What began as a cobbled-together home brewing operation grew up to become 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 in college, he opened a home brewing shop in Chico for like-minded brewing fanatics.
Two years later, he took the plunge into commercial brewing. Having limited funds, Grossman outfitted his brewery with used dairy tanks, a soft-drink bottler, and equipment salvaged from defunct breweries.
In 1980, he brewed his first batch of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This bold, piney beer was an instant hit—so much so that Grossman had to expand the brewery twice to keep up with demand.
Not all of that space is devoted to Grossman’s flagship beer. Sierra Nevada’s lineup has grown to include many other fascinating beers, such as the 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. (The restaurant even makes bread from spent brewers’ grain.) It also has a 350-seat live music venue, so be prepared to stay a while.
California’s north-east 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.
Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for child-friendly fun zones that...
From cool ways for your children to learn about wildlife, to an insider’s look at a space station, to a chance to walk through a rain forest or learn about the night sky, there’s a...
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...