Get Ready For The Great #Petaluma Chili Cook-Off

2015 Great Petaluma Chili CookoffOn Saturday May 9, 2015  over 1500 people will converge on Behrens Park, Herzog Hall at the Sonoma Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma for the 18th annual Great Petaluma Cook-Off, Salsa and Beer Tasting event starts as usual at 1 pm.. Will you be there too? You will not only experience great food, beer, and entertainment, but you will also be supporting over 1200 kids in the Cinnabar Theater (a non-profit) Children’s Programs. Want to know how to double your donation? Ocean State Job Lot Foundation will match your donation made between now and May (a grant that they have been providing over the past 10 years each year raising the bar). Tickets are free for kids under 5, $10 for ages 5-11, $25 for adults, or $40 with beer. To purchase a ticket, or for more information, call 707-763-8920 or visit  You can also purchase your tickets at the gate on the day of the event.

Entertainment expected this year at the popular Stony Point band with opening act from Don’t Tip The Tweetster (Ska Band) followed by Sister Sirens and Zyphire Belly Dancers, then the Hip Hop Dancers from the Fierce Dance Company. Also The Amazing Caine will be walking around dazzling guests with his illusions and magic.

_mg_7984.1_resizeAnnually 40 Chili Teams compete as well as 15 Salsa Teams and 15 Breweries (This year there are 16 breweries entered). The Cinnabar Theater is the non-profit regional theater supporting students in arts and entertainment whose organization’s primary means for funding is special events and ticket sales.

SOLD OUT!  The competition is so fierce all challenger spots are taken. There is a short waiting list and every year there is a team or two that drops out – so there is still hope – you can call the theater to get a spot on the waiting list.  There is room for more vendors so if you want to get exposure for your business, contact Laura Sunday at (707) 763-8920 or email her at [email protected].

There are some long time supporters re-entering this year’s event:

Also long time brewery supporters include Lagunitas, Moylans, Ruth McGowans, and Lost Coast.


5 Tips For Homebrewers Entering The Sonoma County Home Brewer’s Competition

We collected some of the best tips from top local breweries to help homebrewers prepare for the 2015 1st Annual Sonoma County Home Brewers Competition. Here are some tips for creating a winning brew.

1. Beer Hygiene

No Rinse SanitizerIt is imperative that you always be neat and clean.  Don’t use bleaches on your equipment because it can cause a chemical reaction with the maltose molecules and end in a nasty flavor.  Even a slight drop of bleach can destroy an entire batch of a perfect brew.  There are so many cleaners and sanitizers available in the market, but you can purchase an inexpensive  vodka which does the job just fine as a sanitizer.  You can also use vodka in your airlock instead of water.  Keep some vodka handy in a spray mist bottle so you can also use it on your equipment on the fly.

To keep your bottles clean use a large cooler that can hold as many as 48 beer bottles.  Fill it with 6 – 7 gallons of water with the plug near a drain or sink.  Add some no-rinse sanitizer.  Sink your bottles neck up until they fill with water to the point they stop floating. You may need to add more water and sanitizer to get larger sized bottles submerged. Leave them there until you are ready for bottling process.  Pull the plug to discard the water.

Russian River Brewing Company LogoVinnie Cilurzo, Owner/Brewer for Russian River Brewing Company  “At the end of the day sanitation is everything, without good sanitation a brewer cannot make good beer, clean, clean clean.  For the advance brewer, don’t overlook how much hop bitterness you will pick up from late kettle and whirlpool hop additions as the wort potentially sits for a while before being cooled down.”

Petaluma Hills Brewery 2JJ Jay is the master brewer for Petaluma Hills Brewery.  My advice is: “A solid recipe, reasonable brewing procedures, and clean and sanitary space and equipment will produce an awesome beer every time!”

Bonus tip on bottling from Bob Peak at The Beverage People Santa Rosa: When using a bottle filler without a spring in the tip, put a wooden spoon under your bottling bucket with the handle sticking out over the edge of the counter. Loop the hose over it, hanging the filler in the “off” position while capping a few bottles or getting a new case.


Positively #Petaluma Interview With Actor Adrian Grenier

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An August 23 Facebook post by Adrian Grenier caused a big stir in Petaluma. His post garnered over 1000 “Likes” and several comments and shares by Petalumans. His status showed him with friends at our annual Taste of Petaluma with comment “Rockin’ #TasteOfPetaluma w/@catatomic @rbcsavage awesome delicious day”.  This caused Positively Petaluma to want to find out more and share his experience here.

Adrian Grenier visited our town and attended our annual event while visiting family friends. The following interview was completed while Adrian was in Greece and would not have been possible without the help of Laura Sunday who hosted Adrian during his stay in Petaluma.  Adrian is an actor, producer, director and musician most notable playing the lead role of Vincent Chase in the Emmy nominated HBO original series Entourage.  In this interview Adrian tells us about his experience here in Petaluma and a documentary he is working on.

Wayne: You played the role of Anne Hathaway’s boyfriend Nate who was a chef in the movie Devil Wears Prada. Petaluma has a lot of talented chefs and has quickly become a culinary destination according to a recent KRON 4 and Yelp report. You had the opportunity to experience our Taste of Petaluma.  Which part of the culinary and craft spirits experience did you like best? Food, beer or the wine?

Adrian: All three. I love a festival that celebrates locally grown goods. But it’s not all about the food, if it was we’d all be shuffling around eating silently. An event like this is all about friends coming together. Food is a big part of my life. My mother has a great devotion to good tasting things. I like to think I surround myself with people who care about what they eat. It makes life more enjoyable.