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A Press Democrat Blog

Beer Country

A digest about that other famous beverage

Craft beer gift ideas

In search of some gift ideas for the craft beer enthusiast in your life this Christmas? A twenty two ounce bottle of his or her favorite beer makes a good stocking stuffer. If you’re not sure which beer to buy, let me suggest a gift card to a nearby bottle shop. A membership to a beer club is the gift that keeps on giving. Most places that do memberships will give you the option of month to month, three months… Read More »

Shady Oak Barrel House bottle release

The first official Shady Oak Barrel House bottle release will take place today, December 12th. Rincon Valley Taproom and Bottle Shop will welcome Steve Doty, brewer/owner, to pour the first of what should be many releases between 4pm and 8pm. Be one of the first to try Bokonon, a farmhouse ale fermented with Brettanomyces. Reviews like the one given by Joe Tucker, RateBeer executive director, are what is getting the local craft beer enthusiasts excited about Shady Oak. “This is… Read More »

Brewers Association reports more good news for the craft beer community

The Brewers Association released the 2014 Year in Review report yesterday and the craft beer numbers are quite impressive. Before I share some of the numbers released, I want to mention that the Brewers Association is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers. The following are some of the numbers taken directly from the report that caught my eye: • In November, the United States passed the mark of 3,200 breweries and the number of brewery… Read More »

A family affair at Petaluma Hills Brewing Company

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… Read More »

Sharing craft beer with friends and loved ones this holiday season

The holiday season is officially underway. Getting together with family and friends is surely the excuse that you’ve been looking for to pop open a special bottle of beer that has been sitting in your cellar. Here are a few things to keep in mind when bringing beer to a holiday dinner or party you may be invited to: Not everyone is ready for that Bourbon barrel aged stout that you so generously want to share, but it is nice… Read More »

Warped Brewing will celebrate their one year anniversary with a chili cookoff

This Thursday, November 20th, Warped Brewing Company will be celebrating their one year anniversary with a chili cookoff and the release of a brand new beer named ‘Clear the Flag’. The fee to taste and vote on the winner of the cookoff will be just $5. Warped Brewing is a 10 barrel brewery located in The Barlow at 6790 McKinley St. Suite 190 in Sebastopol. Noah Bolmer, owner, started production last November then opened the classic video game themed tasting… Read More »

Upcoming beer festival will raise money for local Veterans

My apologies for the lack of beer blogs as of late. In addition to my beer blogging responsibilities I am one of the organizers for the upcoming NorCal Beer Geeks Beer Festival presented by Palooza Gastropub. Fellow organizer, Ed Hops and I have been hard at work organizing the festival that will help raise money for a local Veterans group, Sonoma County Vet Connect. Vet Connect is a Veterans helping Veterans organization formed to assist Veterans in locating the services… Read More »

On the road with North Bay Brewery Tours

In 2010 two brothers, Ron and James Holt, and a long-time family friend, James Watkins, chose to take their passion for craft beer on the road, literally. They started a beer tour business known as North Bay Brewery Tours. Ron told me that he and his business partners did their share of bouncing around between breweries and taprooms in the past and decided that others wanting to do the same needed a trusty and reliable designated driver. With breweries so… Read More »

State’s craft brewers to meet in Santa Rosa

The California Craft Brewers Association will be celebrating their 25th anniversary at next week’s California Craft Brewers Conference. The event will be held at Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa in Santa Rosa. The last day to register for the event is today. Those of you that are CCBA members, exhibitors, sponsors, non-member breweries and breweries in planning are eligible. The two day event kicks off on Monday, November 3. It will be a full day starting at 9am and… Read More »

What makes a good ‘beertender’

Once the beer has been made and delivered, it’s up to the bottle shops and taprooms to explain why a beer should be the one to purchase to a consumer. Some of the more successful taprooms in the county understand the importance of a knowledgeable staff that can hand sell a product, pair the beer with food and go into detail about the tasting profile. When suggesting a beer, I’ve found that the key to a good suggestion is finding… Read More »

Framboise gone, but pink merchandise still available at Russian River

Those itching for a taste of Russian River Brewing’s Framboise for the Cure are out of luck as the Santa Rosa brewery has sold out of its seasonal brew. Russian River offers the beer, a sour blonde ale that contains 30 pounds of raspberries per barrel to turn it pinkish-red, up during October to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and prevention. The beer carries a high Beer Advocate score of 98. Russian River raised more than $100,000 from its… Read More »

Behind the scenes at Faction Brewing in Alameda

Rodger and Claudia Davis are the husband and wife team that own and operate one of the hottest new breweries in northern California, Faction Brewing. Rodger is the brewmaster making a large array of beers, while specializing in hoppy beers. Claudia runs the tasting room and is in charge of many business decisions. Both have a long history of working in the beer industry. Rodger spent time as the head brewer at Drake’s Brewing as well as working for Triple… Read More »

Bear Republic’s Racer X on sale Friday

Fans of Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Cloverdale have more reason to celebrate after the brewery picked up two medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver on Saturday. The company is releasing its Racer X double India pale ale this week and it will be available on tap at its Healdsburg brewpub on Friday. The seasonal release is one of the most anticipated by fans of Bear Republic, building upon the hoppy taste of its flagship Racer 5… Read More »

Announcing the first NorCal Beer Geeks Festival

The NorCal Beer Geeks group has grown to nearly 600 members. In the past the group would select a local brewery, taproom or restaurant and partake in a tasting. Past events have featured food and beer pairings, blind tastings and bottle shares. With nine events in the books, the NorCal Beer Geeks will be celebrating the tenth gathering with the first ever NorCal Beer Geeks Beer Festival presented by Palooza Gastropub. The event will take place on Saturday, November 22 from… Read More »

Amateur brewer and Bear Republic bring home top honors from Great American Beer Festival

Occidental home brewer Michael Kelly and local beer brewer Bear Republic won top honors this weekend at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colo., the world’s largest commercial beer competition. Kelly and the Cloverdale-based brewer won a gold medal in the festival’s Pro-Am competition, which pairs amateur brewers with professional brewers. For the competition, Bear Republic chose earlier this year Kelly’s Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scottish 80 Shilling, a Scottish style ale that Kelly described as a “refreshing diversion from… Read More »