Lagunitas Brewing Company TapRoom – Petaluma, CA
Tours Offered: Yes
Food Service: Yes (Full service restaurant)
Kids & Pets: Kid and dog friendly
A Brief History
Lagunitas Brewing Company was founded by Tony Magee in 1993, from his garage in Lagunitas, CA. As a home brewer, Tony would give extra beer away, until he learned extra inventory could be sold.
The first beers he brewed were Dogtown Pale Ale, and Bugtown Stout. Over the years, their lineup has evolved into a of tradition of full-strength American style ales.
The mascot that appears on most of their beer labels is a pit bull, who was inspired by “Petey”, the canine companion from “The Little Rascals.” Magee hoped the loyalty and positive feelings associated with man’s best friend would also become linked with his beer.
Shortly after founding, Lagunitas moved from its garage, to a facility in Forest Knolls, CA. A year later, the brewery found itself in nearby Petaluma, in a more spacious location.
The new brewery is located in an industrial / business park area, in the east side of Petaluma, off North McDowell Blvd. After solid growth for roughly a decade, Lagunitas started offering tours of the plant.
As the craft industry started to boom, they opened up their TapRoom and Beer Sanctuary at the brewery in 2009. But Lagunitas’ expansion hasn’t stopped there – in 2012 they announced plans for a new facility in Chicago, Il, set to open sometime in 2014.
More Pictures from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Our Visit to Lagunitas Brewing Company TapRoom
When you pull off North McDowell Blvd, you would never know there’s a brewery in the business park, until you see those gigantic metallic tanks at the back of the property.
With mom living in Petaluma we have visited Lagunitas Brewing Company many, many times, and still don’t know if there’s truly a “front” entrance. We always park in the “back” by the tanks, and follow the pathway from the parking lot through the iron archway.
At the end of the walkway you reach the Lagunitas Beer Sanctuary, which is a large outdoor space, close in appearance to a campground or large picnic area. Wood chips cover the ground, and there’s no shortage of picnic tables, even though it’s always tough to find a seat.
There’s also a small wooden stage for live music, pressed up against the corner of the brewing warehouse the sanctuary borders, right near the pile of beer kegs. The day we visited a country rockabilly band was playing.
The whole outdoor area really lends a fun family atmosphere, whether you bring your kids, or dog. On any given day, you can find several dogs, so it’s a pet friendly environment to say the least.
Whether in the mood for appetizers or sandwiches, you should be able to find something appealing. Smoked Pork Nachos, Brisket, or Pulled Pork Sandwiches come to mind. You can also snack on peanuts, given free to each table, with a tin bucket for shelling.
The Lagunitas TapRoom is located at the very back of the property, as you walk through the middle of the sanctuary. You will notice Lagunitas has the whole patio covered with a protective mesh layer to try to beat the heat.
The TapRoom has definitely gone through some changes over time. There used to be counters with walk-up service for pours, a few tables, and a small shared bathroom inside. If recall correctly, you could also buy a few shirts here as well.
Now there’s a kitchen against the far wall, and the middle of the room is filled with a large 4-sided, wooden bar. You can watch some sports on the flat screen TVs while you order a beer. Their selection ranges from year-rounds, limited releases, and quite a few one-offs to choose from. Sadly, Gnarly Wine was OUT.
The bathroom has been moved outside, along with the gift shop. Lagunitas definitely has one of the better brewery gift shops we have seen, where you can purchase (to-go) limited release bombers, apparel, craft beer books, and glassware. We love our Lagunitas mason jars.
Along the side of the gift shop is large lawn / amphitheater, filled with more people having a good time. They were probably waiting for a seat inside the sanctuary. You can exit along the right side of the backyard to reach the bathrooms, shop, or grassy hill.
The Lagunitas Brewing Company facility has really changed over the years — always for the better. We highly recommend you pay a visit to Lagunitas TapRoom and Beer Sanctuary on your next trip to the north bay. Maybe even take a day off from your wine tasting vacation for some ales instead.
Exclusives on Tap
Exclusive or experimental brews available on tap during our visit:
- Daytime: 3/5
An very light-bodied session IPA. It would be perfect for summer, still good in November.
- Fusion 17: 3/5
A good hearty brown ale, but not too heavy. Sugary sweet.
- Rye Bay Area Cappuccino Stout: 2/5
Cappuccino stout aged with rye whiskey barrels. Mike thought he would love the dark stout aged in rye, but it was just to sweet.
- Sonoma County Stout: 2/5
Another stout barrel aged, only this time in wine barrels. Cinnamon flavor w/ sour finish from wine coming though. Just too sour.
- Yakima Wet Hopped: 4/5
The best beer of the day. A full-bodied IPA with floral notes. It tasted like bubble gum.