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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.

North Coast Breweries

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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.

Lagunitas Brewing: The Lagunitas TapRoom and Beer Sanctuary is truly what it touts to be, a sanctuary for beer lovers and their happy friends who have been dragged along. In addition to the limited brews that get poured only here, live music happens every day. This month look for Beso Negro on Saturday, March 26, and the Disorderly House Band on Sunday March 27. Tasting tours happen weekdays at 3 p.m. and growlers may be purchased to take home. 1280 North McDowell Blvd., Petaluma, 778-8776, www.lagunitas.com.

Olde Sonoma Public House: Thirty-two beers get rotated here in addition to two cider taps. Check the pub's Facebook page for what's current. Recent beers included Mendocino Brewing's Black Hawk Stout and Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary Ale, as well as Dogfish Head Chicory Stout from Delaware. 18615 Sonoma Highway, Suite 110, Sonoma, 938-7537, www.oldesonomapub.com.

Russian River Brewing: The Mecca of all things beer, Russian River Brewing is rightfully crowded pretty much all the time. Lines go down the street every year when Pliny the Younger is released, but there are a chalkboard menu full of reasons to stop by any other time of the year. Like Beer Esteem, a California Common-style beer with a Russian River twist. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and all day Sunday. 725 4th St., Santa Rosa, 545-2337, www.russianriverbrewing.com.

Toad in the Hole Pub: Into most things British, this is the place to watch Champions League Football and find specialized beers, especially on Tuesdays, which is real ale night when specific breweries are highlighted. This Tuesday is all about Colorado's New Belgium Brewing Co. On Sunday come for traditional Sunday roast lunch, with meat, two veggies and, of course, a pint. 116 5th St., Santa Rosa, 544-TOAD, www.thetoadpub.com.

Virginie Boone can be reached at virginieboone@yahoo.com.


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