Dog Friendly Brewery Series – Santa Cruz Area

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

Some of the prior articles in these series are here:

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – San Francisco Part 2

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – North SF Bay Area

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – San Francisco

This blog looks at some dog friendly breweries in the Santa Cruz area.

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (SARA)

SARA is making quite a name for itself and quickly become a beer nerd destination.  I was stoked to get down there last weekend, and even more stoked that i could bring the pooch.

SARA is in a somewhat industrial area in Capitola, close to the freeway and a few minutes from the beach.  SARA is definitely focused on making unique small batch brews.  Some of their more popular beers are Belgian style or farmhouse and saisons.  They do, however, typically have at least one IPA or a good pale ale.

The brewery is unsurprisingly a bit small, and apparently can get quite crowded.  However, we arrived right at noon when they were open so there seemed to be plenty of space available.

The staff/owners are very pro-dog and our Sara was welcomed with open arms.  We really enjoyed the beers, and purchase bottles of the special release they had that weekend (Quality of Life).  There is no food, but apparently they have BBQ out front many days or you can bring your own food.

Overall, a very cool place.  We went for the beer, but would go back just for the atmosphere.  Look forward to many future trips, the brews alone are a reason for us to make the 1.5 hour drive.

http://rusticales.com/

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is organic brewery in the new(ish) and very cool Swift Street Courtyard.  The area has been transformed into a mostly winery haven, but as any reasonable human would do, we went to the one brewery.

I have been here a few years ago, but it was just as I remembered.  Decent beer, but fun atmosphere and very dog friendly.  Plenty of outdoor seats overlooking the courtyard.  You can order food from the cafe next door, and they have a few wine options as well.

I got the Giant DIPA, which looked juicy and a bit hazy.  It was a beautiful beer, although the taste did not match the looks.  No complaints though, I would certainly go back.

http://www.scmbrew.com/

New Bohemia Brewing Co. (NuBo) and Santa Cruz Ale Works

We have not been to either, but the rumor is they are both dog friendly.  We will make another visit and provide an update once we have visited….

http://www.nubobrew.com/

http://www.santacruzaleworks.com/

There are obviously plenty of beach options, but apparently the only one that is technically off-leash is Its Beach, right on West Cliff drive north of the lighthouse.  Small beach, decent waves coming in, but Sara was in heaven.

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We will certainly make another trip down to try out some more of the breweries in town, as the beer scene certainly is growing in the area.

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Craft Brew in Italy – Part 1

 

We recently took a 12 day trip to Italy.  Looking back, we should have done longer, but the amount we accomplished in the time we were there was staggering.  Although finding craft brew in Italy was tough, it was not impossible.

Our visit included 3 nights in Venice, 3 nights in Florence, 2 nights in Cinque Terra, and 2 nights in Rome (travel time knocked off essentially 2 days).  We also had a 7 hour layover, which allowed some time to hop into London and get a brew.

In short, Rome had the best beer scene, Florence seemed to have a growing one, Cinque Terre had one good beer bar, and Venice was…tough. I will go through each city in the order we visited.

Venice

Venice is kind of insane.  We arrived late night out first night, so in reality had 2.5 days to explore.  For me, that was enough.

Venice is strikingly beautiful.  Literally around every corner you have a completely unique, beautiful setting.  I found this to be especially true the further out you got from the main touristy areas (ie St. Mark’s square).  Maybe this was because there were way less people.

Each day we were there we walked about 16 miles.  To us, that was the way to actually see and experience Venice, as many of the more tourisy things here did not hold much appeal. Part of the reason we put in so many miles simply had to do with the fact that you are constantly lost.  I tend to have a pretty good sense of direction, and can get around most cities within a few hours (I am a bit of a planning nut and so spend many hours looking at maps of where we go), but this was far from true in Venice.  At first, I struggled with the lack of control, but by the second day, this became part of the fun.

We stayed at an incredible AirBnb.  The hosts were unlike any AirBnb host you will find.  They gave us detailed instructions before we arrived, met us at the boat station and walked us to the apartment, gave us a quick tour of the area and detailed instructions on a map of where to go and what to see.  I would highly recommend staying in any of Maurizio’s apartments.  Here was ours:  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1005660

As mentioned above, Venice was tough for beer.  The  bar scene is fun, just not for beer, especially craft brew.  This is made more difficult by the aforementioned propensity to get lost.  Meaning, even if I could find a place that looked good for beer online, actually physically finding the place was easier said than done.  Given this, we simply walked around and if we saw a place that looked good, went for it.

Fortunately, on day 1, we found Birraria La Corte in the Campo San Polo.  We had not researched this place, but I saw “Birraria” and had to go.  Apparently, this was the first local brewery in Italy!  The building also at one point housed the bulls for the bullfights in the Campo.  There is a huge patio that overlooks the Campo, and the best beer selection we found in Italy.  I had a few Brad IPAs (from Bradipongo brewery, a little north west of Venice) to go with my pizza, which were not bad.  I would absolutely return here if in Venice again (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187870-d793024-Reviews-Birraria_La_Corte-Venice_Veneto.html)

The only other bar we found that had more than the usual Forst, Peroni ot Birra Moretti was the Corner Pub.  We stumbled across the Corner Pub as part of one of our 16 mile death marches.  The Corner Pub was just as it sounds.  We actually sat outside at a little to-go counter and enjoyed a beer just before noon (do not judge, we were on vacation), overlooking some solid scenery.  I cheated, and had an Irish IPA (McGargles Knock Knock Neds IPA) which was OK.  They had a few other beers on tap, as well as wine and a full bar.  Basic food that looked good as well.  https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187870-d1953035-Reviews-Corner_Pub-Venice_Veneto.html

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Other than these two spots, nothing else really stood out for beer.  I drank a good deal of wine, and bought an IPA in the grocery store to enjoy at our apartment as the gondoliers floated by, many times singing.

