“Beer,” Benjamin Franklin supposedly wrote, “is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Had Franklin been truly responsible for that axiom, he could have been describing West Sacramento. West Sacramento has three breweries for a population of just under 50,000. Were all things equal, Sacramento, whose population is ten times greater, should be boasting thirty craft breweries; instead, it has only seven. Even though all three of West Sacramento's breweries are located in the same district along the same street, each has its own distinct charm.
Bike Dog is incongruously shoehorned into an '80s-era office park on the corner of Terminal and Industrial. Despite the exterior, the taproom is quiet, warm and close, and as the name suggests, welcomes bicycles and four-legged visitors. It's the haunt of an older crowd; mostly thirty- and fortysomethings here for pints and conversation. Bike Dog's owner Sage offers between eight and ten different beers, mostly the constellation of IPA variants craft brew enthusiasts have come to expect; however, Bike Dog is unique for offering “milk stouts”: heavy, dark beers containing lactose.
Yolo Brewing Company is found further north on Terminal from Bike Dog. The reincarnation of “Brew It Up,” YBC attracts a hipper and younger crowd than its competitors. The taproom alternates deejays and live bands on weekends, though the acoustics in the former warehouse mean conversation is a near-impossibility. Of West Sacramento's breweries, YBC has the greatest variety of beers. A visitor is spoiled for choice with a between fourteen and twenty-one brews on tap, most of which are spectacular and inventive. If that isn't enough, YBC also offers “personal brewery” services so amateurs can play brewmaster for an evening.
Finally, Jackrabbit Brewing lies a short jaunt still further north along Terminal. Jackrabbit is hard to spot, but given its quality and ingenuity, it's well worth the effort. It has ten brews on its menu, split between Belgian and English styles. Jackrabbit is constantly experimenting with unique brews such as the “vineyard dubbel,” a Belgian ale brewed with Cabernet grapes, and an Imperial Stout that gives Old Rasputin a run for its money. The exterior is industrial, but its taproom is more reminiscent of a winery. As with Bike Dog and YBC, Jackrabbit frequently has one of the regions myriad food trucks outside during its taproom hours.
Choice, quality, proximity – all of these mean that when it comes to beer, the citizens of West Sacramento have much to evoke civic pride.