Instead of hitting a brewery for happy hour, why not try something different? Two pints of beer, delicious bites, and an open-air cart to enjoy the scenery – hop aboard the Hop Train, brought to you by the Napa Valley Wine Train.
The Napa Valley Wine Train made it clear this summer: Beer-lovers, we hear you. Enter the Hop Train. The two-plus-hour journey north offers riders incredible, open-air views, craft beer, and delicious bites. And because it runs along Route 29, where traffic often backs up, stalled drivers would see people on the Hop Train rolling by, waving, having a great time – and call the Napa Valley Wine Train, inquiring: “Hey, what’s this train you’ve got going up north?”
What is it?
Started in summer, the Hop Train operates seasonally, from spring to fall, and runs every Monday (5:30 PM-7:45 PM). For $75 ($50 for locals and folks in the hospitality industry), you get two pints of beer (chosen from the two to three different beers poured on tap that night) and all the food you can eat, courtesy of Hop Train partner, Napa Palisades.
What’s the train like?
There are two cars – one that seats 36, and houses the restrooms, kitchen, indoor seating, and TVs, and a larger, open-air car (translation: there are no windows), which fits about 60. Bounce between them at your leisure. Also worth mentioning: There’s a karaoke machine in the open-air car, so have your song selection ready.
What is there to drink?
On each trip, there are three Napa Palisades craft brews to choose from, like their 1849 Gold Rush Red Ale and Loco IPA, and you get to pick two. After working through their selections, guests can enjoy the stocked bar, too, with other beers (bottled included) available at happy hour pricing.
Is there food served on board?
Forget peanuts. With chefs on board, the Hop Train takes food almost as seriously as it takes the beer. Napa Palisades, not just well-known for their beer, but their food, too, caters each journey, and offers small bites like buffalo wings, their famous smoked duck sliders, and chipotle chicken tacos. The best part? Everything’s included in your ticket price, and it’s all you can eat.
What route does the train take?
Starting in Napa, the Hop Train runs right through the middle of the valley, and the mountains act as a beautiful backdrop for the journey as the train heads north. It takes about 10 minutes to leave Napa and pass the first winery on Highway 29 – during that time, there’s a 1.8-mile stretch, an outdoor art gallery, in which the backs of buildings are painted with gorgeous murals exploding with color. Then, of course, you get to beautiful vineyard country, which continues all the way up to the Rutherford station before the train turns around.