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Sonoma County Brewpub Guide

Anthony Sissa
Michael Amsler

Galloping Gourmet: Santa Rosa Brewing Company's head chef Anthony Sissa serves up the goods.

Santa Rosa Brewing Company
Seventh and B streets, Santa Rosa
544-HOPS

Hours: Daily, from 11:30 a.m. except during football season, when Sunday brunch begins at 10 a.m.; closed at midnight Sunday-Wednesday; open until 1 a.m. Thursday-Saturday
Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners' Club
Parking: On the street--a nightmare if you're not willing to cheat and park at the mall

Beer
CURRENTLY ON TAP are the award-winning Naughty Dog Pale Ale, crisp and clean; the Two Rock Amber, rich and, well, yummy; the Bit O' Black Irish stout with a nice head and rich taste; the Santa Rosa Strong Ale, nicely buzzy; and the English Brown. A recent sampler set also included their annual brewing of a raspberry-infused beer that looked like a ladies' tea offering and tasted sweet and refreshing. Alas, you poor dogs, it's all gone until next summer. The sampler is a great deal (four 5-oz. pours for $3), with pints ($2.75) and glasses available ($2).

Seasonal: English Brown, Strong Ale, Santa Rosa Red, and the raspberry.

Brewmaster: Randall DiLibero.

Take-out/Keg Availability: half-gallons, $6.95; five gallons, $45; pony kegs, $60; full-size kegs, $110.

Food
THE SANTA ROSA BREWING CO.--which lays claims to being the first brewpub in the county and still sets a high standard--is dangerously near to the Independent's offices, and I am mature enough to admit that any teensy tiny bit of extra flab that might possibly indignify my person perhaps has less to do with the fact that I'm still postpartum (my youngest is only 7, after all) than with the fact that I worship the french fries here ($2.75; with garlic!, $3.25) beyond any reasonable ken. The fries can be ordered as a side to a salad for a well-balanced meal. Crisp, salty, and no doubt responsible for stripping several willingly volunteered years from my life, these fries embody the Platonic ideal.

Typed-up daily specials are slipped into a regular menu that offers a huge and delicious spinach salad ($6.95) and a meal-sized Sonoma salad ($6.95) studded with gorgonzola, walnuts, and apples dressed with a house-made vinaigrette. Other recent lunches have included the fish and chips ($6.95); the brewery burger ($5.95), perfectly cooked, accompanied by, well--you know; and their terrific meal-for-the-day BLT sandwich ($5.75). All sandwiches come with a choice of green or potato salad or fries. You can guess which we order. One editor I know always opts for the Kansas City-style BBQ pork loin sandwich ($6.95). A publisher of my acquaintance is weekly pleased with the French dip ($7.50) served on a roll with au jus sauce. The pizzas ($7.95) are toothsome, and we've never yet been heroic enough to save room for either the cheesecake or chocolate dessert specialty ($3.50 each). After all, we are watching what we eat.

Service
THE FRIENDLY, often very fast service neither stuns with its professionalism nor disappoints with gaffes or traumas. Non-intrusive and quite efficient.

Ambiance
THERE IS A VERY RELAXED feeling to the Santa Rosa Brewing Co. Darts are available, televisions are omnipresent, the chairs are comfortable, and they have those little quiz computers to help solo visitors pass the time over a brew. Family friendly, accomodating to live music fans on the weekends, and a good place to watch the game.

Din: Live music on weekends, but aside from the rousing cheers of fans glued to televisions at the bar, ordinary restaurant noise.

Restrooms: Far away and dark but clean.

Non-drinkers: A very comfortable place to sip a soda and watch either sports or other people. Great food doesn't need beer to wash it down.

Fizz
COMFORTABLE PLACE, good food and brews, nice folks. Fries.

Flat
HMMMMM. Ain't no negatives.
--G.G.

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From the Oct. 16-22, 1997 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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