On my way to the California Route 1 drive up the northern coastline, I made a stop in picturesque Guerneville at the Stumptown Brewery. Guerneville is a very pretty spot outside Santa Rosa, home to a number of camps and old resorts in the Sonoma Valley – as well as the home of the Korbel winery.
Undaunted by a Yelp post saying it was closed (OK, I was a bit daunted, I called them – the kitchen was closed, but the bar was not) I found the unassuming little place on River Road easily enough. It where many redwoods used to be – (only stumps now – get it?)
I walked into the empty place around1pm on a Tuesday – and through to the back – where Marianne the bar tender was chatting with a couple who were sitting in the sun on the deck drinking a couple of craft brews.
Turned out that Stumptown is a crazy-busy place on weekends and full time during the touring season – when the wine tasters are jamming the town to past it’s full capacity. (“It takes me 20 minutes to drive two blocks then” explained Marianne.) It turns out that Stumptown is owned by Peter Hackett – an Australian ex-pat who owns a number of bars (Zeitgeist in SF, for example) and who set up this beautiful spot 13 years ago, and has been enjoying his small brewery for the last 11 brewing his own. Marianne – clearly more than just the bartender and concierge – is also now learning the brewing ropes as well.
As is the way these days, Stumptown is also expanding – so they can send some of their beer off premise – as well as do some one-off’s and special brews. (“I still get calls for ‘Fossil Fuel’ – a beer Peter made with some prehistoric residue mixed in” says Marianne.)
On tap were a light bodied wheat and lager and a really nice Pale ale (“Rat Bastard”) with just enough bite – fresh and tasty on the deck.
They overlook the Russian River from the back deck, feature parties and events (“The Beer Revival”) and barbecue on the beach. Check out the sign on one of the trees “Slow, Drunk Crossing” and you know all you need to about the free flowing good times at this remarkably beautiful spot.