Craft beer, brewed at an in-house micro brewery, along with delicious food, in a fun, electric atmosphere, with a great view of South Washington Street, which is the main street in downtown Sonora, CA. Does that sound like a winning combination? You're definitely a winner when you visit Sonora Brewing Company, located in downtown Sonora for a beer, or two... along with a fine meal.
As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's easy to tell this building sports a micro brewery thanks to the interesting mural painted on the side! Sonora Brewing Company is located on Washington Street, in downtown Sonora, CA, in the heart of California's Mother Lode region. There seems to be some confusion, as this building formerly housed Lighthouse Deli and that name appeared on the bill at the end of my meal.
Photo: It's just a little past 6 in the evening, Sunday, September 08, 2019, and I've arrived at Sonora Brewing Company in the mood for a beer or two, and possible a burger. This is a photo of the first dining room, as you enter the restaurant, and there is a second dining room, to the left. The second dining room is more interesting, as it has high tables and a bar in the rear.
As you enter the restaurant, you'll note in the past, it used to be a deli known as Lighthouse Deli, and many traces of the deli days, including the menu board above the counter. The board is now used to promote daily specials, along with the beer and wine the restaurant serves. Sonora Brewing Company is a full-service restaurant, in that you seat yourself at a table, your server gives you a menu, you make your selection, your order is brought to you, and you pay for your order at the end. Hopefully, you'll leave your server a generous tip.
Photo: The blackboard, placed above the counter, and the entrance to the kitchen, announces daily specials, and promotes the beer and wine list. I ADORE the quote from Benjamin Franklin that reads, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Well said, Ben!
Photo: The second is dining room, separated by a brick wall from the "entry" dining room, is a bit more interesting, and very informal, as it has a bar, high tables, and tables that face the street, which makes for great "people watching" as you sip on your in-house brewed beer. The open, micro brewery is located in this dining room, which makes for great conversation.
Photo: The micro brewery is located inside the second dining room! This dining room is large, but the photo makes it look larger, thanks to the mirrors that reflect the brewery, and my fellow diners. I absolutely loved this dining room, not only because it's where the micro brewery is located, but it's more informal and "pub like" than the first dining room, as it features bar-type seating, and a long table that lines the outside wall, that looks out to Washington Street, for great "people watching" as you sip a beer and enjoy your dinner.
My only objection was the rock 'n roll music being played, as it was too loud, and for me, it was difficult to hold a conversation. However, the "20-somethings" enjoying the restaurant seemed to take it all in stride.
Photo: Friendly Lesley chats with a customer, who's seated at the bar in the micro brewery dining room. Note the brewery in the background, which makes for great scenery.
Photo: Tonight's server/bartender, Lesley, pours a beer for a customer, from one of the several in-house brewed beers on tap. Since I wasn't familiar with their beer, Lesley poured me a couple of complimentary samples, but in retrospect, I should have asked if the brewery offers "flights" of beer, which is always a good way to start.
Photo: After enjoying samples of the varieties of beer brewed in-house at Sonora Brewing Company, I settled on a pint of "No Slack Double IPA" which turned out to be, perhaps, the best beer brewed locally in Tuolumne County!
Friendly Lesley, who was doing duty as a bartender, food server, and great conversationist, brought my pint of "No Slack Double IPA" to me with a smile. Outstanding craft beer!
Photo: So many beers... so little time. What do you do when you visit a fantastic micro brewery such as Sonora Brewing Company for the first time? The answer is simple, as you simply voice your concerns to friendly Lesley, and she'll bring you complimentary samples of the beer on tap. I debated between an IPA and a double IPA, and the double won out, as I ordered a pint of "No Slack Double IPA," which is brewed in-house, and an amazing beer anyway you look at it, or drink it.
I sat at the long table on the outer wall, which looks out to Washington Street, which made for some interesting people watching, including the guys across the street, who set up their guitars, and set up shop to serenade pedestrians on this Sunday evening, and perhaps make a few bucks in the process.
Photo: The main menu features all of your favorites, including several mouth-watering burgers that really tugged at my "burger" heart strings. However I turned the menu over, and I was "hooked," shall we say... I absolutely LOVE the sandwich selection the menu offers.
