5 Sonoma Session Beers for Sunny Days

Nothing pairs better with warm weather than a cool and tasty session beer.

Courtesy of Destination Races

Lagunitas Brewing Company beer at a party
Lagunitas Brewing Company’s PILS is best served cold. (Photo courtesy of Destination Races)

Warm weather is here. In Sonoma County, that means picnics in the park, tubing on the Russian River, and barbecuing in the backyard. Nothing pairs better with those three activities than a tasty session beer, which is low in alcohol and easy to drink.

Here are five local session beers to stock up that extra fridge in the garage for sunny days. 

A variety of 101 North Brewing Company beers. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)
A variety of 101 North Brewing Company beers, the Golden Naked Ale second from left. (Christopher Chung)

101 North Brewing Co. Golden Naked Ale (5.3% ABV)
An unfiltered golden ale, 101 North Brewing Co.’s Golden Naked Ale is a straightforward beer that gets its name from the use of golden naked oats in the recipe. A nice nose of caramel and citrus, a tasty biscuit-like flavor, and an easy finish. Pair this beer (clothes optional) with aromatic, flavor-packed Indian take-out.

Bear Republic Brewing Co. Pace Car Racer (4% ABV)
A session IPA, Pace Car Racer is one of the newer beers introduced into the prolific Bear Republic’s lineup. This straw-colored brew has the greatest hits of a good IPA, such as a bit of grass, pine and citrus. It wraps up with a touch of sweetness and malt. This nicely carbonated beer should be served in a cooler next to the grill.

Patio at Bear Flag Republic Brewing Co. in Healdsburg, California
The patio at Bear Republic Brewing in Healdsburg (Photo courtesy of Bear Republic Brewing Co).

Lagunitas Brewing Company PILS (6% ABV)
A staple of the Lagunitas line-up, PILS is a Czech-style Pilsner that has been declared “easy to slam” by the Petaluma-based brewery. The beer has a a bit of earthy and citrusy scents and a nice, sweet malty flavor. Finishes up with a hoppy bite and you’ve got a primo poolside brew.

Russian River Brewing Company STS Pils (5.35% ABV)
Made in the tradition of a Czech pilsner, Russian River’s STS (the airport code for our own Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport) has a scent and taste of lemon and bread with a nice, crisp finish. It’s unfiltered, so don’t be surprised if there is a bit of a haze. Grill up some sausage to pair and enjoy.

Canned beers from Sonoma Springs Brewing Co.
Canned brews from Sonoma Springs Brewing Co. in Sonoma (Photo courtesy of Sonoma Springs Brewing Co.)

Sonoma Springs Brewing Co. Kölsch (5.2% ABV)
The City of Sonoma’s only brewery, Sonoma Springs Brewing Co. released their first canned beers in March, including their Kölsch, one of their core beers. Using malted barley sourced directly from Köln, Germany, this beer is light, dry and has a touch of grassiness on the end. Fans of European pilsners will approve.