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Friday, July 7, 2017

Sonoma County Restaurants -- For Beer

So yeah, all of your meals don't have to be wine-centric especially if you've spent a good part of the day tasting wine. Why not eat somewhere with good food and an excellent beer selection?

Some of these are restaurants that just happen to have great beer. A few are pub operations that happen to have good food.

Bear Republic, or just call it "The Bear"
Bear Republic Brewery, Healdsburg 
Fairly extensive menu of pub-style food including a few dinner entrees besides the usual sandwiches and burgers. The Friday fish fry is from locally caught fish brought in from Bodega Bay and is worth the trip. Outdoor covered seating. About 15 of their own brews with Racer 5 IPA being their most famous.

Belly Left Coast Kitchen, Santa Rosa
This restaurant wins for the best name! American-style eats, a couple dozen mostly California beers on tap from a guy who was a "tour chef" for rock bands from Kiss to Godsmack. Small patio seating area out front to people watch.

Brew, Santa Rosa
From coffee and pastries in the morning to music in the evening. Serving simple meals from locally sourced ingredients along with several beer taps.

Cafe Citti, Kenwood
A popular locals stop for pasta and chicken, but you'll find just a few taps including a couple Russian River brews like Pliny the Elder. Yeah, almost everyone orders wine, but you can be different. Outdoor seating.

Dempsey's, Petaluma
They've been around quite awhile mostly as a restaurant before the whole craft beer thing happened. Big restaurant, outdoor seating along the river, pub food, about a dozen of their own beers available.

Fremont Diner, Sonoma
This diner has gotten trendy in the last few years as a funky stop for all-American food like fried chicken and pecan pie. There's also about a dozen taps of local brews. There's outdoor seating if you don't mind having a wine barrel for a table.

Hopmonk, Sebastopol and Sonoma
Well done pub food, a couple dozen beers on tap including some of their own, outdoor dining, music including some well-known names. Owned by a member of the Biersch family, as in Gordon Biersch Brewery.

Palooza, Kenwood
Sixteen taps of mostly local beers and cider. Big selection of pub grub from pizza to burgers. Outdoor seating.

Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa
You don't come here thinking of it as a restaurant, but people come here in droves for the beer. Two things I can recommend: The spinach salad and the pizza, specifically the Mikey's pizza. Rest of their food is mediocre.  

Sprenger's, Santa Rosa
Pub grub, dozens of beers, big screen TVs, nice owners, outdoor patio. Hangover breakfast available on the weekends. It's a tap room that has some awesome burgers.

Steele & Hops, Santa Rosa
Pub food plus a brick pizza oven. A couple dozen beer taps usually with a few rare beers from Belgium and Germany. Like Sprenger's, Steel & Hops is a tap room with decent food, too.

Third Street Aleworks, Santa Rosa
A brewery a couple blocks from the Russian River Brewery will forever be in its shadow. A good restaurant for a brewpub with over a dozen of their own beers on tap. Outdoor seating available.

Woodfour Brewing, Sebastopol
At least a half-dozen beers done in a more German style. You likely won't find a 9% alc IPA, but you will find lagers and Belgian-style beer. Well prepared foods and a good place for lunch if you don't want something too heavy or deep-fried. Outdoor seating available.


If the food is your main goal: Cafe Citti, Fremont Diner, Hopmonk.
Take the kids along for a meal: Dempsey's, Hopmonk
If you're going for a burger and a beer: Sprenger's
Pub without the pub food or atmosphere: Belly Left Coast, Woodfour
You want a real meal: Dempsey's, Hopmonk, Third Street