Sacramento Beer Scene – Bigger than Beer Week

It’s remarkable to me to continually write about the boom our region is in right now, in terms of the region’s robust beer scene. If you haven’t seen it already, I’ve got a piece in the current issue of Celebrator about our new breweries, but there’s actually quite a bit more going on than most hard-core beer geeks don’t yet know. First, give me a few moments to praise our region’s already-great craft beer bars.

If you’ve been a fan of the suds for a few years, these are the names you associate with better beer: Rubicon, The Shack, Dad’s Kitchen, Pangaea, Davis Beer Shoppe, Samuel Horne’s Tavern and Auburn’s World Pub. While these hopped-up destinations vary in history, the fact remains these are spots we know will have a good beer on tap served by people that know a thing or two about the product. But, have you noticed something else, something hidden just below the surface of Sacramento’s established beer culture? Reputable and newly-minted businesses are expanding their craft beer options – and this isn’t just a one week makeover.

Leading off, have you checked out the Cordova Casino (Rancho Cordova)? Ever heard of it? I hadn’t either until a few trusted customers told me it was worth checking out. A few things, right up front. Yes, I said “casino”, but that doesn’t quite tell the story. Yes, they have card tables, but there is no smoking, no noisy fucking slot machines and is completely devoid of that “Vegas” vibe I loathe so much. What they do have is a handful of solid craft beer taps (including offerings from American River, Deschutes, Firestone Walker and others) and a pretty vast selection of craft beer in bottles (more than 80). No, this is not the first bar that comes to mind when you think “craft beer”, but if you happen to live in the Rancho Cordova area, you should find it comforting in some way that good beer is not far away. With some additional staff training and more time finding their craft beer legs, this place could be a great beer bar. I think they’re taking a big step with their heavy involvement in Beer Week.

Up next, Owl Club (Roseville) – my old watering hole! This old-school beer bar is adding six new taps with a fairly impressive commitment to craft beer with their big ‘reveal’ night happening the day before Beer Week officially kicks off. Owner Mark Vespoli is showing some pretty impressive initiative to overhaul such an established bar – I believe his investment will pay off well.

Not to be outdone, the boys at DeVere’s Irish Pub has quietly unveiled six rotating American craft taps at each location (Midtown and Davis). DeVere’s has always had a few good craft options, but this shows the owner’s commitment to satiate the local’s penchant for local, or small-batch offerings from breweries like Firestone, Bruery, American River and more. Oh, these six taps are all ‘rotating’, too – which is impressive in its own right. In addition, DeVere’s (like the above-mentioned watering holes) has quite an impressive lineup for Sacramento Beer Week.

Yes, it is indeed an exciting time for Sacramento-area craft beer fans – more local brewers making more great beer AND there are more great places to find said beer. Keep it up, business owners and bar managers. May your investment and belief better beer be repaid.

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