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Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bear Republic Brewing Co.Bear Republic Brewing Co.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

164 Ratings
Ratings: 164
Reviews: 95
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Active Beers: 70
Beer Ratings: 22,394
Beer Avg: 3.87
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

345 Healdsburg Ave.
Healdsburg, California, 95448
United States
phone: (707) 433-BEER

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @brbcbrew

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 164 | Reviews: 95 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woodychandler
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

Located in the rear of a downtown mini-mall, there was a patio to the extreme left on the creek side. Coming in, the m.d.s. was straight ahead with a glass cabinet of logo items off to the left and carved wood bears seemingly everywhere. Continuing straight aft was the restaurant area with standard restaurant tables and chairs and a beautiful mural against the back wall. To the right of the m.d.s. was a slight incline that passed another glass cabinet of logo items followed by a couple of FVs and, wrapping around, the half-hexagonal shaped, copper-topped bar with numerous FVs visible behind glass behind the back bar. To the left of the bar was the brewhouse on full display.

Beers: El Oso (4.3); XP Pale Ale (5.4); Bravo Pale Ale (6.5); Big Bear Black Stout (8.1); Racer 5 IPA (7.1); Racer X (8.4); Hop Rod Rye (7.6); Red Rocket (6.8); Crystal Wit (5.0); and Black Bart Stout (6.4) on nitro.

woodychandler, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of DoubleJ
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%

Another of Andre's requests, having been impressed in the past by its Hop Rod Rye. Guilherme was interested too. I would have prefered Lagunitas, but I knew Bear Republic would be an acceptable alternative. We had a little trouble location the brewery because it's located away from the street. We found someone on the street to give us direction, and then we parked our car in the back and found ourselves outside Bear Republic.

The tanks are clearly visible from the bar, but seperated by a glass wall. Yet the interior did have the scent of malted cereals. We chose to sit outside, where the patio is enclosed from the cool outside air. We even had our own heatlamp. But we weren't forgotten by the staff, whio came by a number of time to check on us.

16 different house beers were pouring, including Grand-Am, Hop Rod Rye, Newport Rebellion, and Global Kolsch. Naturally, we ordered a flight of all their beers. If you want a full pour, you can get one for just $4-5! The beers we tried were solid to good, though I'll admit a few that I've had before seemed a little muted (of course, visiting Russian River before may have disfigured my palate).

I had never been to Healdsburg before, and Bear Republic was the reason for breaking that spell. Bear Republic lovers will certainly enjoy their visit here.

DoubleJ, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%

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 it’s 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, Pete’s 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 didn’t really eat here, but I snagged a small bowl of Lobster Bisque which was thick, creamy and lovely, could’ve 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 hadn’t 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, it’s only 20-25 minutes away.

Last Visit: Monday 2nd January, 2006.

TheLongBeachBum, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%

Here I am at this must visit place, to try the beers they never bottle..and the rare time I can find them I have been beary pleased. The bartender is John and we are talking beer. He is giving me style and another style. Is it the style? I had a great pale, and an unusual sour beer, among others. A large square bar, many tables, tempting merchandise. Great service, not to busy on a cold Monday night. Parking down the street. A beautiful and very safe town.I understand the food is very good, and a big step up from your your usual bar food.

Sammy, Nov 11, 2012
Photo of John_M
4.45/5  rDev +7%

Have visited BR on a number of occasions. Healdsburg just seems to get more and more gentrified all the time, but BR, I'm happy to report, has changed very little over the years.

Located just off the downtown square, the brewpub is moderate size with a nice outdoor patio area. As one walks in the door, there is good size (not huge, but good size) dining room in front of you with a moderate size bar area on a raised floor up to the right. My guess is the bar holds somewhere between 12 and 15 stools and is where I sat on a beautiful day in September. Atmosphere at BR is informal and laidback with a very comfortable vibe. On this particular day they had around 12 or 13 beers on tap, including an oak aged black mamba on the beer engine. As expected, quality across the board was high and the beers brewery fresh. They were out of the Racer X the afternoon I was there, but was more then happy with the APEX DIPA they had on tap in its place. Service was exceptional on this day, with the staff quick, efficient and well informed. Also, as I was wearing my Boundary Bay brewing t-shirt, the bartender knocked a couple of bucks off the price of my APEX.