One of the more enjoyable things to do in Venice definitely was to enjoy the Cicchetti. Each night we bar hopped, had a few small plates (cicchetti is essentially Venizia tapas)  and tried some interesting dishes (lots of fried seafoody dishes).  You could typically score a glass of wine for 1-3 euros (yep!) and go to a few different spots.  This made for a smaller dinner, which was fine by me.

The one touristy thing we did do that I recommend is a sunset cruise along the Grand Canal on the vaporetti (Water bus).  Cheap but beautiful, and by this time the city has quieted down so we were able to score outside seats and just enjoy the views.

I am not sure if I would have Venice high on my list of places to go back to.  I cannot imagine it in the high season, as even when we went it felt overrun by tourists.  By far, I enjoyed Venice the most after 8 PM and before 11 AM.  The middle of the day is crowded and the charm is gone.  That said, it truly is a remarkably beautiful and unique city.

Florence

We had 3 full days and nights and Florence, but I could have spent way more time here.  Florence was a city I would live in in a heartbeat.  I am a water person.  Since I was about 10, I have not lived more than 15 miles from the ocean.  Florence has no ocean, just the Arno River.  Still, I loved it.

Florence is rich with history and beautiful.  The duomo and cathedral, the Palazzo Vecchio,  Ponte Vecchio, Piazelle Michelangelo, Piazza della Signoria and it goes on.  Yet, at the same time, it is a modern city with great, diverse food, beautiful people and BEER!

We scored again with Airbnb in Florence.  We stayed in the Oltrano (the “other” side of the Arno) about a block away from the Ponte Vecchio.  Our apartment was certainly older, and up a step set up stairs 6 floors up, but my goodness, the rooftop deckS (yes, two rooftop decks) were unreal.  Literally 360 degree views of all of Florence.  All the sites visible, cool breezes, and a brew or glass of wine?  Unreal.  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1482355

(the pics do not do the view justice)

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Our first stop when we arrived in Florence was Il Mercato Centrale.  This is somewhat akin to the Chelsea Market in NYC or the Ferry Building Building in SF.  The first floor is an assortment of butcher, cheese, olive oil, and pasta shops, with a few coffee shops and a solid amount of produce.  You can walk around and have cheese samples for free, or pay for an olive or balsamic tastings.

The second floor is full of essentially to-go restaurants that you order at the counter and find a seat.  There are a bunch of awesome options.  A place with fresh made cheese and sandwiches, butcheries, a place with all truffle dishes, a vegetarian spot, pasta and it goes on and on.  There is also a bar in the middle with a birreria, and a wine shop.  The bar had a somewhat disappointing selection of beers.  Most of the beers were Birra Moretti, and I ws hoping for more smaller craft brews.  That said, the food made up for it.

The third floor has a sit down restaurant, but the second floor to me was the place to be.

Outside was a large leather and trinket gift area.  Fun to walk around and buy a few gifts.

Close by is the BrewDog Firenze location.  I have had a few of their beers before, but wanted to pop in to see if they had the Born to Die IPA.  Unfortunately, they did not have it on tap, but rest assured, they had a (large) bottle.  It was an astounding $15 euros, but I had to pull the trigger.  It was worth it.  Fantastic, hop bomb with a smooth crisp finish.

Florence has two other breweries, Archea and Mostoldoce.  Give the slew of things we wanted to do and see, we only had time for one, Archea.

Archea actually did not brew the beer on site, and actually brewed it several hours away.  The tasting room was a great little pub, with several of their own beers and a few guest taps.  I actually really enjoyed their Hydra IPA.  The bartender was great, good people inside, and overall a great stop.  Highly recommend dropping in.

King Grizzly was a solid beer bar. Probably around 15 beers on tap, seemingly all or mostly from Italy.  Good scene, good beer options, the kind of place I would go to on the regular.

On our last day in Florence, we hired a private driver to take us down to Siena and then through the Chianti wine district.  No beer, but an absolutely fantastic time.  Lot of wine, great food, olive oil and sites beyond belief.  You can read more about our day on my Tripadvisor review of our driver, who was fantastic.  https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187895-d4331380-r375836127-Alessandro_Cammilli_Private_Tours-Florence_Tuscany.html#REVIEWS

Overall, Firenze was incredible.  I could write 20 more pages about our time there.  We had a few fantastic meals (our lunch at Liberia Brac was one of the best meals I have ever had – https://www.yelp.com/biz/libreria-brac-firenze).  The David was amazing, the duomo and surrounding area was overwhelming, the Oltrarno neighborhood was lively and welcoming.  If I could only go back to one place in Italy, Firenze was it.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which will recap Cinque Terre and Rome.

