Ruth McGowan's Brewpub

Brewery, Bar, Eatery

131 East First Street
Cloverdale, California, 95425
United States

(707) 894-9610 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 7 | Ratings: 8 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Offa:
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Offa from California

3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

This is a really good, friendly, solid, and enjoyable brewpub in downtown Cloverdale, which certainly needs it's own beer place since it's up in the far northern end of Sonoma County all by itself and it's a good 30-minute drive on the freeway just down to Santa Rosa. It's closer to Healdsburg and, in the north, Hopland, but even those are are a good 15-20 minutes serious highway driving away . All in all, it's a good, low-key, straightforward pub that does a great job of providing well-made, straightforward beer with reliably good food.

The place is not fancy but it's comfortable, with a room with the bar plus another room in back, both with windows, plus some seating under the awning outside. The bar area is nice.

Beer quality is overall very good.

Service is friendly and on -the-ball, the owner clearly enthusiastic and dedicated to serving her customers in a friendly manner.

Beer selection is fairly limited, but with a good range of pale ales, golden, IPA, stout, etc.

Food is simple but good, enjoyable pub food, burgers, fries, fried chicken, etc.

Sep 17, 2013
More User Reviews:
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heymikew from California

3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

This is a nice place to stop in Cloverdale if you want good beer and decent food. They have a nice variety of beers, notable were the Pine Mountain pale and oatmeal stout. Ruth's family takes good care of visitors.

Jun 03, 2017
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MIrvine from California

3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.25

Feb 26, 2017
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NickB_Ohio from Ohio

5/5  rDev +32.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

We are from Ohio and on our Napa Valley vacation, were displaced due to flooding so decided to drive north on US 101 to the Redwoods. Thanks to a few apps on our phones, we stumbled upon this brewery on an early Sunday afternoon and so thankful we did.

The brewpub is set in the small town of Cloverdale. Upon entering, we were only 1 of 2 parties having lunch and brew. We sat at the bar and were treated extremely well. One of my first impressions was how they built their brewpub around their the same room! The kettles are right there behind the taps. The bartender freely gave us both samples to try before making our selection. We both chose the Christmas seasonal which was an oatmeal/raisin cookie stout. Super smooth, 8% ABV, wonderful, and not too bitter. For food, we enjoyed the "Irish Nachos" which aren't nachos at all. They are fries covered in a few generously-applied cheeses, larges chunks of bacon (not bacon bits...actual cut bacon slices) and not much else. AMAZING. Highly recommend. We enjoyed a fresh crispy chicken wrap after that which was very generously prepared. Before we left, the founder/owner walked in and lunch next to us. Great conversation, personal attention, excellent beer. We look forward to excuses in the future to stop in again!

Dec 03, 2012
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mjl21 from California

3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Ruth McGowan's Brewpub is typically never mentioned as a place to go in northern Sonoma County, due in large part to its proximity to RR and Bear Republic.

The brewery is located smack in the heart of downtown Cloverdale next to the movie theater. There is plenty of street parking available.

The space is comprised of two rooms. The main room has a very large bar along with some tables. All of the brewing equipment is located in the middle of the room. The second room has more tables, a stage, and a shuffleboard table. There are old photos scattered throughout and a farm mural on one wall.

The beers are listed on signs posted in the middle of the room. They brew a few different styles. When I was there they had a brown ale, IPA, Cloverdale Ale, Belgian trippel, dry Irish stout, and a wheat beer. They also had guest taps from Anderson Valley and North Coast. I had a pint of the Floyd IPA, which was a pretty good take on the style. It had a lot of citrus and a nice bitterness to it. Definitely worth ordering should you find yourself here.

They have a full menu full of typical pub fare. I have never tried the food so I can't speak to the quality.

The bartender was friendly and did a good job of making sure I had everything I needed.

I stopped by during their happy hour. They do it every M-F from 3 to 6 PM and offer $3.00 pints during that time. They also offer Grolsch swing top growlers to go.

I think the Floyd IPA justifies a stop in at this location. It is not that much further up the road from Healdsburg and is not nearly as crowded as RR and Bear Republic.

Aug 13, 2011
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Mark from California

3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Finally made it to this place in the otherwise passable town of Cloverdale. Plain looking from the outside, a bit funky by comfortable on the inside. The pub offered 4 of their own beers plus about 3 guest beers. Tanks are right behind the large bar. My IPA was very good and Suzanne liked her blonde ale. We both liked the food we had. simple but good. A bit expensive but we'll all agree that cheap pubs are hard to find. We'll go back and it's on the way to the North Coast. Service was very fast and the waitress was very friendly. One could do worse. Worth a visit if in the area and could be easily included in a pub crawl as nearby places include Bear Republic and Russian River.

Jul 29, 2007
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TheLongBeachBum from California

3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3

The New Years Eve weekend was in full swing. Base Camp was Santa Rosa & my good mate BA Rapopoda had ably provided & expertly steered his trusty steed, a horsy convertible, for touring the NorthWest Sonoma County for some excellent Wine Tasting at some stunningly beautiful Wineries in the gorgeously resplendent Vineyard laden Valleys.

