Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vineman 70.3 - The Beer Report

The race was only part of the great experience I had a week and a half ago.  I decided to dedicate an entire post on the beer and wine in Sonoma County.  However, I don't want to bore you so I am doing this in a two parts - BEER report and then the WINE report.

Many call Sonoma county wine country, however, in my opinion, it is safe to say it is also beer country.  Don't get me wrong I don't want to take anything away from the phenomenal Zins and Pinots I tasted in the area.  I love my wine too, but my husband and I have a love for "fine craft beer."

Below is a picture of the Sonoma wine regions and I have placed locators to some of the craft beer distributors in the area as well:  Bear Republic, Russian River, Third Street Aleworks and Lagunitas.

 I learned a few things as I was trying to figure out WHY there were so many pale ales in this area.  Through some wikipedia research and googling, I found that Sonoma County was a major producer of hops in the US.  There are still hop kilns (buildings they used to dry the hops) standing in Sonoma County.  Check out Hop Kiln Winery to look at one.  We passed by it a few times, and now we both wished we stopped.  Anyway, in my non-expert opinion, I believe that this is why there are so many pale ales in Sonoma County.

Russian River Brewery
One of the first nights, we were there we decided to check out Russian River which would later be our post-race party location.  Mike is a big fan but you can only get it in PA and not NJ and it isn't that common to have the Pliny on tap.  Russian River Brewery has not only excellent beers but makes awesome pizzas.  If you go, check out the Mama Mia (pepperoni, pineapple and jalepenos) pie, it is great!  This also went great with my Pliny the Elder...

which I found was not overly hoppy, had some orange and peach notes, and if you go to beer advocate there is a reason they give this an A+.  Really a good IPA and perfect with the pizza.of which we later took home a growler...

Other beers on the menu...
One of the beers we were hoping to try became my new favorites Consecration and Supplication (later of which I developed a mantra using "Pliny, Consecration, Supplication and Pizza" to get me through the 70.3 race...).  Now both of these beers are sour, so if you don't like sour beers you may not like them.  Consecration is brewed in Cabernet barrels and Supplication is brewed in Pinot Noir.  What I found to be interesting is with both of the beers, you smelled the wine (oak, tannins, dark cherry fruit).  It combined my two loves beer and wine....Can you tell I was in love with this!!  I'll tell you what, if I can ever get this at home, I would love to make a nice flank steak and roasted rosemary potatoes with a consecreation....heaven, I think it would be...

Anyhow, moving along, we had an excellent post-race party with some new friends enjoying the post-race euphoria and our excitement for beer.  

They also do great music and have really cool t-shirts made from Organic cotton...
I went to Sonoma county and all I got was this awesome t-shirt
Bear Republic Brewery
Very cool brewery in the cute town of Headlsburg.  It is right off the main square, and there was someone cooking pesto garlic oysters on the BBQ at the brewery....Phenomenal....and went amazing with their Hop Rod Rye IPA.  Another very good IPA - I would say you could taste a little spice from the rye and just a little sweetness while a nice hoppy flavor...

Lagunitas Brewery
 This brewery we were hoping to go to but unfortunately is closed on Monday and Tuesday - BOOOO!  HISS!  However, we had some just because, even though we can get their IPA anywhere....I really don't have a whole lot to say here, except it is on my to-do list for next time...

Third Street Aleworks
Mike tried the Oatmeal Stout.  I think the beers were okay, especially given that it is right around the corner from RR, which is no comparison....Anyway, the food was very good - fish tacos and Mike had the burger.  Would definitely recommend for a nice night of eating outside and chill atmosphere.

That concludes my beer report....Cheers!!

Next up....Wine Report of Sonoma


  1. great beer report. Makes me sad Hawaii has so few good beers!

  2. Great report... you never think of this area for beer! :)

  3. Pliny is the best! Gotta love Sonoma County beers.


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