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Gratuitous firework photo to celebrate New Year's Eve. You're welcome.

I hear tell that we have reached some kind of year-end period, so it seems fitting to wrap up the first year of Beer Country (born June 26, though longer in the planning stages) with a couple of loose ends we’ve been following:

Brian Hunt of Moonlight Brewing tells us that at long last his tap room is pretty much ready to go at his new brewing facility at 3350 Coffey Lane in Santa Rosa. He had a soft opening on Monday and is planning to be open 4-6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Regular hours begin sometime in January, but he’s not cooked up the precise details. “The room still has tools and parts from moving the brewhouse, and I just got back from two weeks vacation, so we are way behind, but I wanted to give people the option of having NYE growlers,” he explains.

Down at Sonoma Springs Brewing, things are also behind schedule. They closed their old location in September, hoping to be up and running in October or November at the new brewery at at 19449 Riverside Ave., suite 101. But, as anyone who’s ever done a home renovation project knows, construction takes a lot longer than expected. Brewmaster Tim Goeppinger explains, via email: ” Just got building permit approved; Everything taking longer than expected,” he writes. “New equipment arriving this week but cannot hook up yet. Gas and electric work to be done before that happens. Hoping to be brewing end of January. Tasting room in February.”

Back in Santa Rosa, the guys at the new Fogbelt Brewing are almost ready to open at 1305 Cleveland Ave., coowner Paul Hawley says. “We are kegging our first batch today,” he wrote on Monday. “It is a Saison brewed with 100% Sonoma County hops that we grew. We have a red ale that we’ll be kegging up next week and more in the pipeline … Our taproom at the brewery is finished and just waiting for beer as well. We hope to be open with four or five beers by Feb. 1.”

At Petaluma Hills Brewing, meanwhile, owner JJ Jay continues his effort to get right with the city bureaucracy. You may recall, he debuted his beers this fall and was on a bit of a roll, annoucing a joint deal with HenHouse Brewing to share equipment, allowing the smaller brewery to vastly expand production while saving up for a new brewhouse of their own. News of that deal, however, drew the unfavorable attention of city inspectors, who decreed that Petaluma Hills didn’t have all its permits in line and shut the whole operation down in early December. JJ reports that he had a key inspection on Monday, though he still has some way to go before the final inspection that will get beer flowing again. Fingers crossed for a Grand Reopening sometime early in the New Year.

And for those keeping score at home, Pliny the Younger brewing at Russian River starts this week. Release of the treasured brew is set for Feb. 7, the first day of San Francisco Beer Week.

We’ll keep you posted on these and other beer adventures locally.

- Sean Scully

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