A Press Democrat Blog

Beer Country

A digest about that other famous beverage

Battle of the Bay

The ‘Battle of the Bay’ series between the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants has me contemplating which side of the bay has the better brewery list. A handful of personal favorites from east of the bay bridge are Drake’s Brewing Company, The Rare Barrel, Faction Brewing, Triple Rock Brewery, and newcomer Fieldwork Brewing Company. On the other side of the bridge, in San Francisco, Anchor Brewing Company, 21st Amendment Brewery, Speak Easy Ales and Lagers, Almanac Beer Company,… Read More »

Ales for ALS


Four local breweries will be coming together to raise money and awareness for ALS this evening, July 16th. The head brewers of Russian River Brewing Company, Bear Republic Brewing Company, Iron Springs Pub & Brewery, and Third Street Aleworks will be at The Third Annual Ales for ALS BBQ & Tasting. This is taking place at Third Street Aleworks, located at 610 3rd St. in downtown Santa Rosa. Third Street Aleworks will be closing the brewery to the public for… Read More »

‘Brew Coffee and Beer’ is all about the craft

Jessica Borrayo and Alisse Cottle

Alisse Cottle and Jessica Borrayo, partners in business and life, are the proud owners of ‘Brew Coffee and Beer’ located at 555 Healdsburg Ave. in downtown Santa Rosa. Brew opened for business on January 6th of this year, specializing in craft beer, coffee, and tea. “This place is all about craft. Craft coffee, craft beer…Everything we do is for the craft of it,” said Alisse who has over 15 years of experience in the coffee industry. She spent 10 years… Read More »

Liberty and the pursuit of hoppiness

On July 4th of 1776 Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson, the principle author of the Declaration of Independence, and eventual third president of the United States stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” For all… Read More »

A lot going on at Third Street Aleworks

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to interview Third Street Aleworks Head Brewer Tyler Laverty and he had lots of exciting news to share. Third Street Aleworks recently purchased a crowler machine, which will allow customers to fill a 32 ounce can of beer on the spot, watch it be sealed right in front of them, then take it to go. Third Street will be the growler sponsor for the upcoming Ready, Set, Growl Beer Festival taking place down… Read More »

Cooperage Brewing Company to open for business Friday, June 26th

A young couple with deep roots in the county will be opening Sonoma County’s newest brewery at 3pm this Friday, June 26th. Head Brewer/Owner Tyler Smith and his wife Stephanie Smith will be opening the Cooperage Brewing Company doors to a highly anticipating crowd that knows the couple well from their time spent at local favorite wine and beer businesses. Tyler spent 5 years running the Whole Foods Taproom in Coddingtown, where he developed a rapport with local beer enthusiasts… Read More »

Pliny the Elder tops Zymurgy’s list of ‘Best Beers in America’ for the 7th year in a row

Once a year Zymurgy magazine readers are asked to select their 20 favorite beers commercially available in the United States. For the seventh time in a row, Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Elder has topped the list. In addition to Pliny the Elder being voted #1, Russian River’s Blind Pig, Consecration and Supplication all made the top 20. Russian River Brewing Company was also voted ‘Best Brewery’. Co-owner Natalie Cilurzo took to the company’s Facebook page this morning to… Read More »

Lagunitas to release Citrusinensis Pale Ale


Lagunitas Brewing Company will be releasing a new beer and it will be “hitting store shelves soon-ish,” based on one of the latest Lagunitas Facebook posts. Citrusinensis Pale Ale is a part of the ‘One Hitter’ series and will be released on a very limited basis. The limited release beer was bottled on Friday, June 12th and is expected to be in fine craft beer shops near you before the end of the month. The official Lagunitas Brewing Company website… Read More »

Beerfest on tap

‘Beerfest- The Good One’ will take place today, June 6th between 1pm and 5pm. The event will once again be held outdoors on the lawn at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa. 50+ breweries will be participating in this 24th annual event. The $50 price of admission gets you a souvenir glass and unlimited beer tastings. Food and soda will be provided at an additional cost. Live music, games and a raffle will all add to the festivities. You… Read More »

Meet the owner of Specific Gravity Cider

Most of us feel fortunate to live in an area of the world that is now considered one of the most prolific areas for both beer and wine. If that wasn’t enough, we might as well be considered ‘Cider Country’ as well.

Sonoma County has long been recognized for being one of the most prestigious apple growing regions in the world, which naturally translates to producing great cider. Last month, Euromonitor International reported “The cider market has been registering some of the most dynamic growth rates over 2009-2014 and it looks far from slowing down. The category had been a significant player in the “craft”-positioned alcoholic drinks industry, especially in the US.”

A few days ago I had the opportunity to meet with Paul Kolling of Specific Gravity Cider and Nana Mae’s Organic, and asked him a few questions about the booming cider business and the role that his business plays in it.

Cider has benefited from the growing trend of people looking for low to no gluten options. Cider is a great gluten free option and Paul does not add any water or sugar to any of his hand crafted ciders. Click on the link attached to learn more about Paul Kolling, Nana Mae’s Organics, and Specific Gravity Cider.

-Peter Lopez Jr.


Rohnert Park Craft Beer Fest on tap


Beer festivals and outdoor events are in full swing. Some of you will be making the trip down to Paso Robles for the Firestone Invitational this weekend, while some may make the shorter drive to Napa for BottleRock. Those of you looking to stay closer to home this weekend need not fret. The Rohnert Park Craft Beer Fest will take place between 1pm and 5pm this Saturday, May 30th at the SOMO Event Center located at 1100 Valley Dr. in… Read More »

Sonoma County Home Brewers Competition winner announced

101 North Brewing Company Brewer Joel Johnson (middle) pictured with the winning brewers, Joe Monostori and Jerimiah Konen.

The first annual Sonoma County Home Brewers Competition took place on Saturday, May 23rd at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building. Dozens of home brewers entered over 60 home brews vying for bragging rights of the best home brewer in Sonoma County. The grand prize winner will be brewing their winning recipe at 101 North Brewing Company. Event attendees received a souvenir glass and 20 tastings. Live music, and outdoor recreation were enjoyed by many as well. Food trucks lined up… Read More »

Meet the owner of Taps Restaurant & Taproom

Taps Restaurant & Taproom opened their doors for business in the Fall of 2009. While pouring craft beer exclusively is now quite common amongst taprooms in Sonoma County, Eric Lafranchi was one of the first to leave the likes of the major corporate breweries off his tap list. One location move, thousands of kegs sold, and almost six years later, Eric is busy as ever. Friday nights at Taps may require a wait if you’re planning on stopping by in… Read More »

Celebrating American Craft Beer Week

This week the nation will collectively celebrate the craft beer industry and the people that make it so special. American Craft Beer Week begins today, May 11th and runs through May 17th. “This celebration, coordinated by the Brewers Association’s Craft Beer Program, is an exciting opportunity for craft brewers to commemorate their art and tradition with enthusiasts across the country” states the Brewer’s Association website. I encourage local taprooms and breweries to leave details of any events planned for the… Read More »

The 19th Annual Legendary Boonville Beer Festival recap

A who’s who list of participating breweries made the trip to Boonville for the 19th Annual Legendary Boonville Beer Festival this last Saturday, May 2nd. The event took place from 1pm to 5pm at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds. Over 80 breweries from across the state spent the weekend camping in Boonville. The brewers set up camp on Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s property a quarter mile from the festival, while the public was offered camp sites at the Mendocino Fairgrounds on… Read More »