If you head north on Highway 101 for about 60 miles from San Francisco, California – you’ll come to the city of Santa Rosa. As the county seat of Sonoma County, it’s a well-known destination for wine lovers from around the world. For outdoors people, Santa Rosa is the perfect combination of urban and nature – with Santa Rosa Creek and its tributaries flowing directly through the heart of the town. Wildlife is abundant, and the city’s efforts to maintain native and wild habitats are apparent in the many state and county parks that combine for large swaths of untouched wilderness.
Set in this majesty is Fogbelt Brewing. It’s a small, but thriving brewery that takes as much pride in its geographic location as in the ingredients it uses to brew its beer. They’re recognized for not only sourcing hops from small local farmers – but actually raising their own estate hops as well.
50 Campfires had a chance to catch up with Greg Coll, the General Manager of Fogbelt Brewing, to chat about what sets them apart – and how their people take advantage of the surrounding natural beauty.
Tell us a little about your Fogbelt Brewing, the types of beers that you brew, and what you feel makes your brewery unique.
Fogbelt Brewing Co. is in Santa Rosa, CA and we have been in business since February 2014. The outdoors is a passion for everyone working here. We sit in one of the best areas in the world for the outdoors surrounded by massive forests filled with Redwood trees and the abundant ocean life of the northern California coast. The passion for our Redwoods is so strong we decided to name all of our beers after them and even have a strong relationship with a local non-profit, Stewards of the Coast, who cares for the trees and educates the public about our precious resource. Fogbelt is a growing brewery, having brewed over 500 barrels in 2015. We are in the middle of an expansion, which will increase our brewing and bottling production, and canning is something we are very interested in for the future. We also have a full kitchen with a direction to have as good of food as we do beer. Most breweries do great beer only and spend little time on their food. We are striving to provide the total experience.
What is your most popular/flagship beer? What makes it great?
We have a few flagships here at Fogbelt Brewing. Our Hyperion Red Ale and Screaming Titan DIPA are favorites of ours, but the Del Norte IPA has quickly become the most popular. It is a hop driven IPA with big citrus notes and a balanced malt backbone. We recently started bottling all three and can be found in and around Sonoma County and soon to be the entire San Francisco bay area.
We love hearing stories about how breweries got their start. What’s the history behind yours?
Fogbelt Brewing was an idea that was created by long time friends Paul Hawley and Remy Martin when they were working the wine harvest in New Zealand in 2004. They both grew up in Sonoma County where the Redwoods meet the vineyards in the fog belt and have over 30 years combined experience in the wine industry. Remy went on to study brewing at UC Davis and Paul continued to work for his family’s vineyard in Healdsburg, CA until opening Fogbelt Brewing Co.
We love meeting people who share our passion for the outdoors. Tell us a bit about the folks involved with Fogbelt Brewing and what they enjoy doing outdoors.
We absolutely love the outdoors! We are in such a beautiful place with the Redwoods surrounding us, camping at the California coast only miles away and an abundance of hiking trails all throughout Sonoma and Marin counties. There are also great rivers for kayaking, canoeing and even river rafting. Not only do we love our local outdoors, but our staff are travelers too. We have three employees out of the country right now in both South America and Scotland. We like to promote our staff to see the world and bring back their experiences to help better who we are. The Fogbelt Brewing staff will also be volunteering more in 2016 with the Stewards of the Coast to get some hands on experience keeping the outdoors pristine!
Is your beer available in cans?
Unfortunately, not at this time, but as soon as we have the capacity to do it, you will see Fogbelt in cans! Right now you can find us in 22oz. bottles or growlers from our taproom.
Where can we find your beer?
The Fogbelt Brewing taproom in Santa Rosa, CA is the best place to really experience what we have to offer. If you can’t make it here don’t worry, we have plans for you. Right now we have limited distribution to our local area, but you will see us branching out in 2016. Expanding takes time and we have great plans to get our beer into every outdoor lover’s hand.