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Here’s an interesting little piece I ran across somehow the other day. It talks about the small but thriving beer culture in the town of Sonoma, which includes breweries Hopmonk Tavern and Sonoma Springs Brewing and beer bar Olde Sonoma Public House. Producer Peter Berkley tells me that the film was made back in 2011 for our friends down at Sonoma Magazine as part of a story written by his wife Susan Berkley.  It tells the story of Tim Goeppinger and his Sonoma Springs Brewing Co.

“We just kind of found out that a lot of people are really into beer here and not wine,”  Tim tells the Berkleys of his decision to open a brewery in Wine Country. “Some people don’t even drink wine.”

He tells of wine-weary (or wine-averse) travelers coming into the tap room and saying “I am so glad you’re here – all I do is drink beer.”

What’s kind of fun about the movie is some of the other voices as well, including Dean Bierch, founder of Hopmonk and himself a bit of a beer pioneer in his previous life as founder of the Gordon Bierch chain. He speaks lyrically of being at near the place where craft brew started, just down the road from the iconic New Albion Brewing (now long defunct but about to make a comeback).

“I like to tell people about the people involved involved, where all these beers come from, why they’re interesting and when you might like to drink then,” Dean says.

Likewise, Coley Thinnes, founder of Olde Sonoma Public House, says he does more than just serve beer. “We don’t just sell beer over the bar to people; we educate them about the brewery and about  the beer that they are drinking,” he said, before dsiplaying the “Beer Geek Box,” in which patrons can keep tasting notes from various brews they have tried.

It’s worth a look just as a reminder of how much energy there is in the beer culture in Wine Country.

Incidentally, we hear Sonoma Springs is moving into new digs soon, which means the tap room will be closed for a while, probably from Sept. 13 until sometime in November. We’ll get more details as we find them out.

- Sean Scully

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