RateBeer Best Event a Must

ratebeerbestWe are one week away from brewers, beer hunters and beer travelers swarming Santa Rosa, CA for the RateBeer Best celebratory weekend. This two-day event is one of the most anticipated beer events of the year celebrating the top beers and breweries of the world.

The second annual event kicks off on Saturday, January 28th 2017 with the RateBeer Best Festival at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The VIP session starts at 12:30pm (sold out) and general admission opens at 1:30pm to 5:30pm. A limited amount of tickets are still available here. Food will be available for purchase from a wide range of Sonoma County vendors and the VIP tasting will be treated to tasty beer pairings from Peloton Culinary & Catering. The list of breweries is enough to excite any beer enthusiast:

A Taste from the United States

Hill Farmstead Brewery · Sante Adairius Rustic Ales · Tree House Brewing Company · Jester King Brewery · Monkish Brewing Company · Side Project Brewing · Great Notion Brewing · Blackberry Farm · Toppling Goliath · Prairie Artisan Ales · Tired Hands Brewing Company · Cellarmaker Brewing Company · Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery · Cycle Brewing · Other Half · Three Floyds Brewing Company · Superstition Meadery · Russian River Brewing · J Wakefield Brewing · Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company · De Garde Brewing · Trillium Brewing Company · American Solera · Evil Twin Brewing

A Taste from Abroad

De Struise Brouwers · Cantillon · 3 Fonteinen · Westmalle · DUM Cervejaria · Cervejaria Dogma · Brasserie Dunham · Bellwoods Brewery · Omnipollo · Cloudwater Brew Co · Beavertown · Buxton · Kiuchi Brewery

A Taste from Local Sonoma County Breweries

Moonlight · Lagunitas · Bear Republic · Cooperage · Fogbelt · 101 North · Third Street· Plow · Henhouse · St Florian’s · Stumptown · Seismic

rate-beer-best-logoOn Sunday, January 29th 2017 the RateBeer Best Awards Reception at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa, CA starts at 11:00am for industry members, VIP guests and media. At 1:00pm the reception and bottle share kicks off for ticketed attendees, giving beer enthusiasts an opportunity to mingle and share beers with some of the world’s best brewers.

As a beer traveler most of these breweries have been on my “must visit” list for a while. I was unable to attend the inaugural event last year, but heard epic stories from friends who attended, sharing tales of legendary beers they never thought they could get their hands on. I am so EXCITED for this event and ready to knock multiple beers of my beer bucket list and meet beer fans. You can follow along on my Instagram and be sure to tag #ratebeerbest

 

 

2016 in Review

2016-in-review

In 2016 we slowed down a bit on our beer travels and I defiantly slowed down beer blogging. Our year was filled with getting a new job and finishing a college certificate. We did visit 68 new breweries and 4 new beer states, including Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Our most memorable beer destination was defiantly Asheville, NC for Asheville Beer Week. That beer town was AMAZING. Here is our best attempt at a “Top 10” list of new beers, new breweries and new beer experiences.

Our Top 10 New Beers:

1) Batch 1000 – Wicked Weed Brewing

2) Skillet Donut Stout – Burial Brewingbatch-1000

3) 4×4 Double IPA– Melvin Brewing

4) Black Angel Cherry Sour – Wicked Weed Brewing

5) Athena Berliner Weisse– Creature Comforts

6) Lizard of Koz – Founders Brewing

7) Coolcumber – Wicked Weed Brewing

8) Liliko’i Kepolo – Avery Brewing

9) Gose – Westbrook Brewing

10) The Pavlo – Claimstake Brewing

Our Top 10 New Breweries:

1) Wicked Weed Brewing– Asheville, NC

2) Burial Brewing – Asheville, NCburial-beer

3) Moonlight Brewing – Santa Rosa, CA

4) Claimstake Brewing – Rancho Cordova, CA

5) Second Chance Brewing – San Diego, CA

6) Mikkeller Brewing – San Diego, CA

7) Barbarian Brewing – Garden City, ID

8) HenHouse Brewing – Santa Rosa, CA

9) Eppig Brewing – San Diego, CA

10) IMBIB Custom Brews – Reno, NV

Top 5 Beer Moments:

1) I cannot say enough good things about Asheville, NC. We visited during Asheville Beer Week and it is one of our most memorable beer cities. A proper blog post soon enough.

2) Visiting Wicked Weed Brewing at the source! We didn’t hit as many new breweries in Asheville because we just couldn’t leave the incredible beers at Wicked.