 

 

Where to Drink SF – Local Brewing

Local Brewing is located in SOMA, on Bluxome, between 4th and 5th.  I used to live a couple blocks away, but of course moved before this opened.  Local is on a developing street, joining Bluxome Street Winery which is a few blocks away (great place, dog friendly, awesome wine club, especially if you live close by and can take full advantage).

The brewery is in a brick warehousey space, and is a bit “nicer” than most breweries.  They have food and wine, and so although there is definitely a brewery feel and presence with the barrels, etc., it does still come across as a high end spot.

Local’s taps seem to be constantly updating with new beers.  As I look on the website now, I see several beers that were not there but a couple weeks ago.  When I went, I of course had a sampler.

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The beers were all very good.  Nothing overpowering or extreme, instead straightforward and well-executed beers.  I have been happy with every beer I have had.  None blew me away, but all were enjoyable, which is quite a feat.

I have not eaten here, but the food menu if somewhat limited. Mostly snacks or small plates.  The wife says the wine she has had is good, with  few different options.

I would imagine it gets pretty packed on game days or at happy hour, but I have gone on the weekends and it has been easy to grab a seat at the bar, and easy to drive to/park at if you have a DD or aren’t going full weekend mode…

Overall, a great addition to the SOMA brew scene, and certainly worth a stop by.

http://www.localbrewingco.com

 

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – San Francisco Part 2

 

Since posting the first in the SF Dog Friendly Brewery series, a few more dog friendly breweries have opened!  More work for California IPA, which is a good thing!

Harmonic Brewing

Harmonic opened up a few months ago less than a mile from us.  Hell yes.

Harmonic is deep in the Dogpatch, on 26th near Indiana. The space is industrial and open, with the brewing happening right in the open.  They do not have food, which in this instance, is a good thing, as that means the dogs are allowed!  Most times I have gone, a few other people have had dogs.

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There is a smaller bar top, and then a bunch of tables to sit at.

They allow outside food, so swinging by Long Bridge pizza beforehand is not a bad idea.

The beers are pretty good, and I am excited to see them grow and brew some more.  The cold-press stout was solid, IPA was good, and the wife has enjoyed a few of their sours.

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Generous pours on the flights, they oftentimes have live music and food trucks, and a TV with whatever game is on.  A great addition to the SF brew scene, especially since the pups can join.

http://harmonicbrewing.com/

Black Hammer

Black Hammer/Pac Labs beer has been around the City for a while, but I only recently was able to check the somewhat new brewery out.  Of course, I forgot my phone when I went, so no pics today.

Black Hammer is in SOMA, on Bryant near 3rd.  Very dog friendly and good atmosphere, especially on a quiet weekend day in SOMA.

Black Hammer brews some interesting and creative beers, with the Squid Ink IPA and Hibiscus Saison sticking out.  You can seemingly always find something unique and new here.

Like Harmonic, no food, so you can bring outside food in.  Simply another great spot to take the dog and have a few interesting beers.

http://blackhammerbrewing.com/

Fort Point at the Ferry Building

Fort Point recently opened up a “kiosk” tasting room outside of the Ferry Building.  The space is small, all outside, but a great addition.

The food options are limited (hot dogs, pretzels etc.), but you come here for the beer.  Fort Point is brewing solid, straightforward and well balanced beers.  Last visit, I had the Wanderer, a tropical and smooth DIPA, and the Park, a hoppy wheat.  I have enjoyed every one of their beers I have had.

Although it is small, they do growler fills (And have some really cool growlers at that).

The Ferry Building can obviously get crazy, so this is a spot I generally would only go to on a quieter day in the downtown area.

http://www.fortpointbeer.com/

Looking forward to the dog friendly brewery trend in SF to continue, as there appear to be at least 14 new breweries coming soon…

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – Tahoe and Auburn

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

The fourth in this series will focus on dog-friendly breweries in the Tahoe area and Auburn (nothing in South Lake, as both breweries I have been to there do not allow dogs).

See other articles in this series here:

https://californiaipas.com/2015/07/28/dog-friendly-brewery-series-north-sf-bay-area/

https://californiaipas.com/2015/04/05/dog-friendly-brewery-series-sf-bay-area-east-bay-and-peninsula/

https://californiaipas.com/2015/03/09/dog-friendly-breweries-series-san-francisco/

Knee Deep Brewing

Knee Deep is one of my current, favorite breweries.  To top off the great beer, they are dog friendly.

Knee Deep is in Auburn, although it is not necessarily a quick stop off the freeway of you are driving up to Tahoe.  Nonetheless, it is worth the stop.

The brewery is right by the Auburn airport in an industrial area.  There is a large indoor area and a pretty decent sized outdoor area, which seems to often have food trucks.  The pups are allowed inside or out.

The space is laid back with cornhole, plenty of space, and most importantly, awesome beers.  Knee Deep is doing some of the best double and triple IPAs around right now.  The list when we went was full of awesome beers.

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Naturally, I had to get a flight.  I went with the first 8 on the list, and as expected, all were solid.  The Simtra and Lupulin River stood out, but I could have any of their brews.

