Santa Rosa Brewing

Santa Rosa Brewing Company stands at 458 B Street in Santa Rosa, northern California, phone (707)544-4677. Strategically located at a downtown corner location across from the mall's parking structure. Passersby get a great view through the large windows tat reveal the English brewing system. The brew vessels are copper clad with reddish wooden slats that run vertically up the sides. Standing apart from the others components in the compact brewhouse is a lone contemporary shiny fermenter. The building's interior still looks as inviting and comfortable as it did when the business was called Kelmers Brewhouse. Two televisions are perched behind the long wooden bar and two dartboards stand just outside the highly visible brewhouse. A large-screen TV hosts sports events and weekends feature live music. The CD sound system greets patrons across the open dining area and cozy drinking area while the back room is a bit more secluded. The combination of openness, natural lighting and complete lack of cigarette smoke made staying for lunch and sampling the eight draft selections a pleasurable experience.

Four guest taps included a Sierra Nevada, Old Foghorn, a cider and a local Moonlight. The Moonlight Old Columbine was a hazy gold color, estery, fruity and balanced toward the sweet side. The house Golden Pale Ale was a clear dark golden color and offered a malty flavor, medium body, lots of carbonation and finished on a nice hoppy note. The Two Rock Amber was also dark gold, evenly balanced with a smooth malty flavor accompanied by subtle hops and a clean finish. The Black Sheep Porter, dark ruby in color, had a smoky aroma followed by a smooth mouthfeel but light body. The Brewmaster's Special at the time was the Amberweizen, a hazy dark amber, this medium-bodied brew has a dry malty flavor and a light hop presence.

The original brewmaster Tim has been joined by Frank and all of their brews were clean and smooth. The menu offered standard pub fare with a California accent. Happy Hour is from 5 to 7 PM Monday to Friday and offers $2 pints. Regular prices include $2 for 10oz, $2.75 / pt., $3.60 / schooner and $8.50 / pitcher. CO2 pushes all of the beers while wine NAs and Coors Light is also discreetly served. It's nice to see that Santa Rosa's first brewpub is still flourishing in this incarnation and that Santa Rosa Brewing Company offers a smoke-free, comfortable place to relax and enjoy English-style ales.

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - March, 1996

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