I've done my fair share of brewery tours and tastings over the past few years and have had a lot of great experiences but I think my recent tour and tasting at Napa-Smith by Kevin Smith might have been the best ever. I feel indebted to Kevin for sharing so much detail and beer making enthusiasm with us. He also shared some great beers with us: Pilsner, Wheat, Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Crush, Lost Dog, Organic IPA, and Bonfire. I love their style (each really does have it's own crafted style) and each one of them complex but yet easy to drink.
We were told of a barleywine that Master Brewer Don Barkley has been working on for the Toronado Barleywine Festival that was brewed with grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine and blended with aged Bonfire. I can't wait to try it. (For those that don't know Don, he has been crafting beers in the microbrewery world for over 30 years. He brewed for Mendocino Brewing Company for a long while before starting-up with Napa-Smith).
I don't mean to hype them up as much as I'm excited about their beers and the growth of their distribution (I'm starting to see them more often in stores and restaurants). They're still a very small operation of maybe six full-time employees in an old sake factory. Tours are given by one of the employees and tasting are done in the lab. You'll need to make an appointment for a tour and tasting and they're only open weekdays.
Here's their website with location and contact info:
And if you see their beers anywhere, drink up!
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