Small pours of different beers lined up for a tasting
Bear Republic Brewing Co., Rohnert Park

Enjoy Craft Beer and Breweries in Sonoma County

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In the last few years, more and more artisan brewers have bellied up to the bar in Sonoma County Wine Country, opening boutique operations creating finely crafted beers based on local ingredients and with production limited to small, coveted amounts.

Sonoma County now has more than two dozen operating breweries, eight cideries, and 15 distilleries, with more opening seemingly every day.

It's gotten to be such a rich tapestry that Sonoma County put together a Craft Beverage Map showing local breweries, cideries, and distilleries.

A few of the best-known brew houses include Bear Republic Brewing Co., which after more than two decades in Healdsburg is now operating its brewpub in Rohnert Park; Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Petaluma; and Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, voted the second best beer in the country out of 7,400 breweries nationwide by the American Homebrewers Association and famous for its uproariously popular annual Pliny the Younger release each February. It's second, larger location now in Windsor features tours of the state-of-the-art beer making facility.

Russian River Brewing Tap Room
Russian River Brewing Company Santa Rosa

Of course, that's not to overlook Dempsey's Restaurant & Brewery in Petaluma; Fogbelt Brewing Company, Shady Oak Barrel House, and Third Street Aleworks in Santa Rosa; Barrel Brothers Brewing Company in Windsor; Woodfour Brewing Company, Crooked Goat Brewing, and Seismic Brewing Company in The Barlow in Sebastopol; and many others. 

Two of the newest additions to the Sonoma County craft beer scene are both located in Rohnert Park. Parliament Brewing Company offers a variety of small batch beers with names like Whatchamacallit IPA and Friend From Vermont New England Pale Ale. Old Caz Beer also offers a rotating variety of small batch beers on tap, like Steady State German Pilsner, Chismosa Mexican Amber Lager, and Catastrophe Rye IPA.

A group of friends drinks beer together outside on a patio
Brewsters Beer Garden

Local craft beers are also featured in places like The Block, Brewsters Beer Garden, and Taps Restaurant and Tasting Room in Petaluma; Barley & Hops Tavern in Occidental; Steele & Hops Public House in Santa Rosa; and the taproom in the BeerCraft retail store in Rohnert Park. Read more about Beer Gardens in Sonoma County here.

What's the buzz (pun intended) about? It's because all these independently owned operations showcase beer as art.

Two cans of beer sit on top of fresh hops
Fogbelt Brewing Company

At Fogbelt Brewing Company, brewers Paul Hawley and Remy Martin use exclusively California-grown hops. And Taps owner Eric Lafranchi features some three dozen beers from around the world on tap.

With so many choices, the solution is simple. Try them all. To get started, check our listings of Sonoma County's breweries, distilleries, and cider houses, and our Beer Trail Itinerary.

Want a bit of guidance? Take a guided craft brewery tour with On Tap Beer Tours or North Bay Brewery Tours, or visit craft breweries on two wheels with the Pints N Pedals guided cycling tour by Getaway Adventures or the Santa Rosa Bike 'N Brew Tour with Ace It! Bike Tours

You can also find more info about things to dorestaurants, and hotels and lodging in Sonoma County.

Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.