Russian River Brewing Company
I would be remiss to list breweries in Santa Rosa without mentioning Russian River Brewing Company. Known worldwide for Pliny the Elder, its revered Double IPA, you’ll see the line of eager customers stretching down Fourth Street before you see the front door. But as fans know, this beer is definitely worth the wait. While most come to sample the famous Pliny, the sours are also worth noting. The exceptional Supplication and Consecration are each aged in wine barrels infusing the sours with flavors from the grapes. (And Pliny aficionados rejoice: The brewery's much larger second location in Windsor opened in October 2018.)
Plow Brewing Company
It might be small in stature, but Plow Brewing Company packs a big punch when it comes to its beer. Founder Kevin Robinson, a former Russian River brewer, keeps 3-4 brews on tap at all times, with the smooth and velvety Scythe imperial porter standing out as a local favorite. Food options are nil, but you can purchase a freshly filled crowler (think growler but a 32-ounce sealed can) of any beer on tap to drink while you dine at home.
HenHouse Brewing Company
Having opened in 2016, the HenHouse Brewing Company tasting room is newer to the scene, but its unique beer menu garners praise. There’s the Oyster Stout, brewed with whole oysters and shells from Hog Island Oyster Company, which lend a slightly briny aroma to the otherwise chocolatey brew. And the Conceptual Nightmare is just that—an imperial stout comprised of more than 50 ingredients including Mountain Dew, donuts, Doritos, and sour gummies. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but magically, it does. However, if those read a little too outside your comfort zone, fear not. HenHouse has plenty of “normal” beers on the menu, too. The industrial space also includes indoor and outdoor seating with complimentary popcorn and a local pizza truck parked outside Fridays through Sundays.