3) Navigating the crazy beer laws in Georgia. This was defiantly the most difficult beer state to visit so far.

4) We visited Boise, ID and it turned out to be a surprisingly great beer town and a very walk able. Previous post here.

5) Randomly I made the cover of Celebrator with my dear friend Mikaelaa celebrating Sacramento Beer Week. It was exciting because it was such a surprise.

On to 2017!

Boise is a Beer Town

Boise Beer

Before last week I had never had a beer from the state of Idaho. I honestly did not find this surprising because I didn’t know a whole lot about Idaho beer. What sparked my interest was learning that Idaho grows more barley than any other state and they rank 3rd in hop production. Why wouldn’t Idaho be considered a beer destination?

We traveled to Boise for President’s Day weekend and were impressed. They have over 15 breweries within 20 minutes of Boise and many were downtown or in close proximity to each other. We first focused on the downtown breweries and did an “urban beer hike” inspired by Chris & Meredith from The Beer Geek who routinely walk from brewery to brewery on their beer trips. This was a first time for us and I loved the concept. I feel like we walked by so many local establishments and mainly beer bars that we would not have noticed in a car. You can visit 10 Barrel Brewing, Boise Brewing, Postmodern Brewers, Woodland Empire Ale Craft all within 2 miles. Make sure to also stop by the City Peanut Shop who collaborates with local breweries to create peanuts that pair with their beer. This was seriously one of the highlights of the trip! You can also find their peanuts and nut mixes at most of the breweries.

 

Another area we really liked were the breweries along highway 26 in Garden City. It reminded me a lot of The Hops Highway in San Diego with one brewery after the next. Our favorites were Barbarian Brewing for their IPA’s and sours and County Line Brewing for their porters and stouts. Payette Brewing was another standout. They were the first brewery in Idaho to can their beer and now they also have crowlers (can growlers) to go. Our favorites were the seasonal Rodeo Rye IPA and their Pistolero Porter.

In the end it’s always who you meet that makes your trip memorable. We met so many locals who were very proud of their town and showed us why they valued it. Boise is defiantly a beer town. I would highly recommended Boise for a quick and relatively inexpensive beer vacation. You can hit a bunch of breweries within a short distance and not pay that much for your hotel, rental car or brewery tab.

This brings us to 420 breweries visited in 9 states + D.C.

 

Breweries Visited:

10 Barrel Brewing Boise – 830 W. Bannock St, Boise, ID 83702

Barbarian Brewing – 5270 W. Chinden Blvd, Garden City, ID 83714

Bella Brewing – 4340 W. Chinden Blvd, Garden City, ID 83714

Boise Brewing – 521 W Broad St, Boise, ID 83702

Cloud 9 Brewery – 1750 W. State St. Boise, ID 83702

County Line Brewing – 9115 W. Chinden Blvd #107, Garden City, ID 83714

Crooked Fence Brewing – 3705 Idaho 16, Eagle, ID 83616

Edge Brewing – 525 Steelhead Way, Boise, ID 93704

Highlands Hollow Brewhouse – 2455 N. Harrison Hollow Lane, Boise, ID 83702

Payette Brewing – 111 W. 33rd St, Boise, ID 83714

Postmodern Brewers (Grind Modern Burgers) – 705 W. Fulton St, Boise, ID 83702

Powderhaus Brewing – 9719 W. Chinden Blvd, Garden City, ID 83714

Slanted Rock Brewing – 2374 E Cinema Drive, Meridian, ID 83642

Sockeye Grill & Brewery – 3019 N. Cole Rd, Boise, ID 83704

Woodland Empire Ale Craft – 1114 W. Front St, Boise, ID 83702

 

2015 in Review

2015 Breweries Visited

2015 was one of our top beer years to date. We visited 77 new breweries in 3 different states.  Our most memorable beer areas were San Diego, Phoenix, and Denver. We also bought a house this year, which we are still on cloud 9 about! Here is our best attempt at a “Top 10” list of new beers, new breweries and new beer experiences.

