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Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Active Beers: 63
Beer Ratings: 17,622
Beer Avg: 3.85
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
345 Healdsburg Ave.
phone: (707) 433-BEER
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 93 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
The day after New Years day was slow it seemed, but things were slowly getting back to normal, I planned on driving home from Santa Rosa in the early afternoon but not before taking the trip to Bear Republic. 15 miles straight up the 101-N from Santa Rosa, once you take the Central Healdsburg exit its less than a mile away. My drinking buddy for the New Years Eve weekend Rapapoda directed me to the Parking Lot that is behind Bear Republic.
A cold, very wet and windy day, the outside seating deck was soaking and covered in dead leaves and wind swept fauna and debris from the last few days. A quick close of the eyes soon had me imagining how great this outside deck area must be in the warmer Californian climes though. The exterior of Bear Republic is dominated by a tall galvanized ribbed steel hopper on the corner. The frontage is a two-tone cream and pastel rustic red with a series of Flags of Nations hanging outside.
Inside, the basic down to Earth feel is at odds with many of the surrounding high end Sonoma Wine Bars, Restaurants and Craft Shops. An arched walkway runs down the middle of the single room. To the left tables litter the lower deck and these were sparsely populated during my visit. I always like to sit at the Bar so Raps suggestion that we should was greeted with a welcoming affirmative nod. The bar area is raised up to your right and as such it lends a nice view over the interior of the Bear Republic Pub and the seating area. The Bar has around a dozen taps with a mish-mash of tap handles, all sporting the black, red, yellow and green Jamaican color scheme in some form or other. As with nearly every other bar I visited around these parts during my New Year Eve weekend Bicycles were hanging left right and centre, as indeed were yet more Flags of Nations. Artwork is prominently featured here also, the odd beery advert and bits of Racing Cars.
The Brewery is visible to your left as you sit at the Bar; in fact it is right at the end of it, hard to miss. Fermenting and storage tanks were visible through large glass windows behind the Bar. It seems like the whole Brewery and associated vessels are really wedged in here. A real bonus was the utterly incredible aromas filling Bear Republic during my visit, as they were brewing, neat!
Whilst the décor is so-so, the beer range was absolutely solid. From memory they had Big Bear Black Stout, El Oso, Hop Rod Rye, Petes Brown Tribute Ale, Racer 5 IPA, Red Rocket Ale, XP Pale Ale, Simply Simcoe #2 and Red Wheat. The Hop Rod Rye was on Cask also. I started with the El Oso which surprised me, better than expected. I also had a Pint of the Red Wheat and finished with a half of the absolutely gorgeous Hop Rod Rye on Cask from the lone Angram behind the bar.
I didnt really eat here, but I snagged a small bowl of Lobster Bisque which was thick, creamy and lovely, couldve done with a little more of that. Menu looked varied enough but still seemed to focus on Pub Grub.
Service was reasonable, but the server behind the bar was not very adept at using the Beer Engine, for instance she served Rapapoda the first pull of the day from the lines. Now to be fair Rap requested that she throw it away and serve a fresh half once the line was pulled through which she did. Still, she clearly hadnt been properly trained to use a Beer Engine, having the glass inches below the bottom of the Beer Engines spout and spraying the beer into the glass, not her fault I know, but always a minor annoyance I find.
Lots of Bear Republic clothing & apparel on sale, as well as beer to go, 12 and 22 ounce bottles together with some kind of inflatable plastic cube thingy too if you fancy a bigger sized take out.
It was absolutely great to finally get to Bear Republic after all these years of drinking their fine brews, and being a fan of them. It is quite remarkable how they brew so many high quality styles from such a tightly packed Brewery, and I love the odd English style special that they knock out once in a while. Well worth stopping by here, a no-brainer if you are in Santa Rosa, its only 20-25 minutes away.
Last Visit: Monday 2nd January, 2006.
01-09-2006 03:49:42 |
More by TheLongBeachBum
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Healdsburg is a very cute little town filled more with wine tasting rooms, fine restaurants, and little boutiques. Even cuter than Santa Rosa. We parked and followed a trio of tipsy wine drinkers as they walked past Bear Republic to their next wine depot. Bear Republic is a fairly large restaurant with dining tables and an outdoor eating area to the left, and a bar/ bartable area to the right. Racing and firefighting memorabilia adorn the walls. The hostess seemed wholly clueless about the beer. We sat at the end of the bar and saw an ecletic mix of families with children, couples, and even a gaggle of middle aged men drinking beer, waiting for their women to return (from shopping or wine tasting, I don't know =)
With 13 beers on tap (including 1 cask), we had our work cut out for us. The lineup was:
golden honey ale, mexican lager, ESB, XP pale,
rye pale, wet hop ale, red wheat ale, racer 5,
red rocket ale, Hop rod rye, Peter's Brown (cask), hefeweizen
The honey ale was sweet, ESB was alright, the XP was excellent, the racer 5 alright, hop rod rye stingingly good (don't bother with the rye pale), the brown was good for a brown, and the racer X was juicy but more bitter than I remember.
