Lodi Beer Taps
Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Central Valley Craft Breweries

Central Valley Craft Breweries
Take a beer tour of this broad valley, where there are plenty of places to sip a pint

California’s Central Valley stretches for hundreds of kilometres —and fortunately for beer lovers, so does the valley’s craft brew scene. Though a bit more secluded than their brewing brethren in other parts of the state, there’s nothing backwoods about the beer scene here—some of the local IPAs and barrel-aged stouts will rival those from anywhere.

Starting in the north and working south, the first stop is the Lodi Beer Company; grab a doppelbock drawn from its gleaming copper Bavarian brew system, located in the centre of the brewpub’s dining room, and the concept of the Central Valley as a craft beer destination will begin to make perfect sense. Then it’s on to Dust Bowl Brewing Company in Turlock, where you can take a tour (advance reservations required) before sampling their Hops of Wrath IPA. Fresno boasts Sequoia Brewing CompaniesTioga-Sequoia, and Full Circle. In nearby Clovis, the House of Pendragon Brewing Company has its taproom; try a pint of Merlin’s Midnight Mild. In Visalia, at the valley’s south end, stop in at Brewbakers Brewing Company for a taste of its signature Sequoia Red.

The tour ends in Bakersfield, where there are two standouts: Temblor Brewing Company and Lengthwise Brewing Company—Temblor offers free tours of their 1,765-sq.-m. state-of-the-art brewery on Saturday afternoons; afterward, try their El Cerrito Mexican-style lager and the Hay-Z IPA (the latter should help you forget a few of your 99 problems). At Lengthwise, you can sample any of their 20-plus beers from its brewery, pub, or marketplace locations.

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Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover the Central Valley

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16
April
Average (°C)
Mar - May
28°
High
7°
Low
June - Aug
36°
High
16°
Low
Sept - Nov
32°
High
6°
Low
Dec - Feb
16°
High
3°
Low

California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory-rich experiences, a chance to see—and taste—the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak-shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce, and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low-key tasting rooms.

Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes—just some of the ultra-fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.

Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles/644 kilometres down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and “everyone’s welcome” charm. 

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Courtesy of the Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant

Harris Ranch

This Central Valley oasis is a perfect place for a quick pit stop or even a relaxed meal and overnight stay

Looking for a great place to stop on Highway 5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco? Look no further:...

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Jen Siska

Road Trip: Central Valley

Take a drive along Highway 99 to experience honky-tonk culture, culinary delights, urban adventures, and more

Famous for its bountiful produce, quality wine, and country music, the Central Valley is California’s heartland. It’s also a place of...

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Mark Crosse/Getty Images

Fresno County Blossom Trail

Explore this driving loop that bursts with flowers in the spring and fruit during summer

Spring tends to kick off early in Fresno County with a fast-and-frenzied spectacle of blooming fruit and nut trees. Starting in mid-...

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Derrell McCain/Alamy

Best Kept Secret: Solano County

See why this Central Valley region holds its own in terms of good wine, pretty countryside, and cool activities

A treasure awaits about 20 kilometres east of Napa, in a lovely but largely “secret” area of sprawling countryside and bayfront beauty. This...

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Lake Berryessa, located just outside of Winters, has a sunken city underneath it called Monticello.
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Laura Flippen

9 Great Central Valley Farm Stands

Sample fresh, seasonal produce and artisanal foods and chat with local farmers

This fertile valley stretches for some 724 kilometres from roughly Chico south to Bakersfield—the pancake-flat belly of California. Farms and...

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Alex Farnum

Davis

You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the perks of this ag-oriented college town

Eco-friendly, liberal leaning, progressive, impressive professor’s homes and fraternity houses—Davis has the hallmarks of a classic college...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

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Laura Flippen
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Laura Flippen

Haggin Museum

Local history merges with world-renowned art at this must-see museum in Stockton’s Victory Park

Housed in an early-19th-century brick building, this handsome art and history museum is the centerpiece of Stockton’s stately Victory Park. The 34...

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Laura Flippen

Trip 3-5 days 10 stops

California's Heartland

Pick fresh produce, relax in cool gardens, and learn about local farming heritage
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This relaxed city has some secret gems that make a pleasing start to your trip. Start at Sundial Bridge, a functional work of art, the remarkable pedestrian bridge, designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, spans the tree-lined, trout-filled Sacramento River in Redding’s Turtle...

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This rapidly growing city in the southern Central Valley is full of pleasant surprises. Once known for oil and agriculture, Bakersfield is morphing into a Central Valley hub for arts, culture, and sports, while still offering a glimpse of the region’s past. One fascinating historical site worth...

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Kodiak Greenwood

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

Map of Shasta Cascade
Some 300 species of birds and mammals make this a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts

Located on the Pacific Flyway 96 kilometres north of Sacramento, Gray Lodge encompasses 3700 hectares surrounded by agricultural flatlands and...

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Houseboating

Take to the water on a deluxe floating home

In California, it’s hard to talk about houseboating without talking about the Central Valley. One of the state’s premier places for vacationing in...

November

Honour the harvest season at this remarkable, family-friendly event, hosted at the beautiful Full Belly Farm in the fertile Capay Valley. The valley, just north of Sacramento, has one of the world...

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

California Delta

A boater’s and fisherman’s paradise awaits

Located northeast of the San Francisco Bay, this 1,000-mile network of inland waterways—the major drainage from the snow-capped Sierra Nevada to...

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Fresno

Discover agriculture and culture in the valley's biggest city

The Central Valley’s largest city makes for a surprisingly lively getaway. Seven stadiums and a pair of arenas satisfy sporty types, and an annual...

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The 10 acres of rooms, passages and gardens at Fresno's Forestiere Underground Gardens were excavated by hand using only farming tools.
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Courtesy of Buck Owens Crystal Palace

Bakersfield

Experience California’s oil-rich history, with Basque food and country western music on the side

This rapidly growing city in the southern Central Valley is full of pleasant surprises. Once known for oil and...

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Courtesy of Séka Hills

Séka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room

Taste olive oil and dine on locally sourced fare while enjoying views of tribal lands in the Capay Valley

Intimate Capay Valley is a world apart—with rolling hills and oak woodlands just west of the Sacramento Valley. Like its much larger neighbour,...