Photo: I flipped the menu over to the second page, and when I saw the "From the Sea" section, I was "hooked" on the "Fish and Chips," which is one of my favorite meals, especially combined with a delicious, in-house-brewed micro beer. Note the menu features a breakfast section, which is very rare for a brew pub, especially in California's gold country.
Photo: After I placed my order for a dinner of "Fish and Chips," Lesley invited me to reach new heights, and climb aboard the beer making equipment, and have my photo taken. This was definitely a new experience for me, as I climb "Micro Brew Mountain" for the first time.
Photo: My friendly server Lesley, and I chatted about many things, and she was really open to the idea of taking photos. She and I chatted about food, beer, Yelp and this web site, among other things. As she brought out burgers for some nearby diners, she invited me to take photos. I was only too happy to fulfill her request!
Photo: Good cheer, friendly staff, amazing food, electric atmosphere, craft beer... it's all absolutely wonderful in the "beer" dining room at Sonora Brewing Company.
Photo: Meet my amazingly friendly server, Lesley, who brings my dinner of "Fish and Chips" to my place at the window table with a smile. Lesley is truly a friendly, efficient server, and a nice person, as she treated me like a member of her family. In addition to her outstanding service, she provided complimentary samples of beer, invited me to climb "Micro Brew Mountain," and enjoyed my many questions, and the many photos I took.
As an aside, my dinner was ready in about 20 minutes after placing my order, which makes for fast service.
Photo: Lesley takes my photo, as I relax and get ready to enjoy some of the best fish and chips that you'll find in the gold country. Note: Intake Grill makes great fish and chips too... Thanks, Lesley, for taking my photo. Look out the window, and you'll see a part of the view I enjoyed of Washington Street, in downtown Sonora.
Photo: From the menu section, "From the Sea," I went with "Fish and Chips," which included three fish fillets, a generous side of fries, cole slaw, along with a little bowl of tartar sauce, for my dipping pleasure. I love every burger that ever graced the planet, but I rarely pass up fish and chips, and I just couldn't help myself on this early Sunday evening.
The signature item of the dish, the fish, is three cod fillets, battered and deep fried to a beautiful, crispy, golden brown, and placed a bed of lettuce, to enhance the already stunning presentation. The batter was fried perfectly, and each fillet featured the right fish-to-batter ration, and the batter enhanced the delicious fish, but didn't overpower the delicate flavor. Outside, each fillet was deep fried to a golden brown, with the white meat inside tender and juicy. There were no bones, thank goodness. The tangy tartar sauce - which is made in-house - made the perfect enhancement for the fish.
The "chips," or fries were perfectly deep fried to a golden brown, and lightly seasoned and salted. Unlike fries at many other restaurants, these "chips" were seasoned and salted just right, and not at all greasy or oily. These fries are as good as fries can get, and the restaurant gives you a generous portion, to satisfy your craving for delicious fries. These fries were so good that I didn't even dip them in ketchup, which is something that I usually do.
I loved the cole slaw - I'm a GIGANTIC - fan of cole slaw, as it rounded out this fine meal.
Sonora Brewing Company definitely knows how to prepare a fine meal of fish, chips and cole slaw. If I had only one word to describe my dinner, I'd use the adjective "perfect," as it describes my dinner in every way. At $11.50 for a perfect dinner that really fills you up... how many ways can you say "bargain?"
Photo: I arrived at Sonora Brewing Company shortly after 6 in the evening, and just after I arrived, these guys set up shop across the street and started to perform for motorists and pedestrians who happened to be driving or walking on South Washington Street on this pleasant Sunday evening.
I had a "window" seat looking out on Washington Street, so I could "people watch" as I sipped my beer and enjoyed my dinner. During the wonderful hour that I enjoyed at Sonora Brewing Company, I didn't see a single motorist stop, nor did I see a single pedestrian drop even a quarter into their guitar case. I suppose these gentlemen were having a tough evening...
Such a fun place to "hang out," enjoy refreshing and delicious in-house crafted beer, fine company, along with outstanding food! Sonora Brewing Company is real asset to downtown Sonora, Tuolumne County, and the California gold country as well. I look forward to many more beers, good times, and amazing food at Sonora Brewing Company, located in downtown Sonora, CA.
Sonora Brewing Company
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