Maybe it has something to do with the brewpubs location in the wine country, but the food here is a significant cut above what I've come to expect at most brewpubs. They even have a decent selection of wine by the glass; again one assumes, in keeping with the wine country location. Prices are reasonable for what you get I thought.

One of the better brewpub experiences I can think of. Always a must visit whenever I'm in the area.

John_M, Sep 04, 2008
Photo of Yetiman420
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%

My wife and I made a stop at Bear Republic on a Sunday afternoon prior to an evening at Russian River. It's in a quant square in downtown Healdsburg and you could easily spend additional time strolling around and shopping (we opted to head to the hotel to relax by the pool). The actual building is a bit underwhelming for the area and the expectation that we had for such good beers. We also had problems finding a seat that wasn't by a wall of flies or blasting HVAC and the service was bad but I give them a break because it was between dinner and lunch. Overall, BR is a good stop if you're planning a trip around Russian River.

Yetiman420, May 21, 2008
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

Awesome down to Earth bar filled with chill locals and really friendly, beer obsessed staff in the heart of snobby California wine country. Making it here was a major thrill for me as Bear Republic is one of my favorite breweries. The bar is one large room decked out with Bear Republic stuff. One corner plays host to brewing equipment. I can’t believe that until recently they produced their product in this little space. Tap line-up included all of their regular offerings except for Hop-Rod. They also had El Oso, Crystal Wit, a specialty stout and a couple of guest taps. Nearly all Bear Republic bears are phenomenal and the Crystal Wit, which I tried for the first time was no exception. I had a great time chatting with the staff and really enjoyed my time there. A great place.

DaPeculierDane, Aug 07, 2007
Photo of beerwolf77
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

My wife and I spent an afternoon drinking and carrying on with the locals here. It's a fairly nice brew pub but nothing I haven't seen before. The beers were all good especially the 10 year old barley wine. The best part of our experience was the bar staff and the locals. The bar tender was filled with stories and silly jokes. Had us cracking up the whole time. Plus the locals were very friendly and fun to chat up. It was like being back home in a bar we had been to a hundred times. After several pints we got hungry and ordered some food. It was very good but standard fare for a brew pub. This was a great stop on our way up to wine country.

beerwolf77, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of corby112
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

I stopped by this place on a recent trip to Northern California.

This place kind of reminded me of a family chain restaurant in a way. There were lots of families there and the decor was very bright. They had several televisions and it was kind of like a sports bar. The dining area is very large with ample seating for large dinner parties and small high top tables. The bar run across the right wall when you walk in and if fairly large, again with plenty of seating.

They have a very nice selection of their beers including year round, seasonals, and limited one off offerings. When I was there they had Racer X, BRBC Tripel, Carburator and Sotoyome Amber which was an amber ages in oak whine barrels. The only problem is the lack of guest taps. If there were any I couldn't tell.

The food was decent, a little above average. I had the clam chowder which was very good and some turkey and brie pressed sanwhich which was very dry. As mentioned above it was decent and better than the average pub food but nothing spectacular.

I sat at the bar and the service was very good. I was waited on by two different bartenders and they were very friendly and somewhat knowledgeable and always made sure I had a beer in front of me. One of them actually showed me how to reset my iPhone when the internet stopped working. Thanks again!

Overall this place was pretty cool and I'm glad that I had a chance to stop by and drink some of my favorites from them frsh from the source. Also, that Sotoyome Amber is amazing and if it's on tap you should order it without question.

corby112, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Cool atmosphere, patio area, dining area, usual breweriana abound. Right downtown, all kinds of cool shops, park in the middle of town. Finding the place is a little bit of an adventure, but nothing too difficult.

Quality of the beer is just dandy, as you're used to in the bottle format. Service is cheery, if not the most informed, but that's ok. Selection was decent, hoped to see more one off type of stuff, they did have some old barleywine and strong ales from the cellar available, so that was cool, but something barrel aged would have been a welcome addition. Breweries should have more stuff of a limited or only there type of nature. I can get the usual stuff at Safeway ya know? I guess they had the roggenbier and el oso which were forgettable for the most part.

Wine country, its a little pricey, wish I wasn't so full already when we ate, the garlic fries are awesome. But $12 for a burger, you've been warned.

