April and May are the perfect months for enjoying the Sacramento sun. Sure, you can drink a decent beer outside on many a streetside table, but this is about back patios, gardens and out-of-the-way spots to drink out of doors. A lack of car traffic is key, and both fountains and live music earn you extra points.
Before long it will be far too hot to sit and bask with a beer, so without further ado, here are five excellent places in the area to enjoy a beer outdoors. If you agree, disagree, or wish to share your favorite spot in the area, I invite you to do so – secret spots welcome!
This collective has a nice, albeit generally minimal, selection of beers; excellent food made by in-house chef Gabriel Nokes; a great back courtyard and a constantly changing supply of art throughout the complex. Going to Safeway for groceries? Why not stop for a drink and bask in the sun for an hour or two on the way?
They are set up to sell almost anything in the place – clothing, art, jewelry, you name it. Don’t be intimidated – this is a benefit. There are things you are going to want. If you haven’t been, go. It’s a fountain oasis back there.
The Shack has amazing beer and plenty of it – and a fire pit for breezier evenings. They also have live music Thursday nights, mussels on Belgian Beer Night (Tuesdays) and Sacramento Beer Week master Dan Scott hosting trivia on Wednesdays.
Belgian beers, local beers, lambics, saisons, German beers – The Shack has choices for everyone. In fact, they have so many beers that you won’t know where to start.
Dad’s Kitchen, featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives back in 2011, opened a new tap room and expanded patio on Tuesday night. The shady back patio can get rather packed, but the atmosphere is fun and the staff very friendly. They also frequently have live music. They stock numerous local brews, and as you may have guessed, their food is terrific and goes well with beer – health food fanatics need not stop by.
“Holy crustification,” Guy Fieri said about the Dad’s Burger, a burger encrusted with blue cheese and bacon. Pairs well with an IPA.
Notable facts: All-day happy hour Tuesdays means all beers are $4. During regular happy hours they have a $7 pitcher of PBR, plus one featured craft beer – usually for $4. They also serve Temple coffee if you are headed there for brunch and prefer not to drink in the morning.
This one is a must. It’s true, Berryessa Brewing Company probably isn’t within walking or biking distance of home, but it’s well worth the drive to Winters. They make great brews and the location is picturesquely situated between a vineyard and an orchard. In fact, they share the property with Berryessa Gap Vineyards. They also have frequent live music and along with it, a food truck or specialty caterer such as The Pasta Queen, The Hotdogger or Fuzion Eatz on site. You can also bring a picnic of your own.
I admit, this is not a place, per se; you cannot just stop by any day of the week. But on a perfect spring day with sun and just the right amount of heat, there is no better place to be than at an outdoor beer festival. Fremont Park, Discovery Park, Raley Field – picture it.
There is an abundance of outdoor beer festivals in the Sacramento region, starting with the Sacramento Beer and Chili Festival at Fremont Park last Saturday and the Bockbierfest at the Sacramento Turn Verein, also this past weekend.
If you missed last weekend, fear not. There are many more opportunities to come. Pick your favorite locale and get yourself a ticket. Bring friends and enjoy the beautiful weather and the insane variety of beers to choose from.
Upcoming festivals include the Capitol City International Beerfest at the Sacramento Turn Verein (STV) on Saturday, April 27. Proceeds from this event will go to the United States Handball Association FirstAce. The STV’s annual Maifest will take place on May 5 from noon to 5. Now there’s a way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Of all the beer festivals around, those hosted by the STV are the most family friendly. Before you are done with a liter, your son or daughter may be signed up for German language classes, dancing lessons or the STV soccer team. They also generally serve up some pretty delicious traditional German eats.
The West Coast Brew Fest will be Saturday, May 18 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Miller Park – a great spot right on the Sacramento River – and the 7th Annual Raley Field Brewfest will take place on Friday, June 7. Tickets are already on sale, so check it out for your chance to have a beer in the outfield.
If you’re a real planner, the California Brewers Festival at Discovery Park has already been set for Sept. 21, 2013. This festival serves as a terrific sendoff to the summer heat.
Honorable Mention goes to Lagunitas in nearby Petaluma. It’s not local, but it just isn’t right to have a list of outdoor drinking spots without mentioning them. Actually, next week here at the Sacramento Beer Writer we will be laying out a beer road trip. Block off a weekend in your calendar because you’re not going to want to wait long before giving it a try.
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