Sacramento Beer Week kicks off Feb. 22, and there’s a new brewery in town that celebrates Sacramento’s rich beer history through craft beers – New Helvetia Brewing Company.
Located at 18th Street and Broadway, the brewery, which opened last month, is celebrating its grand opening Feb. 15. Sacramento is America’s Farm-To-Fork capital, and brewery owner David Gull said much of the ingredients in his beers come from local farms.
“We use local ingredients whenever we can,” Gull said. “Also, when we’re done with our grains, we send them to a local pig farm where they use them as feed.”
Currently, New Helvetia Brewing Company has a lager, an IPA and a stout. There is no bottling operation yet, but beers are available at the brewery, and they will soon be available at Downtown and Midtown Sacramento restaurants such as Mulvaney’s B&L and Dad’s Kitchen.
The name New Helvetia harkens back to the original name of Sacramento when it was settled by the Swiss John Sutter, who built Sutter’s Fort and employed the man who in 1848 discovered gold, launching the famous Gold Rush.
Swiss and German influence combined with the Sacramento area’s rich agricultural lands create an environment perfect for growing hops and other beer ingredients. The Buffalo Brewing Company called Sacramento home until Prohibition and some of its advertisements adorn the walls at New Helvetia Brewing Company.
Gull said his great-grandfather recalled going down to the old Buffalo Brewing Company in its heyday with a bucket and a key to the beer storage area. He'd fill the bucket and take it to his home in nearby Oak Park to have beer for the weekend. The Buffalo Brewing Company's building was later razed, and The Sacramento Bee offices were built on its former site at 21st and Q streets.
Sacramento is once again on the rise as a beer town, with Track 7 Brewing Company and Ruhstaller Beer launching in the city within the past two years, and Beer Week celebrates the best of what the city has to offer.
New Helvetia Brewing Company is housed in an old tortilla factory that moved in 2005, and about 50 people can drink inside, with large windows giving patrons a glimpse into the production facility in the adjacent room. The bar is made with salvaged local walnut, and an enclosed back patio lets patrons drink outside - perfect for about nine months out of the year.
For beer week, New Helvetia Brewing Company will have several events, including a lecture by UC Davis’ “Professor of Foam,” Charlie Bamforth, at 6 p.m. on Feb. 25.
Beers sold on-site are $3 for a 10-oz glass and $4 for a pint. Check the brewery’s website for up-to-date hours and events.