I love a little sumpin’ sumpin’ – before you jump to any dirty conclusions, I’m referring to a beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company in Pataluma, CA. I first tried this IPA when I was living in Chicago, and I’ve loved it ever since. Even though I was still living there when the Lagunitas brew house opened, I never made it to the tasting room – but friends tell me it’s great.
When I found myself in Pataluma a few weeks ago (see my post about my visit), I knew I had to make it to the original Lagunitas Brewery. My husband and I drove from Santa Rosa – about 45 minutes – on a warm Saturday afternoon. I guess I should have known that on a nice day it would be packed, and it was.
All the tables were taken, both outside and inside at the bar. People were covering the grass that’s part of the LaguMiniTheaterette (yes, that is it’s official name). There were tons of people lined up for tours, and even more piling out the door to order their beers. We had intended to order lunch, but if you don’t have a table, it’s hard to order food from the edibles menu. Over in the theater, there is a small table serving a couple food items, like bratwurst and hotdogs, along with a few select beers – but not nearly as many as the main bar. You can munch on baskets of pretzels and peanuts, but it’s a bit of a balancing act if you’re forced to stand.
The best thing to do to avoid what happened to us is to arrive early to grab a good spot in the beer garden. Or you can try to go a little later in the day after the lunch crowds and families have cleared out. There was a consistent flow of people arriving after we got there, so even coming later might be a struggle.
I wanted to order a flight of beers, but given our seating situation, we both decided to order pints. I opted for the Stoopid Wit, a seasonal variety, and Steve got the Imperial Aunt Sally with Peaches. Stoopid Wit is described as “An Un-Freakin’-Filtered Hoppy Belgian-ish Wit.” It was introduced in July 2016, and is available from July to September. I loved the lightness and slight bitterness of the beer, it was perfect for the warm summer days. The Imperial Aunt Sally is a sweeter version of the original, with a heavy emphasis on peach in the aroma and the taste. Despite it being sweet, there’s some intense hops happening, and all of it hides the high ABV (9.3%).
Before we could get too far into our pints, we spotted a newly available spot at the end of the one of the tables in the theater, and we sprinted to grab them before anyone else did. We noshed on peanuts and pretzels, sipped cold brews and basked in the lovely California sun. We had time for one more pint, and we each went for our favorite, a little sumpin’ sumpin’. I realize it goes against my “always-try-something-new” theory when I’m at a brewery, but sometimes it’s nice to go with what you know, while still experiencing something new.
If you go: Arrive early to get a seat in the beer garden. This is especially key if you plan to order food. Also try to go during the week if you can, since the weekends tend to be busier.
- Taproom Hours:
- Wed.-Fri. 2pm-9pm
- Sat.-Sun. 11:30am-8pm
- Tours: Every Day (no reservation needed at this time)
- Mon. 1pm and 3pm
- Tues. 1pm and 3pm
- Wed. 1pm, 3pm and 5pm
- Thurs. 1pm, 3pm and 5pm
- Fri. 1pm, 3pm and 5pm
- Sat. Every hour from 1pm-5pm
- Sun. Every hour from 1pm-5pm