When Wine Alone is Not Enough…DRINK BEER!

By: Mark Gularte & Scott Allen

Ok, so the title may seem blasphemous for this website, but often folks traveling to Sonoma have companions that also love … beer. We want to ensure that our guests are aware that Sonoma County has both outstanding wineries and breweries. In fact, not long ago, due to the quality of the breweries within a 20 mile radius of Santa Rosa, the city was recognized as the “Microbrew Capital of the U.S.” *

Recently, one of our good friends spent a day visiting just four of the over 27** breweries located locally. Why only four? Really, 4 is about all we could ask of our intrepid reporter on a single day – and likely a ride share was involved to get him back home! But fear not, we plan to add to this blog in the coming months by providing updates from other locations!

So, whether you thirst for IPA, Saison, Stout, Ale, or any one of the many other varieties of beer, you are sure to find something outstanding in Sonoma.

Russian River Brewing

725 4th Street, Santa Rosa (707) 545-2337

2nd location opening Fall of 2018 in Windsor

An iconic destination among beer aficionados from far and wide, you should expect crowds at all hours of the day. That’s part of the appeal of Russian River’s downtown location. That, and the truly world class beers and ales. Most come to try the rightly famous Pliny the Elder, but don’t miss the breadth of quality from the rest of their lineup. Food offerings include pizza and sandwiches. If the line to get in is too long, take advantage of the walkup line to buy bottles to go. Russian River will be opening a companion brewery in Windsor – close to Bricoleur Vineyards very soon!

Beers to look for:

  • Pliny the Elder (8% ABV): Known the world over, Pliny regularly ranks in the top 5 beers in the world on various rating lists. One of the first Double IPA’s ever brewed, Pliny features a golden color with pine resin, citrus, and fresh hops all the way to next Sunday.
  • Blind Pig (6.25% ABV): Very well balanced, “The Pig” is a great example of a classic West Coast IPA.
  • Sanctification (6.75% ABV): An American Wild Ale brewed with brettanomyces yeast, Sanctification is representative of Russian River’s adept hand at sour beers. Be sure to try their other offerings that end in “tion”.
  • Row 2, Hill 56 (5.8% ABV): One of the finest pale ales around, Row 2 serves up a big floral nose, tons of hops, and a crisp, dry finish.
  • Benediction (6.75% ABV): Russian River’s version of a Belgian Dubbel, with a light malty nose and a mild chocolate presence.
  • Damnation (7.75% ABV): This is a light and refreshing Belgian Strong Pale Ale with excellent carbonation and a crisp apple flavor.

Cooperage Brewing

981 Airway Court, Suite G, Santa Rosa (707) 293-9787

Cooperage offers a laid back atmosphere in a north Santa Rosa industrial park setting. Instead of a flagship beer, Cooperage offers a constantly rotating tap list with a style that leans toward hop forward IPAs. No food is served, but they provide a schedule of food trucks outside the brewery. You’ll find artwork by local artists adorning the walls (available for purchase), along with a large colorful mural along one side wall. Excellent service, and if you’re in the mood to play a board game while you enjoy their beers, this is the place. Dogs are welcome too!

Beers to look for:

  • Hella IHU (7% ABV): Tropical notes greet you as you approach this hazy Northeast Style IPA, and you’ll find pineapple and citrus complimenting this refreshing ale.
  • Juicy Coop (9.3% ABV): A double IPA with a mix of hops, the color is a clear orange gold with lots of juicy, as the name implies, different tropical fruits.
  • Cultivating Mass (9.8% ABV): Black as night, you’ll note aroma of coffee, along with a chocolate and deep roasted malt flavor. This Imperial Stout won gold at the 2018 World Beer Cup.

Henhouse Brewing

322 Bellevue Avenue, Santa Rosa (707) 978-4577

Also located in Petaluma at 1333 N. McDowell Blvd.

Located in a southwest Santa Rosa industrial park just off 101, Henhouse is justifiably known for their excellent Saisons, but they don’t shy away from hoppy IPAs either. The tasting room is small, but they have ample covered outdoor tables and offer a family, and dog, friendly atmosphere. Food trucks offer food on the weekends. Look for their beers in cans throughout the area, or for purchase at the brewery.

Beers to look for:

  • Henhouse Saison (5.5% ABV): The flagship Henhouse product, this is a lively and refreshing, with citrus and bready notes.
  • An Honest Day’s Work Saison (7% ABV): Darker in color than the flagship saison, the addition of rye adds a pleasant sharpness that is accentuated by cracker malts.
  • Henhouse IPA (6.9% ABV): Continuing the trend of refreshing beers, Henhouse’s IPA contains citrus, grapefruit, and malt notes, leading to a nicely balanced brew.
  • Oyster Stout (4.9% ABV): Sporting a dark brown color and a tan head, flavors of dark chocolate and coffee predominate.
  • Fresh Pots Coffee Saison (7.4% ABV): The clear gold color gives no hint of the lovely coffee nose, which is supported by a touch of orange flavor, making for a truly distinct and enjoyable beer.

2 Tread Brewing

1071 Santa Rosa Plaza, Santa Rosa (corner of B Street & 3rd Street) (707) 327-2822

New to downtown Santa Rosa, 2 Tread occupies an expansive space adjacent to the Santa Rosa Plaza. Large rollup doors lead to an inviting patio that offers late afternoon shade facing toward downtown. The beer selections are complimented by a menu of salads, burgers, pizzas and shareable plates. Friendly service and musical offerings augment your experience here. Bike on in for a pint!

Beers to look for:

  • IPA #3 (7% ABV): A dark amber IPA, with plenty of malt to compliment the hops.
  • Hoppy New Beer (6.2% ABV): A cross between a pale ale and an IPA, this beer presents itself with a bright gold color and classic IPA pine and citrus flavors.

*Source: https://pudding.cool/2017/04/beer/

**Source: www.sonomacounty.com