Santa Rosa’s Beer City festival features half marathon, 2 dozen local brewers

The third annual Santa Rosa event begins with a morning run before an afternoon festival with unlimited beer tastings, food trucks and live music.|

Last February, as Santa Rosa’s Beer City festival kicked-off with a half-marathon run at A Place to Play Park, it was 35 degrees and raining sideways, remembers event organizer Adam Ray.

A local radio program was at the park, and its host asked a runner why he was out there in such bad weather.

“The guy said, ‘Well … beer,’” Ray told the The Press Democrat Friday.

This year’s Beer City on Saturday promises much more favorable weather conditions for the 8:30 a.m. half marathon, 10K, 5K and one-mile runs that start and finish at the park, located at 2375 West Third Street.

But, you don’t have to run to get into Beer City's afternoon festival. Beginning at noon in Old Courthouse Square, the event features unlimited tastings of beer, kombucha, cider and hard tea from 25 local brewers, as well as food trucks, and live music from Santa Rosa’s School of Rock band and the Ryan Woodard Band.

Festival tickets are $60 general admission, $70 for early 11 a.m. admission, and $20 for designated drivers. Children with ticketed adults and leashed dogs are welcome, Ray said. Attendees can park at any one of the Santa Rosa city garages near the square; parking fees apply.

No roads are expected to close for the event.

Registration is still available for the morning runs, starting at $30 for the one-mile “beer stroll,” $50 for the 5K, $75 for the 10K and $110 for the half marathon. There will be beer for racers over 21 as well as nonalcoholic drinks before and after the run. Racers will get a shirt, bottle-opener medal, and other schwag. Festival tickets are not included in the running packages, though racers will receive a 30% discount on festival tickets. Parking at A Place to Play Park is free.

Organized by the folks behind the Santa Rosa Turkey Trot, Beer City first included just the morning run in 2022, and debuted the festival last year. The event now happens in Alameda, San Jose and Sacramento.

Yet, Ray says, “Santa Rosa is the beer city to us.”

“Santa Rosa, and Sonoma County in general, has a world-renowned brewing community,” Ray said.

Many of those brewers will be on hand for the festival, including Russian River Brewing Co., Bear Republic Brewing Co., Lagunitas Brewing Co., HenHouse Brewing Co., Moonlight Brewing Co., and Ace Cider.

Other beloved local brewers at the festival include Cooperage Brewing Co., CUVER Belgian Brewers, Cotati Home Brewer's Collective, East Brother Beer Co., Faction Brewing, Hive Works Mead Co., Iron Ox Brewing Co., Tecova Brewing Co., Old Caz Beer, and Old Possum Brewing Co.

In addition to the festival, the Beer City organizers teamed with the chamber of commerce’s self-guided Santa Rosa Beer Passport tourism program to create a Beer Trail this month that encouraged locals to visit 15 local taprooms and earn medals by taking a photo and tagging the festival on social media. Those who collected all 15 medals receive a discount on Saturday’s festival tickets.

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