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I expect to stop here every time I go to Tahoe, as the beers truly cannot be missed.

http://kneedeepbrewing.com/

Auburn Alehouse

Auburn Alehouse is another good option for stopping on the way to Tahoe.  Auburn Alehouse is right of the freeway in Old Town.  However, there are often decent waits, especially on a nice day to sit outside.  Nonetheless, if you want more of a place to eat, this is probably it.

The Alehouse has a smallish patio out back that is often pretty busy.

They have a large variety of beers, and something for most people’s taste.  Food is decent, and atmosphere is solid.

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The PU240 IIPA was probably my favorite brew.  I would certainly return on a nice day, especially if the plan is to eat lunch or dinner.

http://auburnalehouse.com/

Fifty Fifty Brewing

Fifty Brewing is in Truckee in over by the airport.  It is a prototypical brewpup, with small dog friendly patio.

Beer was decent, but the day we were there the service was less than stellar.  Food was pretty good, again, standard bar food.

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I am inclined to give them another shot, as they were very dog friendly.

http://fiftyfiftybrewing.com/

Tahoe Mountain Brewing

Tahoe Mountain has two locations, one in Truckee and one in Tahoe City.  The Truckee location is a bit off the beaten path, and is just a brewery.  Cool location, small, and the focus is on the beer.  Dog are allowed to hang in the bar area.

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The Tahoe City location is right downtown and has a large patio along the street where dogs are allowed.  The restaurant has a typical brewery menu, burgers, fish and chips, some salad etc.  I had the fish and chips, and it was fantastic.  I get fish and chips alot and this was up there.  The kicker was the homemade tartar-esque sauce.

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They are also making some great beer.  Hop Dragon, Hop Song and Party Boy are all solid brews, especially the Hop Dragon.

Bonus tip: buy their mustard.  It is bomb.  I am not a mustard guy, but something about theirs is special.  The hot sauce is real good too.

http://www.tahoebrewing.com/

Let me know if there are any I missed in the comments.  Otherwise, go get a beer with the pup!

Weekend in Seattle

Mrs. CaliforniaIPA and I recently took a long weekend in Seattle.  Seattle was an obvious choice for a weekend getaway, considering it is (a) a quick flight, and (b) full of breweries.  Weather be damned, if there are breweries, it should be a good weekend.

The trip ended up being everything we could have asked for.  A ton of great beer, great food, and not too much rain.

Pike Place and Downtown

We stayed downtown, so every day included a trip to Pike Place Market.  Pike Place seems like a tourist trap I would actually go to if I lived in Seattle.  Whereas Fisherman’s Wharf here in SF is a living nightmare, Pike Place was fun, had great food, and unbelievable prices on produce, flowers and crafty-goods.

Our personal favorite spots by Pike Place:

Pike Place Chowder: total tourist trap, but the chowder was bomb.  We got a sampler of 6 different chowders, all of which were delicious.

Le Panier: Good coffee, amazing savory pastries.

Daily Dozen Doughnuts: Super fresh, mini-doughnuts.

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Cruising the Market:  Every day we did take a lap through the market.  It was fun to check out the local vendors, fresh food, and flowers.

There were some breweries downtown, but we did not hit any of them.  I had specific breweries I wanted to visit, and none of the downtown ones were that appealing to me (although we did visit the Yardhouse downtown when we first arrived and were figuring out our bearings.  Yes, I would have much preferred to go to a local spot, but we had just landed, and I needed a beer to get the trip started!).

Ballard

We tried to visit several neighborhoods, but spent the most time in Ballard.  Ballard seems to be the hipster-esque part of Seattle, with a slew of breweries, good restaurants and bars, and shops.

Ballard is home to the famous Walrus and Carpenter (we swing by just as they opened to check it out, but didn’t eat) and several breweries.

My favorite spot was Reuben’s Brews.  Reuben’s had 24 of their own beers on tap, and although I wanted to try all 24, I limited myself to 8.  They were genuinely all very solid beers.  I was extremely impressed.

The location was a bit off the beaten path, but once you arrive it is clearly a beer-lover’s haven.  Packed, a large outdoor dog-friendly patio, and a clear focus on the liquid bread (http://www.reubensbrews.com/#on-draft).

We also had an awesome dinner at Stoneburner, with great pizza and a unique and killer brussel sprout caesar salad (https://www.stoneburnerseattle.com/home).

Bramling Cross had just opened, which was a very cool gastropub with some solid local beers on tap and good oysters (http://www.ethanstowellrestaurants.com/locations/bramling-cross/).

Ballard was where I would see myself if I lived in Seattle, if nothing else for the beer and food.

Fremont

Fremont was probably my second favorite neighborhood we visited.  We did not spend much time there, but it was scenic and had a cute “downtown” area.  Oh, and Fremont Brewing.

Fremont Brewing (http://www.fremontbrewing.com/) is in a cool location close by a marina and the Fremont Troll.  It had a huge patio, but it was raining pretty good that day so we sat inside.  Beers were all solid.  I again went with a flight, and enjoyed the beers (especially the Hop Lab).  Cool atmosphere, a bunch of kids (not sure if that is because of the neighborhood or just the particular day we were there).

After the brewery, we walked up to the Fremont Troll, then down to the main street, grabbed a drink at a wine bar and checked out a few stores.  Overall, a cute little neighborhood topped off with a brewery, so all good in my book.

