Day at the River

illustration by Hayley Doshay

Nowadays, I seldom drink hopped-up ales. But, admittedly, they were huge gateway beers for me. And so, I’m not going to turn away $3.25 pints of Pliny the Elder, freshly tapped at the source at Santa Rosa’s Russian River Brewing Company, which is where I found myself this past Sunday for the microbrewery’s all-day happy hour. What I admire most about this world-famous spot is the consistency and quality of all its styles of brew. The Belgian sours are tart, vinous even. The porter was earthy and smoky. And the ho-hum Blind Pig IPA is dry and piney and a great entry into the world of West Coast hoppy beers. Too bad it’s a 90-minute jaunt back to Sac; recruit a D.D. 725 Fourth Street in Santa Rosa, (707) 545-2337,

Beer: Lava (Icelandic stout)
Brewer: Ölvisholt Brugghús
Where: The Davis Beer Shoppe, 211 G Street in Davis; (530) 756-5212

Beer: Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin
Brewer: Uinta Brewing Company
Where: Total Wine & More, 2121 Arden Way; (916) 921-5328; 5791 Five Star Drive in Roseville; (916) 791-2488;

Beer: SpontanKoppi (coffee lambic)
Brewer: Mikkeller
Where: Pangaea Two Brews Cafe, 2743 Franklin Boulevard; (916) 454-4942,