Sonoma County has always been home to some phenomenal breweries including: Russian River, Laguintas, and Bear Republic just to name a few. In the last two weeks, two new breweries have opened: Carneros Brewing & Woodfour Brewing.
With the growing trend in craft beer, Sonoma County has become a true beer destination. Wine is no longer the sole reason to visit. There are now over 20 breweries in the county alone.
Carneros Brewing had their grand opening on Saturday, July 27th. They are located along Hwy 121 in Sonoma, CA in the middle of the Carneros wine appellation. Turning into the driveway you drive through their gorgeous hop vines to the tasting room. They have a beer garden that resembles more of a “garden” than a traditional patio slap that many breweries call a beer garden. Their beer garden is compete with a pond and various paths to secluded picnic areas to enjoy a pint.
Got to admit I was a tad hesitant of the quality of beer I was about to try because Carneros Brewing is owned by the Ceja family who is known for great wine (it is delicious!) and I wasn’t sure the beer would be up to par. I am so glad I was wrong. The beer was perfectly on point. They had a Pilsner, Hefeweizen and IPA available. Each beer was true to the style and well executed.
My favorite part of the visit was how hospitable all the staff were and especially Jesus Ceja the brewmaster. They welcomed every person that walked in, explained their beers, and truly welcomed them for coming by. This is something the wine industry does extremely well and that the beer industry lacks (I know there is always exceptions). Typically brewery staff just serve a beer and walk away. This has always been a pet peeve of mine. I could write so much on this topic, but well spare because you are probably already skimming through this.
Our second Sonoma County opening was Woodfour Brewing, which opened today. We were there right at noon excited to sample the offerings. Woodfour Brewing is located in The Barlow a new business community in Sebastopol focusing on wine, food, beer, spirits, and local shops. Think San Francisco Ferry Building, but massive. Another brewery (Warped Brewing) with soon open in The Barlow as well.
Woodfour is a venture by Seth Wood and Olav Vier. They are focusing on seasonal local ingredients and new beer processes. The whole brewery is solar powered. We ordered a sampler and each beer had a unique twist. Ex: stout made with wheat malt, an imperial saison – oxymoron!?. The beers were really good. Standouts were their Session Ale brewed with 100% Sebastopol hops, their Imperial Saison and their Wheat Stout.
In addition to their beer, they have a full restaurant. This is not a place to hang out and watch a game,no TV’s. It’s about enjoying beer and pairing it with locally sourced food. The design was well thought out. It was open and inviting. The have a whole wall with beers from around the world that is site to see. Pictured above.
Tomorrow we head down highway 1 to check out two new breweries that opened this year. I love #beertravel
Happy drinking! sparklinglover