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Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California
Courtesy of Sierra Brewing Company

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Pale ale put this trendsetting Chico producer on the map

What began as a cobbled-together home-brewing operation grew up to become the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, one of America’s first modern microbreweries, and the producer of one of California’s most beloved beers: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Founder Ken Grossman started out as a young home brewer, making beer in five-gallon batches with homemade equipment. After studying chemistry at university, he opened a home-brewing shop in Chico for like-minded brewing fanatics.

Two years later, he took the plunge into commercial brewing. To make do with limited funds, Grossman outfitted his operation with used dairy tanks, a soft-drinks bottler and equipment salvaged from defunct breweries. 

In 1980, he brewed his first bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. The bold, piney beer was an instant hit—so much so that Grossman had to expand the brewery twice to keep up with demand.

In the decades since that first auspicious batch of its namesake pale ale, Sierra Nevada’s line-up has grown to include many other fascinating brews, such as Hop Hunter IPA, Kellerweis, Beer Camp IPA and the intense 'High Altitude' series.

At Sierra Nevada’s taproom and restaurant in Chico, visitors can sample 19 draft beers and nosh on seasonal, farm-to-table fare. Those interested in observing up close how it all happens can select from a range of brewery tours, each of varying length. The restaurant makes bread from spent brewers’ grain and even offers a good children's menu, with organic peanut butter, golden raisins and fresh fruit on a crunchy flatbread. The brewery also has a 350-seat live music venue, so be prepared to stay a while. 

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Kodiak Greenwood

Northern California

Discover Shasta Cascade

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11
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
32°
High
5°
Low
Dec - Feb
15°
High
2°
Low
Mar - May
26°
High
6°
Low
June - Aug
36°
High
16°
Low

California’s northeast corner is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with safe-to-explore volcanoes, hushed forests, and trout-filled rivers. This is the place for blue-ribbon fishing, houseboats anchored in cool lakes, countless campgrounds, and inviting trails for hiking and mountain biking.

“When I first caught sight of it I was weary and 50 miles away and afoot. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.” – Author John Muir, upon seeing Mount Shasta in 1874

All this, plus friendly towns like Chico and Chester, and inviting rural farms in fertile lands near the Upper Sacramento River. Redding, the region’s largest city, makes a good base, with riverfront trails, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and elegant Sundial Bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

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Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Travel Alerts

Check out the latest California Wildfire & Travel Conditions

Wildfires in California

A vast majority of California is currently unaffected by fires.

Most evacuation orders for...

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Lassen Volcanic National Park is the only place on Earth where all four types of volcano can be seen.
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Burney Falls

Visit a booming cascade nicknamed the “eighth wonder of the world”

One of the most spectacular waterfalls in the state—if not the continent—this 129-foot-tall, fern-draped cascade seems to come out of nowhere....

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Shasta Lake

Rent a houseboat to explore the state’s largest reservoir

There’s plenty of room to move on this 30,000-acre/12,140-hectare reservoir, the largest in California. A typical summer day finds the crystal...

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Shasta Dam contains enough concrete to build a 3-foot sidewalk around the world at the equator.
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Sundial Bridge

Stroll a futuristic bridge across the Sacramento River

A functional work of art, the remarkable bridge, designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, spans the tree-lined, trout-filled...

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Redding's Sundial Bridge is the largest sundial in the world.
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Tehama Trail

Visit farms and farm stands along the Sacramento River

Established by local farmers, the Tehama Trail meanders through rural communities, linking together nearly two dozen vineyards, orchards, and...

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Kodiak Greenwood

Mount Shasta

Experience wildflower meadows, year-round snowfields, and a New-Age-y vibe

Soaring to 14,179 feet/4,322 metres high, this magnificent volcano scrapes the turquoise-blue sky, north of Redding, a totem from almost anywhere...

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Flyfishing

Cast a fly in blue-ribbon waters

Between the volcanic summits of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen flow some of California’s most celebrated flyfishing rivers. Blue-ribbon waters lace the...

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John/ Flickr
Going to the mountains is going home.
John Muir
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Alessandra RC/Getty Images

Oroville

Spend time in this historic Butte County town and discover the outdoor-recreation destinations nearby

With its long history and a range of nearby natural escapes, the county seat of ...

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Kids get an inside look at wildlife, space, and more

From cool ways for your kids to learn about wildlife, to an insider’s look at a space station, to a chance to walk through a rainforest or learn about the night sky, there’s a bumper...

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Lava Beds National Monument
Cyril Fluck/Flickr

Lava Beds National Monument

Descend into eerie and historic lava tube caves

A surreal landscape sculpted by molten earth, Lava Beds National Monument contains volcanic tablelands punctuated by cinder cones, pit craters,...

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Lava, geysers & naturally heated hot springs

From the snow-capped heights of Mount Shasta in California’s far north to Amboy Crater in the Mojave Desert, signs of California’s volcanic past—and present—dot the landscape. Explore these...

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Lassen Peak by Grant Montgomery/Flickr
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Lava Beds National Monument was a training ground for astronauts heading to the moon.