Petaluma Hills Brewing Co. celebrated their one year anniversary in November. The microbrewery located across the street from Lagunitas has been a long time in the making. JJ Jay, owner/brewer, had homebrewed for twenty years before deciding to turn his hobby into his business.
“In 1991 a friend suggested that my beer was good enough to sell,” said JJ. It wasn’t until 2008 that he got serious about the notion of owning his own brewery. “Things moved along at their own pace,” continued Mr. Jay.
Initially JJ was a little hesitant about opening up across the street from Lagunitas when the landlord approached him with the space. He didn’t want to be thought of as derivative. A year later he enjoys the notion of being a part of a brewing district in the town that he fell in love with when moving out to the west coast.
JJ was offered a job with Pixar that moved his family to his now beloved Petaluma in 1995. His kids have grown up in the community and are now all involved in the family owned and operated microbrewery. On any given visit to the taproom you may meet JJ, his wife Debra Ann, daughter Alayna and sons Ryan and Austin.
The names of his beers pay tribute to Petaluma and the history of the town. ‘River Town Brown’, ‘Porterluma’ and ‘Old Adobe Stout’ are great examples. “Bringing the Petaluma community to the world through craft beer,” responded JJ when I asked him what his goal was. JJ’s sense of humor comes across as well with names like ‘Pumpkin Patch Traffic Jam’ and ‘Tripel J’, which points out the excessive amount of Js in one person’s name.
Petaluma Hills is now bottling two beers that can be purchased at various bottle shops around the county. Look out for ‘Big House Blonde’ and ‘Porterluma’ to show up on store shelves in the near future.
If you would like to taste through the full lineup while getting to know a Jay or two, swing by the taproom located at 1333 N. McDowell Blvd., Suite A, Petaluma. For taproom hours and more info you can check out the website at petalumahills.com.
-Peter Lopez Jr.