Best Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Co.

In the middle of wine country, surrounded by bountiful vineyards, lies one of the nation’s top brewing companies. 

Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma was founded in 1993 by Tony Magee, and soon swept the craft beer scene with its delicious pilsners, red ales and a plethora of IPAs.

The Lagunitas Empire distributes to 32 states and recently expanded to a Chicago location in April 2014.  The company is the fifth top selling craft brewery in the United States.

Craft beer drinkers love the brewery for its tasty concoctions and eccentric history. The Censored Copper Ale was originally named “The Kronik,” which was rejected by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives due to the reference to marijuana. A “Censored” sticker was placed on the label, which was then accepted.

Ever since then, the brewery has a tongue-in-cheek approach when it comes to naming beers: the Waldos’ Special, the Hairy Eyeball, Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ and Wilco Tango Foxtrot (WTF), to name a few.

“[The beers] pour at the best time of day: 4:20 p.m.,” said Jeff Frost, beer logisticator for Lagunitas.

Sonoma State students of drinking age are seen regularly at the brewery on the weekends, sporting their club t-shirts or Seawolf apparel. The brewery attracts beer drinkers from all walks of life, some traveling several hundred miles just for a taste of the sweet hoppy nectar of the gods.

With an equally impressive food menu consisting everything from pulled pork sandwiches to hearty Cobb salads, Lagunitas has all the necessary ingredients of a fun, relaxing day with friends. The atmosphere is always uproarious yet inviting, with plenty of pooches and daily live music to appeal every demographic. 

Lagunitas Brewing Company is located at 1280 N. McDowell Blvd in Petaluma. Lagunitas is open from 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.