Beer Me, North Bay.

On July 10, Kristen and I headed out on a North Bay Brewery Tour, as a way to get out with our cameras but also capture what our awesome area has to offer in the way of beer and small, local businesses. We have beer, we have a lot of beer. What made our tour cool was 1) it was only Kristen, me and one couple (oh and our cool driver of course) and 2) we stopped into two places I hadn't been yet. I'm always down for new experiences...especially ones that include beer.

Canon 5D Mark II with 40mm pancake lens

Canon 5D Mark II with 40mm pancake lens

I shot this experience solely with my Canon 40mm pancake lens. This lens is considered just about "normal" (50mm is "normal") meaning that it doesn't have much distortion and is pretty true to what you see. I love that it's understated, the lens is not even an inch. I first saw this lens in action while at Taps in Petaluma. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Michael from Good Beer Hunting. He was shooting his beers and I was enthralled with the little guy. The lens, I mean. It's versatile, it's small, it is good in low light. It's a keeper.

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Back to the beer: We started our tour at Russian River Brewing Company. Can you go wrong? Nope. A cold Pliny from the tap is all one needs for a perfect afternoon. We hung out, the couple got the full blown taster, Kristen roamed & shot the space, I hung out, ate some pizza bites. All was good with the world. 

From there, we headed over to Stumptown in Guerneville. Dive bar, check. Brewery, check. Huge back deck, check. River view, check. 

I hadn't been out to Stumptown before. The drive, while bumpy (it's a bus, what do you expect?), was scenic as ever, rolling hills of vineyards morphing into big trees and the smell of the ocean. It was here that we learned more about the beer making process from Rob, our tour guide/bus driver/co-owner. Rob explained about different types of barley, hops, how to make beer more or less bitter. It was so great. 

I tasted the Blimey the Wanker - fresh, hoppy and clean.

Rob showing us the inside of a hop. The yellow is the lupulin gland which contributes to a beer's bitterness, depending on when you add the hops to the boil.

Rob showing us the inside of a hop. The yellow is the lupulin gland which contributes to a beer's bitterness, depending on when you add the hops to the boil.

At Warped Brewing in Sebastopol

At Warped Brewing in Sebastopol

From Stumptown, we headed back around to Sepastopol, to the new Barlow, where we hit up Warped Brewing. 90s playlist on Pandora was bumpin from the small brewery, win #1. The owner, Noah, said his brewery is what you would see if you could step inside his brain. Arcade game fanatics - this is a must stop for you: the bar top is all arcade game signs, underlit. There's a stand up arcade game and a pinball machine in the corner. I tasted their Crash of '83 IPA after a short tour & backstory from Noah. Fun note: their fermenters each have a Pacman ghost on them:  Blinky, Pinky, Inky & Clyde. When they're talking about which fermenters have which beer, that's how they refer to them. So hilarious.

All in all, a fantastic day. I can't say enough good things about Rob: he was professional and fun, knowledgable and laid back. North Bay Brewery Tours is highly recommended!

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