Auburn Alehouse's menu features hearty burgers, and crowd-pleasing appetizers alongside award-winning brews handcrafted in small, fresh batches using a traditional 10-barrel system. After savoring a pitcher of American Pale Ale ($15.25), hops-seekers can toast beloved bards with bawdy haikus and pints of Old Town Brown, a complex potion descended from English mild ale and crystal malts ($4.25). Guests may then top off their guzzle tanks with pints of Gold Country pilsner, which took a bronze medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival before sweeping the Olympic lager-luge finals ($4.25).
Pyramid Alehouse pours a flavorful cascade of handcrafted draft beers, passing straight to the mug from the on-site brewery. Whether guests prefer a malty amber ale or a hoppy, Thunderhead IPA, Pyramid Alehouse’s vast menu of succulent cuisine and beer-infused bites are specially designed to complement every frothy glass. Pair down the sweetness of fruity apricot ale with a spicy platter of wheat-battered chicken wings served with louisiana hot sauce and blue cheese ($11). Or, absorb a double dose of unfiltered bavarian ale by pairing the Haywire Hefeweizen with a hearty helping of shepherd’s pie, featuring Haywire braised lamb stew, slathered over a pile of garlicy mashed potatoes, and topped with a puff pastry ($12). Though football and cheese-rolling season have almost finished, Pyramid Alehouse boasts a daily rotating lineup of food and drink specials to keep sports fans well fueled until the championship line-dancing semi-finals makes its triumphant return to prime time.
Diners seated in what used to be the Frasinetti's east cellar sate themselves on handcrafted Italian lunch and dinner dishes, surrounded by huge vats evoking the 112-year-old winery’s storied past. Dinners commence with starters such as crostini slathered in grilled brie and red-pepper chutney ($10) or steamed clams in white-wine sauce ($9). Next, certified non-android servers bring out entrees such as seafood manicotti, a mix of salmon, scallops, and crab packed in pasta ($15). Pine-nut-gorgonzola butter adds a zesty twist to the 12-ounce center-cut prime rib ($25), and the regal Atlantic salmon rests on a bed of mushroom risotto ($19), like an eccentric rice baron.
Sudwerk Brewing Co. is passionate about its pours. The craft brewery has been making award-winning, German-style lagers for more than 21 years. To sample the brewers' spectrum of libations, visitors head to the tasting room, a simple setup right on the brewery's loading dock. Its menu of four brews rotates regularly, rewarding frequent visitors with seasonal beers. Meanwhile, tours of the whole facility teach visitors how beer is made, packaged, and distributed. After visiting the facility, patrons can fill up a growler with their favorite beer to take home, drink, and bring back to Sudwerk Brewing Co. for refills.
The atmosphere in which one tastes a wine can be just as important as the wine's actual taste. Knowing this, the owners of Naggiar Vineyards and Winery housed their tasting room inside a picturesque Tuscan-style stucco building on the shores of a small pond, accenting its interiors with heavy wood ceiling beams, polished tile floors, and long tables surrounded by ornately upholstered chairs. Outside on the patio, servers ferry appetizers and tapas between wrought-iron café tables and around a monolithic stone fireplace. In this outdoor space, live bands play every weekend, and warm-weather wine festivals spill out onto the lawn when mom kicks them out of the basement.
With three KCRA-3 A-List Best Winery awards from 2010 to 2012, it's no surprise that Naggiar Vineyards and Winery puts even more care into its wines. Aided by in-house wine consultant and U.C. Davis graduate Derek Irwin, the staff cultivates more than 160 acres of vineyards. They harvest the grapes by hand and only at night, ensuring the fruits are packed when it’s cool, arrive at the cellar for pressing early in the day, and don't fall prey to vegetarian hawks. This painstaking process results in a spectrum of small-batch wines, each made from the estate's best grapes—which include varietals native to Italy, Rhone, and Bordeaux. The winery also hosts an annual winefest.
Since breaking ground for Viña Castellano in 1999, the Mendez family has built an empire of Spanish wines complete with a treasure trove of gold and silver medals. Along with winery foreman Derek Irwin, the family specializes in the complex flavors of Tempranillo, Syrah, and Verdejo grapes. In the tasting room, visitors can sip new pressings and old favorites, and pick up a fine cigar to hilariously slip into a packet of exploding cigars.
Grapes hang heavy from the vines on trellises scattered across 20 acres of the rolling Lincoln Hills. The fruit, tended by Wise Villa Winery's oenophiles, yield awards, including a prestigious honor from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Owner and winemaker Dr. Grover Lee draws on viticulture training while producing single-variety and blended wines or doing the crossword in the Grapes Aficionado Quarterly. Within the winery, the tasting room fills with the sound of clinking glasses as patrons sample various award winners, such as the Blanc de Noir pinot noir, a wine with notes of strawberries and watermelon. The winery also arranges frequent events, including live music on Sundays, grape-stomping parties, and reservation-only pairing dinners at its bistro.