Herlinda Heras is the co-host of the radio show Brew Ha Ha on KSRO and judges at beer competitions nationally and around the world. She was asked about her favorite lesser known local breweries and beers and was happy to share.
“Everyone knows and loves Russian River Valley Brewery and Lagunitas, including me. Everyone also normally goes straight for the IPA, when they’re in California,” says Heras. “I like to encourage people to be adventurous, try other kinds of beer, and visit some smaller, off the beaten path breweries, in addition to the bigger and/or better known breweries.”
3350 Coffey Ln., Suites A & D, Santa Rosa. moonlightbrewing.com
“Moonlight doesn’t just offer great beer—they offer a great experience. The owner, Brian Hunt, is a crazy, funny, genius kind of guy, and the people that work here also really know their stuff,” says Heras. “When you come to Moonlight, you know you’re always going to drink something new, learn something new, etc. The beer selection is diverse—from black lagers to Czech style dark lagers and pilsners to rice lager and of course… pale ales.”
A couple of favorites include Death and Taxes, a light-bodied black ale with iced coffee like flavors, and Working for Tips, an ale that is fermented with redwood branches instead of hops.
7704 Bell Rd #A, Windsor. cuverbrewing.com
“This is the only Belgian-owned brewery making Belgian style beers, in the U.S.! What’s not to love?” says Heras. “This place is family-owned. When you come here, you’re going to see a family member behind the bar, which I love. And the beers are great. This is a place you come to drink something different, not for IPA. Saison style ales, pilsners, etc… A few of my favorite Cuver beers include the Pepperwood Saison ale, a traditional Belgian style farmhouse ale; the Bell Road Pils, a classic pilsner style beer; and the Dobbel, a dark ale for malt lovers.”
Old Caz Beer
5625 State Farm Dr. #17, Rohnert Park. oldcaz.com
“I love that everything at Old Caz is used or repurposed,” Heras shares. “These guys find free stuff, fix it up or adapt it, and use it. The beer here is also fantastic, and they’ve got an interesting lineup, including a Mexican amber ale, Lavender Radler—a beer-lemonade blend—and a Chocaroon, which literally tastes like a chocolate macaroon, and a West Coast IPA, and some nice sour beers.”
357 Sutton Pl., Santa Rosa. oldpossumbrewing.com
Owner and brewer Sandro Tamburin hails from northern Italy and has a lengthy background in winemaking. “Who has better taste than Italians? Sandro’s palate and his precision as a brewer are unparalleled,” says Heras. “Everything Sandro makes is small batch, and his beers are really clean and fresh. A few of my favorites here include the summer IPA, Interstellar Stout, Sonoma Lager and Garibaldi.”
Civilization Brewing Company
104 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. restaurantji.com/ca/santa-rosa/civilization-brewing
Opened this past December, Civilization Brewing’s taproom is a nice addition to downtown Santa Rosa.
“These guys are making great beer and offering something unique. The taproom has a really cool ’70s vibe. They’ve been doing vintage vinyl night every Friday with a different theme, which I love,” says Heras. “They also have a new multi-arcade and are doing retro game night on Wednesday night.”
Heras’ favorite beers include the Olompali California lager, coffee Porter and sweet fire habanero-apricot Gose.