Skip to content


  1. Ken
    November 29, 2010 @ 7:28 pm

    Gold Hill Winery and Brewery won State awards for our Stout, Pale, and Red.

    On occasion we are fortunate enough to get advice from Sudwerk and also Steve at Placerville Brewing. We especially like Sudwerk’s Marzen (best in CA), Placerville Brewing’s Strong Blond, Lagunitas’ IPA and are indebted – as we all are – to Sierra Nevada.


  2. FlynBrian
    October 18, 2009 @ 10:56 am

    The first Brian had it right! Vinnie rocks! Sierra Nevada deserves a nod, too, but I think their too big for this list. Still awesome, though!


  3. B-rad
    September 15, 2009 @ 9:13 am

    Drakes and Triple Rock Brewing Co.’s are the best in all around craft beer. Great beers and great people brewing them. My vote is with these two, no doubt.


  4. Birdena
    August 27, 2009 @ 11:21 am

    I love Lost Coast Brewery! Eight-Ball Stout is my favorite, but Tangerine Wheat is coming in a close second.


  5. adam witney
    August 8, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

    50/50 is far better than the rest


  6. McKrush
    August 5, 2009 @ 11:10 am

    I vote Anderson Valley Brewing Company as best Nor-Cal brewery.
    Located in scenic Mendocino County. Only brewery I know that has a 18 basket disc golf course.


  7. Debi Paslay
    August 5, 2009 @ 11:09 am

    I would like to nominate Anderson Valley Brewing Co. (AVBC) for best Northern California Craft Brewery.


  8. ChristopherNelson
    July 31, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

    Lost Coast Brewery is the one! GREAT WHITE is particularly GREAT on tap.


  9. Barbara Armstrong
    July 31, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

    Without a doubt, Lost Coast Brew is number one. Even my Auzzie brothers think that Downtown Brown is better than Auzzie beer.


  10. Carol Moorehead
    July 31, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

    Lost Coast Brewery is the Best Northern California Brewery…No contest. My particular favorite is their GREAT WHITE. Really smooth with a hint of citrus for a refreshing drink!


  11. Arnie Herskovic
    July 31, 2009 @ 8:29 am

    My vote goes hand down to Lost Coast Brewery which has a great variety of quality craft beers and a genuine fun place to hang out with friends. The servers are also top notch.

    Arnie Herskovic


  12. Beerdog
    July 30, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

    All good suggestions, but…..You gotta add Drakes & T-Rock! Roger Davis brews some great stuff at Triple Rock, and deserves many accolades for the stuff he has brewed for Jupiter (while @Drakes) over the past few years including my favorite the Jupiter Quasar Double IPA-a very “Stratisfying brew” Since Josh Miner has had the paddle at Drakes the beers continue to satiate the EastBay.


  13. kip
    July 26, 2009 @ 7:16 pm

    Though they have come a long way, Sierra Nevada seems like it should be on this list when it comes to NorCal craft beer.


  14. n8
    July 24, 2009 @ 8:47 am

    It may not be the best, but I’d make a good case for Buffalo Bill’s Brewery. Though they largely make various “fruity” beers (i.e. Blueberry Oatmeal Stout,Pumpkin, Orange Blossom Cream, etc.) they’re all pretty exceptional.

    On the other hand, I’d definitely drop Mendocino from the list. I’ve never wanted a refund on a case quite as much as when I bought the “Cast of Hawks” sampler (Red Tail Ale, Black Hawk Stout, White Hawk Select IPA, and Eye of the Hawk Select Ale)! They all, more or less taste exactly the same: mediocre.



  15. Scott M
    July 23, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

    Shoot….Forgot to nominate Triple Rock!!

    Scott M


  16. Scott M
    July 23, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

    1) Lagunita’s – Best IPA’s I’ve had – Hopstoopid!
    2) Moonlight – Innovative, spontaneous fermentation & Death and Taxes is great!
    3) Russian River – Pliny the Elder. More Belgians Please Vinnie!
    4) Triple Rock – Roger Davis is brewing some fantastic beers!
    5) 21 Amendment – Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, Brew Free or Die IPA!


  17. John E Fresh
    July 23, 2009 @ 12:25 am

    There are many great comments here about great micros and brew pubs in Nor Cal. Especially Drakes and 21st Ammendment. And you cannot exclude Moonlight Brewing Co. Brian Hunt provides extremely unique and authentic ales and lagers. No Pliny clones here and sorry no bottles. The same goes for Magnolia, except $6 a 20 oz pint

    Anchor started it all but they are a dinosaurs compared to the others.

