Lookout for more beer-wine hybrids from this 10-barrel brewery and restaurant.
Searching for intersections between the worlds of beer and wine has been a hot trend for craft beer as of late, with beer-wine hybrids taking the form of things like beer aged in wine barrels, beer brewed with wine grapes, and even a beer from Dogfish Head called Mixed Media that, at 49 percent wine grapes, came as close to being a wine as a beer is legally allowed to be. But over the weekend, Stone Brewing took the idea of the crossroads between wine and beer more literally, officially opening a brewery in the wine bastion of Napa, California.
Seven years in the making, Stone Brewing—Napa brings the renowned Southern California-based brand from the beer mecca of San Diego County into the heart of Northern California wine country. And though in some ways, for Stone—which has also opened outposts in places as far-flung as Richmond, Virginia, and Berlin, Germany—this new Napa location is business as usual, the brewer also promises to integrate ideas from the local wine industry.
The new 10-barrel brewery is being led by Steve Gonzalez, Stone’s six-year veteran Small Batch Senior Manager of Brewing & Innovation. “Fortuitously, Steve also had a former career as a winemaker, making him uniquely qualified to bring together the two industries in unique and special ways,” Stone wrote in the announcement. “This will manifest itself in brewing techniques that include wine-barrel aging, beer recipes that include wine grapes, as well as interesting botanicals from the region’s diverse ecology.”
Beyond the production facility, the new Stone Brewing—Napa, which is in a renovated, historic 1877 stone building, also features a 9,500 square-foot restaurant that will offer “a dining experience that incorporates artisanal products, a focus on environmental responsibility and high-quality ingredients,” including “local and small-farm organic produce from the Napa region.” Of course, this latest Stone location will also serve the brewery’s year-round beers (including growler fills) and guest brews on its 24 taps, as well as wine, locally-roasted coffee and craft sodas. The brewery will also feature limited-release beers brewed onsite.
“Restoring this historic building has been a complex process which we have been careful to steward with the utmost respect,” Greg Koch, Stone Brewing executive chairman & co-founder, said in a statement. “So it is with much pride, and no shortage of relief, that we finally open the doors knowing that we took the time to do it right.”
That said, Stone also pointed out that the May 6 opening is only a preview, with service ramping up until at least the end of June.