Our Top 10 New Beers:

1) Triple Hammerhead Speedway Stout – AleSmith Brewing

2) Bourbon County Brand Stout 2015 – Goose Island Brewery

3) Mexican Chocolate Stout – Copper Kettle Brewing

4) Sip of Sunshine – Lawson’s Finest LiquidsMexican Chocolate Stout

5) Kentucky Breakfast Stout – Founders Brewing

6) White Mocha Stout – Fieldwork Brewing

7) The Seer – Holy Mountain Brewing

8) Lupulin River – Knee Deep Brewing & Kern River Brewing

9) Tweak Bourbon Barrel Aged – Avery Brewing

10) Half Nelson – Clandestine Brewing

 

Our Top 10 New Breweries:

1) Great Divide Brewing – Denver, COGreat Divide

2) Fieldwork Brewing – Berkeley, CA

3) Crooked Stave – Denver, CO

4) Copper Kettle Brewing – Denver, CO

5) Left Hand Brewing – Denver, CO

6) Kern River Brewing – Kernville, CA

7) Blue Note Brewing – Woodland, CAFieldwork Brewing

8) Culture Brewing – Solana Beach, CA

9) Aftershock Brewing – Temecula, CA

10) Clandestine Brewing – San Jose, CA

 

Top 5 Beer Moments:

1) Reaching 400 breweries! – 400 sounds way better than 300

2) Attending the AleSmith Speedway Grand Prix 2015 for San Diego Beer Week. This was one of the coolest beer events I have ever been too. 12 specialty Speedway Stouts ranging from maple blueberry pancake to Butterfinger.

3) Finally visiting Denver, CO home of so many wonderful breweries and tasting Yeti at the source!

4) Sacramento Beer Week! We came out in force this year and went to numerous events. I was really proud of my home town representing so well!

5) Lastly, I am so grateful for the founders of Sacramento Beer Enthusiasts for creating such a great group. I have made such great beer friends this year due to this group.

Happy New Year!

Our 10 Most Remote California Breweries Visited

California has 431 craft breweries according to Brewers Association and currently we have been to 304, that is 70% completed (!) until tomorrow when another one opens and then another and another. I wanted to highlight some of the tiniest towns we have been to on our quest for breweries. Most of these breweries were multiple hours away from anything else and in some of the most beautiful places.

10) South Gate Brewing – Oakhurst, CA – Population 2,829

Before you enter Yosemite stop by for a pint. Located 15 minutes from the south entrance South Gate Brewing opened in 2013. Complete with a brick oven pizzas and a tasty porter.

9) Prospectors Brewing – Mariposa, CA – Population 2,173

I loved this place. When we visited it 13 Prospectors Brewingwas basically a one man operation and the beers were so good. A must stop on the way to Yosemite National Park…it’s seems all the park entrances have a brewery. Quent little town with great beer.

8) Jack Russell Farm Brewery – Camino, CA – Population 1,750

This brewery would feel “remote” if it wasn’t 30 minutes from my hometown. Located in Camino, CA and more importantly Apple Hill. For anyone that didn’t grow up in Sacramento area, Apple Hill is a must when fall comes around, filled with orchards, farmers markets, wineries and Jack Russell Farm Brewery. Yes, they have an Apple beer also.

7) Dunsmuir Brewery Works – Dunsmuir, CA – Population 1,650

Honestly you could drive right by and not even Dunsmuir Brewrey Worksknow this town had a brewery. Dunsmuir Brewery Works was such a treat on the long drive to Oregon. It is a perfect pit stop for a pint and lunch. The town is known for rock climbing, skiing and fishing and I pretended to be outdoor-sie.

6) Mad River Brewing – Blue Lake, CA – Population 1,253

All I really remember from Blue Lake is driving past a remote casino and landing at Mad River Brewing. Which is great because you arrive at Mad River Brewing. A great gem of Humboldt breweries since 1989.

5) Anderson Valley Brewing – Boonville, CA – Population 1,035

For such a well known brewery it’s quite a surprise that the brewery is located in good ol Boonville in Mendocino County known for boontling a “language” only spoke in Boonville.  They also host the annual Boonville Beer Fest each May where you camp with the brewers..it’s pretty awesome.

4) Etna Brewing – Etna, CA – Population 737

Etna feels like it should only have a Etna Brewingpopulation of about 50 not 737. It’s located 2 hours west of Hwy 5 in Northern Northern California. This was a trek, but worth the flight and a waitress that calls you hun.

3) Highway 1 Brewing – Pescadero, CA – Population 643

Located on the California coastal highway with stunning ocean views. I loved this place because they offer beer and breakfast, yes please. Any brewery that opens early is on beer travelers wish list, plus you get to stare at the ocean.

