Fairfield/Napa Where to Go?

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by jbakajust1, Aug 4, 2014.

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  1. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (745) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Headed down to Cali for a few days. Have a day in Fairfield and surrounding area, definitely headed to Heretic, just wondering where else to go. Not really trying to spend the entire day in bumper-to-bumper traffic trying to get to Lagunitas (been there before), but might do it for Russian River if they have something rare on tap. Heard about a newish sour brewery in Napa? Any thoughts?
  2. metalfacedave

    metalfacedave Initiate (0) Jun 26, 2010 California

    My hometown! There's Rare Barrel in Berkeley. It's about an hour south of Fairfield.
  3. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (745) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    My home town as well. Still have fam there that I will be visiting with that night.
  4. reefer_bob

    reefer_bob Disciple (308) May 13, 2014 California

    I'm in Vacaville. Solano county is really quite the wasteland for craft beer.

    Heretic is obviously your key place. There's a new place in Suisun that opened called Left Eye (maybe it's right eye). Very small.

    I'd say your best bets would be Beryessa Brewing up in Winters. Also hitting up Preserve and/or Main Street Cellars. They both have some really good taps. Another option is Rhusthaller in Dixon. They just opened a tasting room by their hop field.

    Outside of that, Davis Beer Shoppe/University of Beer. Anything west, and you'll be in Bay Area Traffic.

    Going towards Napa, you have Napa Smith, Napa Point, Downtown Joes, and Carneros Brewing. All very 'meh' IMO.
    jj139 likes this.
  5. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (745) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    @reefer_bob thanks for all the feedback. Hitting Davis Beer Shoppe later in the weekend as the bulk of my time will be spent in Woodland. May look into Rhusthaller if for nothing more than checking out the hop field. Thanks for the info on the Napa breweries, that is what I seemed to be getting from the BA scores too.
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  6. danscott

    danscott Aspirant (206) Jul 15, 2006 California

    You pretty much have to sit in the bumper to bumper traffic to Lagunitas en route to Russian River, as it is directly between Napa and Santa Rosa unless you are taking the loooooooooong way or hitting it coming from the North, so double check your map and use the traffic feature on Google Maps. 101 in Marin and Sonoma can sometimes be a god awful mess and there is a major racetrack on 37 if you are headed that way which becomes a parking lot on raceday.

    Also, I want more detail before I add this to BeerFly, but Morimoto in Napa also has several house beers and, essentially, claims to be a brewery as they have one beer brewed in-house. If you are not familiar, this is a restaurants owned by one of the original Iron Chefs. If you have some cash to blow on some serious food and you love fish, you may want to consider this, but there are tons of other high end options.

    When I last spoke to their beverage manager he said that they were considering expanding the brewing, but plans were unknown. Their standard house draft is called Chopstick and I am pretty sure that they rotate through a number of different batches but always keep the same name. Tasty. They also have several bottles of a Morimoto brand beer which I assume is a contract brew.

    Also, if you are into sake, they have quite a selection including some tasting flights.
  7. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (745) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    @danscott thanks for the tips. Seeing as I'll have my 2 young boys with me, nice food places are pretty much out. We did Lagunitas and RR last time we were down. Traffic isn't worth it for Lagunitas, but if RR had something mind blowing then I would brave that traffic with my boys.
    danscott likes this.
  8. Thirsty_Rob

    Thirsty_Rob Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2012 California

    Definitely stop by Berryessa as you will be filled with bliss by their fine craft beer. They fly under the radar due to their location being "out of the way" but Chris is brewing great beer. Also, Berryessa provides enough room for your boys to run around and stretch their legs. Seems like you are on the right track with Heretic and Davis Beer Shoppe.
    jakecattleco likes this.
  9. jj139

    jj139 Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2013 California

    Great advice from reefer_bob. Heretic is brewing some very good stuff, I have not tried Right Eye Brewery yet.
  10. jj139

    jj139 Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2013 California

    If you are headed up to Davis, if you keep going east just over the causeway, in West Sacramento there are two pretty good places ----- Yolo Brewery and Bike Dog Brewery.

