Find out where Sacramento’s new breweries are
It’s true: New breweries are popping up in the greater Sacramento region like hoppy hangovers. Here’s a roundup.
Who: Track 7 Brewing Co., 37437 W. Pacific Avenue; (916) 520-4677; http://track7brewing.com
The skinny: The tasting room is a minimalist-designed warehouse with picnic tables, couches and a lounge area, plus the occasional mobile food truck parked out front (Wicked ’Wich is a regular). Track 7’s labels features art by local artists and the beer pays homage to Sacramento’s rich rail yard history. It’s got the character of a favorite old dive, but without the cheap, bland suds; pints are $4 and there are at least always four on tap. The brewers at Track 7 sweat the small details. For instance, Geoff Scott, one of the four co-owners, says they will “hand grind coriander seed” and “throw in some bitter orange peel” to give beers an artisan’s touch.
What to drink: Go deep out the gate with the Big 4, a hop-forward, strong American-style ale (10 percent alcohol by volume). Or start soft with their as-yet-untitled honey blonde ale. Track 7 also now offers growlers—64-ounce, to-go jugs—and a special, limited-release Belgian IPA.
Who: American River Brewing Co., 11151 Trade Center Drive, No. 104 in Rancho Cordova
The skinny: Rancho Cordova’s beer scene ratcheted up more than a few notches last year when veteran beer experts David Mathis and Andy Armstrong turned a giant warehouse into American River Brewing Co.. It has room for growth and is looking for a grand opening of a tasting room soon.
What to drink: “The tap room will be open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” explained head brewer Armstrong. “We currently have an IPA and a brown ale. Hopefully, we can get a golden ale in the next month.”
Who: Berryessa Brewing Co., 27260 Highway 128 in Winters; (530) 795-3526
The skinny: You don’t have to drive to Winters to sip Berryessa’s suds, mostly because it has yet to complete construction of its tasting room. In Sacramento, look for 8-year veteran brewmaster Chris Miller’s beers at Dad’s Kitchen, The Shack and Lucca Restaurant.
What to drink: Common Sense is Miller’s spin on the steam beer, and the Fresh Hop IPA should go over big with hop-crazy Sacramentans.
Who: Black Dragon Brewery and Woodland Homebrew Supply, 175 W. Main Street in Woodland; (530) 666-5347; www.backdragonbrew.com
The skinny: “This is a family-owned business, which is great,” explained Jason Breatt, Black Dragon co-owner. “For some of our beers, we use honey from a local family in Woodland, Island of the Moon [Apiaries] honey company.” Breatt and his wife, Heather, run the tasting room (16 beers on tap, growlers and 6-liters to go) and friends and customers enjoy a diverse selection of beers.
What to drink: The IPA is made with high-quality hops, and there are also a clean, crispy honey pale ales and smooth coffee porters. Breatt has won multiple gold medals for a variety of styles of beer and will be teaching classes on site every first Saturday of the month beginning in March.
Who: Ruhstaller Beer, (916) 919-5691; http://ruhstallerbeer.com
The skinny: Peter Hoey, of Sacramento Brewing Company fame, brewed the inaugural batches of Ruhstaller for the less-than-a-year-old local company named after Captain Frank Ruhstaller who founded the city’s Buffalo Brewery in 1881. There’s no public tasting room for Ruhstaller, so look for it in bottles at specialty stores, on draft or poured out the back of an old hunter-green Chevy.
What to drink: The brewery’s 1881, a sugary, citrusy red ale, is its most ubiquitous pour. Seek out the Capt., a California-style IPA that’s deceptively bitter for its black color. Or, if you can find it, the Hop Sac, which is only brewed once a year—snagged a glass of the 2011 at Mulvaney B&L’s Pig on the Corner last year—so eyes be peeled for the ’12.
Who: Knee Deep Brewing Co., 645 Fifth Street in Lincoln; http://kneedeepbrewing.com
The skinny: Brewmaster Jeremy Warren does his magic east of Sacramento in Lincoln, but his Knee Deep beers can be found on draft and in the bottle throughout Sacramento. Use the website’s location finder instead of driving bottle shop to bottle shop like a crazy hophead.
What to drink: Well, Warren’s Hoptologist—a double IPA with 9 percent alcohol by volume—just took home the prestigious gold medal at the 12th annual Double IPA Festival at The Bistro during San Francisco’s Beer Week, besting 43 other beers. Kudos! Rumor has it that you can find Hoptologist in bottles at Hot City Pizza in East Sacramento—but by the time you read this, those bottles will probably have disappeared.
Who: Loomis Basin Brewing Company, 3277 Swetzer Road in Loomis; (916) 259-2739; http://loomisbasinbrewing.com
The skinny: Brewmaster Jim Gowan caught the beer bug in West Germany while serving this country, and Loomis Basin is what he calls the “culmination of a dream” some 30 years later. Say hi to the brewhouse dog, Praline.
What to drink: They do about five beers, but the Vindicator IPA—piney, mildly sweet, a crisp hop taste—is worth the trek east on Interstate 80.
Who: Roseville Brewing Company, 501 Derek Place in Roseville; (800) 978-3731; www.rosevillebrewingco.com
The skinny: After months of setup and test-brewing, RBC will celebrates its grand opening this Friday, February 24, at 4 p.m.
What to drink: There’ll be six beers—IPA, American Wheat, Pale Ale, Imperial Stout, Cinnamon Coffee Stout, Brown Ale—on draft and growlers to go at the big unveiling.