    For what it is worth, draft only:
    1) Magnolia
    2) Moonlight
    3) Bear Republic
    4) Russian River
    5) Iron Springs

    Honorable mention:
    Marin Brewing Co,
    21st Ammendment


  18. Monte
    July 22, 2009 @ 10:27 am

    What about 21st Amendment? I know it’s more of a brewpub, but shouldn’t that count. Also Trumer in Berkeley.


    • admin
      July 22, 2009 @ 11:38 am

      Definitely, I completely forgot about them for a brief minute.


  19. beerdude
    July 21, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

    Virtually unknown but award winning brewmaster Todd Ashman at FiftyFifty in Truckee. FiftyFifty is off the beaten path but has a totally solid lineup of beers…


  20. rcrocker
    July 21, 2009 @ 10:28 pm

    NoCal is indeed fortunate to have so many great breweries in such close proximity. We are visiting wine country from out of state and took time out today for the Lagunitas tour. This excellent brewery is one of my favorites, period.


  21. Brooks Pedder
    July 21, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

    Black Diamond get the vote here. Been one of the top craft breweries in Califonia for years. Belgian Blond and Amber have no peers


  22. Beer Nerd
    July 21, 2009 @ 8:26 am

    Here are my top 5

    Russian River
    Magnolia Brewing
    21st Amendment
    Sacramento Brewing Co.


  23. Gail
    July 20, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

    Craig at Schooner’s is another artisan brewer whose work (at the very least his festival beers!) belongs on the list.

    We have a beer visionary glut in this corner of the world. Yum!


  24. admin
    July 20, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

    Can’t believe I forgot Drakes.

    How about Eel River?



  25. robi p.
    July 20, 2009 @ 2:16 pm

    Lost Coast Brewery please.


  26. larry
    July 20, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

    Speakeasy is great!


  27. Tony
    July 20, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

    There are so many great NoCal Breweries now. We are lucky to have them in our state.

    Here are my top 3 in no particular order:

    Old dependable – Anderson Valley Brewing Company has been producing a wide line of truly marvelous beers for over 20 years. The Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout is world class. Hop Otter is a very drinkable high test true to form American IPA. Boont Amber is one of the best session beers anywhere. The list goes on.

    Growing quickly – Bear Republic Brewing Company has an arsenal of fantastic beers. Racer 5 used to be impossible to find, now it seems you can get it anywhere (thank goodness – I love the stuff). The Tribute Pete Brown’s Ale is the single most shining example of an American brown Ale. Hop Rod Rye somehow makes drinking a beer that tastes like a pastrami sandwich a fantastic treat. The Racer X DIPA and Big Bear Stout are not to be missed.

    The little engine that could – Russian River Brewing has made a beer so good that it has redefined the category of American IPA. Pliny the Elder has crossed over into the main stream of craft brew drinkers and for good reason. It is a perfectly balanced, crisp and delicious citrus, treat. The well sought after but scarcely attained Pliny the Younger is the once a year brewed sibling and while I have yet to try it I have never heard a single bad word about it other than it is almost impossible to get your hands on. Try Supplication and damnation among others. This brewery seems to be maxed out. They have waiting lists of retailers trying to get some in their coolers.

    Honorable mentions go to: North Coast, Lost Coast, and Mad River.


  28. marcel
    July 20, 2009 @ 10:46 am

    Drake’s Brewing Company needs to be on this list… Hands down one of the best craft breweries in Northern CA.


  29. Edmundo Delmundo
    July 20, 2009 @ 10:23 am

    Supporting a nominated establishment “North Coast Brewing Company” (not Northcoast as spelled in your list)

    Only input I would offer is the notion of “Best” is a very broad term. Best at what? Best at taste? Taste in one beer? Best in price? I realize you’re looking for “Best in Show” but with so much good product in production everyone you mention can be “Best” at something.


  30. firesign
    July 20, 2009 @ 10:14 am

    i’m not sure i agree with anchor being considered a craft brewer anymore. aren’t they a bit big? same with gordon biersch.


  31. Robert Mann
    July 20, 2009 @ 10:12 am

    Auburn Alehouse


  32. Brian
    July 20, 2009 @ 9:52 am

    Is there really any competition here? Russian River will rock this poll. They excel at everything from american styles (Vinnie virtually invented the Imperial IPA style) to Belgian styles (sours anyone?).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *