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Hopland Ale House Brings Craft Beer Back To Its Beginnings

In the recent Beer of the Week, I talked about the history of the Mendocino Brewing Company. It was actually in the town of Hopland that the brewery got its start. In that location, the first post-prohibition brewpub (in California) would open in 1983. Unfortunately, as the brewery grew and moved operations to a few miles north to Ukiah, the Hopland location was no longer needed. The space was closed in 2010 and has remained shuttered until this past fall. On November 28, 2012, the doors opened again, this time as the Hopland Ale House. 

The Hopland Ale House is run by Jennifer Sullivan who opened the pub after noticing one of her favorite stopping points had closed. Sullivan had frequented the pub as a halfway point from her home in Oakland on the way to Eel River campsites. Heartbroken when she saw the spaced had closed, she saw the “For Lease” sign and when “stars aligned” she found herself opening her own pub.

Originally from Chicago, Sullivan had previous craft beer experience working at Oakland’s Pacific Coast Brewing Company. It was from these experiences that she’s been able to draw inspiration for the new location.

Beer lovers will be happy to know there are 8 taps for beer. The selection rotates regularly with Sullivan excited about putting her hometown’s Goose Island on tap shortly.

Food at the Hopland Ale House is all prepared in-house, including an authentic Chicago Dog with all the fixings (even the neon green relish). On the afternoon of my visit I had the special meatball sandwich featuring meatballs made from Sullivan’s grandmother’s recipe, house marinara and a bit of pesto.

While only open for a few weeks, the space feels classic. Exposed brick is a regular theme along with textured walls. Photos on the walls came from the Mendocino County Historic Society as well as signs provided by Sullivan’s own sign maker. “I wanted to maintain a sense of history,” Sullivan explained while telling the stories of items found around the pub.

Another aspect of the space’s history was live music, a tradition that will be maintained going forward. Once or twice a month, expect local musicians to entertain the patrons of the pub. More music is likely to come but Sullivan wanted the expansion to happen organically.

For more photos of the new location and additional information, check out the Brewed For Thought Facebook page.