Spring is usually the time of hope & renewal; the sun comes out from hiding, plants thrive, and people gather. My favorite sport, baseball, starts anew. However, the cycle of hope & renewal has been put on pause this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken over globally and is causing many to put their lives, and livelihoods on hold and forcing us all to quickly readjust.
Two of the industries hit hardest by social distancing are the hospitality & service industries, which includes our beloved breweries. In my small hometown of Sebastopol in Northern California, Crooked Goat Brewing, Seismic Brewing, and Woodfour Brewing.are part of an artisan district, The Barlow, and have really been through a lot in the past year.
In February 2019, the whole district got inundated by flooding and 2 of the 3 breweries (one hadn’t opened yet) had to shut down for a few weeks. Then in October 2019 the Kincade fires swept through Northern Sonoma County causing mass evacuations. Local businesses & taprooms suffered. Now, as of Tuesday March 17th, Sonoma County is under a Shelter in Place order through April 7th, (though I anticipate this lasting much longer). These breweries have been limited exclusively to take out sales, and all of them have done a fantastic job quickly setting up to-go sales in the last week.
I need to bring out something positive during this crisis and I circled back this phrase “Drink The Story”, which I’d pledged to use more in an earlier blog post this year. “Drinking The Story” means sharing the unique stories of our beloved breweries- it’s their community influences, specialty styles of beer, owners’ and employees’ backgrounds, and anything else that makes them special to you. I decided to take the phrase and turn it into the #DrinkTheStory Campaign and promote it throughout my social circle and network of beer bloggers, and encourage others to go and Drink the Story of their local breweries or taprooms. I’m pledging in this time to keep supporting these three small but mighty breweries in Sebastopol during this tough time, and to return to buy pints in the taprooms, participate in their community ,and soak in the atmosphere brought to us by our fantastic beer community.
Crooked Goat, Seismic Brewing, and Woodfour are a network of three taprooms that are within a 2 minute (if that) walk from one another. Seismic is the newest of the bunch, having opened up in July of 2019. Crooked Goat has been open since 2016, and Woodfour since The Barlow opened in 2013. All offer a distinct experience from another, with over 30 beer styles on display between the three.
- You can get fantastic IPAs and Nitro beers at Crooked Goat, well known for their Ibex West Coast IPA and for also being a pet friendly (and encouraged) taproom. It’s a large space that has bingo nights and hosts parking lot music festivals throughout the summer and is a true hub for our community.
- As of now 3/25 Crooked Goat is offering Curbside drive through pick up of beer daily 2-7 PM in Crowler Format. Please call one hour ahead for ordering. 707 827 3893.
- Woodfour Brewing has an in house kitchen that makes upscale snack food (think nachos, cheese curds, corn dogs) to pair magnificently with their wide array of beers such as their New Ridge Lager, all the way to their Agent Smolder Imperial Porter (a favorite beer, and name, of mine). They love to focus on local ingredients, from malts to hops, to adding fresh local peaches or other adjuncts into their beers.
- As of now 3/25 Woodfour Brewing is open from 12 PM daily for can pick up, they also are delivering right to your door. You can place orders at their website www.woodfourbrewing.com for delivery.
- Seismic Brewing brings an exciting array of German beers and dark beers to their lineup including the crushable Kolsch, Liquifaction. They have a great outdoor space with fire pits for those Sonoma County nights that cool down, and host a ton of events including Wednesday game nights, and food & beer pairings.
- As of now 3/25 Seismic is offering curbside pick up of crowlers, 12 packs and kegs for home kegerators from Wednesday to Sunday, 2-6 PM. They accept pre orders through Instagram DM as well as email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Support this industry by buying beer, merchandise, and gift cards, and donating to fundraisers for employees. Even though we’re not able to physically be together, we can maintain our community by sharing stories and use our conversation to show support through these tough times. As a brewery employee myself who has been furloughed due to site closure, I wanted to do something with a positive message to shed light on a community of breweries that could use support from an avid beer geek, industry worker and blogger, like myself.
When the work force is back to normal operations and I can again go and enjoy a pint in all three of these taprooms, I plan to do so. I also plan to talk to the employees and the people drinking their beer to find out how this time off has affected them, how they’ve been doing, and what they’ve been drinking in the meantime. I pledge to go back and #DrinkTheStory as much as I can.
I invite you all to participate. Write a blog post, share a few sentences on Facebook about a brewery where you love to #DrinkTheStory, post a Throwback on Instagram of you and your friends enjoying a night at that spot. Share a story and start a conversation with your local beer community. Spread the beer-love and spread this #DrinkTheStory tag as much as you can so when we can all go out again, we’ll have a community to gather with and places to return to. You just might not now how much of a difference your one pint of beer in your local brewery could actually make.
Cheers, Good Beer, and Lots of Love
The Craft Beer Concierge