2) June Lake Brewing – June Lake, CA – Population 629

If you are headed to Mammoth Lakes this is a must stop. I recommend driving around June Lake first (its a whole 10 minutes) and then grab a pint here. This is defiantly a local hangout where I tried to pretend I hiked before grabbing a beer…no I just went for the beer, but wanted to feel like a “regular”

1) The Brewing Lair – Blairsden, CA – Population 39Brewing Lair

I adore this place. Drive 2 1/2 hours from Sacramento among the pine trees and turn up a dirt road and you arrive at this little oasis. The brewery and tasting room looks like a small lodge on top of a hill. Grab a pint or sampler and find a place on their porch that overlooks a big grassy area. Come prepared with a picnic and stay for their disc golf course.

Get out and #beertravel to some of California’s greatest small towns!

Cheers, Sparklinglover

Reaching 350 breweries in Mammoth

June Lake BrewingFor my birthday we headed to Mammoth Lakes, CA to visit one veteran brewery and two new ones and to reach our goal of 350 breweries. We had never been to the east of Sierra’s before and the drive was absolutely beautiful from flat lands to mountains to lakes and lakes…it had it all.

Our first stop was June Lake Brewing in the tiny town of June Lake, CA. They have been open for almost a year now by San Diego transplants. We celebrated number 350 by getting a sampler and planting ourselves at the bar. The bar was long and faced the brewing facility. The brewery was already busy with people enjoying the outdoors. The beers were really tasty, especially the Gulllllager a complex lager and the west coast style Hutte Double IPA. The best part of June Lake was had their beers to go in crowlers (think canned beer + growler) We had heard about their growing popularity, but were excited to take one to go.

Mammoth BrewingOur next stop was just 20 minutes south to Mammoth Brewing, which has been brewing since 1995. We have had a lot of their beers before, but were excited to try some special releases. We grabbed a flight and were excited to enjoy the sunshine and mountain views outside. Their Epic IPA was defiantly the standout. Later that night we ended up coming back for a pint and to try their food. Let me tell you, the food was amazing it complimented the beer. Worth a visit all around.

Mountain RamblerOur last stop was Mountain Rambler Brewery in Bishop about 45 minutes south. This brewery is only a few months old and seems to be adding new beers and menu items each month. They had four beers on tap when we arrived and were out of the Pale Ale that I had heard about. We had their Black IPA and Brown Ale and the Black IPA was really well done. We didn’t get to try their food, but would defiantly go back to see how they evolve.

Overall a nice overnight trip to Mammoth Lakes in search of breweries and it looks like there is already a new brewery in planning, Black Doubt Brewing. The travels always continue. Happy beer travels!

Breweries Visited:

June Lake Brewing – 131 South Crawford Ave,  June Lake, CA 93529

Mammoth Brewing – 18 Lake Mary Rd,  Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

Mountain Rambler – 186 South Main Street,  Bishop, CA 93514

2014 in Review

Derek & Erin

2014 was a year of new experiences. We moved from Sonoma County to Sacramento to be closer to family. We started new jobs in new industries and have continued to travel to various beer destinations. We added 102 new breweries this year, more than any other year. Our most memorable were San Diego, Los Angeles, and Southern Oregon. Here is our best attempt at a “Top 10” list of 2014.

Our Top 10 New Beers:

1) Sourtooth Tiger – The Rare BarrelFramboise de Amorosa

2) Framboise de Amorosa – Lost Abbey

3) Cellar Palette Raspberry – Sante Adarius Rustic Ales

4) Earl’s Grey Dinghy – Noble Ale Works

5) Bourbon Barrel Double Milk Stout -Bike Dog Brewing

6) Black House – Modern Times Beer

7) Double Dry Hopped General Sherman IPAHochata Imperial Milk Stout – Tioga Sequoia

8) Cap Tap’s 2nd Anniversary IPA – Device Brewing

9) Xocoveza Mocha Stout – Stone Brewing

10) Horchata Imperial Milk Stout – Belching Beaver Brewing

Our Top 10 New Breweries:

1) Noble Ale Works – Anaheim, CANoble Ale Works

2) Modern Times Beer – San Diego, CA

3) Golden Road Brewing – Los Angeles, CA

4) Anchor Brewing – San Francisco, CA

5) Sante Adairius Rustic Ales – Capitola, CA

6) Beachwood BBQ & Brewing – Long Beach, CA

Golden Road Brewing7) The Bruery – Placentia, CA

8) Fall River Brewing – Redding, CA

9) Smog City Brewing – Torrance, CA

10) Klamath Basin Brewing – Klamath Falls, OR

Top 5 Beer Moments:

1) Reaching 300 Breweries! – 300 sounds way better than 200

2) A whole week in San Diego and Los Angeles dedicated to beer

3) Meeting fellow beer travelers Brandon Wurtz & Michael Roberts of Brews Travelers 365

4) Earning my 2500 Unique Beers on Untappd

5) Finally getting to tour Anchor Steam Brewing. They don’t lie when they say 6 months out. We have been trying for a couple years and finally got in!

