Monday, September 16, 2013

Downtown Joe's Brewery & Restaurant (Napa, CA)

Downtown Joe's in the heart of Napa

Planned in advance, we had dinner at Downtown Joe's in Napa after a day of sampling wines in the valley. While we enjoyed the drive and the sampling the valley's wine, especially the port offerings at Prager Winery and Port Works (the only wine we bought), finishing our day at brewpub in the iconic bastion of wine country was irresistible.

Since most of the wineries close early (by 4:30 pm or earlier), we made happy hour and got discounted appetizers for dinner. Garlic Beer Fries were very good and hit the spot, versions of which we've had through out the trip in northern California. The homemade guacamole was fine but below par for what I expected for being out west and the chips didn't support well enough.

Overdue Porter and Tantric IPA
Skipped getting samples and went right for the hops of the Tantric IPA: thin white head and a orange marmalade color like Masala Mama; strong grapefruit and apricot in the nose with a floral and spicy hoppiness; blended hop bite and a balanced sweetness; a very strong IPA hidden in the legendary land of vineyards. Gloria's Overdue Porter was solid for the style and warmed nicely as we ate.

On the recom of our solicitous bartender, I finished with the double IPA, Double Secret Probation: delicate stark white lacing over an amber ale with gold highlighted; clean singular hop nose with sweet breadiness and honey underneath; taste is sharp and chewy; slightly hot and a little out of balance. Bartender said the beer's name is an allusion to Animal House. Evidently the movie was filmed at the University of Oregon (Ducks), the alma mater of the actual Downtown Joe. The bartender preferred this over the Tantric because it had more punch (alcohol) but the bar actually sells more Tantric

Garlic Beer Fries

Another 100 plus degree July day in the inland, we survived only with cranking the air in the car between stops plus the industrial strength misting systems of Sterling Vineyards. As a result, we really appreciated the almost chilly AC in the pub in spite of it being in a historic building (100 year old Oberon building, a Napa landmark according to the sign). Settling into the comfortable restaurant for dinner with seemingly all locals, we enjoyed the food, beer and welcoming feel. Downtown Joe's is a great place to get a post-winery hop fix.

Brewery at Downtown Joe's

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