Golden Ale are fan favorites. Making a name for themselves throughout California, they have expanded to adding tap rooms in Berkeley, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Mateo, and San Ramon. They have a focus on providing a classic American microbrew experience.
Trade Brewing: The old-town Napa trade way of life has been bottled into a craft beer. Only a few years ago a small team of beer lovers took their award-winning home brews to the next level and opened their own brewery. Strong community ties, charity events, and a positive presence in the Napa community
These brewers took their top home brews and supersized them, creating their famous Bricklayer Blonde Ale, Tactical Chisel Porter, and Pile Driver Double IPA. Enjoy your beer with a plate of delicious appetizers. You will often see a dedicated local crowd here that is ready to share the bar with curious beer-loving travelers.
Tannery Bend Beer Works
Tannery Bend Beer Works: Join the locals at one of their favorite taprooms for an IPA, Ruben sandwich, and Trivia Night. Not only is Tannery Bend known for making delicious classics like their Foothill Belgium Pale Ale and Imola Session IPA, but they also make some of the most unique flavors of
Tannery Bend is a popular place to be throughout the week as they keep the community and tourists busy with constant fun events. They have a small hometown feel that reminds you of the community that lives in Napa amidst the continuous crowds of wine and beer lovers.
Napa Smith Brewery
Napa Smith Brewery is family owned and operated in the heart of the Bay Area with tap rooms in Napa and Vallejo and has been voted Business of the Year in 2017. This should be your top destination if you are looking for a classic American brewing style.
Napa Smith Brewery has a small but solid menu of beers that include an Organic IPA, Pilsner, and Amber. Stop by during your Napa visit at the Village Napa Valley – Vista Collina Resort & Spa. This spa has become a luxury destination for locals and travelers ready to pamper themselves and enjoy the valley; resort style.
Go on a Napa Valley Beer Weekend
Napa Valley beers are just as classic as their wine. From the small local hotspots to the world-famous breweries, you won’t get bored of the unique and delicious Napa brewed beers. There is a tap room here for everyone whether you are a beer aficionado or new to drinking, or whether you enjoy a five-star meal with your pint or just want to enjoy the game with some friends.
What breweries also serve food?
Napa continues to win and expand their credentials with world-famous beer, wine, and cuisine. Even classic American bar food is served in an eclectic and unique style. Grab some lunch or small bites to give you energy to make it to all the best breweries in town.
- Stone Brewing– Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens- Farm to table eclectic comfort food
- Trade Brewing– Small
- Tannery Bend Beer Works– Sandwiches, nachos, small bites
- Downtown Joe’s Brewery & Restaurant– Classic American breakfast, lunch, and dinner
What is the proper way to sample beer?
Just like the world of wine, tasting beer is an art and doing it properly will allow you to analyze, understand, and appreciate beer to a higher degree. You don’t have to keep a journal (although it is very helpful) when you go tasting but keep a mental note on the types of beer you enjoy and the different looks, smells, and tastes you get from different styles of beer.
Tap room staff are an excellent resource for you to learn more about beer and you should take advantage of it.
Make a note on whether the head is dense or thin. Also pay attention to the color of the foam, it can range from white to light brown. Analyzing the head, as well as the color and cloudiness of the beer, can help indicate which style it is.
Swirl the beer gently in the glass, you may need to take a couple sips before this step, so it doesn’t spill over. Agitating the beer helps to release aromas and stimulate the carbonation, allowing you to better smell and taste the beer.
Smell is your most important sense when eating and drinking. Most beers will either smell primarily of hops or malt. As a general rule-of-thumb, the lighter beers tend to smell more of hops, while the darker beers smell more of malt. Aromas of fruits, spices, and yeast should be apparent. Try picking out different aromas that you are smelling. If you are having trouble doing this, look at the tasting notes for the beer.
On to the best part: tasting the beer. Things to focus on when you are tasting is the mouthfeel and texture. Is it chewy, light, or have heavy carbonation?
Also keep note of the different flavors you are tasting. You can classify the flavors from the first sip, to the middle taste, to the finish. Just like wine, beer can be very complex and have a large number of flavors and profiles. The more you taste, the more you will learn and become familiar with beer.