Brew the Right Thing: Mraz expands, Natomas gets on Track, Art of Beer, S.F. Beer Week, Sac Brew Bike taproom—and Pliny the Younger rumblings

Mraz gets bigger: To honor the tradition of drinking while on the job, a few of us here in SN&R’s editorial department cracked El Dorado Hills-based Mraz Brewing Co.’s flagship sour, the Cardinal, last week.

Mraz recently announced an expansion into a 3,000-square-foot facility, where brewmaster Mike Mraz intends to house hundreds of barrels to grow his wild-beer and barrel-aging program. This bodes well for brews such as The Cardinal ($16.99, see photo), a Flanders red-style beer aged on oak. Cardinal is a blend of vintages, with cherries added. It’s light-bodied, gently carbonated and delicate. It’s not all that tart, which is nice, but it’s also not terribly nuanced—the oak/vanilla profile and cherry doesn’t really evolve—but I enjoyed it. A quality local sour brew.

Check out Mraz at  2222 Francisco Drive, Suite No. 510, in El Dorado Hills ((916) 934-0744; They also produce some decent hopped and Belgian brews, too.

Natomas gets Track 7: Track 7 Brewing Co. held sneak previews of its new Natomas facility last weekend. This weekend, you can stop through any time. There’ll be food trucks on Friday (Drewski’s) and Saturday (The Pizza Company). Look for hours and details at

Brew gets arty: I did not attend last year’s Art of Beer Invitational but heard good things about the venue and vibe. This year’s incarnation goes down Friday, January 30, again at the McClellan Conference Center (I’m told this was a killer spot to chill—planes hanging from the ceiling, etc—despite its off-the-grid location in North Highlands).

More than 40 breweries will be at the event. As with 99.9 percent of beer festivals, it’s probably worth forking out the extra 20 bucks to enter early for the VIP “Rare Beer Hour” session ($75). 

Info for discount tickets on Facebook and visit for more info.

Beer gets a week: Sacramento Beer Week is almost here—but S.F. Beer Week is even sooner. The big brewdown by the bay is February 6 to 15.

S.F. Beer Week is always a fun excuse to poke around in the yay area for the weekend. The main event, the opening-night Gala, is sold out, however—which is a bummer for you if you didn’t snag tickets, because the location and brew selection is pretty decent.

If you want to wait in long lines, Bistro’s double IPA festival is always packed (worth checking out at least once). Same for Toronado’s Barleywine fest. 

My SFBW advice is to target breweries, such as Faction, Rare Barrel, Cellarmaker, Sante Adairius, Fort Point. Or hit up the favorite spots, like the Trappist locations in the East Bay, Beer Revolution, City Beer Store, etc.

I”ll be reporting back from SFBW in a couple weeks.

Bike gets taproom: News leaked out last week on Twitter that the Sacramento Brew Bike plans to open a taproom in Midtown

“Sac Brew Bike” is the popular its-not-a-car, 15-passenger vehicle that moves brew lovers from one bar to the next. Soon, the Bike will take its patrons to its own taproom, which they plan to open on 19th Street in the old CCAS art galley building.

Follow Sac Brew Bike’s growth on Twitter: @SacBrewBike.

Sac gets Younger: Russian River’s infinitely popular Pliny the Youner drops next month. The brewery now has a page on its site with the rules. OK, perhaps rules isn’t the best term. Best practices, perhaps.

If you like waiting in six-hour-plus lines, then the trip to Russian River might be worth it. RRBC is limiting sessions to three hours this year, and you can only purchase three drafts of the trendy triple IPA. But that’s probably sufficient.

Sacramento will receive its Pliny kegs just as its own beer week kicks off. Look for Younger in the usual places—Burgers and Brew, PourHouse, Pangaea, Streets of London, Sameul Horne’s Tavern, etc—and most spots advertise tappings on social media.

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