Of all the beer travel we have done we had never visited a hop farm before or really been at the source of the beer until Ruhstaller a newer brewery out of Sacramento, CA. Their hopyard is located off exit 69 on I-80 in Dixon, CA. They offer tastings at their Farm & Yard on Sunday’s from 1-6pm. You can’t miss it from the freeway. We pulled into the parking lot to what looked liked a fruit stand, a shipping container, and some old rusted farming equipment.
Everything is built to resemble the past. Ruhstaller got it’s name from Captain Frank Ruhstaller who was a big part of Sacramento’s brewing industry and Buffalo Brewery before prohibition. Sacramento was a thriving beer town with not only a dozen breweries, but a valley that grew all their own hops and barley for the West Coast. It’s been said to have been the biggest beer town west of the Mississippi rivaling Anheuser-Busch.
Ruhstaller is bringing back this missing part of Sacramento’s history. As a Sacramento native I am really happy to see them share this forgotten history with their revived beers. They are not only dedicated to making historic craft beer but growing their own hops and sourcing from local farmers in the area for their hops and barely.
At the farm & yard we met “JE” aka Jan-Erik Paino the founder of Ruhstaller who showed us around and told us about the history of his beers. He was so hospitable and passionate and took us through their educational hop area that showcases the different techniques of growing hops from a century ago to present day. It’s amazing how a little string changed everything.
Ruhstaller doesn’t just have the tradition behind them. Their beers are top notch and decorated with burlap around the neck of the bottles for authenticity. They are now producing canned beers in addition for the more versatile drinker, while still resembling old labels from the past. The standout beer was their Gilt Edge Lager at 4.8% it was so refreshing and with 42 IBU’s (International Bittering Units) was so aromatic and fresh. Also 100% California ingredients. Their Triple, Kolsch, and 1881 are also so tasty and really you should just try their whole lineup. Give this beer a try. It’s not just about the history, but damn good beer.