Don Barkley, arguably the closest active link to America’s original microbrewery, is returning to small-scale brewing. The North Bay Business Journal has the scoop.
Visionaries from Mendocino County are looking to break down the walls between fine wine and craft beer in wine country. Don Barkley, a legend in U.S. craft brewing, left his post as master brewer at Ukiah-based Mendocino Brewing Co. in November and is preparing the inaugural releases this spring from a rare winery-brewery in south Napa.
Barkley worked for Jack McAuliffe in the 1970s at New Albion Brewing in Sonoma County shortly after McAuliffe started the first “built new” (it wasn’t really new) microbrewery. Last April when the Brewers Association honored the reclusive McAuliffe it was Barkley who accepted the award.
Barkley retired from Mendocino Brewing in November after nearly 25 years at the brewery. Mendocino acquired much of the new Albion equipment as well as the house yeast after New Albion closed.
He said he is looking forward to returning to smaller batch brewing, working in a 15-barrel brewhouse instead of with a 100-barrel system.
“Jack McAuliffe’s favorite comment was winemakers are poets and beer makers are industrialists,” Barkley said. “We’re going to see whether an industrialist can become a poet.”
This sounds like a discussion we’ve already had.