One of the best things about summer in Sonoma County — beyond our wonderful warm weather and longer daylight hours — is the rich calendar of beer festivals. In fact, the climate is so good that the lineup of "summer" beer festivals starts in late spring and continues into early fall. So raise a mug, gather a growler, and get your suds on at these favorite gatherings.
Check out our Sonoma County's Breweries page for details on all breweries and beers.
Battle of the Brews (April)
Celebrate all things craft beer at this annual event at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The VIP Craft Cup Competition (1-8 p.m.) is one of Sonoma County’s largest craft brew competitions, with industry-leading judges naming the Craft Cup Best in Show as well as category favorites and winners. Entries in the Commercial Beer Competition are available for tasting by event attendees. That’s followed by the People’s Choice Main Event (4-8 p.m.), with dozens of craft brews from Sonoma County and nationwide, free food tastings from local chefs and resturants, and live music. Hosted by the Active 20-30 Club of Santa Rosa #50, the Battle of the Brews raises money for local underserved youth. The 2019 event is set for April 6.
IPA 10K & Beer Mile Invitational (April)
This one-of-a-kind event celebrates the Northern California beer scene with a festive and scenic 10K race that starts with a beer or cider toast. The race is followed by the Brewfest, which brings together breweries and cider makers from throughout the region for a tasting extravaganza with live music, exhibitors, food trucks, and an awards ceremony. There’s also the Beer mile Invitational with the world’s top male and female beer milers, plus the raucously entertaining Beer Mile Relay Challenge, where brewers compete for the coveted Growler Trophy. This event is hosted by The Barlow, a 12.5-acre outdoor market in Sebastopol that features local food, wine, beer, spirits, and crafts. For 2019, the event will be held April 12 and 13.
Beerfest - The Good One (June)
Luther Burbank Center transforms into a lavish beer garden, populated by more than 60 of NorCal’s best microbreweries.
Ready your palate to savor unlimited sips from your souvenir Beerfest glass of new, rare, and classic beers as well as delicious ciders. Gourmet food bites are available for purchase from some of Sonoma County's favorite food trucks.
You can feel good having this much fun, because the event is a fundraiser for Face to Face, which is dedicated to ending HIV. The event is held from 1 to 4:30 p.m., but VIP ticket holders start tasting at noon. For 2019, this event is scheduled for June 8.
NorCal Brew Fest (August)
Held in conjunction with the annual Sonoma County Fair, this one-day event features unlimited tastes of more than 50 award-winning beers and ciders. Play cornhole and Giant Jenga, listen to free live music, and feel the trackside thrill of Wine Country horse racing. The date and details for the 2019 fest will be announced in spring 2019.
Showcasing 30 breweries and unlimited beer tasting from 1 to 5 p.m., moderation is key at this event, but fun is a must. And with 30 barbecue teams working their magic with meats, there’s plenty of food to balance the beer. Located right on the Russian River, the party rocks out with live music and some 3,000 guests.
This event always sells out, and here’s a tip: pay the extra $10 for a shuttle bus ticket if you don't have a designated driver. The shutlle picks you up behind Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, brings you to the event site, and shuttles you back afterward. It’s all for a good cause, too, since proceeds benefit West County Community Services' Russian River Senior Resource Center. Tickets are by presale only (none are sold at the door); the 2019 date is TBA.
Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival (September)
The Petaluma riverfront roars to life with more than 20 local microbreweries, delicious bites from Petaluma restaurants, and festive promenade strolls. Admission includes a souvenir beer glass and tickets for beer and food tastings. Just a few of the notable names include Henhouse, Lagunitas, Fogbelt, Dempsey’s, Woodfour, Plow, and Sonoma Springs. The 2019 date is TBA.
Ready to explore more of Sonoma County's craft beer scene?
Follow our Beer Trail Itinerary: Explore Breweries in Sonoma County; 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.
And be sure to check out the Sonoma County Craft Beverages Map, which gives details about and directions to all of Sonoma County's breweries, cideries, and distilleries.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet