Enjoy Craft Beer and Breweries in Sonoma County
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.
Sonoma County's rich craft beer scene culminates in February, with the popular annual Pliny the Younger release (which in 2021 was held online in late January) by Russian River Brewing. Their second, larger location now in Windsor features tours of the state-of-the-art beer making facility. Also in February is Santa Rosa's FeBREWary, a ground-breaking celebration of craft beer and community from Santa Rosa breweries, and produced in conjunction with California Craft Brew Week.
Sonoma County's craft beer scene has gotten to be such a rich tapestry that Sonoma County put together a Craft Beverage Map showing local breweries, cideries, and distilleries.
Some of Sonoma County's other 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. In Petaluma, there's the ever-popular Lagunitas Brewing Co.
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.
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; and Steele & Hops Public House in Santa Rosa. 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.
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.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.