January 23, 2012

Beer and burgers in the Napa Valley

Until recently and like most probably do, I thought Napa Valley was all about award-winning wines and gourmet food. Well it is indeed, and I surely enjoyed touring around a few of the local wineries and tasting their respective Chardonnay, Cabernet-Sauvignon and Zinfandel to mention only a few. But that's not all, as people up there "in the Valley" also do other things very well, like beer and fast food for instance and as surprising as it may sound!

Staying at the charming Calistoga Inn Restaurant and Brewery in the quaint little town of Calistoga twenty-five miles north of Napa, and enthusiastic about good beer just as much as about fine wine, we thought it would be quite quite a shame to snub the house beer. So we decided to stay in for dinner one night, and sample the Napa Valley Brewing Company's craft ales. I ordered the Wheat Ale Beef Stew, which I understood was coming with a sample of the Wheat Ale itself. Well I quickly realized my misreading, when I saw our waiter coming back with a whole series of little glasses. Indeed it was not one but four samples that accompanied my stew, to my greatest pleasure of course as I got to appreciate and compare their respective tones and flavours - from the crisp cloudy Wheat Ale to the toasty golden Pilsner, to the spicy amber Red Ale, to the chocolatey dark Porter.

The next day, we drove to the neighbour town of Saint Helena to have lunch at Gott's, a very cool-looking roadside diner which had caught our eye on our way to Calistoga a couple of days earlier. A stylish building, an appealing menu and apparent care for quality produce, our expectations were pretty high.. Still, they turned out to be greatly surpassed by everything we ordered, from the Cheeseburger to the fresh Mahi Mahi tacos, let alone the sweet potato fries.

So if you happen to be wine-touring in the NV - cause that's still very likely to be the reason why you're there - remember the Valley is also home to more humble fare which is almost just as much worth the detour.

Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery
1250 Lincoln Ave.
Calistoga, CA

Gott's Roadside
933 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574

No comments:

Post a Comment