If you’re planning on going full tilt for Sacramento Beer Week and have your brewery-hopping itinerary lined up, now is a perfect time to get your brewery passport via the Sacramento Beer Frontier.
The program is the brainchild of Aaron O’Callaghan, who just happens to love maps, craft beer and the Sacramento beer scene. So he combined his talents and passions and came up with this very appealing 28-page passport that encourages beer lovers to venture out and visit new breweries.
What I think you’ll find, as many already have, is that the Sacramento region not only has dozens of breweries all over the place, but the quality of the beer and the overall experience are often outstanding.
For instance, I was just out at Berryesssa Brewing for the umpteenth time – the beer, the people, the vibe are second to none. The week before I was at Moonraker in Auburn, where everything brewmaster Zack Frasher touches seems to turn to gold; and the week before that I was at Mraz, Device, New Glory and Track 7 – all with exquisite beer quality.
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If you had made these same trips with the nifty little brewery passport, you would have earned a stamp at each place. As you accumulate stamps, you earn prizes – a custom bottle opener for four stamps, an English pint glass for 16 and, if you fill up the entire book with 51 stamps, O’Callaghan will work with you to produce a customized map of your brewery travels.
The passport is $14 and makes a great gift – either for yourself or the beer geek in your life. If you’re new to craft beer or not yet into it, the passport will likely encourage you to see a new and very appealing way folks are socializing. At dozens of brewery tasting rooms throughout the region, people are showing up and hanging out (many with their kids and dogs; I’ve even met a guy at Knee Deep who visits daily with his very chill cat). There are no bouncers, no fights, no obnoxious behavior. It’s all about good times with good beer.
O’Callaghan is not a craft beer professional. He has a regular office job. But he built this concept from the ground up and turned it into something special. The passport is destined to have a significant influence on the beer scene here. It will help tell the brewery story in a fun way and get people out and about with brewery visits as part of the equation. Just look at Auburn – it has become its own little craft beer destination, with four highly regarded breweries offering four distinct beer experiences.
For now, you can buy the brewery passport books at Taylor’s Market in Land Park, Final Gravity’s locations in Roseville and Auburn, as well as online. Open the book, scan the list of breweries, unfold the map and start planning. Don’t forget the leash and maybe a change of diapers.
Moonraker has been grabbing the beer headlines recently – its Extremis bested world-renowned Pliny the Younger in a blind tasting at the prestigious Bistro triple India pale ale competition in Hayward. The week before, Moonraker was named best new brewery in California and ninth best new brewery in the world – yes, you read that correctly – at the RateBeer festival in Santa Rosa.
Yojo is Moonraker’s flagship beer. It’s hazy. It’s juicy. It’s got big hop aromas jumping out of the glass and these beautifully balanced pineapple and citrus notes shimmying all over the palate with every sip. By now, the consensus is it’s an amazing beer, brewed in that unfiltered Northeast style made famous by Heady Topper out of Vermont. Locally, I’ve since had great haze at Claimstake, Device, Flatland, Fieldwork and more.
I tell you all this simply to bring up Bike Dog. Once a clear beer stickler (or did I mean stick in the mud?), the West Sacramento brewery is apparently dialed in on unfiltered haze now, too.
In fact, Bike Dog did a David-vs.-Goliath thing of its own recently when it topped a pretty incredible lineup of breweries in a blind tasting of hazy beer at Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City. The competition included Moonraker, Fieldwork, Cellarmaker, Alvarado Street, Modern Times, Drake’s and Track 7. A blind tasting takes hype and bias out of the equation.
Congratulations to Bike Dog – not only for brewing a great beer but for being open to new ideas of what is a great beer.
Buy a brewery passport
The Sacramento Beer Frontier passport is a 28-page book that encourages beer lovers to venture out and visit new breweries.