Two nights before today’s grand opening of HenHouse Brewing Co.’s new brewery and tap room in Santa Rosa, the bar was packed. Dan Schurman was there. An investor in the company, he was there in HenHouse gear, picking up a couple of growlers and having a beer around 5 p.m., congratulating co-founders Collin McDonnell and Scott Goyne on the opening.
Paul Miksis was there, too. The 28-year-old Santa Rosan became a fan of the brewery through the restaurant industry, sampling their brews at various restaurants and bars around town. He heard the new place had opened via the brewery’s Facebook page.
The tap room is an interesting, industrial space that holds about 50 people. While they don’t serve food yet, they have glasses of peanuts and crackers scattered across the bar.
“Right now, we have crackers,” Goyne said. “Someday, we hope to put cheese on that cracker.”
At today’s grand opening, they plan to have 11 brews on tap. The seven offerings Thursday included HenHouse’s flagship saison, or farmhouse ale; a triple India pale ale called Big Chicken; and Conceptual Nightmare, an imperial stout made with cacao nibs and more than 50 oddball ingredients such as Mountain Dew, cake and sour gummies. Beers are $5. Flights of six smaller pours are $10. They fill growlers, too, and will accept other breweries’ glassware.
There will also be a food truck. Sebastopol’s Red Horse Pizza will be on site on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Having the Sebastopol pizzeria there is part of HenHouse’s locals-only ethos. The redwood that makes up the bar is all from Sonoma County. They worked with all Sonoma County contractors. The merch is all Sonoma-County made.
“We’re big on keeping all the money in the local economy,” McDonnell said.
With the new place, the company now employs 11 people, including co-founders McDonnell, Goyne, and Shane Goepel.
HenHouse started selling beer in 2012 out of Petaluma, first only in bottles, then only on tap. The brewery, which has about 400 accounts mostly around the Bay Area, isn’t bottling again just yet, but that also is in the works.
“We will be bottling in the near future,” Goyne said, smiling. “But probably not as soon as some would like.”
Also in the works are games for outside, McDonnell and Goyne said.
Additional equipment that’s being manufactured in Healdsburg will help bump up production at the new facility by 150 percent, McDonnell said.
You can reach Staff Writer Christi Warren at 521-5205 or christi.warren@pressdemo crat.com. On Twitter @SeaWarren.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify the nature of the equipment being manufactured in Healdsburg.
THIS WEEK’S BLIND TASTING
Olema, 2016 Sonoma County Chardonnay, 13.8% alcohol, $15. ★★★★
An easy-drinking chardonnay, with notes of apple, pear and a touch of oak. Citrusy finish. What makes it a standout is its pitch-perfect balance. Definitely over delivers. Impressive.
Smith-Madrone, 2015 Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley Chardonnay, 14.4%, $34. ★★★★½: A gorgeous chardonnay with lively notes of ripe apple, melon and mineral. It’s buoyed by bright acid and has a lingering finish. Supple texture. Striking.
Cycles Gladiator, 2016 Central Coast Chardonnay, 13.5%, $12. ★★★½: Here’s an interesting crossroad of stone fruit and tropical fruit with notes of nectarine and a hint of pineapple. Lightly toasted. Uncomplicated, yet approachable. Solid.
Garnet Vineyards, 2016 Monterey County Chardonnay, 13.8%, $20. ★★★★: A lovely chardonnay that pops with notes of peach, ripe apple and honeysuckle. Rich yet its bright acidity gives it pitch-perfect balance. Creamy texture. Spot on.
Gracianna, 2016 Suzanne’s Blend, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Chardonnay, 14.4%, $36. ★★★★½: A blousy chardonnay with ripe apple, melon and toasty oak. Creamy texture. Bright acid. Lingering finish. Lovely.