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>> Beer Making


If you're the impatient type or the home-brew somehow goes awry, there are a couple places in the Napa Valley to find the handcrafted freshness you were trying for. Good microbreweries make their beer on premises and make beer every day. Look for vats or fermenters somewhere on display in the brewery; often blended into the decorative environment. Also, well-run small-batch breweries offer a regular selection of beer types that they do well and augment the selection seasonally with a few ephemeral styles. The Napa Valley Brewery and the Silverado Brewing Company each fit the bill.

Micro Breweries & Pubs

Blue Lake
Mad River Brewing Co
(This is a Micro Brewery.)
(707) 668-4151
PO Box 767
Blue Lake, CA 95525-0787

Anderson Valley Brewing Co
(This is a Regional Brewery.) with Tasting Room and Disc Golf Course
(707) 895-2337
17700 Hwy 253
Boonville, CA 95415

Napa Valley Brewing Co
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(707) 942-4101

Calistoga Inn
1250 Lincoln Ave
Calistoga, CA 94515-1741

Carmel Brewing Co/ at Peter B's Brewpub (This is a Brew Pub.)
(408) 771-2537
225 Crossroads/Suite 121
Carmel, CA 93923-8600

Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(707) 445-4480
617 Fourth St
Eureka, CA 95501-1013

Fort Bragg
North Coast Brewing
(This is a Micro Brewery.) with Restaurant
(707) 964-2739
444 N Main St
Fort Bragg, CA 95437-3216

Glen Ellen
Humes Brewing Co Inc
(This is a Micro Brewery.)
(707) 935-0723
2775 Cavedale Rd
Glen Ellen, CA 95442

GlenCastle Brewery/Restaurant
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(818) 840-4832
214 N Brand
Glendale, CA 91203

Bear Republic Brewing Co
(This is a Micro Brewery.)
(707) 433-2337
345 Healdsburg Ave
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Mendocino Brewing Co
(This is a Regional Brewery.)
(707) 744-1015
PO Box 400
Hopland, CA 95449-0400

Napa Valley Ale Works
(This is a Micro Brewery.)
(707) 257-8381
110 Camino Oruga
P O Box 5268
Napa, CA 94558

Downtown Joe's Brewery and Restaurant
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(707) 258-2337
902 Main St
Napa, CA 94559-3045

Pacific Hop Exchange
(This is a Microbrewery )
(415) 884-2820
158 Hamilton Dr/Suite A1
Novato, CA 94949-5630

Moylan's Brewing Co
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(415) 898-4677
15 Rowland Way
Novato, CA 94945

Sonoma Brewing Co
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(707) 765-9694
50 E Washington St
Petaluma, CA 94952-3115

Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa Brewing Co
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(707) 544-4677
458 B St
Santa Rosa, CA 95401-6355

Third Street Ale Works
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(707) 523-3060
610 Third St
Santa Rosa, CA 95402

Powerhouse Brewing Co
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(707) 829-9171
268 Petaluma Ave
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Valley Of The Moon Brewery
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(707) 935-3664
442 E Napa St
Sonoma, CA 95476-6725

South Lake Tahoe
Brewery At Lake Tahoe
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(916) 544-4369
3542 Lake Tahoe Blvd
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150-8900

American Beerguy Inc
(This is a Brew Pub.)
(415) 332-7421
46 Varda Landing
Suasalito, CA 94965


Hand-Crafted by You


It’s not as easy as heading to the corner market and lugging home a half-case, but making your own beer at home is at least twice as satisfying. Few accomplishments are more refreshing than reaching in the fridge and snapping a bottle of fresh-crafted ale with your name on the label. It’s actually quite simple and, given the relatively small up-front cost, it’s an investment with many happy returns.
When turning your kitchen into the hottest new microbrewery in town, the best place to start is a beer-making kit. Serious-minded brewers can select ingredients individually, but kits are great for novices and the time-conscious. Typically, beer-making kits cost anywhere between $50 and $200, depending on quality and yield. They are available in the full spectrum of beer styles – from light-colored lagers to midnight-black stouts.

Kits are also useful for helping home brewers through the process. Like cooking from a recipe book, the procedures for making beer are simple and straightforward. And although each style of beer calls for different ingredients and techniques, all beer is comprised of four essential ingredients: water, malted barley, yeast, and hops.

As the old Pabst advertising slogan used to claim, “It’s the water,” and indeed it is. As the single largest ingredient in any beer, water is key to setting off on the right foot. Use good-quality water; bottled spring water is generally reliable. But be sure it is not distilled – there’s no oxygen in distilled water and beer needs to breathe.
Mix the malt and the hops into the water and bring it to a boil. The mixture must boil for a period of time before it becomes what is known as wort, the primordial ooze of beer. Malt, or malted barley, is a grain that has been soaked until it sprouts and is then dried before being used as a beer ingredient. During the malting process, sugars and starches are developed within the grain; the sugars play a key role in the fermentation stage of beer making. After malting, the grain is taken through the mashing process, which extracts the sugars and starches. Advanced home-brewers often do the mashing themselves, the better to control the ingredient characteristics. But typically the grain in purchased for home-brew purposes ready to go in the malt extract form.

Hops are part of the wort for many reasons, notably taste and aroma. A green flowering plant, hops are grown almost exclusively for use in beer. Hops are also a bittering agent, balancing the malt sugars that are not consumed during fermentations. Home brewers can select hops based on the desired flavor and aroma they want in their finished product.

Once the wort is ready, the mixture is poured into a fermenter and allowed to cool. Yeast is added and an airtight seal is placed atop the whole mixture. Yeast gives life to beer, literally. A living organism, yeast immediately begins devouring the malted sugars in the wort. As it chows down it multiplies extensively and coverts the sugars into alcohol, also creating carbon dioxide – this is the fermentation process.
It’s important to choose the strain of yeast especially cultured for beer making, known as brewer’s yeast. The yeast is integral to the fermenting process, but it also plays a role in developing taste and texture in the finished product.

Fermentation generally takes about 7 to 10 days. Once the yeast has consumed all it can, it falls to the bottom of the fermenter later to become carbonation. The finished beer is then bottled and allowed to sit for couple weeks to develop its drinkability. This waiting time is a good opportunity to create your own special label. Because when you’re friends are enjoying your handiwork, it’s good to remind them their beer didn’t come from the corner liquor store.


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