What’s brewing in the New Year

Sacramento’s craft beer scene welcomes more local suds

illustration by mark stivers

The December openings of Palm Tree Brewing Company in Orangevale and 1849 Brewing in Grass Valley closed out a wild year for new local breweries. By SN&R’s count, 14 production breweries opened in the greater Sacramento area in 2018 (Oak Park Brewing was the only one to close), including Urban Roots Brewing and Smokehouse and Moksa Brewing Co. That number doesn’t include new taproom locations for Device Ice Blocks or brewery-run restaurants such as The Other Side by Track 7. Sacramento craft beer enthusiasts should start catching up now, as more local breweries are slated to open in early 2019.

DarkHeart Brewing

4339 Auburn Boulevard, Sacramento

Projected opening: January

After spending a year trying to find a space that worked in McClellan Park, DarkHeart owners Cynthia Lee, Rick Lee and Robert Porter are ready to debut their pirate-themed brewery 10 minutes away on Auburn Boulevard. The 2,500 square-foot taproom will be filled with repurposed (i.e., plundered) items, and the beers will be more focused on malts than hops. “Everything that we do is a little bit more robust, a little bit richer flavors, a little bit more malt-forward than some of the other beers,” Cynthia says.

At Ease Brewing Co.

1825 I Street, Sacramento

Projected opening: February/March

The military-themed At Ease is the brainchild of Mike Conrad, a retired Army colonel with 27 years of active duty. A longtime homebrewer, Conrad started entering competitions over the last five years, finally gaining enough confidence to turn pro. At Ease shares a building with The Mill, and the cozy Midtown space will offer enough seating for about 40 people inside and another 30 on the back patio. “Our intent was to have sort of a neighborhood pub type of feel,” says Conrad. Expect beers for all tastes, including IPAs, lagers, Belgians and dark ales, but don’t expect too many sours. “I make what I like, and I just haven’t really acquired a taste for those.”

Touchstone Brewing Company

116 N. 16th Street, Sacramento

Projected opening: First quarter of 2019

This 7-barrel brewpub and beer garden was supposed to open more than a year ago inside Sacramento Pipeworks, a climbing gym just east of the Sacramento Railyards. However, with development slowed down by Sacramento’s denied bid for a MLS franchise, parent company Touchstone has taken its time getting the brewery ready. “We are almost all wrapped up with the site improvements, but we are still waiting on one more permit to get rolling inside the brewery,” says brewmaster Ryan Campagna. “I have all of the equipment on-site now, so I think it’ll be a pretty quick build, but I don’t think we will have that permit before 2019 starts.” When it opens, expect a variety of rotating beers as well as a small kitchen with a pizza oven.

Hooby’s Brewing

9 E. Main St., Winters

Projected opening: 2019

Berryessa Brewing has been operating in Winters since 2012, but the city will get a second brewery when Hooby’s opens later this year. The downtown taproom will be in the building that used to house Main Street Cellars.