A Press Democrat Blog

Beer Country

A digest about that other famous beverage

Sharing craft beer with friends and loved ones this holiday season

The holiday season is officially underway. Getting together with family and friends is surely the excuse that you’ve been looking for to pop open a special bottle of beer that has been sitting in your cellar. Here are a few things to keep in mind when bringing beer to a holiday dinner or party you may be invited to: Not everyone is ready for that Bourbon barrel aged stout that you so generously want to share, but it is nice… Read More »

Warped Brewing will celebrate their one year anniversary with a chili cookoff

This Thursday, November 20th, Warped Brewing Company will be celebrating their one year anniversary with a chili cookoff and the release of a brand new beer named ‘Clear the Flag’. The fee to taste and vote on the winner of the cookoff will be just $5. Warped Brewing is a 10 barrel brewery located in The Barlow at 6790 McKinley St. Suite 190 in Sebastopol. Noah Bolmer, owner, started production last November then opened the classic video game themed tasting… Read More »

Upcoming beer festival will raise money for local Veterans

My apologies for the lack of beer blogs as of late. In addition to my beer blogging responsibilities I am one of the organizers for the upcoming NorCal Beer Geeks Beer Festival presented by Palooza Gastropub. Fellow organizer, Ed Hops and I have been hard at work organizing the festival that will help raise money for a local Veterans group, Sonoma County Vet Connect. Vet Connect is a Veterans helping Veterans organization formed to assist Veterans in locating the services… Read More »

On the road with North Bay Brewery Tours

In 2010 two brothers, Ron and James Holt, and a long-time family friend, James Watkins, chose to take their passion for craft beer on the road, literally. They started a beer tour business known as North Bay Brewery Tours. Ron told me that he and his business partners did their share of bouncing around between breweries and taprooms in the past and decided that others wanting to do the same needed a trusty and reliable designated driver. With breweries so… Read More »

State’s craft brewers to meet in Santa Rosa

The California Craft Brewers Association will be celebrating their 25th anniversary at next week’s California Craft Brewers Conference. The event will be held at Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa in Santa Rosa. The last day to register for the event is today. Those of you that are CCBA members, exhibitors, sponsors, non-member breweries and breweries in planning are eligible. The two day event kicks off on Monday, November 3. It will be a full day starting at 9am and… Read More »

What makes a good ‘beertender’

Once the beer has been made and delivered, it’s up to the bottle shops and taprooms to explain why a beer should be the one to purchase to a consumer. Some of the more successful taprooms in the county understand the importance of a knowledgeable staff that can hand sell a product, pair the beer with food and go into detail about the tasting profile. When suggesting a beer, I’ve found that the key to a good suggestion is finding… Read More »

Framboise gone, but pink merchandise still available at Russian River

Those itching for a taste of Russian River Brewing’s Framboise for the Cure are out of luck as the Santa Rosa brewery has sold out of its seasonal brew. Russian River offers the beer, a sour blonde ale that contains 30 pounds of raspberries per barrel to turn it pinkish-red, up during October to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and prevention. The beer carries a high Beer Advocate score of 98. Russian River raised more than $100,000 from its… Read More »

Behind the scenes at Faction Brewing in Alameda

Rodger and Claudia Davis are the husband and wife team that own and operate one of the hottest new breweries in northern California, Faction Brewing. Rodger is the brewmaster making a large array of beers, while specializing in hoppy beers. Claudia runs the tasting room and is in charge of many business decisions. Both have a long history of working in the beer industry. Rodger spent time as the head brewer at Drake’s Brewing as well as working for Triple… Read More »

Bear Republic’s Racer X on sale Friday

Fans of Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Cloverdale have more reason to celebrate after the brewery picked up two medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver on Saturday. The company is releasing its Racer X double India pale ale this week and it will be available on tap at its Healdsburg brewpub on Friday. The seasonal release is one of the most anticipated by fans of Bear Republic, building upon the hoppy taste of its flagship Racer 5… Read More »

Announcing the first NorCal Beer Geeks Festival

The NorCal Beer Geeks group has grown to nearly 600 members. In the past the group would select a local brewery, taproom or restaurant and partake in a tasting. Past events have featured food and beer pairings, blind tastings and bottle shares. With nine events in the books, the NorCal Beer Geeks will be celebrating the tenth gathering with the first ever NorCal Beer Geeks Beer Festival presented by Palooza Gastropub. The event will take place on Saturday, November 22 from… Read More »

Amateur brewer and Bear Republic bring home top honors from Great American Beer Festival

Occidental home brewer Michael Kelly and local beer brewer Bear Republic won top honors this weekend at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colo., the world’s largest commercial beer competition. Kelly and the Cloverdale-based brewer won a gold medal in the festival’s Pro-Am competition, which pairs amateur brewers with professional brewers. For the competition, Bear Republic chose earlier this year Kelly’s Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scottish 80 Shilling, a Scottish style ale that Kelly described as a “refreshing diversion from… Read More »

Learn about Baeltane Brewing in Novato

The next time you find yourself in Novato I suggest you pay Alan Atha a visit at his brewery, Baeltane Brewing. Alan is the founder, co-owner and brewer. When mentioning his business partner, Cathy Portje, he called her his “partner in crime, business and passion.” It’s clear to see that Alan is passionate about creating artisanal craft beer. He always considered himself  ‘an artist of some kind’ and says that he finally found his palette in craft beer. Baeltane focuses… Read More »

Behind the scenes at the Carneros Brewing Company

Carneros Brewing Company is a family owned brewery that has been around for just a little over a year. Two of the four brothers, Armando and Pedro, who are now business partners in this venture are also associated with Ceja Vineyards. Armando, Pedro and Manuel Ceja decided to team up with their brother Jesus Ceja to launch this Latino owned brewery. Although there are now thousands of breweries open in the U.S., very few of them are Latino owned and… Read More »

Update on Moonlight Brewing Company’s Santa Rosa taproom plans

Fans of Moonlight Brewing Co. will have to wait longer for the opening of its taproom in its new brewing facility in Santa Rosa. Owner Brian Hunt hoped almost a year ago to open up his new location at 3350 Coffey Lane, but he has experienced delays moving into the new place, especially in waiting for the permitting issues to get resolved and moving in new equipment. In an interview, Hunt said he could not set a timetable on when… Read More »

Lagunitas to go ‘couch tripping’

Lagunitas is going ‘couch tripping’ for the next few weeks. The couch tripping tour will consist of several parties throughout the country with the final destination being New Orleans. The tour will benefit O+, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing community well-being by connecting musicians, artists and health providers in week long celebrations. A special fusion ale was made specifically for this tour. O+, musicians, entertainment by the Beer Circus and of course some of the well-loved couches from the… Read More »