The Oberon, first built in 1893 was host to patrons who could buy a cigar, get a shave and haircut for two bits, or relax with a cold beer in Downtown Napa. The building was badly damaged by a fire in 1932 and was rebuilt and resorted to the current art deco style two years later. The Oberon was a hangout for boxing legend Rocky Marciano. The historical Oberon building underwent an eight month seismic retrofit of its infrastructure in 2010 and withstood the magnitude 6.0 Napa earthquake in August 2014. The Oberon building and Downtown Joe’s have been providing earthquake data since 2012 to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) via a small seismograph that was installed during its fortification.
In 1985 the great grandson of Theodore Hamms, living in Napa developed a plan to begin brewing beer in Napa. Chuck Ankeny had ideas of beginning the micro brewing revolution as his great grandfather Theodore Hamms had done as a macro brewer 120 years earlier in St Paul Minnesota. The Hamms family had operated a traditional brewery in San Francisco from 1954 to 1972 when Chuck was a child. Ankeny hired brewmaster Brian Hunt, educated at UC Davis, CA and then working for Schlitz Brewery. He and Brian set out to design a seven barrel microbrewery inside the Oberon Building in the heart of Napa Valley. The brewpub was opened in 1988 as Willit’s Brewery.
Locals Joe and Nancye Peatmen purchased Willit’s Brewery in 1993 with third generation Napan restaurateur Joe Ruffino. They retained brewmaster Brian Hunt and so was the inception of Downtown Joe’s. Current brewmaster Colin Kaminski joined our team in 1999 and took over brewery operations in 2003. Joe Ruffino moved on in 2004 and since Joe and Nancye Peatman, with support from their family, have maintained the Napa tradition of operating a friendly down to earth neighborhood brewery and restaurant. Downtown Joe’s has stayed true to its roots caring for everyone as a human spirit and friend. A business with a staff that is valued and respected and all guests are welcomed. Surrounded by an influx of new premium wine businesses and restaurants, Downtown Joe’s is one of the last connections to Old Napa, a wonderful place and home to wonderful people before Grape was King.
We are unpretentious, friendly, and fun. Downtown Joe’s continues to be the place where locals meet and visitors come to feel like a local.
To share our love of quality food, wine and beer with our guests in a friendly, warm, and entertaining atmosphere. To go beyond our guests’ expectations and to select, develop, and empower the finest people.
Downtown Joe’s Brewery
902 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559