What's Brewing?

2 Tread Brewing: A Great Santa Rosa Brewing Company March 11, 2018 15:03 3 Comments

This past month, our family stumbled on a great brewery in Santa Rosa. Read more...

Three Beers To Try This Valentines Day February 08, 2018 00:00

Forget the roses, bring on the six pack!  Here is our 2018 Valentines Day Beer Round -Up! Read more here...

Ale Industries


Provisions Sutter Creek: A Great Place to Taste Local Beer April 03, 2017 00:00

We were in Sutter Creek, CA recently, and we happened to stumble on a great taproom called Provisions.  It's a family owned specialty food store / draft beer bottle shop / taproom that’s also a live music venue.  It’s all set up in an historic 147-year-old building. And the best thing (at least for us) it's kid friendly!

Provisions Sutter Creek

There's two main rooms to Provisions. On one side you have your specialty food store that has a collection of amazing foods and bottled beer. In the adjacent room, there's a taproom.  If you choose to eat food you purchased from the store in the taproom, they'll happily put the food on platters.  The taproom has a great selection of local beers from the Amador County and Sacramento area.  We had a lot of fun trying the different beers and the kids were entertained by playing various games that you can borrowed.

Provisions Sutter Creek

In the evenings, they have live music. Check their Facebook page to see who's playing. When we were there, they were having a record listening party of the great musicians that died in 2016. It was a great way to tribute some amazing performers. The owners were exceptionally friendly and very informative about the local sites in the area and beer.  

Sutter Creek Provisions

Our team at Handbrewed Soaps (Eric and I)  give Provisions 4 stars for their beer selection and a rating of 4.5 stars for the overall experience!  (See our rating system standards!) So if you're in the area, go check them out.



5 Ways to Incorporate Beer Into Your Wedding March 29, 2017 00:00

5 ways to incorporate beer into your wedding

You love each other, and you love beer!  So why not combine them on your wedding day?  Here are some fun ways to do it:

1)   Invitations: Think coasters, beer bottle labels

2)   Venue: Get married in or have your reception in a brewery! Better yet, create your own beer garden! Hey Oaklanders, Ale Industries rents out their brewery!

3)   Bouquets / Boutonnieres:  Hops are a great addition to any bouquets or boutonniere.  Try adding some wisps of grain as well!

4)   Gifts: Give your wedding party (or all of your guests) something they can use for weeks to come... beer soap (of course I had to plug them)!  We even make custom labels!  You can buy them in quantities of 26, 50 or 100!

5)   Honeymoon:  Go where the beer is!  Oregon is a great place to go. I mean isn’t there a brewery on every street corner? Well at least in Bend, Oregon there is.  And there’s plenty of hop fields to visit as well!

Let us know how you incorporate beer into your wedding!


Photo Credit:  celebration society

Handbrewed Soaps Goes To Australia! October 27, 2016 10:52

Paterson Tavern

Photo Credit: http://publocation.com.au

Eric and I are extremely happy to report… you can find Handbrewed Soaps down under! Yes, the next time you are in Australia (Paterson to be exact), stop by the Paterson Tavern, have a drink and take a homebrewed bar of soap home with you too!

The coolest thing about partnering with them is the amazing history of the Paterson Tavern. Catch this:

In the early 19th Century, Paterson Tavern was the first commercial hotel in the area. It provided food and drinks to the locals. Eventually it expanded to a coach depot and became a popular destination for travelers. Today, it is still a popular destination, known for its’ great selection in beer !

Now that’s something we can get behind!!!


One of our goals on our “When in Doubt, Go North Road-trip” was to see a hop farm. We grow 11 different varieties in our backyard, so seeing a full-fledged farm was a dream come true. Therefore, Rogue Farms was our next stop on our trip.

Rogue Farm is located in Independence, OR. The farm is surrounded by acres of Hop fields. As you enter the farm, there is a tasting room on your left that offers food with a kid’s menu. There are picnic tables that line the perimeter of lawn where you are welcome to play corn-hole, Frisbee, giant chests, or giant scrabble! You can take a tour with an employee or walk around yourselves (just make sure you don't go into any areas that say Employees Only). We spent a good two hours there and would have stayed longer had the heat not gotten to us! So the next time you are in Oregon, stop at Rogue Farms! It's a very chill, family beer environment! Pictures are the best way to capture this adventure (see below!) !! Family Friendly Rating : 5+ stars, Beer Rating: 4 (See our rating system!)


Rogue Beer


Hop Fields


Hop Kiln Rogue



Handbrewed Soaps Brewery and Winery Rating System July 16, 2016 18:19

Brewery Rating System

So you may have noticed, we’ve developed a rating system when talking about breweries or wineries. And if you know anything about us, we take it SUPER seriously (wink, wink!) Our ratings are on a 5 point system: 1 being lame-o and 5 being the bestest ever. There are two main things we look for at a brewing company or a winery. First, it’s the beverages they serve. Do we like it or not… and why. Second, its how “family-friendly” the atmosphere is. These things are important to us because at this point in our lives… we want a place that serves a good drink, and it’s a place we can bring the kids. Take our system with a grain of salt though. Family friendly-ness is extremely important to us because we have reproduced like rabbits and have three kids. You on the other hand, might not. So our 5 (meaning damn awesome), might rate a 1 with you because you might be looking for a hot boo in an establishment that has kids in it, and that’s not your thing. So please, take everything we say with a grain of salt, it’s our opinion…


As for beer, we are hoppy people. Get it? Hoppy People? … (Happy People…I know it’s horrible beer humor!) Seriously, we like hoppy beers. Rarely do we give out 5’s. Five’s are like finding the Fountain of Youth. We haven’t discovered it yet. So, recommendations are welcome! Please, we love to try new beers!


So there you have it, our not so clear rating system. I hope that answers any questions you may have!



Taster's Thursday: Mad River Brewing Company July 14, 2016 00:30

Mad River Brewing Company

It’s Taster’s Thursday! Today is the day we discuss wineries, brewing companies and the beverages they produce. And of course, at the end, we rate our experience in two categories: 1) A Family Friendly atmosphere and 2) The Beer itself. See explanation here.

We had the privilege of visiting Mad River Brewing Company. There are many breweries to visit in Humboldt, so why did we pick this brewing company? Well, it’s because of their story! Their brew master, Bob Smith, followed a dream and made it a reality! You cannot NOT support that! As the story goes, Bob (then homebrewer circa 1970) bought homebrew supplies from Ken Grossman’s Hombrew Supply Store in Chico. Learning about Ken’s plan to open Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Bob was inspired to open his own in Humboldt… hence Mad River. For the full story, click here.

We had the joy of going to Mad River Brewing Company on our “When in Doubt, Go North 2015 Road Trip.” The brewery is amazingly off the beaten path (for us city slickers). After a short drive on Hwy 299, we were pleasantly surprised to find the brewery nestles in the woods. With a large size taproom and HUGE outdoor seating area, we enjoyed a great lunch and a flight of beer. Our favorite was the Mad River IPA. Hoppy and refreshing!

All orders (food included) take place at the bar. And food pickup occurs at a serving window to the right. The brewery has a wide selection of games and puzzles to choose from! Great for kids (Big Kids too!) We played a round of trivia as we ate and drank.

While we were there, a band was setting up for an evening show. Definitely check out their website to see who and when bands are playing.

All in all, we enjoyed our visit to Mad River and definitely will be back the next time we are in the area! Family Friendly Rating: 5 stars… Beer Rating: 4 stars

For the full itinerary of the "When in Doubt, Go North 2015 Road Trip," click here!

What Does Paul Bunyan and Beer Have in Common? July 13, 2016 14:13

Paul Bunyan and Babe

What does Paul Bunyan and beer have in common?  Well fun of course!

Not only am I a sucker for parades; I’m a sucker for tourist traps! So, we had to stop at the infamous Paul Bunyan and Babe exhibit while driving up 101 on our way to Springfield, Oregon. This road side attraction is a great place to take a break from driving. You can walk around, use the bathroom and actually talk to a two story high Paul Bunyan and  Ox Babe. Yes, that’s right, he talks. I’ve always tried to figure out where the person who is Paul Bunyan’s voice sits to talk to people walking by. I haven’t figured it out yet. Any thoughts on this? Talk about the best job ever. The highlight of this visit was watching my kid's reaction when Paul Bunyan shouts out, “Tie your shoes! Yes I’m talking to the blond curly hair girl with purple glitter tennis shoes!” SO F-ing awesome!

After this little detour, we continued to Springfield, OR. We could definitely had stayed in this town longer than 24 hours. It was super family friendly!

Our first stop in this great town was Splash! At Lively Park. This in-door park (run by the cities parks and rec department) had a wave pool, a wading pool, a water slide and a regular lap pool!) The wave pool was a big hit for the prego lady (me!) It was great to feel as light as a feather.

Hop Valley Springfield, OR

We ended the day with beer… at Hop Valley Brewing restaurant. We recommend trying the Citrus Mistress and the Alpha Centuri. The service was quick, which is always a great thing with small kids! But the best part was that we didn’t have to drive back to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express. We could walk across the parking lot and we were there! Family Friendly Rating: 5 stars   Beer Rating: 4 stars. See rating system explanation here.

So if you are ever traveling up 101 to Springfield, you have to make these stops! For the full itinerary, click here!

Splash! At Lively Park

The Best Place to Spend the Fourth of July- Ferndale, CA July 12, 2016 00:00

Ferndale CA Fourth of July

Want in on the best-kept Fourth of July Secret? Can you say Ferndale, CA?

I think by far, my favorite holiday is the Fourth of July. I love the parades, the BBQ’s, and the fireworks. The 4th (for some reason) gives a large metropolitan area such as ours, a small town feel.

Last year however, we decided to get out of town to follow our family motto, “When in doubt, go north!” We happened to land in Ferndale, CA on the Fourth of July, and I never, I repeat NEVER have had such a great Fourth of July.

