The capital city is about to get hopping, as Sacramento Beer Week, our region’s largest brewfest, takes place May 10-20. Featuring over 80 local breweries and more than 300 events, the 11-day-long pint-a-palooza will include everything from new beer release parties to churro-and-beer pairings.
A 2014 study of the craft beer world by Stanford researchers showed that women filled only 21 percent of the top leadership roles in the industry. That figure is depressingly low, but the level of female executive representation in craft beer still greatly outpaces industries like finance, health care and information technology.
To get the view from the top, Comstock’s spoke with a few women brewery owners in the Capital Region about their diverse backgrounds, their paths to leadership and their thoughts on getting more women into craft beer.
The road to Lake Tahoe can be long and full of traffic.
There are, fortunately, quite a few breweries to choose from to visit along the way where you can break up the drive, taste a few samplers (or at least let your passenger do so) and fill up a to-go growler while you’re at it.
Crooked Lane owner, Adrian Psuty, and his brewmaster wife, Teresa Psuty, discuss barrel-aging and the mid-September release of the bourbon barrel-aged Doppelbock, Gnarly Goat, with Big Mike Moore. The Gnarly Goat won a Silver medal in 2017 California State Fair. Crooked Lane’s Doppelbock, Wobblor, won Gold and second place Best of Show.
With a bounty of breweries and wineries in our backyard, we thought it’d be beneficial to put together an entire guide of our favorites. Read on to learn about the passionate people behind the pours, discover where the best tasting rooms in town are, find local restaurants cooking up beer- and wine-spiked dishes, and more.
MEET THE MAKERS
The act of making beer and wine is an act of community—a way of bringing people together. We asked local makers, and masters of their craft, to tell us their stories—stories that are bound to give you, the humble consumer, an appreciation of the heart, soul and commitment that goes into every harvest, every brew and every pour.
Martina is chatting with Adrian and Teresa Psuty about their award-winning brewery. The brewery’s Wobblor, a Doppelbock, placed first in the Strong European Beer category and went on to win second best of show, out of 1,488 total beer entries.
Auburn-based Crooked Lane Brewing Company was awarded second place Best of Show in the California State Fair’s 2017 commercial brewing competition. The brewery’s Wobblor, a Doppelbock, placed first in the Strong European Beer category and went on to win second best of show, out of 1,488 total beer entries. “We are so honored and grateful to receivesuch a prestigious award,” said Teresa Psuty, head brewer of Crooked Lane. “We are very proud of our Doppelbock, and are excited to see such a unique style of beer earn a spot in the top three of the competition, alongside two other fantastic beers.”
Surely, we’re coming to the end of the craft beer boom, right? I mean, there are now 60-plus breweries in the Sacramento area. This has happened so fast – everyone of legal age is old enough to remember when there were three.
There simply aren’t enough customers to keep all of these joints afloat. The beer is going to sit. Hours for tasting room staffs will get cut back. Other folks will get laid off. There will be a glut in the market for used brew tanks.
At least that’s what the cynics are saying. In fact, they’ve been whispering that to me for the past four years, at the early stages of the local craft brewery boom, when beer lovers were rejoicing that we were up to a dozen local breweries.
The canary in the coal mine was going to be the most recent start-ups, Crooked Lane Brewing in Auburn and Big Sexy Brewing in south Sacramento. They’re both big, ambitious and, perhaps, getting into the beer game a bit late.
So what happened?
“The opening went really well. It was standing room only. People were just blown away by the space,” said Crooked Lane co-owner Paul Schilling. “Every night since has been a really good night. We thought we were doing something good, and the experience of the past week just validates that.”
A steady stream of patrons visited Crooked Lane Brewing last Wednesday during its soft opening.
“A soft opening that wasn’t that soft,” said Kirt Braun, one of three owners who include Paul Schilling and Adrian Psuty. “It was extremely busy.”
Over 400 people flowed through the brewery throughout the evening. They gathered inside, on the covered patio or in the community beer garden.
There is a pass-through window to the beer garden, so people can order from outside.
And there is food.
“We have a food truck right on edge of the beer garden,” said Braun. “You don’t even have to put your beer down.”
Crooked Lane offers five brews with more in store. There are lighter ales, IPAs and a robust porter and an oatmeal stout.
Or you may choose honey wheat, made with the local Miller Farm honey, or mandarin ale, with mandarins from Thundering Herd Ranch in Newcastle.
Episode 3.1: Crooked Lane & Nu Boonkham of Auburn Thai Garden (The Return)
Host Ben Rice returns for the grand opening of Crooked Lane Brewing in Auburn, CA, to catch up with his episode 3 guests, founders Paul Schilling, Kirt Braun, Adrian Psuty, and Teresa Psuty, along with Nu Boonkham of Auburn Thai Garden. When we first spoke with this crew, the building had recently been determined and they were, hopefully, a year away from opening. We sipped on some of their soon-to-be mainstays, made on a small garage kit, and talked of hopes and dreams. And now we’re back to discuss the overwhelming reality of that vision, three years in the making. We discuss the trials and tribulations faced in the last year, gathering a local following, forming a work unit, the feeling of selling out a beer on opening night, plus women in the brewing industry (featuring a special guest appearance by bar manager Sierra Smith) and what the future holds after this strong open.
Episode 3: Crooked Lane Brewing w/ Nu Boonkham
On Episode 3 of Barley and Me, host Ben Rice sits down with Adrian, Teresa, Paul, and Kirt of Auburn’s Crooked Lane Brewing, to discuss their upcoming opening and the work they’ve put in to ensure their success in business and in their transition from home brewing to macro brewing. With us is Nu Boonkham, owner and chef at the award-winning Auburn Thai Garden.Nu is a renowned beer connoisseur and his knowledge and insight helps to make this a truly wonderful episode. We’ll talk about locally-sourced ingredients, creating balance, and how to get delicious bacon into a beer without all the perils that come with introducing fat! Plus Paul talks about his old-school drinking glove. Classy!