The bartender took our food orders and was on top of things.
We order the garlic fries which seemed somewhat unlively or lifeless, but they had some good looking items on the menu, including the prime rib sandwich special, acclaimed burgers, and several desserts of higher quality than you'd expect for a brewpub.
The 13 x 2oz beer sampler was about $10. 1 gallon (milk jug) "bladder" fills are $18.95, with $15.95 refills, a great deal if you can finish that amount quickly. They had 22oz bottles of a brown, XP ale, Red Rocket, and Racer 5. No growlers, but get this: the bartender said they would fill any outside growler that you bring in.
11-14-2005 18:49:44 |
More by oggg
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Bear Republic is located in one of my favorite places on earth. Healdsburg, CA has a great combination of small size, pleasant climate, nice people, great wine and food, and oh yeah... Awesome beer. I love going here, and recently had a chance to come back on vacation.
Their pub is located in a small development right in the middle of downtown. It has a nice sized dining room, and a spacious bar decorated with lots of beer paraphernalia (theirs and other beers). When Im in town, its all about the patio, and this trip was no exception. Nice medium sized patio available for lunch and dinner.
Service is timely and attentive, and the food is good. I had the chili of the day, and a nice salad. They have a full compliment of sandwiches, burgers, a few pasta items and even a few Mexican selections. Vegetarians are welcome. My food came out quickly and was hot and tasty.
I love Bear Republics beers, and its great getting it directly from the source. I had Racer 5, Racer X, and a Hop Rod Rye. My only disappointment was the lack of the Stout or Brown (which Id never had before).
I love this town, love the beer, love the bar.
10-02-2005 20:09:34 |
More by carln26
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Bear Republic offers a comfortable and fairly unique atmosphere with flags and racing and fire-fighting paraphanalia covering the walls. The location is clean and upscale while remaining unthreatening.
The waitstaff was quick, courteous, and beer-informed, which is all I need. The food was your general, slightly upscale, California-ized pub fare, which was good if a little expensive...
A wide range of bombastically PNW-style British ales offered more than enough to tickle any beer geek. Any and all beer was absolutely top-notch, world class.
A must see if you are ever in the general vicinity of the North Bay.
06-26-2005 21:52:58 |
More by Crotor
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
A nice brewpub kind of off the main street. A friendly atmosphere with beer knowlegable staff and regulars. Lots of antique paraphenalia including bikes and flags hanging from the ceiling. Some racing paraphenalia on the walls that has a vehicle with a number 5 on it. Lots of Bear Republic stuff for sale. Nice painting on one side of the walls. There is a beer patio outside facing a park like walkway. Some people on motorcycles drove right up close to the back patio.
All stainless steel nozzles with at least one that was brass. Nice copper plated bar with wood siding. Metal stools with cushioned seats and wood tables and chairs. Did not see the kitchen and the restroom was clean.
Service was prompt and knowledgable, befriend your bartender.
Very good selection of their own beers and one cask option, that was empty today. Notables (not in any particular order) were Racer 5, Black, Racer X, Hop Rod Rye, Pete's Tribute, Porter, and XP also some including Red Rocket were out. Did not care for the Mexican Lagers.
The food was good.
06-10-2005 19:13:43 |
More by Troyone
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Visited Bear Republic with Da Boss recently on an early Monday afternoon for lunch and a few brews. We actually sat outside since it was such a perfect day so we did not observe the inside atmosphere closely. Outside it was very pleasant. The area which BRBC resides is kept very tidy and it is dressed up nicely by perannials. Inside it smelled liked a brewery! The young lady that served us was very timely and attentive despite it being pretty busy on the back porch. The selection of brews was very good, the choices were tough to make! The food was pretty good with the garlic fries being very tasty but the sandwiches we had were OK at best. The prices were reasonable, pretty average for the places we have been to around the country. I would recommed it to any fans of BRBC!
05-07-2005 20:04:09 |
More by arizcards
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5
Atmosphere This pub is in downtown Healdsburg but not on the street front so it is really easy to miss. The building doesnt have a face on the street, so you have to find the general address then park and walk around back.
Inside it seems to be a pretty trendy place. I was there during barrel tasting so expected a middle-aged crowd, but it was mostly kids drinking beer and socializing, even in the middle of the day. It'a noisy and has a very college-like clientele.
