Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Active Beers: 84
Beer Ratings: 21,287
Beer Avg: 3.83
Taps: / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 130 | Reviews: 93 | Display Reviews Only:
3.71/5 rDev -10.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
In the oh-so-cute town of Healdsburg, there's a wine tasting room every five steps and more upscale restaurants than one could shake a stick at, whatever that means. So it's not that surprising that Bear Republic's front door is relegated to an alleyway entrance, out of view of the town's main street. My friend and I drove by it twice before seeing the small sign pointing us in the right direction. Good thing we saw the sign.
Inside, Bear Republic has that ever-more-familiar feel of an American brewpub--large expansive dining area, dim lighting, and a patio. It is inoffensive and what I expect when walking into a new brewpub these days.
They had ten brews on tap (though, unfortunately, they were out of both Red Rocket and XP Pale), so we ordered a sampler and tried the field. Overall the brews were above average, though none of them were anything to write home about. Importantly, there were also no total duds. Some high points: the my-reputation-precedes-itself-so-I-better-be-good Racer 5 IPA, Black Bart Stout, and Pete's Brown. IAnd then the rest in the middle: the hefeweizen, blonde ale, el oso lager, aggression ale (with a new, single simcoe hop), hop rod rye, and ESB.
There's nothing exceptional here--in beer quality, selection, or ambience, but If, per chance, I'm ever in Sonoma again, I wouldn't hesitate to make a return visit to Bear Republic. Recommended for anyone passing through or in the area.
06-14-2006 17:16:36 | More by benito
4.16/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I dropped by the brewery for a couple of beers while in No Cal on business. I had already eaten lunch so I did not try their food. The establishment had the feel of a typical brewpub. The bar area was a good place to drink. There were a quite a few locals hanging out afterwork and were quite friendly. I could imagine if I lived in there, I would hang out regularly to drink beer. The bartender was very attentive and took good care of me. I had the Racer X and Hop Rod Rye...two of my all time favorite beers. I also got a couple of fresh bottles to take home with me. Overall, the place was nothing extrodinary, but it has great beer and a friendly atmosphere, so definitely worth a stop if you are in the area.
05-26-2006 18:18:44 | More by ddarden
4.4/5 rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
If your in Healdsburg, don't miss this place. Bear Republic is known for having great beer and the pub experience is a lot of fun. I went with my girlfriend. But she wanted to check out a few shops before they closed. So that left me to meet Rapapoda for a few. We ran into some characters (women). That was an interesting exchange.
The bartender was really cool and the Hop Rod Rye on-cask was outstanding! The food was good and the overall service was great. The place is rather large with a long bar on the right that lets you get a glimpse into the brewery. Really a great place hang out.
05-10-2006 19:26:34 | More by TheLoneGunman
4.2/5 rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Bear Republic is a great place to go with friends after work. Their roasted garlic and appetizers are great. The beer is always good and a step above the normal everyday brews that you would find in the area. The place is decorated for their cycling interest and is very sportsman oriented. I always try to get to Bear Republic when I am up north.
Since I attended Sonoma State University, I ended up being able to go to Bear Republic a lot. I tend to enjoy the Hef, the Race 5 is excellent and Pete Brown's Tribute Ale is quite amazing. They usually have a few seasonals on tap every time I am there. Right now, they have their Barleywine on tap. I am never ever disappointed with my trips to Bear Republic.
I suggest pulling up a chair and ordering a few pints, getting some of the garlic fries and enjoying the company and the scenery.
04-19-2006 03:43:28 | More by PuckLSHS
District of Columbia
4.03/5 rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $
not the cheapest of joints (but by no means expensive. $8), but quality. a friend reports that all three of her visits have yielded fine food, and my one visit confirms (to a limited degree). i had the rocket burgertastyand a goddam delicious bavarian rhubarb and strawberry cake. our waiter raved about the dessert guy, who apparently shows up at night to do his thing
the waiter seemed a bit overworked, but the atmosphere was cool and simple and the tunes were solid as well
sampled the house IPA, Hop Rod (one of my favorites), Big Bear Black and Old Scouters Barley Wine and tasted the hefeweizen, ESB and blonde: good beers (ESB seemed a little off target, but i didn't have enough to review)
the glorious aroma of hydrated malt permeated the air...even outside
03-30-2006 06:36:16 | More by bruachan
3.95/5 rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Took the journey up to Healdsburg with Denali and Brewbacca. I have been a huge fan of Bear Republic ever since Racer X ripped my tongue to pieces without mercy. This trip was long overdue.
The actual establishment is hidden behind some buildings on town square. The inside is cool, typical brewpub style with a stock car vibe. The sacks of Belgian malt were definitely cool. The brewing operation is in plain site (a bit smaller than I would have thought) with huge storage tanks on the periphery of the building. We sat outside on a gorgeous day.
The service was decent. The waitresses are uniformly cute and pleasant. My friends order was wrong, but was quickly fixed and it left us with free garlic fries. Theoretically this evens out, but I am going to give it a plus because we came out ahead.
The selection is typical Bear Republic with some notable hard-to-finds and cool additions. First off, there is a Nitro Racer 5 (didn't have it, as curious as I was) and a Cask Hop Rod Rye (simply amazing). Racer X was in full effect, as was the seasonal barleywine. If you like Bear Republic, you will be in good hands.
The food was good, just one small step above "meh". I had a pulled pork sandwich which was tasty but nothing special at all. The garlic fries were pretty damn good however.
As a singular destination, this is a toss up. It's alright with some good unique beer offerings. As part of a larger beer trip (Russian River, Anderson Valley, Third St. Aleworks) or a wine country trip (sonoma, Napa, Calistoga) it is a great stop over in a quaint upscale town.
03-21-2006 08:33:03 | More by axisjones
4.05/5 rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
During a weekend in Sonoma wine country, my girlfriend Amanda and I were in the Healdsburg area and we decided to stop by Bear Republic for a late lunch and a couple of brews. Beer selection was good sporting a few interesting items on the beer menu including Nitro Racer 5, Old Scouters and Big Bear Black was on cask. I opted for the cask, my girlfriend got the Hefe Weizen. My cask beer was a bit on the stale side, I probably should have asked when the cask was tapped. The Hefe was crisp and refreshing. I also tried the Old Scoutter's Barley Wine, which I recall being rather tasty. For food, we both settled on burgers. I went with the Rocket Burger, while Amanda opted for the Black & Blue burger. Both burgers were quite tasty, but her choice was clearly the better. Our service was good, food prepared well and quickly, waitress came back to check on us several times. Overall, a quite enjoyable experience that if I lived in the area, I would no doubt come back often. Highly recommended.
03-08-2006 07:12:39 | More by kmcnair
4.15/5 rDev -0.2%
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
4.4/5 rDev +5.8%
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
4.2/5 rDev +1%
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
Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Healdsburg, CA
93 out of 100 based on 130 ratings.