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Springtime for craft beers

Beers come and beers go, which is why it's crucial to visit your local brewpubs early and often. We have in Northern California a beer aficionado's circle of brewpubs, from Boonville to Petaluma and west to Sonoma, too. Since it's worth revisiting the subject every other season or so, here's what's currently on offer this spring.

Anderson Valley Brewing: A nice stop in good weather, with its own 18-hole disc golf course and craft brewery clubhouse, Anderson Valley brews Poleeko Gold Pale Ale and High Rollers Wheat Beer for spring, both award winners and enjoyed best from the tap. 17700 Highway 253, Boonville, 895-BEER, www.avbc.com.

Bear Republic Brewing: Bear Republic will celebrate its 15th anniversary at the Raven April 23 with the Beatles Flashback Band. In the meantime, head over for a pint or two. Springtime calls for a Wine Country Wheat, a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen that's on the lighter side and is mighty refreshing. For something completely different, order a Nectarine Grizz, the brewery's bold barrel-aged sour Belgian-style brown ale fermented with Dry Creek Valley nectarines. 345 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 433-BEER, www.bearrepublic.com.

Dempsey's Restaurant & Brewery: Dempsey's has a great patio overlooking the Petaluma River, tucked just behind downtown, and makes its own beers -- Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma Irish Ale, Ugly Dog Stout, Petaluma Strong Ale and Red Rooster among them -- as well as carrying plenty of other local favorites on tap. Do a beer tasting and try several at once, or pick a favorite and get a half-growler to go. 50 East Washington St., Petaluma, 765-9694, www.dempseys.com.

Hopmonk Tavern: Hopmont in Sonoma, Dean Biersch's new offshoot of his popular Sebastopol spot, rotates its own and other's beers on tap (Moonlight, Gordon Biersch, Lost Coast). The North Coast Old 38 Stout is named for a retired California steam engine on the Fort Bragg-Willits run, and the Duchesse de Bourgogne is a Flanders red ale, light-bodied with a sharp, almost sour finish on the end. The food's good, too. 691 Broadway, Sonoma, 935-9100, www.hopmonk.com/sonoma.

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