The financial website The Street gives Petaluma, and the rest of Sonoma County, some beery love in its list of five hidden gems for a beer vacation (which my wife has dubbed brewcations), following on a similar list they posted in June:

So why are we dumping beer lovers into a region known primarily for wine?

Part of it has to do with Petaluma itself. Located right in the heart of Sonoma County, Petaluma is surrounded by such treasures as the more than 180-year old Rancho Petaluma Adobe, the Sonoma Coast, the extremely boat-friendly Petaluma River and a gorgeous downtown and waterfront. It’s not too far from the Bay Area or Redwoods State Park and, yes, it’s right in the middle of wine country.

The piece goes on to cite Lagunitas, Dempsey’s, and newcomer 101 North as outstanding beer places in Petaluma, and adds that standouts Russian River and Bear Republic are right up the road.

The other beer destinations they recommend are Astoria, Oregon; McCall, Idaho; Louisville, Kentucky; and Billings, Montana. Their June list included Brooklyn, New York; New Glarus, Wisconsin; Brevard, North Carolina; Greensboro, Vermont; and Anchorage, Alaska.

To those lists I would add Asheville, North Carolina; Charlottesville, Virginia (or maybe nearby Richmond); and pretty much any small town in Colorado.

Have any unexpected beer powerhouses of your own to recommend?

– Sean Scully