Lockdown Brewing Co. quenches thirsts with the frothy formula of its self-proclaimed Folsom Prison Brews, whose names and labels draw inspiration from the area’s rich history. Step inside the production warehouse to ogle brewmasters as they hand-sculpt suds using only all-natural ingredients, shunning common fillers such as cereal, pottery clay, or rice. Next, mingle through the brewery's on-site tasting room to redeem beer cards for 18 ales or root beers with selections from the available varieties. The Powerhouse pale ale beams with a sunny, golden hue and floral aroma heightened by a hint of mint, and the Represa red ale toasts tongues to a toasty finish and hopped-up aggression brought on by excessive weightlifting. Entertain orange peel-infused pints of Emma's blonde ale or sample Lockdown's array of salty snacks while exploring the dry, crisp, chocolatey waters of the Sutter Street Common ale.
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.
A novice might raise a skeptical eyebrow at a coriander- or sorghum-infused beer, but to craft brewer Erik Schmid, ingredients like these aren’t unusual in the least. At The Brewmeister, Erik teaches small groups of students to concoct liquid refreshments that are both distinctive and tasty. Beer-brewing classes cover the basics of fermentation, proper sanitation practices, and how to funnel beer into bottles or directly into bellies. Though Schmid prepares batches of seasonal ales in brewing classes, he can advise students on any brewing technique.
Those who wish to pursue the art of home brewing can purchase brewing equipment and ingredients such as malts, barley, and hops in The Brewmeister's shop. Schmid also stocks wine-making materials, including a variety of yeasts and rental presses with which to extract juices from grapes or grape-flavored juice boxes.
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.
While most 21-year-olds are content to just sit in a bar and drink beer, Mike Johannsen was a bit more active about his newly legal status. As soon as he came of age, he started brewing in his dorm room at CalPoly San Luis Obispo. Over the years, he has explored almost every angle of the business, from equipment maintenance to cellaring, packaging, and quality assurance. In 2013, he founded Schubros Brewery alongside Ian Schuster, a London Business School grad and craft beer aficionado.
In the short time that Schubros has been operational, they have already done a lot to distinguish themselves from other breweries. For starters, all their brews are organic: varietals include Diablo Sunrise, a chocolate-orange imperial stout, and 680 IPA, a mahogany ale with notes of caramel and toffee. Schubros also gives 1% of their profits to various local organizations. Customers can go online to vote on where the money should go each quarter; options include environmental groups, school districts, and fire departments.
Jack Russell Brewing's artful brewmasters craft premium ales and lagers inside their English farm–style brewery in the heart of the Apple Hill region. Savor the elegance of Jack Russell’s smooth-drinking brews from the comfort of at-home digs with a portable half-gallon growler filled with 64 ounces of the brewery's signature suds. Tipplers select their inaugural fill-up from a range of brews that, like the slowest county-fair Ferris wheel ever, rotate seasonally, saluting the hoppy bite of the Captain Boomer's IPA, fortifying insides with the hearty oatmeal stout, or choosing from a taster’s choice of cyclical options, which may include Harvest Apple ale, Huntsman lager, and more. Groupon customers can call ahead for forecasts about beers are currently on tap. Each growler arrives branded with the Jack Russell logo and cut from clear glass, allowing customers to admire each beer's color, texture, and bioluminescence.