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7 Urban Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Blowing Up in NorCal

California Travel
by ferronlandia Aug 11, 2016

1. Sutton Cellars

If you thought vermouth was just an addition to an old school cocktail, Carl Sutton will change your mind about that. In addition to small lots of reds, rosés, and digestifs, Sutton Cellars is best known for its brown label dry vermouth: Crafted from Sonoma County white wine, fortified with un-aged brandy, and flavored and aromatized with 17 botanical ingredients. It’s the perfect summer drink over ice with a splash of seltzer and grapefruit twist (called the Sutton & Soda). Open on the weekends, with a food purveyor pop-up once a month.

2. Magnolia Brewing

In the same building as Sutton Cellars is Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing, where you can line up at the counter and pile a tray with BBQ and beer. After 16 years, Magnolia added another brewery location in the Dogpatch neighborhood, opening a bar and BBQ joint to go with it. I love the Kalifornia Kolsch on a summer day, but the tap always has a range of stronger options for when the fog rolls in.

3. Harmonic Brewing

In the same neighborhood (like how I’m encouraging you to avoid driving?) check out the new kids on the block. Harmonic has about 12 beers on tap and a sleek new brewery co-located with an industrial design studio. The owners are also music-heads so you can expect quality sound, and rotating DJs and live music.

4. St. George Spirits

For a window into the American craft spirit revolution, take a tour at this distillery in Alameda, right on the San Francisco Bay. Located in a former airplane hangar, St. George Spirits is where the mad scientists behind some of the country’s best small-batch spirits are tinkering away. Don’t miss the gins, the agricole rum, the single malt whiskey — matter of fact, try it all. Open to the public Wednesday through Saturday noon to 7pm, Sunday noon to 5pm for distillery tours and spirits tastings by reservation. Depending on your tolerance, head next door to Faction Brewing or Rock Wall Wine afterwards.

5. Temescal Brewing

Oakland’s newest brewery is right next to Church’s Chicken, and I think the smells mingle kinda nicely. The taproom opened with a number of easy-drinking suds, a big garden, art installations from local artists and rotating food trucks.

6. Oakland Wine Trail

An easy way to taste wines in the East Bay is the #oaklandwinetrail. #girlsthatroam #dashecellars #visitoakland

A photo posted by Girls That Roam (@girlsthatroam) on

Why tell you about just one Oakland winery, when you can visit all 10? Use this map to locate them (there’s a walkable cluster in the Jack London waterfront district), and most of the wineries are housed in renovated warehouses. Expect grapes from some of California’s top vineyards, unique wines, and unpretentious vibes.

7. Seven Stills

Whiskey made from high-quality local craft beer? Yes, San Francisco took it that far. Visit this new brewery and distillery in San Francisco for interesting whiskeys made from their own craft beer or collaborations with other local brewers. In homage to San Francisco’s seven hills, each bottle from the Seven Stills series is inspired by a different hill with bottle art from a local artist.

Featured image by: Justin Schuck

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