The North Coast’s evocative coastline and foggy, redwood studded interior is a perfect setting for a local brew. And from Boonville to Eureka and everywhere in between, beer is waiting to be sampled. Consider following this 'beer-cation' itinerary from the North Coast Tourism Council, or create your own from the list below.
Start at Ukiah Brewing Company, 'America’s first organic brewpub', and taste one of its dozen or so organic beers on tap. Just south in Booneville, Anderson Valley Brewing Company has been satisfying locals since 1987, especially with its Boont Amber and Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout. The company names its beers using a local, mostly forgotten dialect called Boontling. So take a chance on one of the oddly monikered taps and let out a hearty 'Bahl hornin’!' (Cheers!)
In McKinleyvillle, Humboldt Regeneration Brewery & Farm focuses on organic and sustainable practices, and has been confirmed by the California Craft Brewers Association as the first brewery in the state to be growing, malting, roasting and brewing with their own ingredients since Prohibition. The pet- and family-friendly tap room has more than 20 beers. The town is also home to Six Rivers Brewery, where the focus is on small-batch English-style ales and porters.
On the coast, Fort Bragg’s North Coast Brewing Company, founded in 1988, is a must-see, especially for award-winning Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. Humboldt County’s timber-industry past is immortalised in Eureka at Lost Coast Brewing and in Fortuna at Eel River Brewing: both are housed in the remnants of old sawmills. Not far from them, in sleepy Blue Lake, are the craft beer veterans (in business since 1989) at Mad River Brewing; their John Barleycorn Barleywine and Serious Madness Black Ale are local favourites.
Romance finds a home in this idyllic coastal region, where ocean fog rolls in from the ocean to blanket hushed redwood forests, and whales spout offshore. Along the coast, artists set up their easels to paint scenes of crashing surf and whitewashed cottages wrapped in rose filled gardens.
Each year, December through May, look to the sea to witness roughly 15,000 gray whales swimming south for the summer.
It is also a place where a new generation of farmers and wine makers focus on preserving the land as well as producing amazing food and wine. Favourite escapes include the romantic hamlet of Mendocino, roughly a 3-hour drive up the coast from San Francisco, and Eureka, a former logging town 2 hours further north, and the gateway to breathtaking Redwoods National and State Parks.
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