As the weather warms, a cold beer sounds perfect, doesn’t it? April is the best month to explore breweries in and around Benicia because National Beer Day just so happens to be Sunday, April 7. Celebrate all month by visiting breweries in the area and trying their most popular brews. Not sure where to start? Kick things off with your horoscope beer match.

Bruehol Brewing

Benicia, CA

Bruehol Benicia Brewing operates in Benicia’s industrial area. They specialize in German pilsners, West Coast ales, and IPAs among others. 

Bruehol’s most popular brew is the Old Capitol Pilsner (ABV 5.2%) which is a Bavarian lager-bier from the Pilsner region of Germany. It has an overall crisp flavor, floral hops and a whisper of dry malt breaks through on the tongue. The finish is slightly spicy from the Czech Saaz hops.

Old Capitol Pilsner is so well-loved in part because of its versatility. As co-owner Natalie says, “you’d be hard pressed to find something that our Old Capitol Pilsner would not pair perfectly with,” especially with all the great restaurants in town.

The versatile nature of this beer makes it the perfect brew for the Geminis (May 21-Jun 21) and Libras (Sep 23-Oct 23) out there. Capricorns (Dec 22-Jan 19) would benefit from a pint, seeing as they need help breaking up their routines and trying new things.

Bruehol beer in a glass and in a can in front of taps

Mare Island Brewing Co. 

Vallejo, CA

This brewery is captained by two winemakers on a voyage to create handcrafted beers worthy of Mare Island’s legacy. Benicia is lucky enough to have the Taphouse located on First Street. 

War Bond (ABV 5.2%)—a California Common brew—is Mare Island Brewing’s most-ordered pint. California Common is a historic beer style that the Bay Area can claim as its own, originating from the Gold Rush period. However, War Bond is anything but common. Order War Bond if you are looking for a light bodied brew with a smooth caramel maltiness. 

Mare Island Brewing Co. suggests that you pair a glass of cold War Bond with the pork belly bao buns at the First Street Taphouse.

The smooth—or should we say smoove—personality of War Bond is similar to those of Leo (Jul 23-Aug 22) and Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21). Order a pint and feel yourself come alive, but stick to just one or two so things don’t get too wild.

Mare Island Brewing Company beer in a glass and a can

Five Suns Brewing

Martinez, CA

Five Suns is the passion project of a group of friends coming together to fill a gap in the Martinez community. Their downtown venue is always lined up with bands and events while maintaining a laid back atmosphere. 

The Way (ABV 6.7%), a Hazy IPA, is Five Sun’s most popular beer. Full bodied and tropical, this juicy IPA has a citrus tang followed up by a smooth, aromatic finish. Because The Way is low in bitterness, this is the best brew to stock up on for summer. 

The flavors of The Way pair best with charred foods and caramelized vegetables. Five Suns states that this is the go-to beer for BBQ cookouts.

The Way’s social nature is perfect for Pisces (Feb 19-Mar 20) and Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 22) who will definitely RSVP “yes” to your cookout. Virgo will also benefit from the push to get out of their shell.

Five Suns beer in a glass and 3 cans clustered together

Side Gate Brewery & Beer Garden

Concord, CA

Side Gate offers craft beer and seltzer, brewed on-site, for their taproom and beer garden. Similar to a traditional German biergarten, outside food is welcome at Side Gate’s garden, but food trucks are conveniently parked close by 6 days a week. 

The most popular beer at this brewery is the Planter Box Pilsner (ABV 5%). This brew is clean and crisp with an herbal aroma layered over the bready malt. Planter Box Pils is a year-round classic, but shines in the warm weather. 

Though Planter Box Pils can pair with almost anything, Side Gate suggests that you order a pint to enjoy with a meal from any of the Asian food trucks at the Beer Garden. 

Planter Box should be ordered by Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19) and Scorpio (Oct 24-Nov 21) who are most likely to order something spicy, but also might need the clean brew to remind them to keep it cool.

Epidemic Ales

Concord, CA

Epidemic began as a hobby that turned into a brewing system. Besides serving their brews at their taproom, Epidemic Ales can be found in bars, taprooms, restaurants, and beer fests. 

Lager at World’s End (ABV 4.5%), Epidemic’s most popular beer, won the Gold at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival. It is the perfect beginning for newbies to the world of craft beer. This American lager is traditional and crisp—so refreshing that it takes a moment to be enjoyed, even if the world is ending around you. 

Epidemic suggests that you try World’s End with some birria tacos, complete with dipping consomme, from OG Tacos. OG Tacos food truck is at Epidemic Ales every Tuesday (Taco Tuesdays) and every Friday 4-8pm.

World’s End is the perfect beer for Taurus (Apr 20-May 20) and Cancer (Jun 22-Jul 22). Perhaps the two most universally liked signs, Taurus and Cancer are extremely palatable, just like World’s End.

Epidemic Ales beer in branded glass with gold medal award

Bruehol photos by Michael Van Auken.

All other photos provided by respective breweries.