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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with Danish
19 May, 2023

Brewing news USA, CA: HenHouse Brewing Co. expanding to Marin

One of the North Bay’s most popular breweries is expanding to Marin, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on May 19.

HenHouse Brewing Co., best known for its cult-level brew Big Chicken double IPA — released just once a year, like Russian River’s Pliny the Younger — will open a third taproom in Fairfax on June 9.

The new location (765 Center Blvd., Fairfax) will be HenHouse’s first outside of Sonoma County and the first with a kitchen. The brewery is taking over the former home of longtime local favorite Iron Springs Pub & Brewery, which closed at the end of 2021 after a 17-year run.

“Keeping some of that history alive by keeping the space going, the community going, is something we really believe in and think is important,” said co-founder Collin McDonnell. “Marin has always been really, really good to us. Back when we were self-distributing, three of our biggest draft accounts were in Fairfax.”

HenHouse’s main brewery is located in Santa Rosa, and it has a library-themed taproom in Petaluma, specializing in bottle-conditioned and barrel-aged beers. The Marin brewery, named the West County Pub, will have 19 beers on draft; about half will be brewed on-site and available through a growler program. Many of the Marin beers will be inspired by Iron Springs’ history; expect a lot of West Coast IPAs — HenHouse’s other taprooms go heavy on Hazy IPAs — plus malt-forward beers like red and amber ales. “We want to make sure we keep those locals happy,” said McDonnell.

Chef Lauren Garcia, formerly of the Slanted Door and the William Tell House in Tomales, will lead the kitchen. The menu is influenced by beer-centric cultures, like Korean, Japanese, Belgian and German. The diverse lineup features a gochujang fried chicken sandwich; chicharrones with avocado dipping sauce; cooked and raw Tomales Bay oysters; and mini ahi poke tacos. Eventually, HenHouse plans to offer beer and food pairings.

Garcia will rely heavily on Marin’s local farms for ingredients, but the brewery is also keeping things close to home. The West County Pub will soon be Craft Malt Certified, meaning it’s sourcing a significant portion of its malt from local craft malters. HenHouse has partnered with Admiral Maltings in Alameda, which gets its grain from Bay Area farmers. “It brings some terroir to the beer,” McDonnell said, “and keeps money in our local community.”

The gastropub can seat about 100 indoors and another 80 on a large outdoor patio. The space will be family-friendly, just like HenHouse’s other taprooms. And the design is consistent with the brand’s striking can art — loud, colorful and graphic — with HenHouse’s signature chicken poking its head over the kitchen.

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