Sonoma was once a major hop-growing region—one reason you see great IPA from the area. The Racer 5 is full of citrus and pine flavors; for stronger hops try Racer X at their microbrewery-restaurant. » 345 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-433-2337.
The brewery doesn’t offer tours, but look for its beers when in Northern California. Death & Taxes, an American black lager, is dark, roasty, and full flavored yet light in body and refreshing. » 707-528-2537.
The Blind Pig and Pliny the Elder are great Northern California IPAs. With tartness and tannic flavors, the sour beers are some of the country’s finest. Sample them at the Russian River brewpub. » 725 4th St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-2337.
Petaluma’s best-known brewery makes some amazing American strong ales and IPAs. Stop by the beer garden and ask for the Wilco Tango Foxtrot or the New Dogtown Pale Ale. » 1280 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma, 707-769-4495.