Cheers to Sonoma County Artisan Beers

Barley & Hops
Barley & Hops

It’s clear we love beer. Sonoma County now has at least 23 operating breweries, 5 cideries and 6 distilleries, with more opening soon. As much as wine tasting, the region is becoming known for its beer tasting, and people describe beers in much the same terms, admiring distinct flavor profiles, and celebrating beer masters as genius.

It’s gotten to the point that I, an avid wine lover and lukewarm accepter of beers, have changed my tune. Grapefruit juniper beer at Warped? Oh yes, more please.

Here’s what some of the buzz is about, with brand new breweries:

Fogbelt Brewing Company, Santa Rosa
Brewers Paul Hawley and Remy Martin use exclusively California-grown hops at this chic salon opened last winter.
1305 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-978-3400,

Warped Brewing Company, Sebastopol
Debuted last year at the Barlow in an artsy-video game theme from owners Noah and Mirjam Bolmer. The duo also own Barley & Hops Tavern in Forestville.
6790 McKinley St. #190 (in The Barlow), Sebastopol, 707-829-2061.

beercraftinrohnertparkBeerCraft, Rohnert Park
A new tasting bar and retail store offering 12 rotating taps plus a changing list of up to 30 new beers each week.
5704 Commerce Blvd., Rohnert Park, 707-206-9440,

Taps Restaurant & Tasting Room, Petaluma
Features some ever-changing three dozen rare beers from around the world on tap.
54 E. Washington Street, Petaluma, 707-763-6700,

St. Florian
St. Florian

St. Florian’s Brewery, Windsor
Owned by a fireman in honor of the the patron saint of chimneysweeps. Produces signature beers including IPA, a Brown Ale and Cali Common.
7704-A Bell Road, Windsor, 707-838-2739,

Carneros Brewing Company, Sonoma
Set up shop along Hwy. 12, as a family owned microbrewery founded by four Ceja brothers and their families in Sonoma Valley. The Ceja clan is already recognized for their elegant wines, and this new estate produces its own hops for handcrafted Jefeweizen, Morena Ale, Cerveza Pilsner, Carneros IPA and Negra IPA. Guests can visit the brewery and taproom to sample the brews, then enjoy a picnic in the beer gardens around the pond.
22985 Burndale Road, Sonoma, 707-938-1880,

Woodfour Brewing Company, Sebastopol
Another Barlow stand-out from brewmaster and co-owner Seth Wood, offering originals like the Wet Hop Session Ale No. 1 made of hops grown at nearby Wildo Ranch, a Gold Ridge Lager, and a sour farmhouse ale.
6780 Depot Street, Sebastopol, 707-823-3144,

Tip: It’s easier to enjoy those suds when you’re not thinking about driving. Pure Luxury Transportation is your pub hop solution.

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