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Other Favorites

One of our most memorable stops was brunch at Tolouse Petite (http://toulousepetit.com/).  We made it there in time for brunch happy hour (!!), and I went for a few solid whiskey cocktails.  The atmosphere was awesome, and the crab cake benedict was insane.

Beer in general:  I had a ton of great beers.  Elysian Space Dust, a few different Populuxe beers, a few Manny’s beers, Hale’s Ales, and Outer Planet.  That said, we need another trip back to hit the breweries I missed.

One thing that really stood out were the people.  Everyone from the bartenders, uber drivers, and residents were just plain nice.  Welcoming and full of great recommendations.

Overall, a very successful trip and look forward to heading back.

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Where To Drink – Drake’s Dealership

Had a chance to check out the new Drake’s Dealership in Oakland last week, and it was awesome.

Drake’s Dealership is in the new “Hive” gathering place in Uptown Oakland.  The Hive has potential to be a pretty awesome place, with Drake’s and what looks like a few new restaurants, People’s Barbershop etc.  http://hiveoakland.com/

Drake’s is in an old parts and service department for Dodge.  The building is very cool, all brink and timber.  The best part is the huge outdoor beer garden, that is importantly dog-friendly.

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Good ol’ Denogginizer

I did not get a good pic of the space, as I was focused on the beer.  However, above, you can see some of the outdoor area in the background.  There is self-seating or tables, and plenty of it.  They also have a stage area for live bands.

The indoor area is also pretty large, with a large bar area, big open kitchen, and a room that was empty when we went, seems like a good place to have a private party or for overflow.

They had what seemed like all the Drake’s beers on tap, plus about 15 guest beers.  I went with Drake’s IPA, Denogginizer, and the 8×80.  I have had the IPA and Denog many times before, but never seen the 8×80.  Well, the 8×80 was great.  It was bigger than the 7×70, but not overpowering.  A real nice, balanced brew.  Hops were present but not overpowering.  Liked it more than the 7×70.  Hope to see this one around more often.

The food was also great.  We started with some spicy fries, which were bomb (they also have salt and vinegar fries, regular fires, and poutine).  They also have several New Haven style pizzas, which is pretty cool.  My brother lives just outside New Haven, and so I have had Pepe’s pizza several times, and this was a pretty good knock off.  Nice blistered crust, served on a cookie sheet.  Pretty authentic.

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Overall, I loved Drake’s Dealership.  Drakes brews great beer, but the brewery is a little off the beaten path, so the new spot is pretty great, and worth a trip to Oakland on its own.  Look forward to heading back.

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – North SF Bay Area

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

The third in this series will focus on dog-friendly breweries north of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lagunitas Brewery

Let’s start with one of the better known craft breweries, Lagunitas.

The Lagunitas brewery is a great stop.  Although it is in an industrial area, once you walk through the gates, it is all brewery and good times.

Lagunitas has a huge outdoor patio filled with picnic type tables.  It is never easy to find a seat, despite the fact that it is pretty huge.  Dogs are allowed anywhere outside.

Weekend afternoons will oftentimes have live music.

Food is good, not great.  Fairly standard fare, essentially nachos, wings and sandwiches.

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Mound of nachos at Lagunitas.

Beers are most of your favorite Lagunitas classics.  IPA, Hoop Stooid, Pils etc.  They typically do not seem to have many “special” releases or harder to find options, but the environment and other classics make up for it.

https://lagunitas.com/taprooms/petaluma

Bear Republic Brewing

Lagunitas and Bear Republic in one day is a good day in my book.

Bear Republic is a short drive up the 101, about 30 miles.

Bear Republic has a decent sized outside patio where dogs are allowed.  Bear Republic is more of a brewpup that Lagunitas, feel more like a restaurant than a brewery.  Little bit tighter squeeze for the dog.

Food is a little higher end with a huge menu.  Something for everyone.

Beers are great.  I am a big fan of Bear Republic so am always happy.  More likely to get something unique or new here than Lagunitas.  Last time for me, it was the Hop Shovel, which was fantastic.

Great place for dinner and a few beers.

http://bearrepublic.com/brewpub/

Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Anderson Valley Brewing Company is a doggie heaven.  The property is huge, including a disc golf course.

Dogs are allowed both inside the tasting room and all over the outdoor grounds.  It takes a few hours for us to get here, so when we finally make it, the huge property is perfect for the pup.

I personally think the Boont Amber is by far their best beer.  Certainly will find some beers at the brewery you do not see in the stores down here.

One of these days I would love to stay nearby to be able to spend the whole afternoon playing disc golf and hanging out, but most of the time we keep driving and spend the night at Mendocino.

(Also, NEED to get to their annual Beer Fest, have had conflicts the last few years)

https://avbc.com/the-brewery/

Russian River Brew Pub

Russian River Brewery, more known for their Pliny the Elder and Younger than the dog friendly aspect.  I will admit, we have never brought the dog here, as most times it is either crazy packed or we are just stopping to stock up on Pliny and Blind Pig for home.  NOTE – apparently dogs have to be leashed outside the gated area, so they cannot be “in” the patio area with you…

Last time I was there was a Tuesday late-morning, so there were plenty of seats out front that the dog could be at.

What else is there to say about Russian River?  It is an experience for all beer nerds due to the cult following they have created.  So, this place is maybe more about the beer than worrying if the dog can make it (sorry Sara!!).

IMG_6275http://russianriverbrewing.com/brew-pub/

Stumptown Brewery

One of our favorite dog friendly weekends is the Russian River.  But, not Russian River Brewery, actually going to the river and staying at a cabin or one of the little inns nearby.

We can go to the river with the dog, take her to wineries, and a few dog friendly restaurants in Guerneville.  So, for going to the wineries all day, my treat is going to Stumptown at the end of the day.

Stumptown is right on the main road, located above the river.  Stumptown has a huge back patio that looks over a grassy area and the river.  People oftentimes pull their canoes/tubes up at Stumptown and grab a beer.

Technically, the dogs are only allowed in a small gated dog area.  I have seen several dogs in there before.  There is a small table you can sit at in the dog area, however it is not an idea place to have to sit (so, if you are not comfortable leaving your dog alone with other dogs, this may not be for you).

Sometimes, late at night or on weekdays when it is not busy, we have had the pup on the balcony with us, but it has to be quiet for that to happen.

The beer is decent, Rat Bastard Pale is my favorite.  We have never eaten there, but the food is basic bar fare.

You come here for the view and because it is the only brewery on the river!

http://stumptown.com/

Marin Brewing Company

Marin Brewing Company is right across the bay from SF.  Located in a small mall in Larkspur, you do not have high expectations as you fight to find parking.  However, once you get through the mall and to the main attraction, you will find a pretty hopping brewery with a ton of outdoor seats.

Again, this falls more under the brewpup than brewery theme, but they do have a great selection of their beers on tap.  They make a few good IPAs, 3 Flowers being my favorite.  They also have some unique fruit beers, including raspberry, blueberry and a peach beer.

Food is good enough, standard bar food.

Sometimes a great way to get out of the City and/or Karl the Fog as you can get there quickly and easily.

http://www.marinbrewing.com/

Iron Springs Pub

The most recent North Bay brewery we visited was Iron Springs.  Iron Spring is in Fairfax, and a great stop on the way home after a hike in the Marin Headlands/Fairfax.

IMG_5642

Pre-brewery hike at the aptly named Lake Lagunitas.

I had never heard of Iron Springs before recently, by finding the brewery online when looking for post-hike beer/lunch.  Now that I have been there, I have noticed it popping up in a few local bars.  This is for good reason, they make some quality beers.

I really enjoyed the Casey Jones Imperial IPA (which has a dog on the label!).  The JC Flyer IPA was also quite good.

IMG_5656

Very impressive flight at Iron Springs.

The food was pretty good as well.  A slightly more varied menu than a typical brewery.  NOthing fancy or too crazy, but a good amount of options.

Definitely a must stop after a day in the North Bay.

http://ironspringspub.com/the-pub/

Again, these are probably not all the dog friendly breweries in the greater North Bay area, but this is a pretty good start for a nice little road trip!  I will be writing an article about dog friendly breweries in the Tahoe/Gold Country area soon!

Let me know if I missed any in the comments.

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – SF Bay Area – East Bay and Peninsula

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

The second in this series will focus on dog-friendly breweries in my expanded backyard, the East Bay and Peninsula of the San Francisco Bay Area.

A future article will follow on the North Bay, as there are a ton of dog friendly breweries up there!

East Bay

Drakes

Drakes brews great beers, and has plenty of room for the pup.  Perfect combo.

Drakes has a large outdoor area, with covered and uncovered seating.  Last trip over there it was raining, but we could still enjoy some brews outside with the pup in the covered seating area.

It is in a somewhat awkward area and hard to find the first time you go, but worth the trek (note, basically go into the Walmart parking lot, drive past the Walmart entrance while avoiding the Walmartions, and you are there).

They have food, but I have not yet tried anything other than the snacks (nuts, pretzels).  Apparently, they rotate the food menu, as I have seen days where most of the food was paninis, and other days where they only had tacos and quesadillas.

They have a pretty diverse beer selection, with everything from hop bombs to sours and everything in between.  This is also a bonus as it caters to more than just hopheads.

They also have a special event on the first Friday of each month with food trucks, music, etc.

Overall, one of my favorite places to take the pup to get high quality beers.

hop black

Oh yeah, and Hopocalypse Black Label is pretty damn good.

http://drinkdrakes.com/barrelhouse/

Faction

Faction’s biggest draw is likely the view.

Faction is right on the bay in Alameda.  Day or night, the view is silly.  As a result, it tends to be packed on weekends.

Weekends they tend to have a food truck or BBQ stand.  Getting a seat outside can be tough on a nice day.  There is plenty of seating inside as well, and I have seen people with their dogs inside.

Beers are all pretty solid, and they tend to sway more on the hoppy, bigger beers.  This is somewhat of a bummer, as the wife is not huge on hops, making a trip here require some compromise (ie, go across the street to the Building 43 Winery).

One day we will do the whole Alameda experience, hitting the distilleries and taking the ferry, and that will presumably get a little messy.

Overall, a must hit on a clear day.

http://factionbrewing.com/tasting-room/

Linden Street

Linden Street is a cool brewery as it is a change of pace.  Linden Street makes unique beers, and although big hops bombs are not on the menu, other really good and different beers are.