Happy New Year!

Southern Oregon Beer Travel

Opposition BrewingA return trip to Oregon has been on our list for a while. The last time we were in the state was four years ago for our honeymoon, which was also beer focused. This time we were going to visit Southern Oregon, specifically the towns of Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass and Klamath Falls.

We woke up at dawn with all the Black Friday shoppers, but beer was the only focus. Luckily a lot of the breweries opened earlier that day because of Black Friday. Our first stop was Opposition Brewing, formally known as Apocalypse Brewing in Medford, OR. They had to change their name in 2013 over trademark issues with 10 Barrel Brewing. Brewer Dennis Poncia showed us around their 1.5 barrel system. It was defiantly an operation of love with the owners not only brewing and serving, but wearing all the other hats of a small business. Their beers ranged from Cream Ale to Pale Ale to Stout and my favorite was their Devastated Sky American Stout and Pull the Pin Imperial Red Ale. This brewery was one of are favorites of the trip from character to quality of beer.

Southern Oregon BrewingAnother reason why we loved this place was because it was the intersection of beer travelers. We met Brandon Wurtz & Michael Roberts of Brews Travelers 365 who are on a year long beer journey of the United States. I have been waiting for them to end up on the West Coast and luckily are paths crossed in Southern Oregon. It’s always a treat to meet other beer travelers and compare stories. We both were off to do what we do and planned to meet up later that night.

We then headed a few miles down the road and ended up at Southern Oregon Brewing. This brewery had one of the best pilsner’s I have ever had. Their Na Zdravi Czech Style Pilsner was the standout with bright aromas and a fuller then usual body. The brewery was full of locals and the sampler had a vast variety of beer styles. You could see the 20 barrel brewery through a large window behind the bar. Quick stop because we had 3 more breweries planned.

Portal BrewingThe next stop we could have skipped honestly. Walkabout Brewing didn’t have social media accounts or even a website. This might have been a sign. It’s located across the street from a beer distributor, which might explain why half their taps were Budweiser. We were able to try their lineup and it was average at best. No real standouts and it didn’t help that the server hated beer.

Luckily all the breweries in Medford are a few miles from each other so we were quickly on to the next. Portal Brewing is located in downtown on a corner. It was small, cozy and just kind of funky. It was a place to grab a pint and settle down with a board game. It was a great setting, especially while it rained nonstop outside.

Our last brewery of the day was Swing Tree Brewing in Ashland to meet up with Brandon & Michael again. Sadly they only had one beer of there own on tap, but the one beer they had was delicious, an English Brown Ale called Two Shilling Ale that came in at 3.4%. Love full flavored beers with low ABV, helps for traveling. Wish we could have tried more from them. The night progressed with shuffleboard challenges and beer travel stories.

Beer TravelersSwing Tree Brewing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers, Sparklinglover

 

Breweries Visited:

Opposition Brewing – 545 Rossanley Drive #106, Medford, OR 97501

Southern Oregon Brewing – 1922 United Way, Medford, OR 97504

Walkabout Brewing – 921 Mason Way, Medford, OR 97501

Portal Brewing – 100 East 6th Street, Medford, OR 97501

Swing Tree Brewing – 300 East Hersey Street #7, Ashland, OR 97520

 

 

Breweries on the Border (not that border)

