Beer has come a long way since the college days and perhaps you and your sweetie are fans of the new generation of ales. Here’s a great suggestion from our friends at 7×7 for a quick getaway to sip and sample the best of the hops, yeast, and malted barley that Northern California has to offer.

GETTING THERE

Northern Sonoma County is easily accessible up the 101 and with the nearly completed 101 widening project, getting there is usually a traffic free affair. The out of towner’s can enjoy the luxury of flying directly into Santa Rosa with daily non-stop flights from LA, Seattle,  and Portland to Santa Rosa courtesy of Alaska Airlines.

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DAY ONE: FORT BRAGG

We headed north past Mendocino to Fort Bragg, a town known for logging, abalone diving, and the North Coast Brewing Company. Its moose-head-flanked tasting room is the type of joint you picture fishermen wandering into from the bluffs. North Coast’s beers—Red Seal Ale, Scrimshaw Pilsner, Blue Star, and Acme Pale Ale—make their way to SF taps in earnest. But it’s their Pranqster (a Belgian-style golden ale), Brother Thelonious (a Belgian-style abbey ale), and Le Merle (a rustic ale) that wield the power to instantly turn you into a beer snob. …read more

DAY TWO: BOONVILLE

Inland from Fort Bragg lies Boonville, the infamously quirky town of 700 with its own dialect called Boontling. We checked into the Boonville Hotel in a housed in a B&B comprising eight unique rooms, plus a bungalow and a studio, each designed with works from local artists. In the morning, homemade scones are served and in the evening, the restaurant, Table 128, cooks up family-style dinners created, as they put it, by “whim and season.”…read more

DAY THREE: HEALDSBURG

The next morning, we drove the hour or so to Healdsburg, checked into the new H2 Hotel and readied ourselves for some eco-pampering. The LEED gold-certified hotel has a living roof and a fleet of bikes for renting, and it features sustainable and organic everything. …read more

DAY FOUR: SANTA ROSA AND PETALUMA

The next morning, we headed down to Santa Rosa to the Russian River Brewing Company , considered by many to be one of the best in the quest for the hoppiest beer—a badge of pride for many West Coast craft brewers—Russian River’s Pliny the Elder has long been a benchmark. It claimed the No. 2 spot this year on BeerAdvocate’s “Top 100 Beers on Planet Earth,” outranked only by Westvleteren 12, made by Trappist monks in Belgium. But instead of finding a love for hops at Russian River, I discovered my penchant for Belgian sours. One called Temptation—fermented with a special strain of yeast and aged for a year in French oak Chardonnay barrels—was like nothing I’ve ever tasted, with hints of tart cherry and oak….read more

By Jennifer Pollock

This is our weekly guest post from our friends at 7×7, a site that keeps you up on the best of SF. We’ve teamed up for an exciting partnership to bring you a fantastic Date Night idea each week. Be sure to check out their blog for hourly doses of the best of SF.