    Sacramento has got plenty of good places but I don't know if you want to drive that much.
  11. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (745) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Thanks. I plan on hitting up Sacto on Monday, but I am more familiar with the beers/brewers in that area as opposed to East Bay area.
  12. rossthefireman

    rossthefireman Initiate (0) Oct 20, 2008 California

    Isnt Morimoto still contracted by Rogue?
    Morimoto is an otstanding restuarant but I prefer thier cocktail list over their beer list.
    If OP is headed to Napa, Downtown Joes is his best bet
  13. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,794) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I think it depends on what the OP is looking for, in terms of recommending Downtown Joe's. In my experience, the food, beer and service are all pretty inconsistent. Back year's ago when it was Willet's, the brewpub was consistently outstanding. Since it's become Downtown Joe's, it's been consistently inconsistent. At least that's been my experience. If the OP just wants to visit a spot with a large and typically outstanding tap list, then I would recommend Bilco's billiards and darts. The ambiance isn't the best, but the taplist is so good, it's something I can easily overlook.
  14. chcfan

    chcfan Zealot (569) Oct 29, 2008 California

    FYI traffic isn't necessarily always bad between Petaluma and Santa Rosa. Obviously, it's bad during rush hour, but I've rarely had issues during non-peak times. It's a crapshoot, but fine much more often than it is bad. If there's Neckar, though, it is a nightmare. You can see what RR has on their site, but anything super special may kick quickly. I was informed about Compunction being on on a Friday afternoon and it kicked that night. Not sure how long it had been on, though...
  15. reefer_bob

    reefer_bob Disciple (308) May 13, 2014 California

    Compunction was available for several days. They may have done a PtY, and only put one keg on a day or something like that...
  16. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (745) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Any info on growler fill laws in CALI that I might need to know about? Do they fill other people's growlers?
  17. Original_Fake

    Original_Fake Aspirant (224) Nov 15, 2013 North Carolina

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  18. jj139

    jj139 Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2013 California

    That spreadsheet is a good one. Plenty of variation from brewery to brewery however.
  19. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (745) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Any "Have-To_Hit" breweries in Sac you recommend? Anyone doing some great sours?
  20. jj139

    jj139 Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2013 California

    Track 7 is a fun place, I don't remember them having any sours though
    Those 2 West Sac places I mentioned; Bike Dog and Yolo are good, again no luck on sours (at least last time I was there)

    There are couple others which aren't bad either, not sure if I would say "Have to Hit", but I have enjoyed myself there.
    New Glory and Device are two. Sadly I am having a brain lock on others, sorry.

    While not a brewery, Capital Beer and Taproom is a cool place with a good selection on tap and bottles.
  21. reefer_bob

    reefer_bob Disciple (308) May 13, 2014 California

    I would highly recommend Mraz Brewing. They're doing some real nice stuff, including some Sours.

    Bike Dog is really good, as is Track 7. Knee Deep is pretty far out in Auburn. (I don't actually care for a lot of Knee Deep stuff, but many others do)

    As @jj139 said, New Glory and Device are also doing good stuff. Yolo is just opened, I've not been there yet.
  22. danscott

    danscott Aspirant (206) Jul 15, 2006 California

    You may find good sours at Mraz and Sudwerk, depends on if they are on or not. I don't recall anyone else making any.
  23. atpca

    atpca Zealot (540) Jun 10, 2013 California

    I was not thrilled with the bottled Brett beers from Mraz -- really surprising as I drank his homebrew for years and it was all really fantastic.
  24. Thirsty_Rob

    Thirsty_Rob Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2012 California

    I'll say it again, do not skip Berryessa!
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  25. Marco_Gtz

    Marco_Gtz Devotee (442) Jul 17, 2013 California

    Berryessa Berryessa Berryessa. Especially if you have little ones.

    And I think beer week in Davis starts tomorrow? Always fun.
  26. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (3,950) Oct 14, 2009 California
    Society Trader

    Does Ruhstaller have a taproom/tours at the Dixon location? Or just hopfields? The googlemap shows a different location than their address on the website. It's close enough to Fairfield that I'm considering it.
  27. thewaterispoison

    thewaterispoison Initiate (63) Jun 22, 2010 California

    I'm not too familiar with their hopfield loaction other than driving by it but I thought they only used it for special events they did there. They have a taproom in downtown Sacramento at 7th and K St where they are putting in the new arena at what used to be Downtown Plaza. It's in the basement of the building there. The logo is spray painted in the alley where you enter. You call them to enter the building.
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