New Brewpub & Wine Tasting Room Opening in Napa

Next time you’re driving through wine country you’ll have one more location to sip a few beers. Napa Smith Brewery has opened a brewpub in the wine mecca so weary wine tasting beer aficionados can refresh their palate.

According to Brewmaster Don Barkley, “We’ve been making great beer for a while now, and I think it’s about time we have a place where you can come in and taste it fresh from the Brewery. If you want to learn more about beer or take a tour, you can do that. If you want to just relax over a cold, refreshing beer, you can do that. We just want you to have a good time, meet great people and enjoy life at its finest – that’s what Napa Smith is all about.”

The new venue will feature 8 different beers on tap with wine available from Bourassa Vineyards. Operating hours will be 10am to 5pm daily with tours available at 3pm. On Saturday, October 8, they’ll be celebrating the grand opening with $2 pints and a food truck from noon to 4pm.

Pelican Brands, which merged with Paddington Brands earlier this year, acquired Napa Smith back in December of 2010 and this development is an extension of their investment in the brands distribution and capabilities, which exceeds $1 million. Chairman & CEO of Napa Smith and Paddington Brands, J Smoke Waillin is looking to expand even more. He stated that “as our brand grows across the US, we expect to make significant additional investments in Napa,”

For more information check out the PR Newswire press release.


Bay Area Brewers Bring Home GABF Medals

The 21st Amendment Brewery won two gold medals. Photos © Brian Stechschulte

Twenty-five breweries from the Bay Area traveled to Denver this past weekend to pour their beer over three days at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). It’s the biggest event of it’s kind in North America, featuring 466 breweries offering 2,375 beers to 49,000 attendees.

Brewers also travel to the festival in anticipation of awards. The event is one of the most important beer competitions in the world. This year 167 judges tasted their way through 3,930 different beers to award medals in 83 style categories. As you can tell the competition is fierce. GABF awards bring respect, notoriety and financial success to brewers and the breweries they represent.

The Bay Area held it’s own in the competition by capturing 11 medals in the following categories:

Rye Beer  (36 Entries)

Gold: Three Flowers IPA, Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA
Silver: Bock in Bock, Tequesta Brewing Co., Tequesta, FL
Bronze: Crank Tank, SweetWater Brewing Co., Atlanta, GA

Indigenous Beer – 31 Entries

Gold: Hqt, 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA
Silver: Monticello Reserve Ale, Starr Hill Brewery, Crozet, VA
Bronze: Hot Rocks Lager, Port Brewing Co., San Marcos, CA

Baltic-Style Porter – 19 Entries

Gold: Battle Axe Baltic Porter, Fat Head’s Brewery, North Olmsted, OH
Silver: White Eagle Baltic Porter, Montana Brewing Co., Billings, MT
Bronze: Puddy Porter, Triple Rock Brewery and Alehouse, Berkeley, CA

Golden or Blonde Ale – 56 Entries

Gold: Blonde, Ram Restaurant & Brewery – Seattle, Seattle, WA
Silver: Alaskan Pale Ale, Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, AK
Bronze: Kent Lake Kolsch, Iron Springs Pub & Brewery, Fairfax, CA

English-Style India Pale Ale – 46 Entries

Gold: Samuel Adams Latitude 48 Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA
Silver: Napa Smith Organic IPA, Napa Smith Brewery, Napa, CA
Bronze: Down ‘n’ Dirty IPA, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR

American-Style Amber/Red Ale – 82 Entries

Gold: Amber Waves, 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA
Silver: Jamaica Red Ale, Mad River Brewing Co., Blue Lake, CA
Bronze: Rocket Red, Big River Grille and Brewing (Chattanooga, TN), Chattanooga, TN

Ordinary or Special Bitter – 28 Entries

Gold: DBA, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
Silver: New Speedway Bitter, Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery, San Francisco, CA
Bronze: Bonnie Lee’s Best Bitter, Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery, San Francisco, CA

American-Style Black Ale – 74 Entries

Gold: Blacktop IPA, New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI
Silver: Blackened CDA, Carter’s Brewing, Billings, MT
Bronze: Black Racer, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, CA

Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale – 59 Entries

Gold: Buffalo Slumber, Sun King Brewing Co., Indianapolis, IN
Silver: Revelations, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Bronze: The Twelve, Black Diamond Brewing Co., Concord, CA

Brown Porter – 32 Entries

Gold: Out of Order Porter, Wind River Brewing Co., Pinedale, WY
Silver: FireHouse Porter, FireHouse Grill & Brewery, Sunnyvale, CA
Bronze: Porter, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Asheville, NC

Dave McLean of Magnolia Pub (left) with Steve Donohue of Firehouse Brewery.

Congratulations to all our hard working Bay Area brewers who continue to make this region one of the best and most respected craft beer hubs in the country. If you would like to see more information about individual awards head over to the Brookston Beer Bulletin for the entire list and more festival facts.

Pelican Brands Acquires Napa Smith Brewery

This little story went under the radar in the lead up to Christmas. Napa Smith Brewery has been acquired by Pelican Brands in a move that signals an impending expansion on a large scale. Pelican Brand’s portfolio already includes Singha Beer and a number of other distillers and wineries. Here’s a few details from the PRNewswire release:


NAPA, Calif., Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — An investment group led by industry veteran J. Smoke Wallin is pleased to announce it has finalized the purchase of Napa Smith Brewery & Winery bringing it into the family of companies which includes Pelican Brands. Napa Smith Beer has developed a growing following in the Craft Beer category, is currently in 17 states, and will be available nationally by the summer of 2011. Earlier this year, Napa Smith appointed Pelican Brands as its exclusive sales representatives in the United States.

J. Smoke Wallin, Chairman & CEO of Pelican Brands and Napa Smith Holdings, said, “The craft beer business is the fastest growing category of beverage alcohol in America. Napa Smith has all the right attributes to become one of the few truly global brands of craft beer – amazing beer from one of the most respected names in the craft brewing industry, distinctive packaging,Napa terroir. These attributes combined with our Pelican Brands global distribution capability, experienced management team and our access to capital give us all the necessary elements to achieve great success.”

Don Barkley, Master Brewer said, “I’m doing what I love to do – brewing great beer. Smoke and the whole Pelican team are my kind of people. They appreciate the importance of brewing beer right. At the same time, they bring scale and resources that will help Napa Smith reach many more thirsty consumers, which is something I’m passionate about!”

Whether or not a “Napa Terroir” exists in their beer is questionable and a conflict arises between aspirations for a “global brand” and what’s considered craft beer by definition. Regardless, Napa Smith beer will be filling a lot more shelves across the country in the coming years.