Pigeon HeadI love living closer to the mountains. It gives us an escape, while only being a couple hours away. Also, there are breweries in the mountains…are main destination. Our first stop labor day weekend was to Reno, NV which we had visited back in April, but a new brewery had just opened. Pigeon Head Brewery is in the industrial area of Reno east of the downtown casinos. They are the second brewery to open in that area after Under the Rose Brewing in late 2013. With two new breweries also in planning the city is talking about naming that area the “Old Brewery District” more info here. Another example of how the brewing industry has been revitalizing towns. Pigeon Head was carefully thought out before they opened from the design to the beer. What makes them unique is they focus on lagers not ales. I’m a west coast girl, but a nice lager can be just as balanced and complex sometimes. The standouts were the Pilsner and the Weibbier. Overall the whole feel from the hospitable staff to the design felt right.  The brewery is visible behind a black chain-link fence from the tasting room. Take a seat at one of the picnic tables and watch the brewers in progress. We’ll defiantly be back again once the other breweries open in the area. Brewing LairSometimes it feels like you were never at a place long enough, but we were on the road to Blairsden, CA to check out The Brewing Lair. The drive was quick and easy and under an hour taking us back into California. It ranged from dry and rocky to mountain pines. Our only indicator of the brewery was a sandwich board sign which led uphill to dirt road. We parked below because the place was busy with vacationers playing cornhole and disc golf. The brewery and tasting room looks like a small lodge on top of a hill. You grab a pint or sampler and find a place on their porch that overlooks a big grassy area. You could tell this was a regular place because people were prepared with packed lunches, games and lawn chairs. This was my kind of brewery and the beer was delicious. Favorites were a really hoppy blonde, Tres Solo India Blonde Ale and their Ambush IPA, really I could have done the whole sampler again and just laid out in the sun. Lassen Ale WorksOur last destination was Lassen Ale Works in Susanville, before that we stumbled on Eureka Peak Brewing in Chalet View Lodge. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any of their own beer yet because they had just changed brewers. We continued on the road, which paralleled the Nevada border and headed north to Susanville. For a town with a population of around 17,000 it was even smaller than I thought with one main drag. Lassen Ale Works is located at the historic Pioneer Saloon. This was a saddle up to the bar kind of place and gaze at all the livestock branding symbols that looked like modern art above the bar. The sampler was loaded with different styles and the favorites were the Spring Bock and the Extra Galactic Pale Ale. The nice thing was they bottled almost every style. three forks brewingThe next morning we drove home with all the Burning Man traffic, remind me next time to stay away from hwy 80 during labor day. We did stop at a new brewery that just opened in Nevada City, CA a couple weeks ago called Three Forks Bakery & Brewing. This is a new combination for us and honestly it just makes sense. Beer before noon and baked goods, I’m in. Had two quick pints that were travel worthy and left us planning a return visit. All in all a quick overnight beer trip to North Eastern California and a pit stop in Reno, NV. One of our most relaxing and beautiful beer trips. Go escape into the woods…just make sure there are breweries there, always the main destination.

Cheers, Sparklinglover

Breweries Visited:

Pigeon Head Brewery – 840 E 5th St, Reno, NV 89512

The Brewing Lair – 67007 CA-70, Blairsden, CA 96103

Lassen Ale Works – 724 Main St, Susanville, CA 96103

Three Forks Bakery & Brewing – 211 Commercial St, Nevada City, CA 95959

The 300 Mark!

Petaluma HillsWe made it to 300 breweries since we started beer traveling 5 years ago. Our current stats, which I just love looking at.

California – 246 / Nevada – 16 / Oregon – 12 / Arizona 11 / Pennsylvania – 9 / Maryland – 4 / Virginia – 2 / DC – 1

2010 – 40 Breweries Visited
2011 – 53 Breweries Visited
2012 – 57 Breweries Visited
2013 – 74 Breweries Visited
2014 – 77 Breweries So Far

These milestones aren’t always easy to achieve. We almost didn’t make when we drove an hour to a brewery that just wasn’t open. No notice, nothing. Beer traveling has it’s mishaps just like all travels, no matter how much you plan.

We chose Petaluma Hills Brewing in Petaluma, CA for our big 300. Their tap room may be new to the Sonoma County beer scene, but their beers have been around for almost a year and they have been solid from the start. Most new breweries we go to have adolescent starts, probably a better world that, but most linger from the early stages of opening a brewery and replicating their beer recipes. We try to revisit them after the kinks are worked out and their beer pretty much always improves.

Not the case at Petaluma Hills Brewing. The standouts were the Portluma, a smooth and balanced Porter and the East Side Bitter, a mixture of malt and subtle bitterness. I’m very excited to try their upcoming Pumpkin Patch Traffic Jam Ale, rightfully named for anyone that has experience the rubbernecking pumpkin patch traffic……really people? it’s just a pumpkin patch.

All in all we couldn’t have picked a better place to reach 300 because they were genuinely excited and celebrated our milestone with us. I see only good things for this brewery. Come visit them at their great location across the street from Lagunitas in Petaluma, CA.

Cheers and Happy Beer Travels!

~Sparklinglover