Lagunitas TapRoom and Beer Sanctuary 1280 N. McDowell Blvd., 5 mi. N of downtown. No reservations.
This way big beer garden is a surprise to find hidden in an office park. It features long communal picnic tables—some especially for families—as well as a few fire pits and lounge chairs. Indoor seating is also available, and live music entertains on weekends. Complimentary beer snacks include delicious peanuts in the shell and pretzels, but a menu offers more substantial drinking accompaniments such as pulled-pork sliders sausages, and chili. Though this brewery is justifiably famous for its IPA, it is also well-known for its seasonal ales and cleverly-named brews—how about a Hairy Eyeball or Brown Shugga?--and many of the brews are available only on-site (try a customized sampler). Intimate concerts are also regularly scheduled in the brand new grassy amphitheater. Tours of the adjacent Lagunitas Brewing Co. are available.
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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers