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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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!!).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.