Quality This place is a bit run down. I dont think they are going for fancy-shmancy to begin with, but this really is budget on a shoestring.
Service The one time I visited here the service was just horrible, but I hate to slam a place after one visit to Ill give it a 3.0 and try to hit the place up next time Im in town.
Granted, it was fairly crowded. Having said that, we were seated for ten minutes before anyone even stopped by to bring us water. I ordered a beer sampler that came ten minutes later, then the waiter was off in a rush somewhere. He didnt stop back again for 30 minutes. Thats right, 30 minutes.
The plus of the story is that I paid the tab and passed on the pizza that my wife and I were going to have. I saw a fresh pizza being delivered as we walked out and it looked like hell, then we got to our next winery visit and they were providing free, fresh-baked pizza from a wood-fired brick oven. Now thats karma!
Selection They had a great selection of Bear Republic beers. I just missed the fresh Apex tab, but too bad for me that wasnt their problem.
Food Well, I didnt get a chance to try any of the food since our waiter was out fishing or whatever the hell he was doing, so Ill try again next time.
Comments Oh, almost forgot, our dumbass waiter brought me out the wrong beer not once, but twice.
03-11-2005 03:02:04 |
More by RoyalT
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
This place has good beer. I need to go back so I can have a few fresh ones to review. The Red Rocket is one of my favorites...anyway, I digress.
This is a great brewpub to go to on a nice evening when you can wander around outside if you need to wait for a table. Usually we don't need to because there is plenty of room and large parties are easily accomodated, as well as smaller groups, of course. The beer selection is great. It is possible that they have more than their own brews available but I've never noticed and haven't cared. My normal is the Red Rocket or the Heritage.
Better than the usual pub grub is available and the place is very relaxing for hanging out with friends and enjoying food and great beer. I always try to steer people that way when I go visit them in the area.
03-05-2005 04:36:17 |
More by misterscooter
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
Fifth stop of the great 2004 Sonoma County Beer Run. (http://stoutguy.com/beer/trips/Sonoma/)
Bear Republic is honestly one of my favorite California breweries. I will admit to having a beer crush on the brewery.
The brewpub is located in downtown Healdsburg, a town that still feels like a slice of the 1950's, only with high rent antiques and some truly funky places (including an old movie palace the Raven Theater with acts like Charlie Musselwhite). The pub itself is actually hard to spot from the main street as it's located on the backside of a small commercial block. The brewery is actually in a separate building next to the restaurant and is visible through a set of windows.
The pub is clean and well light with a raised bar dias next to a set of serving tanks.The selection of beers here was top notch! While D, the erstwhile navigator, ran down a pint of Grandma's Own and Hop Rod Rye, I sampled the largest sampler of the trip, a whopping 12 beers!
While beer republic doesn't do new growlers anymore, some of the bar staff is sympathetic enough to help a guy who's driven 500 miles and so I went home with a growler of Racer X.
The crowd was great at the pub, very friendly and outgoing. One of the fellows we spent our time jawing with, actually ended up buying our pints. That's a good thing, but even without it, this pub would make my day if it was anywhere near me.
11-14-2004 23:54:24 |
More by drewbage
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
Bear Republic, how I would sell my soul to see you distribute in Indiana.
I visited this brewery on the end of a long session of brewery visits spread over a couple of weeks, so when I found Healdsburg my conditions led me to interpret the city as a shitty win-o commercial nightmare. After a few pints at the pub I realized my thinking was only nominally correct. Healdsburg is wealthy, touristy, commercial, but also charming and fortunately located. And good goddamn, do they have one good brewery.
Bear Republic's small brewpub (apparently) attached to the smallish brewery is scatter-shot decorated. A rasta-flag here, Speed Racer there, digital abstract photos on the wall, bags of malt stacked up by the waitress station. Local artists' work featured predominantly. A cacophony of breweriana. A place you'd imagine a dot-commer would have started or frequented during their heyday. But who gives a shit about whats on the wall - its the beer that makes this place world-class.
The only ones I spent my time with were Racer 5, Hop Rod Rye, and the Godfather of all hop bombs, Racer X, an imperial IPA that was more than sublime. I could kill myself with this beer, seriously, its that good. They'd have to cut me off.
The service sort of sucked; the waitress was nice but seemed to care little about the beer, oh yeah, and it took 10+ minutes to get a beer at a place that was less than a quarter full. The pizza I had was spectacular in the restaurant, but I think I was influenced highly by the A+ beer. My girlfriend's veggie burger was pretty generic but tasty.
This place puts a hurtin' on the pocketbook, in a good way. Just don't try to get a hotel in the area unless you're lookin' to drop $300.
09-09-2004 00:07:01 |
More by GreenWBush
Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Healdsburg, CA
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