The Common Lager, Black Lager and Bitter are my favorites.

Laid back atmosphere and decent amount of outdoor seating.  Most of the seating is shaded, so it can get crispy. They have a Ramen guy on site usually, and apparently also have food trucks on occassion, although I have not been there for that.

A nice bonus is they seem to be rescue dog advocates and occasionally have events with rescue organizations.

This is a great place to go to just take it easy and have a few more lightly hopped and low-ABV beers.

http://www.lindenstreetbrewing.com/

Peninsula

Half Moon Bay Brewery

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is one of my all-time favorite weekend spots.  Hop in the car with the wife and pup, get a good hike in in McNee State Park or a run from the harbor to Moss Beach and back, then put back a few and eat great food.

I have dedicated a whole blog to HMB: https://californiaipas.com/2014/08/25/half-moon-bay-brewing-company/

I must say over the last year or two, they have really stepped up their beers.  Before, the big draw was the location and food, however the quality of their beers has really increased recently.

hmb

How do you complain about this?

Hop Dogma

Hop Dogma is the other brewery in Half Moon Bay/El Granada.

Hop Dogma is in a cool Victorian building in what is apparently the downtown El Granada.  It is a relatively small space and only has indoor seating.  However, since they do not serve food (other than maybe some potato chips), the pups are allowed inside!

dogma 2

Sara relaxing inside Hop Dogma

The beers tend to be hop forward (good for CaliforniaIPA, not good for Mrs. CaliforniaIPA).  You can get pints or samplers.  I have enjoyed most of the beers I have had thus far, especially the IPAs and Pales.

dogma 1A great stop for high quality beers and good people, and you can bring the dog even if the weather is bad!

http://hopdogma.com/

Freewheel Brewing Company

Disclaimer.  I have not yet been here.  Terrible, I know.  How can this guy call himself CaliforniaIPA but he has never been to a brewery 30 miles away from him?

I have had a few of Freewheel’s beers and was impressed.  They focus on English-style cask conditioned ales, and so I owe it to my heritage to get there ASAP and have some brews and fish and chips.

California inspired English pub food, a visit and update to this post is to come ASAP.

http://freewheelbrewing.com/

Devil’s Canyon Brewery

Bad – Devil’s Canyon is mostly only open on Friday’s.  Good – they allow dogs on that one day.

Devil’s Canyon makes some pretty solid beers.  Their most popular beer seems to be the Full Boar Scotch Ale, I like the Sunshine Rye IPA.  Their line-up is fairly diverse with something to suit everyone.

On Fridays they host off the grid, so you know you will get some good grub to go with the good food.  The schedule is usually posted online at: http://devilscanyon.com/organizer/food-truck-friday-events/

Overall, a good time is pretty close to guaranteed, just wish they would open more frequently.

Did I miss any?  If so, give me a shout in the comments.

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – San Francisco

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

be

Sara likes herself a good IPA too…

 

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

Naturally, the first in this series will focus on dog-friendly breweries in my backyard, San Francisco.  These are in no particular order, just how they came to mind.

(this post got longer than anticipated, which I guess is a good thing as it means there are plenty of dog friendly breweries in the City…)

EDIT – Since writing this blog, a few more dog friendly breweries have opened, including Harmonic Brewing in the Dogpatch and Black Hammer in SOMA, reviews on these to come in the immediate future.

Southern Pacific

I was pretty pumped when I first learned Southern Pacific was opening. New brewery? Score. Patio? Double score. Fish and chips and bar food. Boom.

Southern Pacific is in a cool old warehouse that has been converted into a fairly huge brewery, restaurant, bar. Located at Treat and 19th in the Mission.

We go to Southern Pacific pretty often. On a nice day, sitting on the patio with the dog is tough to beat, but it can get busy.

Pros, great food. Fish and chips are bomb, veggie burger and sage fries are solid. Mac and cheese, rotating salads, most everything has been good if not great.

It is also a pretty fun place if you are just trying to get a little hammed. Good hard alcohol options and pitchers. A few birthday parties/gatherings have been memorable, at least according to those who remember them.

Water bowls for dogs and side chicken breasts keep the pup occupied.

Cons, the beer they brew is not great. The IPA is ok, but I usually get the pale. However, it is pretty cheap. Even better, they usually have several other options (read, other breweries) on tap. Last time, they had Tricerahops. Can’t complain.

http://www.southernpacificbrewing.com

Beach/Park Chalet

Beach Chalet is another perfect good weather day/dog boozing spot. Go for a cruise on the beach, get the dog exhausted, then kick back a few.  Beach Chalet is across from the main parking lot at Ocean beach and at the base of Golden Gate park. The beach across the way is super dog friendly and you can even walk all the way to Fort Funston to really earn the beers.

The dog friendly area is out back in the lawn (which is actually Park Chalet, Beach Chalet is the fancier spot inside upstairs). It is self seating, and there are servers. Getting a seat can be a little tough at times. Servers sometimes are swamped, and getting beers for yourself tends to be easier.

The beers are pretty decent, not going to blow your mind but certainly good enough.

