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Tasting and Toasting Northern California's Artisan Brews

Tasting and Toasting Northern California's Artisan Brews
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Get your fill of ales, lagers, beers, and stouts on a lively tour of artisan breweries and other worthy stops along the way in a relaxed tour of Northern California.

Trip length: 5-6 days
Total distance: 875mi/1,408km

DAY 1
Fresno. Explore Woodward Park, 300 cool, green acres that include the serene Shinzen Japanese Garden . Quench your thirst at Full Circle Brewery . INFO 559/981-5500; playfresno.org

Stockton (127mi/204km; 2hrs 14min). Discover the cafes, shops, and restaurants along the Miracle Mile and walk the promenade beside Delta waters at the new Stockton Marina . Toast the day at Valley Brewing Company . INFO 877/778-6258; visitstockton.org

DAY 2
Half Moon Bay (90m/144km; 1hr 42min). Play the oceanfront course at Half Moon Bay Golf Links . Toast your game with a Mavericks Amber Ale (honoring the nearby big wave surf spot) at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company . INFO 415/391-2000; onlyinsanfrancisco.com

San Francisco (30mi/48km; 39min). Rent a bike at Golden Gate Park Bike & Skate on Fulton Street and cruise through the park, stopping to see what’s new in art and wonder at the de Young Museum and the California Academy of the Sciences. Finish in Ocean Beach at the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant . Two more to try: Anchor Steam Brewing which helped launch the California microbrew scene back in the ‘60s, and Haight-Ashbury’s funky Magnolia Pub & Brewery . INFO 415/391-2000; sanfranciscotravel.com

Berkeley (13mi/21km; 23min). Browse Fourth Street’s trendy stores specializing in everything from Japanese crafts to women’s clothing. Get the feel of the college town at Bison Brewing (funky organic ales) and Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse , one of the country’s first brew pubs. INFO 800/847-4823; visitberkeley.com

DAY 3

Hopland (101mi/163km; 1hr 51min). For a break from the brews, stop in at Sip! Mendocino , with a wide spectrum of Mendocino wines. INFO 707/964-9010; northcoastca.com

Ukiah (14mi/22.5km; 20 min). Hoist a Point Arena Pale Ale or Navarro Yarrow and enjoy live music and great organic food at Ukiah Brewing Company . INFO 707/964-9010; northcoastca.com

Mendocino. (60mi/97km; 1 hr 21 min). Visit the Mendocino Arts Center , with exhibits by international artists in residence. Watch the sun sink into the Pacific from the 270-acre nature preserve at Point Cabrillo Light Station . INFO 707/964-9010; visitmendocino.com

DAY 4

Fortuna (125mi/201km; 2 hr, 29 min). Enjoy a juicy burger (local Black Angus beef) accompanied by an icy Extra Pale Ale in the beer garden at the all-organic Eel River Brewing Company . INFO 707/964-9010; northcoastca.com

Eureka (19mi/31km; 25 min). Browse galleries in Old Town and see a show at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts , host to theater, dance and national music acts. Discuss the show over steamed clams and a Downtown Brown at the Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe . INFO 707/964-9010; northcoastca.com

DAY 5

Redding (149mi/240km; 2hrs 53min). Visit the museums, art gallery, aquarium and botanical gardens at Turtle Bay Exploration Park . Head to Shasta Lake and take a free tour of 60-story Shasta Dam . INFO 800/474-2782; shastacascade.com

Chico (73mi/117km; 1hr 18min). Rent innertubes at shops along Nord Avenue, and head for Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park to float the Sacramento, then lift a last glass at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company . INFO 800/474-2782; shastacascade.com

Sacramento (87mi141km; 1hr 43min). Visit the expanded Crocker Art Museum, offering a broader look at visiting exhibits and the museum’s permanent collection of Californian, Asian, and European art. Pop into Rubicon Brewing or Hoppy Brewing Company . Finish at Ten22 ; ask about special beer- and food-pairing dinners. INFO 800/292-2334; discovergold.org

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