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With ties to the races at Calistoga Speedway, Lincoln Avenue Brewery opened its doors just in time for the Louis Vermeil Classic over Labor Day weekend.

Racing fans may recall Rick Downey, a sprint car driver at the Speedway in the 1980s. Downey is now president of Lincoln Avenue Brewery (or The LAB) and a friendly face behind the bar.

“The town was ready for something new,” he said.

The LAB is in the space formerly occupied by Puerto Vallarta, behind Calistoga Creamery and next to Cal Mart. While also appealing to visitors, the business plans to cater locals and contribute to the community, Downey said.

“I’ve always wanted to do this, it’s a real passion. We hope locals will really like this place. We’re friendly, we’ll treat them well, and prices are reasonable,” he said.

With indoor and outdoor seating, the LAB offers 25 brews on tap, burgers, fish tacos and salad on the menu. The establishment was busy over the weekend, said bar manager Marquette Whitten. Look for house-made flatbread pizzas with smoked meats in the future.

The restaurant has an open floorplan with a windowed garage door that can open to the outside, weather permitting.

Whitten described the décor as industrial, with a racing theme including old photos of Downey at the Speedway with his winning prizes.

The Brewery serves mostly local brews on tap, from Santa Rosa and Petaluma, and four of the beers on tap are made by Barrel Brothers, in Windsor, for the LAB. The LAB is also working on finishing an on-site brewery, where Barrel Brothers will also make and serve a few of their own house-made brews. The restaurant also serves wine by the glass.

The LAB is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.