Beer. Excluding water, beer is the third most consumed drink worldwide behind coffee and tea. The oldest known recipe for beer is over 4,000 years old. Egyptian pyramid workers were paid in beer. And, in the Middle Ages, beer was consumed more than water because the alcohol made it safer to drink. With the surging popularity of craft beer, Pure Luxury has chosen a few of the breweries in Sonoma County and Napa Valley for you to add to your list of things-to-do while visiting Wine Country.
Fresh Beers in Sonoma County
Founded in 1993 by Tony Magee, Lagunitas has grown into an award-winning brewery with an award-winning IPA that is the number one selling IPA in California. Their Taproom in Sonoma County also features indoor and outdoor stages for free live music, and a miniature amphitheater for concerts. Outstanding beers, delicious food, and local talent make this a popular stop for visitors and locals. The Taproom is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Petaluma Hills Brewing Company
JJ Jay started homebrewing in 1991. After encouragement from the local community, he opened up the Petaluma Hills Taproom in 2014. Now, the taproom is consistently filled with happy visitors enjoying stellar beers, playing a game of dice or cards, and relishing the hospitality of JJ and his staff. The taproom has snacks to purchase, and the occasional food truck. Guests are welcome to bring their own food or have food delivered. The taproom is open daily from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
This award-winning, family-owned brewery was established in 1995. Their menu invites guests to try suggested beer pairings with their food order, and, diners will notice that many of the recipes include Bear Republic beers as an ingredient. Located in downtown Healdsburg, in Northern Sonoma County, this popular brewery is open daily.
Known worldwide for their Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger beers, Russian River Brewing has received awards for a variety of beers, for the brewery itself, and for their brewmaster. Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo opened their Santa Rosa taproom in 2004. Today, it’s not uncommon for the line of hopeful visitors to extend down the block. The taproom is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight.
Napa Smith Brewery
Brewmaster Don Barkley started making craft beer in 1978. Napa Smith is one of two Bay Area breweries producing organic beer, which, along with some of their other beers, has been the recipient of awards and critical acclaim. On the back of each label, beer drinkers will find a food pairing suggestion. The taproom opened in 2013, and features a shuffle board, dart board, and a beer garden. Visit daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Downtown Joe’s Brewery & Restaurant
Since 1994, Downtown Joe’s has been serving tasty food and beer in Napa Valley. Since 2003, brewmaster Colin Kaminski has continued the tradition of producing highly-rated beers. Kaminski earned the prestigious Beer Writer’s Guild Feature of the Year Award, and the brewery has been awarded for Napa’s Best Burger, and Best Brewhouse. Growlers are available but bottles are not sold anywhere, so be prepared to take home a growler of your favorite beer. The brewery is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Calistoga Inn Napa Valley Brewing Company
You’ll find Napa Valley Brewing beers only at its home – Calistoga Inn. Along with the pub, patio, and bar, visitors will find hand-filled 22 ounce bottles of Napa Valley Brewing’s beers. Brewmaster Brad Smisloff hosts brewery tours Monday – Friday.
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