When Alaro opened in the empty Rubicon space last June, it came bearing ties to some of the best-known beer brands in the region. Co-owner Annette Ballestero was one of the founders of River City, while head brewer Chris Keeton used to make beers at Rubicon.
Even with all that experience, Alaro still became the youngest brewery to ever win a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival last September, as the malty and balanced Castillo earned top honors in the English-style IPA category less than three months after the brewery and restaurant opened. Alaro is sourcing as many locally grown hops and malts as possible. “We’ve worked with two different farms in Sacramento that are growing hops for us now,” says co-owner Ray Ballestero. “We wanted to take that local, farm-to-pint story, but make it more real.