Hare in the Forest is the translation of the family’s Danish last name. It is also the name of the best brewery in California, and probably the USA, that you’ve never heard of. You can’t get Hare beers anywhere but Mendocino County. Dan and Liz brew it in 15-gallon batches in their garage. They are both retired Marines. The water they use to brew their world-class beers bubbles up from below, somewhere on their property that is “out in countryside” that goes by the name Potter Valley.
Dan is an award-winning homebrewer with some 20 years of experience. Many medals hang in his garage. In 2017, he and Liz filed the paperwork to established Hare in the Forest Brewing. They’ve never entered any of their official Hare in the Forest Brewing beers in any contests. When asked why not, Dan basically said, Why?
They know they have outstanding beer and they, it seems, don’t need medals to validate what they do as Hare in the Forest Brewing. This is nano-brewed beer. They bottle it themselves. They meticulously clean everything. They drive hours to source the highest quality ingredients.
Investors have approached Dan and Liz. Many, many people tell them to go BIGger. However, they like the way things are now. They’re doing it their way, thank you very much.
Left Coast Seafood in nearby Ukiah town has a lager on draft that is Hare-brewed. Sometimes the restaurant gets more from Hare. Sometimes they don’t. In Willits town, you can find their beers at Shanachie Pub. Locally, Dan and Liz get called upon to serve their beer at celebrations, e.g. weddings.
Really, how good is Hare beer? My wife does not really drink beer, especially anything that is hop forward. Well, when it came to tasters of Hare’s offerings, she drank every one of them and without any hesitancy said, this is the best beer I’ve had in my life. If I’m a self-described beer geek with decades of experience as a consumer of beer, which I am, I can say that Hare beers were, without question, the best tasting/drinking experience I’ve ever had, mostly because of Dan and Liz, as people, and their warm hospitality, but also because of how truly outstanding each beer was that I tasted that afternoon.
True to who they are. Hare in the Forest is a rarity in the brewing industry. Nano. Excellent across all beer styles. Incredible attention to detail. Not wanting to “go big.” Turning away money to keep it truly in-house, or in this case, in-garage. We talked about Ballast Point going from garage to a billion dollar buyout and then the family in Alpine, CA and their experience with Green Flash. Hare is content with the way things are.
Water. I am convinced that the most important ingredient in beer is water, hands down. Does the water supply for Hare in the Forest Brewing make it an absolute rarest of gems? For me, it’s a resounding yes. It’s their water source on their property and you might well call it, artisanal water.
When in Mendocino County, seek out Hare beers in bottles at beer stores listed on Hare’s website. Pick up one of each style that is at the store. Get a few more to take home and share with friends and family. While in the area, go to Ukiah and Willits towns and have a draft of Hare in the Forest beer. See website below for all of those details.
If you’re up that way and then are going to be in the San Diego area, get me some Bunny Hop Pale Ale and Hoppin’ Hare IPA. Pick up the Red IPA, too, and if you see any bottles of the Imperial Stout, get me 3. I assure you that I will pay you for everything!Cheers to Dan and Liz “Hare in the Forest” – World Class Brewers making second-to-none beer in the foothills of Potter Valley in Mendocino County, California.