Past, Present and Future



Historically speaking, Sacramento benefited from a gold rush, an agricultural boom, and more recently, a brewing renaissance. The region’s craft beer scene exploded from six to more than sixty breweries in about a decade and the roots of that culture stretch back more than a century. Before Prohibition, thousands of acres of local hops supplied brewers across the country. Local farms are once again taking advantage of the temperate climate. In 1958, the University of California, Davis started America’s first brewing science program, producing some of California’s top brewers. Rubicon’s 1989 award-winning IPA was just the beginning of the current, innovative resurgence. Author Justin Chechourka explores the complexities and nuance of this fermenting heritage.


The Past


frank ruhstaller
Frank Ruhstaller. Courtesy: Center for Sacramento History, Todd Ruhstaller Collection, 1987/010/001

Sacramento’s destiny was forever changed with the discovery of gold in 1848. But it wasn’t gold that brought everyone to the area. In Sacramento Beer, read how men who knew how to make beer, and some who didn’t, took advantage of a market ripe for the brewing. Plus, how this region became the hop capital of the world and learn how Frank Ruhstaller became Sacramento’s King of Beer.

Walter Wissemann hop ranch. Steve Abbott Collection

The Present


Beer on the bar at Claimstake Brewing Company.

More than 150 years after the initial beer boom in Sacramento, there’s been a craft brewing renaissance. In less than a decade, the number of breweries in this region has exploded from 6 to nearly 60. In SacrmanRead about the pioneering brewers who lead the charge and what it takes to run a successful brewery.

A flight of beers from Fountainhead Brewing Company

The Future


beer and the state capitol
Cheers to the CA Craft Beer Summit and the State Capitol Building!

The future of craft beer is being shaped each and every day in this region. UC Davis is home to the foremost brewing science program in the nation, but it’s not the only place to continue your beer education. In Sacramento Beer, find out how people are educating themselves on beer. Plus learn about the resurgent hop industry and what it will really take to bring it back.

UC Davis Brewer Joe Williams teaching students at a summer short course.

About The Author



Justin Chechourka is the co-ringleader (along with his incredible superhero of a wife) of his very own circus that includes a baseball-obsessed 7-year-old and two wild and crazy twin 4-year-olds. When he’s not coaching or attending school functions he is likely chauffeuring a child to their next birthday party. All of this helps explain why he has taken such an interest in craft beer. Not only does this enjoyable adult beverage showcase some of the best of what Sacramento has to offer but the people behind these brews have great stories to tell.