View Portfolio

Brewmaster’s Story

He Really Did Work For Beer

Here at Napa Smith Brewery, we are proud to feature the beers of America’s most experienced craft brewer – Don Barkley. Don started making craft beer in 1978 at New Albion Brewery, America’s first new brewery since Prohibition. When Don started, budgets were tight, so he really did work for beer while living in a small tent on the mountainside above the brewery. The beer and tent were literally his “Room & Board” – but he was doing what he loved.

A passion for brewing inspired Don Barkely to give up his job in Silicon Valley and enroll in the world-renowned Brewing program at UC Davis. After five years brewing at New Albion Brewery, he went on to help found the Mendocino Brewing Company. During his 25 years there as Master Brewer, Don became an icon in the craft beer industry, creating such legendary beers as Red Tail Ale and Eye of the Hawk.

Don has now joined Napa Smith Brewery, coming home to his deep roots in Napa. Don’s great-great-grandfather settled in the Napa Valley in the 1850’s as one of the very first hop farmers. So while Don is now being paid a real salary (don’t worry, he still gets beer), he is doing what he loves and carrying on the family legacy. Try our Napa Smith beers and taste the difference that passion and over 30 years of experience can make.

Try Don’s recipes at the source by visiting our on-site Taproom.

Organic IPA

Lost Dog


Cool Brew

Crush Beer

Amber Ale

Pale Ale


Official Beer of USA Water Polo