Beerandraiderfan, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Visited Bear Republic over the 2011 to 2012 New Year's Eve weekend. Saturday afternoon and the place was crowded with people waiting for space at the bar and waiting for tables. No problem. Places opened up at the bar for folks and tables turned.

Lots of locals clearly present but friendly and engaging. Staff handled crowd really well, even to the point of filling two growlers for me and, while telling me I'd have to wait a little bit to get a full tasting flight, she got it to me in about 2 minutes!

Great selection; great service and great value. Only problem is that you've got to get to Healdsburg! We probably tasted close to 15 beers and all were excellent. I don't think Bear Republic knows how to make bad beer! I'd gladly welcome Racer X as my daily beer.

GRG1313, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -3.8%

jaydoc, Feb 12, 2014
Photo of flexabull
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%

One of my favorite brew pubs to visit. While I have never been completedly blown away by the food... especially since it is just a tad over priced in my opinion... It is certainly good enough.

What seperates this place from the boys for me is the quality of beers. Consider yourself especially lucky if Racer X is on tap. If you like Racer 5, you'll love Racer X. Too me it tastes like they took everything that was good about 5, and doubled it. There are plenty of other good choices too... the original Hop Rod Rye, the big dark Black Bear Stout, and the very drinkable XPA.

flexabull, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of Seanibus
3.95/5  rDev -5%

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.

Seanibus, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of david18
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

david18, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%

A good place off the square in the town of Healdsburg. Despite what some other reviewers have said, its actually pretty ideally located- just over the small pedestrian bridge from the square parking plaza, meaning it has some of the easiest parking in town. Kind of your standard brewpub decor, but this is hard working brew pub that is pretty tighly packed, so there are mash tuns inside the eating area being worked on as you consume your beer. The quality of all the brews is excellent. All fresh, all well pored and respected. There are also growlers and their six most common brews in bottles to go. The selection is also quite good when I was there. Their six standard brews on tap, + Racer X, a Summit IPA, and something lighter. I believe there was also one cask conditioned. The food was decent- a little ambitious, and they don't always pull it off. Not bad, and a fairly reasonable alternative in this expensive town. Also, they serve glasses, pints, and schooners for some variation. Definitely a great place to have lunch or just grab a beer or two. This should be a stop everyone makes in Sonoma beer country- along with Russian River, Flavors for Moonlight, Third Street Alehouse (all in Santa Rosa); and Stumptown (in Guerneville).

Georgiabeer, Aug 22, 2006
Photo of Vogt52
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Vogt52, Aug 30, 2014
Photo of benito
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%

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.

benito, Jun 14, 2006
Photo of mattmarka1
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

mattmarka1, Apr 01, 2014
Photo of DrMindbender
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

DrMindbender, Jul 28, 2014
Photo of williamjbauer
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%

I really enjoyed my time here. I didn't have huge expectations and this was a nice surprise.

A - A bit nicer than your average brewery.

Q - Great quality for what you spend.

S - We had great service and conversation the entire night and even some good reviews of other local breweries.

Sel - I had 8 of about 16 beer available. Great selection and if it has "racer" in the name you must try it.

F - Pretty good appetizers and a nice price.

V - It was fine we saved money by going with appetizers but the menu was fair for all types of food.

williamjbauer, Feb 07, 2012
Photo of atpca
4/5  rDev -3.8%

atpca, Jul 18, 2014
Photo of drewbage
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%

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.

drewbage, Nov 14, 2004
Photo of VegasBill
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%

I finally made it here after tearing myself away from Russian River. The beer is legendary but what I did not know is that they have some selections on tap that I guess are not bottled, I thought they bottled everything. Anyway I discovered Heritage Scotch Ale and Apex IPA both on tap and very very good. I sat at the bar and ordered lunch, the food is pub fare but way above average. The bartender was great, funny and had a great knowledge of the beers.
On the downside the bar and restaurant seemed very dirty. It just had that feel that everything was not cleaned often.And the servers were totally clueless, as to their work and no knowledge of the beer.They were constantly coming to the bar and asking the bartender questions not only about the beer but just how to do their jobs.When I was there no one was seating the customers so every party that entered waited and finally someone,often the bartender, would yell out"would someone seat those people" .

VegasBill, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of timlyon
5/5  rDev +20.2%

timlyon, Jun 19, 2014
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Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Healdsburg, CA
93 out of 100 based on 164 ratings.