Oktoberfest in Wine Country

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wineriesofnapavly.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Just because Napa is known more for its grapes than its beer doesn't mean beer-lovers should look elsewhere for entertainment.  The number of local breweries is growing, and new opportunities to taste beer alongside (or even instead) of wine are popping up all around, just in time for October. 

The Wineries of Napa Valley tasting room next to the Visitor Center launched downtown Napa's first beer tasting bar at the end of September.  The casual tasting counter (separate from the wine tasting counter for permitting reasons) offers five Northern California artisanal brews on tap, available by the pint for $5 each, or as part of a tasting flight of four, for $8.  The current lineup includes Racer 5 IPA from Bear Republic Brewery, Blue Star wheat beer and Scrimshaw pilsner from North Coast Brewing Company, Boont Amber Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company, and an organic California Blonde Ale from Eel River Brewing Company in Humboldt County.  I'm hard pressed to imagine anything more refreshing after a long day of wine tasting than a flight of these effervescent local beauties. 

Since the beer bar is less than fifteen feet from the wine tasting bar, all the tasty little snacks and appetizers available to wine tasting visitors (like artisan cheeses, tri-tip steak sliders, grilled harvest appetizers, depending on the night) are also within reach of the beer drinkers.  Naturally, the staff is working on getting a TV in there as soon as possible, to complete the beer drinking experience.  Check the tasting room website in the next few weeks for special events and appetizers, and for additional information on the beer tasting program.

napaokt.jpgBeer-lovers should also mark their calendars for Saturday October 16, 2010, when Oktoberfest Napa Valley hits downtown Napa.  From 11:00am to 10:00 pm, the smells of Würstel (sausages), Brezel (pretzels), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles) and other German culinary delights will fill the air at the Napa Valley Expo center at 575 Third Street.  The Spaten will be flowing, and classic Bavarian tunes will be pumping throughout the day.  Oktoberfest revelers can put their prowess to the test in traditional and non-traditional German games like the stein holding contest, the "nail to log" contest, the German dancing contest, and "Spell Farfagnugen"--a spelling bee for German words.   Kid-friendly food and activities are also available, so bring the whole family for a day of München fun.  

Admission for adults is $10 in advance (purchase through their website here), $15 at the door, and free if you dress in full German costume.  Yes.  Time to break out the lederhosen, boys.  Youth aged 14-18 are $5 per person, and kids 13 and under are free.  Admission prices include access to the event (with re-entry privileges) and the entertainment, but food and beverages are additional.  Tickets will not be available at the door once they sell out online, so reserve your spot today.

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Love this! Goes great with our latest Quaff post, at http://www.beathirstygirl.com/index.php/quaff/article/thirsty-girl-does-oktoberfest/

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