Beer on Wine is always preferred, so after some grape laden libations early in the day, it was soon time to take it down a notch in order to stay Compus Mentis in preparation for the Pirate Party at Russian River Brewing Co. later in the night & of course our entry into '07.

Set in dense urban surroundings with its high rise tower blocks, slum dwellings, large gay community & drug ridden neighborhoods…oh wait, hold on, that was a different place. Yeah Cloverdale, hmmmm, not saying it’s small but the Speed Signs are back to back & they were all partially graffiti’d with the word Reeferdale?!

By the time Rapopoda & I arrived, we were a little merry & happy with just being in the Alexander Valley, & so our respective alter egos, Basil Fawlty & the English Major, had somehow managed to unfortunately completely take over our minds & bodies seconds before we entered here. Disclaimer: This BeerFly is submitted from an out of body experience that is as accurate as possible, only the names of those involved have been changed to protect the innocent.

Passive exterior only differentiated itself from the other 37 Antique shops in Cloverdale with the word “Brewpub”, along with some Neon signs. Once inside the interior reveals itself like a bad experience on psilocybin mushrooms. Fluorescent yellows, Highlighter Marker Pen greens and oranges with a soupcon of left over unpopular paint colors from Home Depot. The L-shaped bar is in front of you from the side entrance & works off to your righthandside. The brewery has a real Copper & many Stainless tanks all set behind the bar in a tiled area that reminded me of the showers in the boys changing rooms from my Secondary School days. It all has a rather spartan utilitarian functionality about it. The Brewery itself seems to take up nearly half of the floor space in this small corner bar. Off to the right the interior gets wackier, some booths are set against the wall with malt sacks piled up against them, stools line the bar. To your immediate left, the kitchen is open to view through a large mail box style window & the toilets are next door, coincidence? I tried not to mention the mural in the front space, but I failed, lets just say it too is just plain funky & weird…erm….dope induced?? Did I say that? No it was the English Major.

“That better not be your White Convertible Mustang outside”, the woman behind the bar (I think her name was Marjorie Dawes) greeted us with open arms & no envy whatsoever. “I always wanted one of those”….this is obviously an upscale neighborhood; they don’t know how to steal cars with half a tennis ball & a tempered steel screwdriver by the time they are 12 years old. Rap asked if they had any “Morning Fawlty” but apparently they were out. “Papers in yet?” was also out, so I opted for the Double IPA, not that bad, decent amount of pine laden hop oils. Sadly Basil went for the DunkelBockDark something or other, those Bloody Germans know nothing, it was terrible, but had it changed for a much more palatable English Pale Ale. A limited offering on tap, but a varied range; Cloverdale Pale Ale, Everyday IPA, Monster Brown & a…was it Pine Mountain Pale Ale? Erm, maybe; plus that horrid dark GermanDunkelBock stuff. Kudos to Marjorie Dawes for swapping the brew though, no sooner had Basil Fawlty screwed up his face & issued his request to have another beer, it was readily swapped with little qualm.

Ruth McGowan’s has a new brewer, a German, but don’t mention the War, I did, once, but I think I got away with it. Morning Fawlty!! Papers In Yet? Utter stupidity had set in by this time & the poor woman behind the bar had to handle a barrage of urine extraction which revolved around partial sentences, famous quips from history & the best of the BBC’s comedy circa 1967-Present Day. Punters were a mix of quiet locals, alcoholics, Marjorie Dawes sister & a Dudley Punt who popped in with his Ting-Tong Macadandang for 15 minutes but stayed for 35.

Food may soak up some of the King George madness I figured. So I asked Marjorie if she had Pickled Eggs, or if indeed she could still have children. Basil wanted a Waldorf Salad & a Holiday Ham. Despite the good looking Pickled Eggs & the fact that they were out of Waldorfs & Holiday Hams, Rap & I both settled for a Bowl of Soup with Crackers; cheap, hot, fresh, reasonably good & it did the biz…..& bugger me with a 6 month old toothbrush, sideways, it had Holiday Ham in it!

All this madness & we hadn’t even got to Russian River for New Years Eve Pirates Ball….it was gonna be a long night.

Ruth McGowan’s.


One day I’ll get back here.

Last Visit: Sunday 31st December, 2006.

Jan 07, 2007
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Troyone from California

3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Kind of a Diner type of setting with the boiler and fermenters in the same room as the bar and dining. There is a patio to the east of the building. The 90 degree shaped bar was spacious.

Some tap nozzles were stainless steel and others were brass. Fat hardwood bar and wood tables. chairs, and booths. Kitchen was in the open however no grill. Unisex restroom was clean.

Service was alright.

All the beers had a similar taste and no cask option. Possible notable being the Monster Brown.

Food was alright.


Jun 10, 2005
Ruth McGowan's Brewpub in Cloverdale, CA
Brewery rating: 3.68 out of 5 with 65 ratings