Food is the same. Nothing special, but consistent, decent pub grub. Crab sandwich is my favorite thing. Wife likes the veggie burger and Caesar.

There are always a ton of dogs here, chilling in the grass. Plenty places to quickly take them for a walk if they get cranky.

Biggest con, it is a trek to get out there from our end of town.

http://www.parkchalet.com

Smokestack

Smokestack is the new kid in the dog friendly pack.  Smokestack is in the Dogpatch on 3rd and 22nd.   It seemed to take forever to open, with countless delays, but now we get to enjoy it.

Smokestack is part of Magnolia, and I have only seen the Magnolia beers on tap.  They also have a pretty solid cocktail selection.  Beer is solid, rotating Magnolia options.

Smokestack on its face does not seem like a dog friendly bar.  There is no obvious patio.  However, in the brewery dock along 22nd you can have the pup.  The website says this is “sometimes” open, but everytime we have gone during the DAY, it has been open.  Last time I was there at night it may not have been open, but bringing the dog is more of a day drinking thing anyway.

We have actually never eaten here, but people tell me the BBQ is good, although pricey.  The meat is sold by weight and seems to change often.

PS. After Smokestack you can go across the street to the Dogpatch Saloon, which allows dogs inside, for a good beer and whiskey selection.  PPS.  Go grab a pizza from Longbridge first and bring that to the saloon.

smoke

Sara in the brewery dock, awaiting a bite of Smokestack’s jerky…

http://www.magnoliasmokestack.com/

Rogue

I am including Rogue on this list because they have a taproom (or as they call it, a “meeting hall”) in North Beach that has a big dog friendly patio.  It is not technically a brewery IMO as they do not brew in SF, but this is my blog and I say it counts.

Rogue always has interesting beers on tap.  At the SF location, there is no shortage of options.  I try to try something new every time I go.

The dog friendly area is the big patio out back.  Full service, and can get pretty busy.  But, this is a good “drinking with the dog at night” spot.

Food is pretty decent, tots are always a good choice.

We do not make it over here all that often as it is a trek with the dog.  We can walk there, but then typically will want to get a cab/Uber home, which can be a little more difficult with the pooch.

http://www.rogue.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Menu-SFO.pdf

Triple Voodoo

As I write this I am a bit surprised I have only been to Triple Voodoo once.  A dog friendly brewery that is a ten minute walk from home?  You would think I would be there every week.  However, dog friendly boozing tends to be better outside for me, and Triple Voodoo only has indoor seating.  At they do allow dogs indoors.

Triple Voodoo does not have food, hence the dogs are allowed, but you can get food from the Mexican spot next door.

Their beers seems to be getting better to me, as when they first opened there was not much I liked.  The Anarchy IPA is pretty good right now.  They only have beer, so be warned if you bring a wine-o or cocktail fiend.

One thing that is really cool about Triple Voodoo is they seem to have rescue dog events on a fairly regular occasion.  Drinking for a good cause is always great.

http://triplevoodoo.com

21st Amendment (sometimes)

21st is one of my favorite spots in the city. Great beer, solid food, and I can walk there and stumble home. Like it so much we had our wedding rehearsal dinner there. Open bar of course (think they lost money that night).

 On occasion, 21st uses De Boom Street (yes that is the name) as an outdoor seating area.  When they do this is somewhat of a mystery to me, so we never know if we can go unless we call or walk over.  During baseball season, it is often open, but is very crowded, making it tough for the dog.  However during the off season or non game days, it is a great choice.

Sometimes there are servers, other times you need to order at the bar inside.

21st always has interesting and good beers, in addition to the usual suspects (Brew Free or Die IPA is always a reliable option).

Food is good, mostly typical bar food like burgers, fish tacos and pizza.  Nothing really particular stands out, just depends what I am in the mood for.

They also have a TV outside, but there is only one, and it is a little small and hard to see with the glare.

Live music happens a handful of times of year, which is great.  Apparently they want to do it more but it is inanely expensive to get the City approval yaddy yaddy yada.

http://21st-amendment.com/

Anchor Steam/The Yard at Mission Rock

I wrote a good chunk of this blog over the last week or two, but now there is a new one to add!  The Yard at Mission Rock is a cool pop-up village across McCovey Cove from AT&T.  The biggest draw, by far, is the Anchor beer garden.  A decent sized beer garden with 13 (!) Anchor brews on tap.

anchor

The beer garden is a preview of what is to come in this area, with Anchor expanding to have a new brewery, restaurant etc. over here that is supposed to quadruple their production.  The people at the beer garden tell me they will try and have all the new releases and harder to get beers here.

The Yard is made up of mostly shipping containers, with a few food trucks, a wine bus, and a coffee cart.   “Whole Beast” shares the beer garden and has a decent selection of food.  You can also grab food from one of the food trucks and bring it into the beer garden.

There is no wine or hard alcohol in the beer garden area, and there are a ton of signs that say you cannot bring outside beverages in.  This is not ideal for the wife, who wanted to have some wine.  Hopefully this will change.

In any event, I see myself here often.  Super close, Anchor makes great beer, and great bay views.  They also have a couple TVs outside, which is dangerous.  Beer, dog, wife, outside, AND basketball games?  Uh oh.

http://www.theyardsf.com

Am I missing any?  Let me know in the comments!