Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Ratings: 139 | Reviews: 94 | Display Reviews Only:
3.83/5 rDev -7.7%
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
3.83/5 rDev -7.7%
A must-visit for beer lovers touring wine country. The quality of Bear Republic beers is astonishingly high across the entire line, and the brewpub always has enough worth sampling.
The (rightfully) well-known beers are Racer 5 IPA, Hop Rod Rye, Black Bear Stout, and Red Rocket. These are distributed in bottles, but gain a lot from being served fresh on tap.
But be sure to look for the Racer X DIPA, Heritage Scotch Ale, Rebellion IPA, Apex IPA - all worth trying, and not available in bottles. Also try whatever they've got on their hand pump - it's not always operating, but amazing when it is.
Table service here is marginal at best - I've been at all times of day, all different days and never had the remotest kind of prompt or friendly service except when I've sat at the bar. Clearly the proprietors don't put much stock in operating the restaurant. Food is typical bar food - edible but not remarkable - with the exception of the excellent fried green tomatoes.
But none of that really matters. This is the strongest lineup of self-made beers you'll find at any brewpub on the planet. Bear Republic does not misfire.
So if you're in wine country, make a stop at Bear Republic. With its convenient location in downtown Healdsburg, it's in walking distance of a dozen wine tasting rooms - so your wine-interested friends can walk around while you sample everything on tap (and cask) at Bear Republic.
02-19-2007 04:39:46 | More by Talisker
3.88/5 rDev -6.5%
Brewpub located in the quaint town of Healdsburg, CA. Visited on 12/31/07. Fun room with lots of bicycles, race car parts, and other contraptions and memorabilia all over the place. Small brewhouse off to the side (I'm guessing this just supplies the brewpub). Good food (lobster bisque was especially good). About 12 beers on draft including several seasonal and specialty beers. Barrel Aged Blend was best beer I tried during my visit. I've been here several times and each visit has been enjoyable.
02-17-2008 16:24:16 | More by ojclark
3.89/5 rDev -6.3%
Atmosphere-I wanted to leave the whole time I was there, as I was harassed by two old guys at the bar (they thought my hat was a Yankees hat, when it had nothing to do with sports at all, and proceeded to call me homosexual in numerous ways). The other locals and bartender were not particularly pleasant either.
Quality-Bear Republic has good beer. I had Racer X, which was pretty good, though not my favorite DIPA.
Service-The bartender gave my friends and I samples of a few beers before we chose our pints, which was nice. The first time I went here the bartender was more personable though.
Selection-Many more beers were available here than I have ever seen from them, so it would be nice to have an afternoon to try a few different things.
Value-The Racer X I had was $5 plus a $1 tip, more than I would spend for a pint of Pliny, which I would have preferred.
I would like to go here again in a while, but you know how those bad experiences stick with you and can skew your impression of a place. It's worth a visit, just make sure if you have a hat on it is a Giants hat.
11-29-2008 22:51:48 | More by MrFootstones
3.95/5 rDev -4.8%
I went here for lunch the other day with my lady and our friend. Atmosphere is warm but busy feeling as the dining area is cozy and there are TVs and decorations everywhere (I’m being a bit picky though). Everything on the menu sounded wonderful, and the entrées we ordered were all delicious albeit a bit expensive. The service wasn’t necessarily slow, but it was noticeable. The place has outdoor seating, a decent sized dining area, and a bar section. The tap list was extensive and consisted of all their ‘normal’ brews they offer in bottles plus a handful of limited brewery only releases. They even had a little section on the menu that offered vintage bottles of the breweries beers that they have tucked away, some for over a decade, and they also frequently offer things on cask.
Overall, this place is worth a stop at least for a beer but maybe even for a meal. They have a big menu, a broad beer list, and a warm (but crowded and loud) atmosphere. This place does fill up quickly, especially on weekends, so get there early.
10-17-2011 01:04:27 | More by scottfrie
3.95/5 rDev -4.8%
Great beers overall as expected. I have enjoyed the samplers as well as full pints of my favorites like Racer 5, Racer X, Hop Rod Rye, Go Cart Racer, Jack London ESB, and Red Rocket.
The vibe here is average, not as great as I had expected, but not bad by any means. The raised bar area is pretty nice and has a few TVs for sports.
Food is decent, but not at the same level as the beer. Perhaps I need to try more items to give a fair review.
Staff is fine--not super attentive, and I didn't find them to be particularly knowledgeable which was somewhat surprising.
Overall, though, a very worthwhile stop for the beers alone--just keep your other expectations in check.
11-08-2009 05:03:05 | More by JTahoe
3.95/5 rDev -4.8%
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
3.95/5 rDev -4.8%
I really like stopping by Healdsburg to visit this very chill (at least during the day on weekends) place. Nice outdoor patio area for those that like the sun, but i prefer to stay inside where its cooler and darker. Selection (10-14 beers typically) and quality are great and I really like that that they almost always have a special "one off" brewery only beer on tap. I also find their tasting pours to be pretty large. Only downside is that often, even though they are not busy, the service is very slow. Definitely worth checking this place out when in northern Sonoma. Never had the food.
06-16-2010 02:06:45 | More by 4000qtrap
3.95/5 rDev -4.8%
Funky, fun and homey. The restaurant is eclectic, scattered with memorabilia related to racing and the brewery. Most surprising is that the production facility is right there in the restaurant, with the brewers in boots and slickers working over steaming tanks right next to the bar. When there is mashing and boiling going on, the windows fog up and the sweet smell of malt is thick. The service is funky and friendly, and so is the food - basic brew pub menu, no frills. The beer is exactly what you'd expect - interesting, large, earnest and delicious. There are all the usual Bear Republic suspects plus some rarities and brewery-only experiments. Instead of a straight sampler tray, the brewery opts for a series of flights, including lineups of hoppy beers, malty beers, specialty beers and so on. This is a fun stop in a fun town.
02-20-2011 17:26:24 | More by Seanibus
3.95/5 rDev -4.8%
Had a nice lunch here on Fathers Day 2012. Good food, excellent service and good beer. I was surprised the waiter wasn't prepared to offer pairing suggestions.. I ordered a burger and asked his advice on what to pair with it. He kept telling me a hamburger, so I figured he misunderstood and didn't know what I was talking about. No problem.
I ended up with a sample paddle of MANY beers that were draft or brewery only, and not sold in stores. The wine country wheat beer was a bit grapey. Many of the others were hop-centric. I'd eat and drink here again.
07-22-2012 06:06:32 | More by DrunkenMonk
Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Healdsburg, CA
92 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.