Brewmaster Andy Armstrong’s best-known beer is the award-winning American brown ale called Coloma Brown. Other popular choices, available in select retail stores or at the taproom, include two IPAs, a seasonal Hefeweizen, and an Irish style red ale. American River has been producing beer since early 2012.
This fun-loving local destination for beer lovers is making scores of well-received beers, including Gold Digger IPA, Gold Country pilsner and a hoppy strong pale ale called Fool’s Gold Ale. Brian Ford is the brewmaster. The brewery also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
About to celebrate its second anniversary, this brewery on the outskirts of Winters has taken the area craft beer scene by storm. Brewmaster Chris Miller is widely respected for his knowledge and finesse, brewing several styles including House IPA, Separation Anxiety IPA, a porter and a saison. The charming taproom includes plenty of outdoor seating and often live music.
Winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Sacramento Beer Week for its Down Under Pale Ale, Bike Dog Brewery has four owners dedicated to making good beer. The tap room has a variety of beers, from a Milk Stout to a East Coast IPA, and food trucks frequent the West Sacramento brewery.
Approaching its two-year-anniversary, this brewery, which doubles as a supply store for home brewers, has yet to distribute its beers, meaning brewmaster Jason Breatt’s beers, including porters, a variety of IPAs and a blueberry blonde called, yes, Fairy Fart, are available only at the taproom.
In addition to a nice selection of IPAs, a Black Silt Stout and a Stinger Honey Ale, Cool Beerwerks serves food, including spam Hawaiian sliders. There’s live music every Saturday at this brewery and pub.
In true West Coast fashion, Device Brewing has a variety of hop-forward beers, including the Basilica 3xIPA, a double dry hopped beer for those who can’t get enough hops. If you want something a little less hoppy, try the Kid Casual Cream Ale.
This three-barrel brewery uses many ingredients grown on the property, bringing the “farm to fork” philosophy to the beer world. Their tap room is a nice place to unplug from the rest of the world and sample a variety of artisan beers.
Opened in 2000, this popular brewery focuses on traditional styles such as IPA, porter, English dry stout, Scotch ale and wheat beer. Gary Ritz is the brewmaster.
Part of Sacramento’s old guard, Hoppy made its commercial debut on June 15, 1994. The brewery/restaurant has become a local fixture. The flagship beer, Hoppy Face amber ale, is a traditional IPA. Other popular choices from brewmaster Edward Kopta include Liquid Sunshine blonde ale and Total Eclipse black ale.
This Apple Hill destination is modeled after an English farm brewery, featuring 13 beers on tap from brew-master David Coody, including its most popular, a strong blonde ale.
With a tap room coming to West Sacramento, hopefully in 2014, within walking distance of Yolo Brewing and Bike Dog Brewing Company, Jackrabbit Brewing Company has been expanding since its 2011 opening. In 2013, they planted their first hops in the Sierra Foothills.
A new tasting room opened for this award-winning brewery at 13395 New Airport Rd., Auburn. Pop in for a taste of Knee Deep’s IPA-centric line of beers crafted by brewmaster Jeremy Warren, who earned a gold medal at the 2013 U.S. Open Beer Championship for the Belgo Hoptologist.
Lockdown Brewing takes its imagery from nearby Folsom Prison, and joins its tasting room with Beach Hut Deli for a hybrid brew pub and sandwich shop. Lockdown Brewing contracts with St. Stan’s in Modesto to make its beers, including the popular Stony Bar Scotch ale with a sweet, malty character. Lockdown runs a smaller tasting room at 11327 Trade Center Dr. #350, Rancho Cordova.
Locals and tourists clamor for the Lodi Lite, an easy-drinking lager that’s well suited for Central Valley summers. Other beer styles created by brewmaster Peter York include wheat beers, red ales and a seasonal Christmas Ale spiced with clove, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Brewmaster Jim Gowan has won awards for Loomis Basin’s Golden Eagle Mandarin Wheat and Robust Porter, and eyes an expanded barrel-aged beer program. In addition to a line of IPAs and stouts, look for a Jacked Up Recession Ale that’s aged in Jack Daniel’s barrels.
Within two years of starting brewing as a hobby, owner Mike Mraz was crowned homebrewer of the year. He now brews Belgian styles beers, IPAs and American-style beers like a Coffee Pot Porter and a Cream Ale.
New Helvetia taps into Sacramento’s storied beer history with its Buffalo Craft Lager, an homage to Sacramento’s Buffalo Brewery, which began its operations in 1890. Brewmaster Brian Cofresi also crafts 20 other beers, including some batches made with locally grown hops.
Brewmaster Julien Lux’s crafted beers are distributed around the region, including a farmhouse ale, red ale, IPA and California common ale. A new taproom, at 8251 Alpine Ave. in south Sacramento, opened last year.
Brewmaster Jim Harte and company have created a veritable house of lager in Nevada City. These beers, including its Dortmunder and Helles lagers, are ideal for outdoor drinking, while a Schwarzbier Bavarian black lager adds coffee overtones and deep color to this familiar beer style.
Head brewer Bruce MacPhee logged a decade at Oregon’s celebrated Deschutes Brewing Company, and touts an English style methodology while utilizing West Coast ingredients. Food trucks often stop by.
Ales of all sorts are the specialty of brewmaster Steve Meylor, including a house favorite blonde ale and seasonal pumpkin ale that lands in the fall. Pub foods are also on the menu.
An engineer by trade, brewmaster Alfred Lee tends to experiment at this little-known and highly productive microbrewery in a historic Victorian mansion. IPAs are his specialty – all 10 of them.
Traditionally, River City has leaned toward German and English styles, but brewmaster Brennan Holmes is making waves with his hoppy West Coast beers. River City Brewing is also a restaurant, serving lunch and dinner.
Roseville Brewing Company’s head brewer Brett Ratcliff works to produce a beer for every taste, including fruity wheats or double IPAs.
Rubicon’s IPA won gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival in 1989 and 1990. The recipe has remained unchanged – and the IPA is still Rubicon’s flagship – under brewmaster Scott Cramlett. But his latest brew, Monkey Knife Fight, won best pale ale at the Amador County Fair last year.
Open to the public by appointment only from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, but the beer is available in select stores. Rooted in the region’s beer history, Ruhstaller is all about how beer is grown, which is why proprietor J.E. Paino opened up its hops farm to the public. Ruhstaller’s Captain California Black IPA won best American-style black ale at the 2013 U.S. Beer Open.
Sudwerk rebranded itself last year, emphasizing its Davis roots instead of its likeness to a German microbrewery. Brewmaster Mike Hudson’s new releases are more in the West Coast style, but traditional offerings have garnered awards at multiple California State Fairs.
Sutter Buttes’ signature beer is the Franklin Double IPA, which won best in show at the 2011 Amador County Fair. Brewmaster Mark Martin’s farmhouse-style beers are gaining popularity as well. Sutter Buttes is also a restaurant, serving salads, burgers and pizza.
Ryan Graham subscribes to firmly hopped West Coast brewing, so it’s no wonder Track 7’s Panic IPA is his most popular year-round release. Track 7 is expanding and will soon open a new manufacturing and distribution center in Natomas. The Curtis Park tap room will remain open, serving a range of seasonal selections – the Belgian-style brews are particularly noteworthy.
Enjoy a flight of handcrafted beers and watch a personal batch brew. Yolo Brewing Company has all the supplies needed to brew quality beer, and there’s also plenty on tap to drink while deciding what kind of brew to make and take home.