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Wine Country Eats: Pizza, Beer and BBQ

Beer garden scene at Calistoga Inn, Restaurant and Brewery, via Facebook

Beer is gaining popularity in the 707, and a new brewery has both brews and BBQ to rev up the weekend social scene. (We like that you can bring your canine companion along for the fun). Up in the Northern Valley is a renovated spot for eats, drinks and even treasured zzzzs—and yes, there is a brewery there, too. Both of these spots have big TVs to catch that sports game.

Santa Rosa beer fans have a new brewery spot for weekend beer and BBQ at Fog Belt Brewing Co., which shares a parking lot at the Urban Winery Village with a few wine-centric businesses: Kurtz family cellars, Sheldon winery and D'Argenzio winery, as well as a barber shop should you be looking to trim your locks. The look inside Fog Belt is one of cool steel, with a riveted bar and industrial lighting; there is a fireplace to warm things and the spot is dog friendly. The microbrewery is the work of Paul Hawley and Remy Martin, Wine Country natives who spent their formative years in vineyards and began brewing beer together in 2004. The duo use California hops on two of their beers as well as farm their own estate hops; they say that they are also working with other local small farmers to bring hops back to the forefront of Sonoma County agriculture. February 15 was the targeted official opening date. For now, Fog Belt’s beers include Hyperion Red Ale and Lost Monarch Wit beer with batches of Del Norte IPA, Atlas Blonde and Armstrong Stout on the horizon. Open Thursday through Sunday and there’s also wine and BBQ to keep the party varied and filling. 1305 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa. 

In related brewery news, Calistoga Inn, Restaurant and Brewery renovated and reopened after a fire last year. There is now an amazingly beautiful dining room inside and an equally pretty outdoor “Back Forty” beer garden with seating for warmer weather. Outside, the views from those cedar tables have an added chillax factor because the space cozies up to the Napa River. The site’s historic water tower is where beer production happens for the award-winning Napa Valley Brewing Company: pilsner, A.S.B., Calistoga Porter, Dugan oatmeal stout and Calistoga Wheat Ale are all in the mix. In 1987 the Inn was the first establishment to brew beer since the days of Prohibition. Weekday brewery tours are available with brewmaster Brad Smisloff by calling (707) 942-4101.

For eats from Chef Sean Mindrum, go for the baked crab if it’s on special for an ooey gooey cheese delight served in a cast iron pan with grilled toast—we’re thinking that’d pair nicely with a pint of A.S.B., yes? House fries are of the addictive Kennebuc variety and the dough for the restaurant’s pizza is made with spent grain and wort reduction from the brewery--a delicious re-purposing if ever there was one. Fungi pizza with truffle oil and roasted garlic tempts and other main dishes include fish, wood grilled steaks, ribs and a fennel stuffed pork porterhouse with roasted Delicata squash and polenta; country paella makes good use of chicken, prawns and chorizo. Visitors from near and far have cued into the fact that this is a spot where you can eat, drink and sleep all in one since there are clean and quaint rooms from the inn available upstairs. 1250 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. 

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