What’s so special about Ferndale you ask?  Can you say FIRE ENGINE RIDES? (It doesn’t take much for me… I think I was more excited than the kids!) We started off around 9:30am with fire engine rides that go through town. There I was waving at all the people walking around, as if I were in a parade! My daughter even got to sound the siren when we drove around corners… (SOOOO JEALOUS!) They had three trucks going, one of which was a 1920’s fire engine. For all you classic car nerds, you would have loved it! Seamlessly, the town parade starts around 10:30am. I think everyone that lived in the town was in it. They may have gone around the route twice just to make the parade longer… (lovin’ it!).  And by the end of the parade, ‘magically’ vendors appeared on the streets for shopping, kids crafts, and a good old magic show!

Of course, having small kids, we had to have a break from all the excitement before the fireworks… swimming, brewery visit (for the adults!! I know what you are thinking…), and a nap were afternoon priorities.

That night, we headed back to Ferndale for a night of fireworks at the fairgrounds! NOTE: Make sure to bring a picnic blanket and snacks. You have the option of sitting on bleachers or the field. We recommend that you are aware of what direction the wind is blowing. Us newbies didn’t, and got smoked out from the fireworks! HAAA!

Where did you spend your Fourth of July? I’m always looking for suggestions on awesome parades and fireworks! And for the full itinerary of this trip, click here!


The Ultimate Family Friendly Brewery Road Trip July 11, 2016 00:00

Brewery roadtrip handbrewed soaps

It’s summer time! And if you are a little like us, you may have waited to the last minute to plan a trip to anywhere. So do what we did last year... BREWERY ROAD TRIP! (Note: This trip was taken in 2015. I was suuppppeeerrrr pregos. Being huge and uncomfortable, I had no desire to write about it. So I’ll share it with you now! Enjoy!)

We have a motto in our family, “When In Doubt, Head North!” I have no idea why or where it came from, but we use it, like All. The. Time.         Waiting until the last minute to plan just about everything, specifically this summer vacation, we let this motto guide us. The kid’s priority was to swim (which we can do anywhere with a pool) so what did we adults want to do? Well that’s an easy one… Drink BEER! So the plan was set. Drive north as far as we could, swim and drink beer!  Low and behold, Beer Mecca fit into that criteria, so off to Bend, Oregon we went!!! (And don’t worry, the prego lady didn’t drink…)

We had about 10 days to do this. Making a B-line for Bend, didn’t sound like a good idea. With small kids, you never know what is in store… a great mood, a tantrum… so we broke the drive up in small parts, hitting a kid friendly venue and a brewery each day on our way up. So this is what we did each day:

July 3: Travel: Ferndale, CA. Brewery’s visited: Lagunitas, Lost Coast.

July 4: Fourth of July in Ferndale, CA. Breweries visited: Mad River.

July 5: Travel: Springfield, OR. Kid’s interest: Paul Bunyan &Water Park. Brewery’s visited: Hoppy Valley.

July 6: Travel: Bend, OR. On the way to Bend, visit Rouge Farm Stop & Tour of Hop Fields.

July 7-10: Bend, OR. (OMG…. There’s a brewery on every street corner!!!!) Kid interest: Museums, Rivers, Pools, and hiking!

July 11: B-line back to Oakland, CA = BRAVERY!!!!

By far, this trip was one of our favorites! Everyone’s needs were met. I can’t wait to do this in the next couple of years, so that I can enjoy the beer too! (Please stay tune for more details about our visit.)

What are your favorite family trips?

North Coast Brewing Company Beer Soap February 03, 2016 16:19

North Coast Brewing Company Mark Ruedrich Doug Moody

Eric and I were first introduced to North Coast Brewing Company through a local pub that us teachers frequented on Friday nights back in 2004. North Coast’s Blue Star Wheat was our ‘staple’ on those occasions. We often pondered where this mystery brewery was (most of us used maps or had to PRINT out directions to go anywhere back then! It was archaic times!) Thinking the bartender would know, we asked if he knew where North Coast Brewing Company was located. All we got was a smart-ass replied of, “ Probably on the NORTH COAST!”

About a year later, Eric and I took a road trip up north during our spring break. Our goal of this trip was to see how far north we could get during our spring break before we had to turn around to go back to our classrooms. On day one of our trip, we rolled through Mendocino and entered Fort Bragg. We were extremely hungry and needed to find a place to eat. As we drove through town, we discovered North Coast Brewing Company. It was as if we had found the Holy Land. We gave each other high fives and hugs. We took pictures (on a disposable camera!!!) of us in front of their sign. We had to prove to our friends that we had found it! Then as we entered their brewpub, the nicest people in the whole entire world greeted us. There are no words to explain our experience that day in their pub. Let’s just say we didn’t end up continuing on our journey north, as we wound up staying in Fort Bragg for three days.

Since then, we’ve made annual trips there for the Fourth of July, Paul Bunyan Days, or just for whatever. So it was an honor that on our latest trip, Eric and I got to meet Mark and design beer soap for him. We currently make five beer soaps for North Coast Brewing Company that you can only get at their brewery, bottle shop, or website. We make soap out of Old Rasputin, Puck, The Pranqster, Le Merle, and Brother Thelonious. We hope the soaps remind you of the first few sips of their beer, and just how cool North Coast Brewing Company is!