HenHouse Brewing Company, hatched from humble beginnings in Petaluma, is coming back to roost in the city next year.
The brewery, which in 2016 moved to Santa Rosa, plans to launch a second location at 1333 N. McDowell Blvd., an industrial space that housed the former Petaluma Hills Brewing Company. The new operation, dubbed “The Palace of Barrels,” will focus on wood-aged and fermentation-driven beers and is slated to open the first quarter of 2018, said co-founder Collin McDonnell.
The brand was born when Petaluma and Penngrove locals launched a “nanobrewery” in 2012, crafting small batches of beers, McDonnell said. In 2014, the group joined forces with Petaluma Hills, installing equipment at the east side facility before branching out to its own state-of-the-art Santa Rosa taproom and brewery.
“It was important to us to make sure that we didn’t stay away too long,” McDonnell said.
The Petaluma “blendery” and taproom will allow for an expanded concentration on barrel-aged, funky and sour fermentation operations, creating brews that can only be made on a limited scale at its Santa Rosa facility, McDonnell said.
The existing brewery will continue to churn out an estimated 12,000 kegs of fresh beer annually, while those sour and barrel-aged beers can take multiple years to complete, McDonnell said.
“We’re going to bring the same educational experience we bring to our Santa Rosa tasting room – really focusing on the fact that it’s a tasting room and not a bar,” he said. “We make sure we spend time with everyone that comes in to tell them about the beer, how it was made and the story behind it … My hope is that anyone who goes to our Santa Rosa tasting room will feel like it’s still worthwhile to come to Petaluma.”
The 10-year lease for the 8,000-square-foot building was inked last week and operators are working with the city for necessary approvals, he said. There’s no set opening date, but the brewery is expected to bring at least 15 jobs to the city in the first few months of the new year.
Mixed fermentation is a passion for co-founder Scott Goyne, and the team is “stoked” to launch the new venture, McDonnell said. The expansions will be handled in part by its new head brewer Mike Guilford, who’s spent the past decade working in various capacities at Kona and Russian River brewing companies.
The Petaluma taproom will feature a mix of signature beers and the offbeat sour brews, he said.
“All our beer is delicious,” McDonnell said. “One of the cool things that wine can do that beer doesn’t do is add acidity in a culinary sense – a bottle of wine can add acidity to a meal in a way that beer can’t, unless you’re making sour beer … across the industry, more and more people are drinking sour beer and we’re going to put our hat in the ring.”
Ken Weaver, a Petaluma-based freelance beer writer, expressed excitement about the brewery’s return to its hometown.
“They’re very welcome here … I think this is going to be a very different type of experience than we currently have available in Petaluma,” he said. “I think this will be a really nice addition.”
Ingrid Alverde, the city’s economic development manager, said she’s been working with the team to bring the taproom to Petaluma. She hopes the city, a mecca for craft beer, will continue to attract purveyors of libations.