Fun Times at Brewsters Beer Garden in Petaluma
Sonoma County might be most known for it's wineries, but the town of Petaluma is quickly growing into a craft beer hub, filled with beer gardens and world-class craft beer breweries. When Brewster's Beer Garden co-owners Mike Goebel and Chris Beerman decided to open a beer garden and restaurant in Petaluma, they dreamed big. The purchased the entire Mahoney Building on Water Street between Washington Street and Petaluma Boulevard North.
Beerman already had the restaurant chops, previously working with San Francisco’s Boulevard, and then opening his own Citizen’s Band eatery. Goebel, meanwhile, had worked as a bartender at numerous San Francisco lounges, including Bloodhound, across the street from Citizen Band.
They thought large for the extensive menu, too, covering lunch, happy hour, dinner and brunch. While wood fired meat stars on the barbecue-focused listing, it also brims with eclectic dishes ranging from fried chicken in mushroom gravy with buttermilk biscuits, to gnocchi fancied up with fava beans, green garlic, grilled prawns, beech mushrooms, English peas, sugar snap peas and Alchemist Farms poached egg.
For the dramatic interior of metal I-beams and artistically designed wood tables and benches, we can thank Petaluma’s own Heritage Salvage, which used recycled wood taken from old Army barracks in Oakland. There’s a bit of Burning Man flair, too, in the massive metal and wood tree sculpture at the top of a staircase, courtesy of festival artist Bryan Tedrick of Glen Ellen.
The garden area overlooks the river, with multiple seating areas, a live music stage, another bar, a bocce ball court, dog friendly landscape, and a kids play area. It’s a lovely spot to sip cocktails from the full bar, an array of beers on tap
(check out the clever tap handles, which are kitchen utensils), and local wines.
Petaluma beers particularly stand out, such as quaffs from Lagunitas and 101 North.
And while beer is naturally a centerpiece, food is no afterthought. Ingredients are sourced from Wine Country stars like Stemple Creek Ranch, Marin Sun Farms Petaluma, Green Star, Feed Sonoma, and Live Oak Farms.
So diners can feast on core staples like Texas style brisket, St. Louis style white oak smoked ribs, smoked half chicken, and smoked lamb leg slathered in chile-mint yogurt.
Some more elaborate dishes include pit roasted Stemple Creek spring lamb with local black trumpet mushrooms, spring onions, sun chokes and creamy polenta, or grass fed Marin Sun Farms New York strip with creamed kale and leeks, warm new potato salad and fresh horseradish.
Be sure to start out with appetizers, too, from a tempting line-up covering a petite BLT of 12 hr. roasted pork belly, roasted Sierra Beauty apples, potato hash and spicy greens, to ahi tuna crudo dressed with pickled jalapeno, shaved avocado, heirloom radish, sweet soy and wasabi greens.
For dessert? Think that sweet barbecue tradition - pecan pie. And cheers!