Guide to Sonoma County beer events 2023
You may have heard the saying, “It takes a lot of beer to make great wine.”
In other words, after a long day of harvesting, bottling, pruning, barrel maintenance or the many other tasks that go into making wine, a cold beer is often the beverage of choice.
Thankfully, beer drinkers will never go thirsty in Sonoma County, where killer craft breweries have become an integral part of the food and beverage landscape.
While satisfying brews can be found year-round in the Bay Area, beer event season typically kicks off in February, starting with the “FeBREWary” Santa Rosa Beer Passport.
Those who sign up for the free digital passport can collect points for every brewery they visit while receiving deals and discounts along the way. Points can be redeemed for prizes (while they last), including a commemorative lanyard and medal and a squishy, stress-relieving foam beer mug. To sign up, go to visitsantarosa.com/beerpassport.
Here’s our roundup of the best local beer events of 2023.
Beer City Santa Rosa: Beer City Santa Rosa kicks off with an optional half marathon, 10K or 5K race, followed by beer tasting, food and live music in Old Courthouse Square.
Over 30 breweries will be on tap for the event, including Russian River Brewing Co., HenHouse Brewing Co., Third Street Aleworks and Lagunitas Brewing Co. Also, sign up for the Beer City Beer Trail (now through Feb. 25) and visit 10 breweries or taprooms to collect special tokens and earn prizes along the way.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25. Tickets are $60. Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa. For more information, visit beercityfest.com/santarosa.
Optional race entry starts at $55. Starting location: A Place to Play, 2375 W. Third St., Santa Rosa.
Russian River Brewing Co. Pliny the Younger release: While the in-person release Russian River Brewing Co.’s Pliny the Younger isn’t technically a festival, it’s definitely a beer event worth noting on the calendar.
From March 24 through April 6, the brewery’s highly anticipated triple IPA will be released in-person at its brewpubs in Santa Rosa and Windsor. Waiting times can be typically very long (up to six hours), so prepare to be patient. Rumor has it that lines are shorter Monday to Thursday and during the evenings at the Windsor brewpub location.
Each guest/party will have a maximum time limit of two and a half hours.
March 24 - April 6. For more information, visit russianriverbrewing.com/pliny-the-younger-release.
26th Annual Battle of the Brews: Battle of the Brews is not to be missed by craft beer lovers, who will appreciate the wide breadth of stellar, often unique, beers on tap at this annual event.
During the Craft Cup Competition, commercial breweries will go head to head in a variety of categories, with beer entries available for tasting by event attendees. Well over 100 beers will be available for sampling from dozens of breweries, as well as a stellar lineup of food (lots of barbecue) and live music. This event is a great opportunity to sample beers you can’t try anywhere else.
1 - 5 p.m. Saturday, April 1. Craft Cup tickets are $95. Grace Pavilion, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa. For tickets and information, visit battleofthebrews.com.
IPA10K + Brewfest: The IPA 10K (and 3K) is Sebastopol’s leading beer event of the year. Starting at The Barlow, both races kick off with a beer and cider toast before taking runners on a scenic loop though Sebastopol. Alternatively, two-person teams can sign up for the Beer Mile race, which requires each person to chug a Bella Snow Soft Ale before each lap. You read that right.
After the races, runners and non-runners can enjoy plenty of craft brews, wine, food and live music. The 3K is open to runners and walkers of all ages, as well as strollers and dogs.
Saturday, April 15. Races begin at 8 a.m. Brewfest begins at 10 a.m. Race entry is $59 for the 3K race and $85 for the 10K race. Brewfest entry tickets are $45. The Barlow, 6770 McKinley St., Sebastopol. To register or for more information, visit ipa10K.com.
25th Annual Legendary Boonville Beer Festival: Now in its 25th year, the Boonville Beer Festival in Anderson Valley has a one-of-a-kind vibe, with many attendees electing to camp on-site at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds or nearby at Hendy Woods State Park. More than 65 breweries from California, Oregon and beyond will be pouring at this year’s event, which promises to have an awesome food lineup and plenty of live tunes.
Need another excuse to attend? All festival proceeds will be donated to local 501(c) nonprofit organizations. There you go.
1 - 6 p.m. Saturday, April 29. Tickets are $65. Mendocino County Fairgrounds, 14400 Highway 128, Boonville. For tickets and information, visit avbc.com/boonville-beer-fest.
Beerfest — The Good One: Beerfest — The Good One returns to the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts on June 10, when more than 40 breweries and cideries will be pouring sudsy libations, including West Coast- and East Coast-style IPAs, sour beers, barrel-aged brews, gose, pilsners and plenty more. Local food vendors and live music will also be on tap.
Net proceeds from the event will benefit Face to Face, which supports the health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS in Sonoma County.
1 - 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 10. Tickets start at $50. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. For tickets and information, visit f2f.org/beerfest.
Additional beer events coming this fall (with details TBD):
- Nor Cal Brew Fest at the Sonoma County Fair, August 2023
- Petaluma River Craft Beer Fest, Saturday, Sept. 9
You can reach Staff Writer Sarah Doyle at 707-521-5478 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wine & Lifestyle Reporter
Wine is the indelible heartbeat of Sonoma County. As the wine industry continues to evolve, my job is to share the triumphs, challenges and trends that affect our local wine region, while highlighting the people — past and present — who have contributed to its success. In addition, I cover spirits, beer and on occasion, other lifestyle topics.
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